First Harvest

RadishesRadishes. First planted. First harvested. These are Early Scarlet Globe from Seed Saver’s Exchange. These were planted the end of April along with my carrots, peas, lettuce and spinach. I plant radishes in the same space as my carrots which helps break up the soil for the carrot roots to get down deeper.

These are just delicious. If you haven’t tasted homegrown radishes, you need to. The initial bite is crisp and sweet and ends with a spicy peppery finish. A perfect addition to any salad or eat right out of the garden.  I will let some radishes go to seed. Radish seed pods are just as delicious and can be eaten raw or thrown into a stir fry.

It’s wonderful growing all your salad ingredients. Unfortunately, not everything is ready at the same time! But picking a variety of lettuce, spinach and other greens still makes for a delightful meal or side dish.

I like to grow leaf lettuce as opposed to head lettuce. It allows for continual harvesting and you can pick when very young for micro greens or when mature. An easy way to wash these delicate leaves is to fill the sink with water and swish them around.

Washing LettuceThen add them to your salad spinner to spin off the extra water. To further dry them, lay out on paper towels and toss. Do not press in between the paper towels as you can bruise the leaves. For the final step the keep your greens dry line your baggie with paper towels and add your green in between them as show here:

storing lettuceThis will keep your greens dry and crisp and will last a surprisingly long time in the fridge, up to 10 days or longer.

I am also currently harvesting spinach, Swiss chard, endive and thinning my beets and using the beet leaves, too.

Mmmmmm, salad.

 

Garden reminiscing

An American garden

An American garden

As I wait for all the little sprouts to shoot through the dirt, I find myself browsing through pictures of past year’s gardens. I love hanging out in my veggie garden. Many times, I find a place to sit and just watch what goes on around me. Bees and birds flitting around, the smells of wonderful things growing and finding all the ripe items to add to my basket.

Even though we live on a busy intersection (cars, people, bikes etc), this little corner garden is an oasis and I enjoy coming to it for some peace.

As you can see, my garden has a good variety of food and flowers. It’s important to plant a variety of bee and other bug-friendly flowers to help get blooms pollinated and to keep away the bad bugs.

Two years ago, I found this guy in my garden!

a very helpful praying mantis

A very helpful praying mantis

I didn’t see him last year, but I didn’t have a bad bug problem like I did that year. He was getting all the squash beetles.

Last year, we had a bumper crop of cucumbers. We made dill spears, slices and relish. The relish was the best.

Russian pickler

Russian pickler

I don’t have a very large space so I tend to plant things closer together than what is recommended. The only trouble I have with that is finding everything. But it also means that many plants are purposefully planted close to each other. If you’re new to gardening, this is called companion planting. There are some plants that have benefits if planted next to each other. You may know to plant your basil with your tomatoes. But did you know that you can also plant your cabbage with your tomatoes? The smell of the tomatoes (oh yes they are stinky!) actually masks the smell of the cabbage and the bugs can’t find them so well!

Of course in addition to companion planting, there are also plants you don’t want growing near each other. I’ll go into more detail in another post because there is so much to share!

Bees love the garden

Bees love the garden

Here is the perfect reason to plant flowers in your veggie garden. This bumble bee is so very happy and doing wonders for all the other plants in addition to the sunflowers.

Echinacea

Echinacea

And why not add a pop of color that beneficial insects love to hang out on? These flowers always put a smile on my face. They are just so cheery.