Greetings from the Garden! This week’s CSA box has summer spinach, chard, kale, mixed brassica greens, beet thins, bok choy, green onions, rutabagas, and herbs – parsley and marjoram and the last of the strawberries
Field Notes. Ken has been planting and weeding. He plants some crops like greens throughout the season. Others like peppers he plants and transplants once. As the plants grow he keeps the plants ahead of the weeds so they can flourish. This year he has started mulching the perennial crops like asparagus and has been mulching as he goes.
Mulch and green manures like buckwheat moderate soil temperature to promote microbial life in the soil. They also add organic matter to the soil; this helps make either sandy or heavy soils more like a sponge that can retain moisture. Each percentage of organic matter in the soil can retain an inch of rain – so if we have five percent organic matter the crops have about a month of rainfall available! Mulch and green manures also reduce weeds until the crop plants are large enough to form canopy and shade out a lot of the weeds.
This week Ken has been tying tomatoes and transplanting replacements of some of the cucurbit family lost in the earlier, rainy cool portion of the season. With these cool nights the heat loving crops are later than average. The tomatoes, peppers and eggplant look healthy. And the beans are blooming so we should have those soon, too
From the Kitchen Greens! This time of year I am adding greens to everything. This summer spinach is a real treat. Most years it either does not germinate or it bolts quickly. I like a spinach and beet thins salad for color and texture variety, Beet greens and rutabaga tops are great wilted. I saute some green onion and add the rinsed and chopped greens. These cooked greens are great in salads – pasta, quinoa, bulgur, couscous, with some cooked chicken or sliced hard boiled eggs for a cool supper in hot weather. Or I serve them solo as a side dish with a dressing that compliments the rest of the meal – either a vinaigrette or a creamy yogurt.
Rutabagas are a member of the brassica or cabbage family. Ken likes them is soup. Some people grate them and make hash browns. Others like them raw and use them like radishes or carrots on a relish tray with dip. I treat the greens like cabbage or kale
Bok choy is an early summer favorite. I like to separate stalk from greens. Saute some onion, add the sliced stalk, then add the greens just before serving. It was the original ingredient in chop suey and is great in any stir fry.
‘Til Next Week, Judith and the Gang