May 31, 2009

May 25, 2009

You know everything will be alright when Memorial Day arrives. It's warm and the threat of frost has passed. Hopefully. A lot was accomplished this long, holiday weekend. And while spending those hours in the garden, I often paused and reflected on how far this little garden has come and how much I've learned along the way. Now,with the weekend winding down, I'm able to sit down and share my garden with you.

Those brassicas are really growing now. The trunks are thickening and the leaves are bigger than my hand. The broccoli has yet to form a floret, so I'm hoping it will happen soon, before the summer heat. I'm afraid I started my brussels too early and they will be bitter before they are ready to harvest. Next year, I will start broccoli earlier to be planted in March. I'll wait until mid-summer to plant the brussels, so they will be ready to harvest after the first snow when they're tender and sweet.

We've eaten only two heads of lettuce thus far. Totally delish. I have two of butterhead that are actually forming soft heads. I want to harvest them before they become bitter from the heat. I cut the two Romaine stalks off just above the stem. Now I'm being rewarded with "cut and come again" style lettuce!
The potatoes are growing up quickly. I've mounded on soil twice, a little bit at a time. If everything is working correctly, I should have a decent crop.

I spent a good amount of time this weekend weeding and thinning the carrots. It looks like I should have about six dozen of them.

The three tomato plants that I put out before the rains (and then the heat) have required some nurturing. I added more soil, and mounted it up around the stem, then created a well around the base to collect water. There is new leaf growth, albeit small. I gave them friends, too. I added six more tomatoes, four bell peppers, and two basil plants, using the same method on all.

I planted radishes and beets between the potatoes and carrots. In the bottom row, I planted cucumbers and beans in a long hill I created by making a trench with my hoe, to hopefully collect some water and prevent all my new soil from washing away. In front of them, I sparsely planted Swiss chard and spinach.

May 14, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Tuna Salad

A week ago, I was convinced I couldn't complete this dish. Not because I had anything against it, quite to the contrary. This recipe has been on my radar for some time. The problem was the availability of fresh, quality Ahi tuna in a landlocked, Midwestern town. I considered just using avocado, because, well, I really really love avocado. I'll never understand those people who are unable to ingest anything *eeek* GREEN.

But, it is TUNA salad, after all. Luckily, I found two 6-ounce portions of frozen Ahi tuna in the freezer section for $5.99. Since I didn't know the quality of the tuna, I seared more towards medium well.

Everything came together easily and quickly. I only made half of the recipe which could have easily fed at three if not four lunch portions. I cut whole wheat flour tortillas in half and served as a wrap.

Results: What a treat! The sharp wasabi and tart lime was so invigorating against the creaminess of the avocado. My husband gave me the "oh my god!" look as he took his first bite. This is a keeper. Thank you so much Kate (of Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails) for the excellent recipe. I would have never forgiven myself if I took a pass on this one!

Final Grade: A+

May 13, 2009

First harvest of 2009

I spent the day inside cooking. I experiemented with this week's Barefoot Blogger recipe. I prepared a double batch of White Chili so Jeremy doesn't have to cook when I'm at work. I made another loaf of bread and I made dinner: Swiss steak over noodles. I set it out to serve and realized I didn't make anything as a side.

The lettuce on the side of the house has been BEGGING to be eaten. After the rain today, the Jericho Romaine looked particularly delicious. It became a simple salad with croutons, parmesan, and Caesar dressing. Ohh, it was SO good!

Roughing the storm

The garden has been coming along very nicely. On Mother's Day, we (my husband, really) constructed the tomato support (cedar studs and pvc pipe) and a hog fence trellis for the cucumbers and beans. We then ran the soaker hose from the rain barrel along the beds. We were about 4' short, but short where the soil stays fairly wet and has more shade.

The Brussels sprouts and broccoli are noticeably larger. The broccoli still hasn't put on any big leaves or a bud. I'm concerned the summer heat will set in before they have a chance to produce. There are also about 15 clusters of potato leaves. I kinda-sorta half-assed hilled some soil around the stems. It's not nearly enough as I only started about 4" deep. I need to go buy soil and completely cover the plants. Hopefully this weekend.

Carrots have been springing up in their crooked little rows over the past few days. I went out there to thin them. What a job! I made it through about half a row before I gave up. There are too many. Sounds like my Saturday morning is filling up.

I had a dilemma Monday: Should I plant a few tomatoes or wait until after the days of rain headed our way. I took a chance and planted three of the tallest: Big Beef Beefsteak (hybrid), Berkley Tie-Dye (heirloom), and Black Cherry (heirloom). Today, big storms moved through the area, whipping the wind and pounding the ground with rain. I sure hope those little guys make it.