Saturday, May 19, 2012

Two Hearts That Beet As One

Leaf beets, where have you been all my life?
Mark and I recently had a revelation similar to the one a couple of years ago when we discovered ground cherries. Intrigued by a rave review in the Fedco catalog, we ordered some leaf beet seeds to supplement our spinach crop, which always seems to peter out too early in the season.

Leaf beets are basically beets that don't have an edible root. But the leaves are completely delicious, and I actually like them more than spinach. They don't squeak between your teeth, they're a little more succulent than spinach, and the flavor is unexpectedly savory, almost salty. The whole family chowed down on a big bunch at dinner tonight, and I didn't hear a single complaint from the kids.

Internet wisdom tells me that leaf beets are an ancient vegetable that lost popularity once spinach came on the scene, but I don't get it. Why eat spinach when you can have these tasty, crunchy leaves instead? They're even more heat tolerant than spinach and can grow right through the summer, like chard. And they're prolific as all get-out, not spindly like spinach plants can be.

I'm already brainstorming recipes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Promises, Promises

I often get impatient in the spring, my mind jumping ahead to harvest time. But it's easy to forget how overwhelming August and September can be: trying to keep the garden under control, canning all that produce, and planting fall crops.

Spring is so full of promise; nothing has gone seriously wrong yet, and I can blithely imagine that the deer won't eat our gooseberries, that beetles won't chew on the eggplants, that the tomatoes won't succumb to end rot and we'll actually have time to pick and process them all instead of leaving some to wither on the vine because we're so frazzled.

In May I can take pictures of flowers and enjoy their winks and whispered innuendos. Consider me seduced.

Chive flowers

First-year strawberries

Little lettuce volunteers from last year's plants that went to seed.

Pea shoots--yum.

My new friend the violet.

Mark's hugelkultur experiment:
growing potatoes in mounds of old wood.
More to come about this soon.