Friday, February 13, 2009

A garden digest--sorry

We had our first harvest yesterday! And it's all thanks to garden pests. Chris looked out the window when we were painting and said, "Oh, look, a butterfly!" Indeed it was--a lovely small, pale butterfly! But I thought to myself, "Hmm, that particular variety looks familiar. And it sure is spending a lot of time hanging around my spinach and mustard greens." Experienced gardeners are already saying, "Cabbage moth!!" Such were my suspicions as well, and they were confirmed this morning when I found little caterpillars about a millimeter long munching on my mustards as I harvested them. Regardless, that drove me to the garden so I could make a meal of my greens before anything else could.

Here's my beautiful monnopa spinach:


Now, no commentary on the cooking and eating of spinach is complete without a definition of spinach from Barry Foy's "Devil's Food Dictionary":

spinach A delicate leafy vegetable that ranks as an important source of dietary air and grit (the latter essential to maintaining a healthy gizzard). Spinach is often called "Nature's Annoying Wiseguy" because it has a tendency to collapse rapidly when cooked, deflating from a tangle of vibrant green leaves big enough to fill a broom closet into little more than a limp, green smudge, as if the whole thing had been nothing but a big joke. Observers point out that this makes spinach similar to beet greens. But with beet greens at least you have beets.

In other words, all that spinach was barely enough for two servings after a light steaming and tossing with Brazil nut oil. The mustard greens will be appearing tonight in a salad so it'll at least seem that we have something substantial to eat.

Meanwhile, I've decided to do something (ideally) fun and interesting for you, gentle readers: I'm going to track the growth of castor beans from seed right here on the Loquacious Loquat! Castor beans are extremely fast-growing, ornamental, and frickin' huge, so I thought they'd be more fun to watch grow than, say, beans ("Oh, look! These beans are suffering from chlorosis now!"). I thought about calling the series "Poison in a Pot" (castor beans are the source of ricin), but the idea of being contacted by Homeland Security steered me in another direction. (Then again, if I were growing castor beans for evil purposes, why would I flaunt that so blatantly on my blog? For those from the government reading this right now, I promise to snip off the flowers once they start to die so the nasty seeds don't form and I don't wind up killing a few neighborhood cats--although they're way more interested in my catnip patch.)

Anyhow, here are the Day 1 castor beans in their new location. It's nice and sunny there in the afternoons ... no, scratch that, it's miserably hot and sunny there in the afternoons, so they'll get plenty of heat to help sprout! :)

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