Sunday, April 8, 2018

What we are eating from the garden now

Portable greenhouse lettuce, ready to eat!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

This has been the winter that doesn't want to end!  We have snow on the ground today!  Luckily, it should melt by later today.  So, what is popping up in the garden?  

Fall planted garlic, Elephant garlic, arugula, French sorrel, blood veined sorrel, kale, oregano, cultivated dandelions, common chives, strawberries, onions, wild leeks, sage, leeks, overwintered carrots, overwintered miner's lettuce, newly planted peas, volunteer lettuce, catnip, tarragon, horseradish, thyme, newly planted lettuce, kale, cabbage, and spinach.  

It has not been warm enough to put out under our covered deck our kumquat, overwintered celery, lemon balm, pepper plants, tropicals or any newly bought herbs.  The eggplants did not make it through indoors this year.

The lettuce, kale, cabbage and spinach that I put in my new portable greenhouse a month or so ago is close to full size.  The plants are growing well enough that we can pick leaves for salads now.

The forsythias and Redbud trees are are in full bloom.  This is the sign that it is time to use an organic weed and feed to treat pre-emergent weeds, and green up the yard!  Redbud flowers are edible.  They taste similar to peas.  Pretty and tasty in salads!  Growing edible flowers

We are behind this year in fertilizing and mulching the garden bed.  The reason?  Chickens and guineas!  My hubby got us baby chicks and keets last spring.  The chickens are giving us lots of eggs.  We let them free range.  The bad news is that they love my edible garden!  They don't like alliums so the onions, leeks, and garlic have been left alone along with the horseradish, strawberries, daylilies, lilies, glads, hostas, potatoes, and herbs.

I'll have to wait to fertilize, mulch and plant in the garden beds until we have a way to keep the chickens out of the garden.  
Portable greenhouse
The pots are already full with sown cilantro, peas, purple orach, rat's tail, arugula, corn salad, intermediate day onions, carrots, dill, red veined sorrel, Alpine strawberries, garlic chives, parsley, Belle Isle cress, kale and salad burnet; all edible plants that enjoy spring's cool temperatures.
I love mixing herbs, different types of greens and lettuces in salads.  It took a bit to get the miner's lettuce going, but now it is doing great!  Miner's lettuce is very similar in taste to arugula.  The advantage of having both in the garden is that miner's lettuce is harvestable through most of the cold months and when it goes to seed, arugula is in its prime.

This week end we had mixed herb, greens and lettuce salads.  Our cultivated dandelion were decimated by the chickens.  Typically, they would be full sized and ready to eat.  Dandelion greens are super nutritious and get sweeter when cooked.  Dandelion nutrition info  Use dandelion greens as you would spinach.
Portable greenhouse with greens
The cilantro does not last long; as soon as it warms up, it bolts.  You have to succession plant these to keep them in the garden.  Place them in a cool spot that gets some morning sun, but is in the shade the rest of the day.  Parsley does great for the entire season in any location.  

I had to start any chard this year as it was one of the delicacies the chickens loved to eat in the call.  Last year they overwintered.   I like them in a mix of colors.  Chard is beautiful in orange, red, yellow, burgundy, fuchsia and white stemmed varieties.  I plant them along the back of the garden bed as they grow to as tall as 4-5'.  
Second portable greenhouse, sown on January 28th
Small chard leaves are great in salads.  Large leaves are great steamed.  The stalks of the large leaves can be used like celery, but very pretty celery!  Chard is also a tender perennial.  The white stemmed is the most cold hardy.  I have had a red one that came back for years.  For year round steamed greens, grow chard!

Carrots and beets will overwinter in pots or the garden.  There are a few carrot seedlings sprouting from letting them go to seed last summer.  I have sown  chervil from seed.  It is great on chicken and seafood.  I love the fragrance and benefits it adds to my skin oil I make.  Make your own fragrant herbal body oil

I like broccoli raab or sprouting broccoli because you get small broccoli heads throughout the entire growing season versus one large head at once.  The leaves are also edible and great to add to salads.  I am waiting to see if these survived the winter in the pots they were in last year.  Two plants give us all the broccoli and broccoli leaves we needed for our salads.  They grow to be large plants.  If planting in a container, thin to one plant in a large pot.  Sprouting broccoli- a year round fav

Now is also the time to plant spring garlic.  Fall is the best time, but you can get scapes and small cloves by planting in spring.  I also have garlic resprouting from the first crop I planted.  When you dig the garlic in the fall, there are tiny cloves that usually get left behind.  These will come back in the spring.  The tiny cloves may take 2 seasons to get up to full size cloves.  Time to plant garlic! With growing tips......
Kale and cabbage in the portable greenhouse
Our potato onions and Egyptian walking onions are harvestable for cooking.  They both overwinter well.  I love Egyptian walking onions as you can harvest them year round and they are so easy to grow, either in the garden or a pot!  I use the bulb as you would a white onion and the tops as you would chives.  Egyptian walking onions

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