Field Notes. This weekend marks the summer solstice. It is the time of the longest days of the year. Ken is taking full advantage of it, and often works until dark. This season the push is on as spring started later than usual, so there was less time to do the spring tasks, especially those that depend on length of day. The fact that Ken is nearly caught up is impressive.
With the warm days comes a whole new set of heat loving weeds. Ken faithfully cultivates as soon as the soil is dry enough after each rain to stay ahead of the weeds. On sunny windy dry days one pass with the hand cultivator and most weeds are finished. Some weeds are a bit more tenacious - purslane for one. Like many weeds, purslane and dandelions and plantain all came with European settlers as edible and medicinal greens. Purslane looks like a rubber plant with its succulent leaves, but has a very lemony flavor. It contains vitamin C and A; we often add it to the box as it is a nice salad addition.
Our other news this week is the latest addition to our crew - a kitten. Last year my efforts did not result in a dependable cat; the result was a lot of rodent damage here. The worst were voles that ate fall planted spinach and spring seedlings when they were hardening off in the garden. Although Oscar and Ken did catch a vole or two, it was after the damage had been done. Although this kitten is only in training, it seems healthy and curious.
From the Kitchen. The baby beets have begun. The first crop of beets seems so fresh - the greens are often large and so I see this as one of the "bonus vegetables" that have two delicious parts. Cut the tops from the roots, and eat the tops soon. Beets are in the same family as spinach and chard, so the beet greens will work for not only those greens recipes, but most any recipe for greens. The roots are small and tender - so delicious.
Chinese cabbage, like many Asian vegetables like bok choy, grows in cooler weather and at a faster rate than European cabbages. Chinese cabbage is versatile - one friend tells me that Chinese cabbage makes great cabbage rolls. I like to use the outer leaves in cooked dishes and slice the hearts into thin "ribbons" for salad. My Asian salad dressing contains the following: sesame oil, a bit of toasted sesame oil, mild vinegar, tamari, a bit of honey, powdered red pepper, and toasted sesame seeds. Experiment to find the ratios you like.
'Til Next Week,