It was a long cold winter and spring has carried on the trend. Cold and wet. We finally have courageous plants tentatively poking their heads above dirt: Spinach, lettuce and celery, rows of green beans and beets. Cub was in charge of the carrots and, while they are growing, they are congregating in 3 little clumps. Not sure if I'll be able to salvage more than a handful or we just need to start over.
We've made beds even though we have plenty of land. Visually it's just easier for me to cope with contained areas than what looks like an overwhelming amount of area to contend with. They are a modified square foot (the lettuce, obviously, is planted in rows). Really, the key to gardening, as most other things, is finding a system that works for you.
Just above the lettuce you can see the strawberry beds. They are about 30 feet long and part of my plot to create an edible landscape. Along with the strawberries we have heavily producing grape vines, 4 heavily producing mulberry trees, rhubarb that doesn't stop and one lone raspberry bush that survived the fire trucks and new drain field construction. We also put in a asparagus bed and more berry plants this year.
Our trend in life, and in gardening, is what we do well, we rock at. Beyond that, not so much. We always have way too much of many things, and other things fizzle out with dull consistancy.
Last year we had a zillion strawberries but because we weren't able to clean the beds very well the berries were very small and tart. I raked the beds HARD this spring, probably halving them. As you can see, they don't look too worse for wear.
We'll be harvesting spinach and salad wthin the week. Here are 2 of our favorite salads:
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Large bed of spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, roasted walnuts, shredded cheese (colby or fresh parmesan).
1/2 c. light olive oil, 1/4 c. white vinegar, 1/2 c. sugar, paprika. Blend well.
Apple Chicken Walnut Salad
Large bed of torn lettuce and spinach leaves, thinly sliced mild onions, chicken breasts cooked and thinly sliced (I boil them in a pot with chicken base from Sam's) and caramelized walnuts. Serve with dressing of choice.
(to caramelize walnuts, "melt" 1/2 c. sugar in a heavy bottom pan, add 1 tsp nutmeg or Cinnamon. When sugar is completely liquid, add 3 c. of walnuts. Stir till coated, turn out onto wax paper until cooled - be careful not to burn the sugar) Or, you can simply put the walnuts in a heavy bottom pan and "roast" lightly. They are delicious either way!
Linking up with the Homeschool Village Garden Challenge. And while you're there, stop by and read How to Prepare Your Kids for Survival in a World Gone Global.