Recently, our meals have been peppered with ingredients gleaned from the gardens; however, today’s lunch is the first that is all garden grown.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Chive Blossoms: A hardy perennial that has been growing for about a decade in a big container on the roof.
- Lemon Balm: Eat the fresh leaves in the spring. This is a hardy perennial that self seeds all over the community garden.
- Parsley: From the roof.
- Pansy petals: Also from the roof.
- Three types of lettuce: All of which self-seeded in various containers on the roof. I didn’t have to do a thing, although I did transplant a few to the community garden plot.
- ‘Egyptian Walking Onion’: Just the greens.
- Borage sprouts: I got this idea from Julianna, who brought a salad to our Saturday afternoon transplant trade/potluck that included borage from her garden. Borage self-seeds like nobody’s business and is coming up like mad right now. why not use the tender, fresh sprouts rather than tossing them in the compost? The first set of true leaves are prickly but the cotyledon leaves are smooth, with a fresh cucumbery taste.
- Baby kale
- Purple Mizuna: More on this soon. This is my new favourite edible!
- Assorted mustard greens
- Violet leaves and flowers: I have a small patch over at the community garden that is going to expand this year once I add the three additional varieties I have acquired this spring. Eat the young, new leaves and the flowers.
- Bloody Dock: If you’d like to know more, I wrote an article on spring greens including bloody dock, for Garden Making magazine.
For identification purposes, here’s what the borage seedlings look like. You can also identify them by their cucumber scent. The seedling in the top left corner is anise-hyssop. You can eat that too.
You want a food post today. I can feel it. I had every intention to post a photo of something edible that I am growing this year but then photos of this creamy, soft daffodil came up, and how much longer can I talk about daffodils when they are so very nearly on the way out?
The daffodils are fleeting. I have found myself jumping between favorites as they have rolled out their blooms. This is the one I currently favor.
I love it here, paired with Artemisia vulgaris ‘Oriental Limelight’.
Well done Mr. Parker. Well done.
Update: You’ll notice that I got the variety wrong. I don’t believe ‘Avalon’ is a miniature, and I didn’t realize these qualified as a miniature. Time passes since a picture is taken and you forget about size unless they’re really tiny like these guys.
This year, for a myriad of reasons, I have rapidly expanded my succulent collection, most especially sempervivums, which I just can’t seem to stop myself from buying. I bought and/or acquired by other means 25 new semps this year alone in addition to a few other related succulents, many of which are hardy and some that aren’t.
Despite the sudden influx of plants I have been growing semps (aka hens and chicks) for years. They are most likely one of the very first non-edibles I grew. Just about everyone starts with them and for good reason: the plants are virtually unkillable and require almost no care. Every beginner gardener should begin here.
What’s different this year is that I have begun to collect orostachys and rosalaria, two closely related, hardy succulents that I have never grown before. Both plants look a lot like sempervivums and are grown under very similar conditions. Most literature says they can tolerate very cold conditions but I am not convinced that some of these stranger varieties are as hardy as semps. The plants come in paler colours and have a slightly softer look about them. As a result, I didn’t want to throw them in among the semps but instead had decided to give them their own space to be showcased. I had a sudden brain wave one afternoon last week when I realized that I had just the perfect pot, a vintage, emerald green dish that I have never had much luck with. Having begun life as a dish meant to hold candy or trinkets it is shallow and only suited to diminutive plants with shallow roots that can also take a bit of drought.
Top Photo from Left to Right: Orostachys minuta, Rosularia rechingeri (turkestanica), Orostachys ‘Jade Mountain’, Orostachys ‘NYBG’.
To prepare the pot for growing, I drilled a couple of 1/2″ holes in the bottom with a masonry bit meant for drilling into terracotta or brick. I used very sandy, gritty soil — a potting mix meant for growing cactus is perfect. I top-dressed after planting with tufa chips, a very light-weight rock that is often used in growing alpine plants. I got a big ziploc baggie for $5 from Wrightman’s Alpines.
This is a sempervivum I potted up at the same time in a bonsai pot that has always been too shallow to grow anything else. I love this variety’s tight rosettes and mounding form. I can’t tell from the tag if it is called ‘Granide’ or ‘Grande.’ ‘Grande’ seems all wrong given that the plant is teeny, tiny.
Next weekend, we’re headed to Detroit for a joint book launch event for “Grow Great Grub” and graphic novel, “Sword of My Mouth.” Why is a food gardening book teaming up with a graphic novel about the apocalypse (and vice-versa) you ask? Well, as it happens, the story is set in Detroit and features urban agriculture pretty heavily. If you think it’s hard keeping the raccoons and squirrels away now, imagine trying to grow a tomato crop through a post-apocalyptic famine! Apologies in advance, but I don’t believe I can offer adequate advice or a homemade garlic spray that will effectively eradicate a plague of locusts. I can, however, take down a plague of aphids or currant worms.
Meanwhile, I have finally updated the homepages events sidebar as well as the events page on the Grow Great Grub website with confirmed up and coming events. More will be added as they are confirmed.
In the area of past events, I wanted to mention that You Grow Girl won the reader’s poll award for Best Farming or Gardening website in TreeHugger’s Best of Green Awards. Thank you so much for voting!
The site has also been nominated for two categories in the Mouse and Trowel Gardenblogging Awards: Best Photography and Best Writing.
Update: I forgot to mention that I will be doing a live chat on The Motherhood at 1pm EST today (Monday, May 10, 2010.) Bring your questions!
Has the spring been moving along too quickly in your area? Around here the warm weather has accelerated everything so that plants have been making their appearance and blooming faster than any year I can recall. The spring ephemerals are the worst of the bunch — they’re up and gone before I’ve barely had a chance to process them.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with the season and have been in a semi-blissed-out state through it all. It just means that everything has been rush, rush, and mania. There is the rush to catch the flowers before they are gone, the rush to take photos, the rush to get the garden prepped, and then planted in due course. Somewhere in there I am supposed to write about it. I can’t keep up! You should see the roof garden right now. It’s a disaster of pots and plants scattered willy-nilly.
All of that to explain why I can no longer recall which variety of crocus this is. I think it might just be more ‘Ruby Giant’ but so much time has passed and so many plants have come and gone since I took this photo.
My brain is simply overloaded. Although in a good way.