After such a long, cold winter I’ve been anxious to get going on our garden. It’s as if I can see green then somehow that will force spring along. This method doesn’t seem to be working out for me at all (when I woke up it was 30 degrees and felt like 19… brr!).
On top of the weather not being too interested in our spending time outdoors, with all of the work that happened on our house from November to March, our backyard was pretty much trashed. We weren’t thrilled about the plants that were crushed by construction supplies or the giant mud pit that used to be the grassy side of our yard, but most frustrating was the state of our garden plots. The one closest to the house was in particular trouble as it had gone from wonderful, clean soil (after much hard work by my husband) to being filled with clay as well as bits of insulation, nails, staples, and trash—just what a girl wants to grow her food in the midst of…
As soon as it was warm enough, my hubby was outside cleaning out that plot and during the past two weekends we have been able to plant all of the items we wanted to start from seed. (Due to the construction, we didn’t bother with seedlings this year so we will see how our growing season goes.) We’ve planted almost everything we are hoping to grow this year—with tomatoes and peppers being the exception—including salad greens, herbs, cucumbers, snap peas, green beans, and a variety of flowers. Of course, we managed to do this just in time for the weather to dip more than 50 degrees and provide us with yet another frost last night.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the frost blankets I already had out to keep the birds from simply eating all of the seeds was enough to keep those little guys alive. We also brought in the strawberry plants and flowers that were in pots of the front porch and redecorated our entry hall. Lovely, isn’t it? I figure this great “spring” weather can’t be any worse than last year when I did grow seedlings only to plant them in late March and have it snow the very next day killing them all (despite the frost blankets) because I was departing for 2 weeks in Turkey and Greece and would not be around the care for them.
Only time will tell what will become of all our little plants (and spring for that matter). Hopefully next week when I pull back the frost blankets to water I’ll start seeing some green!
As a (very) picky eater in my childhood, I know it amazes my parents that I go out of my way to eat vegetables on a fairly regular basis. While I love being able to buy veggies from the vendors at Eastern Market on the weekends, it’s also nice to have the option for vegetable delivery on the weeks that I may not have a chance to visit the market.
In the past we have been members of a CSA (community supported agriculture), but the commitment of paying for May through October in advance as well as having to figure out the pick up just wasn’t working out for us anymore. Last summer when we knew we were going to be gone for more than a month, we decided we couldn’t participate. Why pay for veggies you can’t eat?
Then we stumbled upon the Green Grocer which offers a variety of fruit and vegetable options — all local, all organic, and a mixed box that is part organic and part not — in a number of sizes that can be ordered on demand. It’s perfect! Once or twice a month, depending on travel and what’s in the box, I place an order. I typically go for the small organic box.
This week the veggie fairy left me red leaf lettuce, red potatoes, corn, blueberries, green beans, cucumbers, grapefruit, and vidalia onions. What I love (apart from the fact it comes to the door) is that you can swap out items. While I have gotten a lot better there are still some things I do not want (squash and mushrooms) and some things I can’t have (melon), so I am able to customize the box to be just items I know I will eat. You can also add additional veggies, herbs, and a wide range of other products to the order, but I usually stick with what’s included.
Now my fridge is stocked with healthy options and I can plan my menu for the coming week. I have to say that with all those potatoes I’m glad the weather has cooled off quite a bit so I will be able to cook them. Maybe someone will invite me over for a Memorial Day BBQ — I can bring the potato salad!
I was finally able to replant the middle plot of our garden yesterday after the surprise March snow killed off my tomato, pepper and cucumber seedlings (sad). I purchased big boy and cherry tomatoes plants, along with jalapeno, cayenne and red bell peppers during the weekend. Before planting, I thinned the seeds I had sown directly and cleared out the weeds that sprung up during my California visit to make room.
It was quite a surprise to harvest 7 stalks of rhubarb already! I didn’t even think the plant was going to grow after the way it withered and died last summer. The impressive comeback was a lovely surprise.
A few herb plants have been ordered and will hopefully be planted by next weekend so the plots are nearly complete. Now I just need to continue thinning, weeding and keeping an eye out for whatever nasty bugs that will surely want to eat my veggies at some point. Fingers crossed for a successful summer season!
Every two weeks or so I get a delivery from The Green Grocer — or, as I like to say, The Veggie Fairy. Although I tend to get the majority of my vegetables from Eastern Market on the weekends, if the Green Grocer’s offering looks tempting I am happy to let someone bring them directly to my door.
Last week I was heavily motivated to order a single, organic box based on the sugar snap peas and made some swaps for items I can’t eat like cantaloupe (I’m super allergic) and those I don’t really want when someone else isn’t available to cook them for me (like beets), then waited for my box to arrive.
When it came I was quite surprised at how heavy the box was when I brought it into the house. When I opened it up I was even more surprised by the contents. The swaps I had made meant I was only expecting four items — sugar snap peas, lettuce, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes — but the box was stuffed! There were 3 large heads of lettuce, at least 11 heads of broccoli, 4 bags of sugar snap peas, and two boxes of cherry tomatoes. Either there was a serious over abundance of veggies on-hand last week or someone really wanted me to eat my greens!
Needless to say, a party of one isn’t going to consume all of that in a timely fashion. At least not this party of one. Particularly during a week where I had dinner plans almost every night. So I gave some of the lettuce and broccoli to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and got to work figuring out how I could make the most of the items I had kept.
Freezing seemed to be the best option, so I started by cleaning the snap peas and removing their strings. Then I blanched them in boiling water for 2 minutes before plunging them into an ice bath for 2 additional minutes. After allowing them to dry on towels, I packaged them up and into the freezer they went. I followed suit with the broccoli (although the blanching/ice bath process was increased to 3 minutes) and filled three more bags. I did leave myself one bag of sugar snap peas to eat fresh as well a serving of broccoli.
Now we are ready to make stirfry or another veggie dish at a moments notice with our cleaned and partially prepared snap peas and broccoli. And after all the things I’ve been taking out of the freezer recently, it felt nice to add something for later!