not just for knitting

Veggie gardens are like kids. If you don’t watch closely, they might grow up and go rotten while you’re not paying attention.

This I discovered with my newly planted patch. It’s yielding so much so quickly I have to keep a daily watch. It helps that it’s in my front yard (the sunniest patch) so I can’t avoid casting an eye out whenever I walk to the front door. It was planted just before my trip to the USA in June and by the time I returned home 3 weeks later, there were all kinds of exciting developments.

Mizuna (below) which I had never tasted before, wins the prize for being most productive in the fastest time (not that it’s a race).

I can’t toss it in enough salads or lay enough grilled salmon on it to keep pace. It’s unstoppable and delicious in its slight spiciness.

Bok Choy was the first to go to seed, in a good way.

Lovely yellow flowers developed, reminding me of the phlomis I used to grow in Santa Monica. Although I was reluctant to harvest it and spoil the Sissinghurst effect, it was expanding and threatening the silver beet with extinction, so steamed bok choy it was.

The fava beans (called broad beans here in NZ) were hiding discreetly behind the other veg, drooping all over the ground and needing to be set upright so they could continue to flower.

When I asked David if he’d buy a few lengths of bamboo and some string at the hardware store, I thought his quizzical look indicated a reluctance to do the errand, which would be out of character for him. But no, he was remembering the bags of yarn strewn around our house. Silly me.

So my Favas were propped up and tied with some leftover Habu linen paper (photo below), which may make them look pampered but I do love favas, and want them to go forth into the sunshine and multiply! A bag of Favas from the grocery store is never quite enough, is it?

It used to be that no vegetable was served in my house without butter or cheese sauce. Mmm.

However, I have been dairy free since developing asthma almost the minute I arrived in New Zealand. My doctor suggested I give up cow’s products. What, no butter on your morning toast? has been the reaction of many, and I’m happy to say that jam, honey, or even something savoury like vegemite and sliced tomato tastes just as good. Sheep and goats cheeses don’t seem to cause my airways the same problems so I can happily sprinkle pecorino on my pasta and goat feta on my Greek Salad.

I’m going to eat my favas as I do all other veg, with a dash of olive oil and Bragg’s natural seasoning which I learned about from my LA friend, Anna. It’s available at markets in the US, and I found it at Harvest Wholefoods in Auckland. The flavour is somewhere between marmite and soy sauce and it’s delicious on all vegetables, even steamed potatoes. Try a little garlic sautéd in olive oil in the bargain. Butter will be a distant memory.

p.s. There are a few snails who have come to love my vegetables as much as I do. Does anyone have an organic  solution to this problem?

12 Responses to “not just for knitting”

  1. frangipani Says:

    What an amazing garden! So abumdant and so tidy. Well done. I’ve just started on preparing my garden for some Spring planting. Can only wish that it will look like yours in a few months

  2. Kate Bruning Says:

    Beer is good for slugs and may also work for snails too. Just fill up some bowls with it and they are drawn into it and meet a bubbly end. Your vegetable garden is wonderful – I better start planting.

  3. Lorna Says:

    Does this posting help? It is from a blog I follow

    http://littlecottonrabbits.typepad.co.uk/my_weblog/2010/08/sacrifice.html

  4. Renna Says:

    I have Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t know they made a seasoning sauce. I hope I can find it in my local grocery store.

    I’ve never eaten fava beans, and know they don’t have them in my local grocer’s. Maybe some day I’ll get the chance to try them. :-)

    One year when I was having trouble with snails and slugs getting into my petunia plants, I read to try placing small, shallow bowls of beer around them. They’re drawn to the beer, then end up drowning in it (hopefully anesthetized by intoxication first!). I tried it, and it worked. :-)

  5. Anne Thompson Says:

    Great vege garden! I love Braggs, it is a great addition to all sorts of things, particularly vegetarian meals. I’ve just added a good slosh to vege soup :)

  6. KarenJ Says:

    We are plagued with snails here in Portugal but the solution here is to eat them. They get picked off, hung up in a net bag for a week or two to clean out their digestive systems and then cooked with garlic, butter, wine and herbs. Just serve with a toothpick.

    It’s traditional to serve them on May Day. For weeks before you can see people with plastic bags along the side of the road or the edge of a field collecting them. Signs reading “Snails available” are seen in the cafes and they are available all summer long.

  7. Linda Says:

    We had trouble with slugs and read that marigolds planted near the trouble area would solve the problem. It worked! Maybe marigold plants would help the snail problem.

  8. Susan aka paintermom Says:

    I am also cow-dairy-free but can eat goat and sheep milk cheeses. Have you tried manchego? It is a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese and is wonderful.

    Seeing your beans tied up with yarn reminds me of the colored tulle that I use to cover my blueberry bushes so the birds don’t eat all the berries. Who says a garden can’t be whimsical?

    BTW, I bought the Knitter magazine at Borders. Thanks for the tip.

  9. louise Says:

    perhaps david thought there was going to be some sort of knitting action with the bamboo stakes and string!

    snails : a torch, a bucket of soapy water and nightly rambles

  10. Karen Barrett Says:

    Hi Mel.
    I’ve found that untreated sawdust works best. Tried beer, tried crushed egg shells (another organic suggestion), but they hate to crawl across saw dust. cheers, Karen

  11. Sue Johnson Says:

    I was going to suggest beer. Someone else has done that. You sink a dish of beer into the ground, they get in, get drunk and can’t get out. Apparently crushed eggshells are good too, instead of sawdust.

  12. m-a Says:

    The beer is a good suggestion but you have to change it after rain and it is not very beautiful to see some glasses or bowls aroung the garden. Like Karen Barrett say the sawdust, the crushed egg shells are good. also have to do it again after rain. The sand paper can be use to. Copper, the snail take electric shock when they pass on copper. and you can use a piece of wood. you lay the wood on the dirt and at night the snails and slugs go under. Early in the morning, you go grab all the snails and slugs you can.
    have a nice day!

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