Category Archives: Early Crops

Crispy Or Riced, Cauliflower Rocks

Sometimes sold as broccoli, heritage Italian romanesco cauliflower is indeed a kissing cousin, that distinctive swirling shape and rich flavor marking the transition of one vegetable into the next. (This blending is a bit like plums and cherries, which are so closely related that’s it’s sometimes difficult to suss out which a given fruit really is.) Veronica a striking Romanesco type with jade green curds. Broken into starburst-tipped spears, it makes a beautiful garnish or an elegant side dish, drizzled with a spritely spring herb sauce. If you haven’t tried stick cauliflower yet, plant a row of Fioretto 60 and prepare to play. This fascinating variation offers beautiful, long-stemmed florets that wouldn’t look amiss in a floral arrangement. The creamy curds atop the fresh green stems are great for dipping and very pretty on a veggie plate. Sweeter than headed cauliflowers, the crunchy stems can be stir fried with sesame oil, garlic and ginger, or tossed as is into salads. Continue reading

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Saint Patrick’s Day, Or Maybe Not

Print PDFOf Lilac Leaves And Planting Peas When I was a young gardener, I recall being told that the proper time to plant peas was on Saint Patrick’s Day. It stuck in my mind because I learned this bit of … Continue reading

Posted in Early Crops, Gardening With Children, Planting & Transplanting, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Restoring Habitat For Birds, Bees, and Butterflies

So are we, and so are a host of small creatures that lived in those woods. Birds and bats, raccoons and foxes, insects and snakes, slugs and salamanders, all displaced if not killed outright. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of space to house many of these beings. The bad news is that they need a bit of the wild, and any touch of wild is in danger these days. When I work with homeowners, I often hear that they want to welcome birds and nurture bees, yet the first thing they want to get rid of is the messy tangle of blackberries and salal, huckleberries and wild roses that so often edge the property. Even when I point out that such tangles are home and buffet for the very creatures they want to welcome, it’s clear that many folks can’t live with that lack of controlled appearance. Leaving some wild can be a hard sell, since our ideas about tidiness can be deeply rooted. Thus, it’s hugely important to equally deeply consider why we may think that the appearance of control is more important than a healthy, intact habitat environment. Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, Garden Prep, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Planting & Transplanting, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Prepared: Food Security

We might also pay a lot more attention to selecting OP varieties. OP stands for Open Pollinated, which means that seed strains have been grown long enough to stabilize and you can save and sow the seed yourself with a reasonable expectation of raising crops that look and taste the same as their parents. Seed saving also involves selecting a few of the best plants and allowing them to go to seed, then collecting and preserving that ripe seed for another year. That’s important, as it’s tempting to save seed from less desirable plants but logically, that will lead to weakening the stock. Pollinator friendly flowers and herbs are just as important to food security as the main crops themselves, of course, and room must be found for these (again, along bed edges and ends are great spots). Continue reading

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