The Potager

The Potager

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Evening

We took a graduation present to our son-in-law this afternoon. We left home in 88 degree humid heat and got to their seaside home just after a thunderstorm - it was 67 degrees there! What a difference 30 miles can make! We are so jealous of their rain there. We are in a drought. Everyday the forecast for rain changes to hot and sunny. It rains all around us, but never on us. Fortunately we have a well drawn irrigation system that is keeping everything green and lush. Perhaps a little too lush in one shady corner of our yard. We seem to be growing large mushrooms!

I do not know what kind they are, but they are rather interesting to look at.

Tonight's harvest was oregano.
Oregano is a member of the mint family and can get out of control if you aren't careful with it. I seem to divide my clump every year! Harvesting it a few times a season is a good way to keep it under control. (I have not yet discovered a good way to keep mint under control!) When it is almost ready to flower, cut the whole patch down. Oregano tastes better dried than fresh. I still use it fresh, but the dried version of it imparts so much more flavor. I bundle my harvest into 20 or so stems each tied with a slip knot that I can tighten as it dries and hang then from my mantle to dry. As long as you have a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight, oregano is easy to preserve this way.
We have a series of cup hooks on the back of the mantle for our Christmas stockings. They work perfectly for herb drying! The oregano will return and give me at least one more harvest this summer, usually more. I love using herbs that I have dried in the winter.

I also harvested strawberries and arugula tonight. The strawberries are getting quite abundant now. Tonight I made a Strawberry Arugula Salad. The dressing was simply olive oil, white wine vinegar, a bit of honey and some poppy seeds. Tossed with the fresh garden arugula, strawberries and some sweet onions. It was yummy.
Real Food experts tell us that we should eat what is in season and shop for produce grown locally. You can't get more in season or local than your own back yard potager!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The end of May

People have been asking me how the garden is growing. In spite of a late start, things are looking good.
Last night I harvested asparagus, arugula and strawberries. We have been enjoying arugula salads for a while now. And we have also been enjoying fresh strawberries on our oatmeal daily.
 Tonight I harvested kale ( plus a few asparagus and more strawberries).

We never get enough asparagus each day for a meal, but I store it and every three days we enjoy Asparagus with our dinner!
The kale has been growing under a protective row cover (along with collards, eggplant and zucchini) to protect it against this little critter:
This is a cabbage worm. Since I protected everything else against it, it decided to eat my arugula. They are tenacious critters!
The kale is safe inside the row cover, along with it''s companions. It will stay on until the zucchini and eggplant begin to blossom.
Hopefully by then all those plants will be strong enough to survive whatever insects come along.
Tonight, the very clean and bug free kale was served up in Garlicky Kale and White Beans, a recipe from one of my favorite books, Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. Along with grilled ham steaks, it was a lovely garden meal. With  fresh-picked strawberries and whipped cream for dessert.  Life in the garden at the end of May is good!

"Spring being a tough act to follow,
God created June."
-  Al Bernstein