Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring has Sprung

I almost resigned myself to not having a fava been crop this year. The weather seems to be playing tricks on all of us the last couple of weeks. One day we have temps nearing 70, and then we have what seems to be a freezing cold night.

But just a few days ago, like magic, a row of seedlings poked their heads above the soil. They were probably waiting until the soil was just the right temperature. I thinned out a few where they seemed a bit crowded, and my bamboo poles are all in place.

My chives have started to bloom. The beautiful purple blossoms will add a tasty and colorful surprise to the salad mixes I am getting in my CSA box from Full Circle Farm. I would love to grow lettuce at home, but my slug problem is too unbearable. Instead of trying to battle it out against these slimy beings, I'll have someone else grow it for me.

I left my Bright Lights Swiss Chard in the ground this winter. It keeps a little color going in the garden while everything else is dormant. I don't use it much in my cooking during this time. If I did, there would be very little leaves on the plants to keep going with the little photosynthesis that may happen in the dead of winter. They more or less stall out until a couple of months ago. Now, with the warmer days, my chard has lots of lush leave and is starting to bolt. I snagged a few leaves for lunch yesterday.

Like lettuce, once it bolts, it supposedly becomes bitter and inedible. I took a chance and cooked it up anyway. Plus, I wanted to see how it compared with the chard I received from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. I took a large clove of garlic and sauteed it in olive oil. Once the garlic was golden, I added the chard, a sprinkling of kosher salt, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and some chopped walnuts. I removed it from the heat once the chard wilted but was still bright in color.

The chard was nutty without being too bitter. I have to say it was better than the chard from my CSA box. Maybe I'm being a little unfair since my garden-grown chard was cooked less than 5 minutes after it was picked. Though, a good argument to grow your own wherever you can.

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