We've had intermittent rain and sun the past few days. It's been a perfect combination of weather to cause amazing things to happen in the garden. Let's go outside and see how our spring garden is coming along!
For about a month now, we've been harvesting and eating some of our early season produce, such as the lettuce, kale, spinach and swiss chard (see below).
Yesterday, I couldn't stop myself from picking some of the broccoli leaves. I made a casserole with them based on an idea from a friend. It used about a dozen of the giant broccoli leaves, which I blanched for about 15 seconds and then put into ice water. Then, I filled each leaf with a cooked meat and bulgur mixture (the mixture also had tomatoes and sharp cheddar). Then I rolled the leaf (kind of like a tiny burrito) and lined them up in a 9x13 pan. Once the pan was filled with the broccoli rolls, I sprinkled fresh Parmesan cheese on top and then baked the casserole in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. My husband was a bit horrified when he saw what I'd made, but then when our family sat down to eat it, everyone ate heartily. They ate every bite and then scraped the pan clean.
This year I planted a bigger patch of cilantro, below. I'm impressed with how quickly cilantro grows and is ready to begin harvesting. I've been taking large handfuls of it nearly every day.
Spinach also grows quickly and you can begin picking some of the leaves very early. Below, you'll notice that the row is lined with cardboard to keep the weeds at bay. This is the first year we've used cardboard in the garden. It works quite well and is the fastest and cheapest way to put down a weed barrier, if you don't mind how sloppy it looks. It's best to use only plain brown cardboard that has no outer paper wrapping on it, so that no ink chemicals leach into the soil.
I made the uneducated mistake of planting peas right next to the garlic, see below. Garlic can stunt the growth of peas. So, to try to discourage an issue, I then planted some swish chard in between the disagreeable plants. So far everyone is getting along and growing nicely, but we'll see.
Growing against the cattle panel are the tomatoes, below. I started the tomatoes inside the house back in early March. Once the plants got too big to be transplanted again, I set them outside in the warmest, sunniest spot, right next to our front window. There, they enjoyed hot sun and a warm, brick-lined flowerbed that protected them overnight. After a couple weeks they went into the garden. They've shown some signs of shock but are continuing to grow. These are the largest tomato plants that I've grown prior to putting in the ground.
Below is a garden plot a friend added with squash, peas, potatoes and peppers growing, and there are other seeds planted that we are watching out for.
A friend and I planted hundreds of onions. These onions have grown so quickly, from no sign of green to a good 6-8 inches tall in just a couple weeks.
Last to be planted was the corn, beans, squash and melon. There's also a parsley patch and basil planted out there.
And look what has sprouted in the last couple days:
Hello baby corn.
Hello baby bean.
We're looking forward to watching the garden grow, and will share more photos over the next few months.