Spring Seedlings

It really is ridiculous how happy I am having fresh herbs to cook with again. And I am days away from a first salad harvest from the garden. What's that, you'd like a tour? I'd be delighted. It's still all babies and I need to mulch it as soon as Jeeps can give me grass clippings. But anyway, come along and look.

Spinach and radishes on the left. Carrots on the right, which need thinning, which is an OCD job I loathe, but it's the nature of the beast.  

Next bed over, I'm growing fennel. Fennel fennel fennel, I planted like 24 bulbs of it. LOVE fennel. Last night I sauteed chicken sausage with red onions, yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes and zucchini. And right at the end I ran out, clipped off a bunch of feathery fennel tops, clipped another bunch of fresh parsley, chopped it all up and stirred it in. There wasn't a scrap left.

On the right are broccoli seedlings surrounded by radishes. I companion-plant whenever possible, and I read that these two go well together. So I made a grid of radish seeds and planted the broccoli inside the boxes. On the other hand, the same source said, rather vehemently, not to companion-plant fennel with ANYTHING. So if the whole garden should fail, we all know why.

Pea plants are starting to climb. Nearly a third of this crop, which was planted near the tulips, was wiped out by a vicious pack of voles. We've declared war with bait and snap traps. Killed five of them in one day. And I enjoyed it.

For dinner tonight we were having burgers on the grill, but on the side I sauteed red onion and garlic in olive oil, then added a can of drained, rinsed cannelini beans and let it cook on low about ten minutes. Then I added half a bag of baby spinach and some chopped parsley. I'm kind of a parsley whore.

Bouquet by Panda. I love handing her scissors and a mason jar and saying, "Pick something for the table." Usually she just has at it, but tonight I did give specific direction because my columbines are in bloom, and these purple ones look pretty with the chartreuse leaves of a golden bleeding heart. She arranged it beautifully though.

(Sigh)...I love spring.

Signs of Spring

The weather has been nice to me and my anxiety lately. Remember not so long ago it looked like this outside:

All that snow on top of snow on top of snow, and it seemed like it would never go away. Well it has. Apart from a tiny patch in a northeast corner of the yard, the snow has gone and the temperatures are rising. During the day I try to step away from the computer and go outside for oxygen as often as I can, to walk around and regroup and see if anything has emerged from the ground since I went outside 2 hours ago.

The Lenten roses (Hellebores) never let me down. They are an expensive plant if you buy them full-sized at the nursery. I bought a bunch online a few years ago. They were cheaper but they come as babies—one leaf on a stem, and it's taken this long for them to put out flowers. But so worth the wait.

And then it's St. Patrick's Day, which heralds the official time to start seedlings. Actually, the date truly only applies to peas, which are direct-sown into the ground, but I've adapted it to suit my own needs and I start my broccoli and tomato seedlings indoors.

In case you are wondering, that is the original 60-cell Bio Dome sold by Park Seed, available here and a terrific investment for any avid gardner. Mine is like ten years old and in great shape, I just buy the sponge refills every year or steal them from my friend Jen (she hates that).

So all this has contributed to me not reading a damn thing, and dinner being scrambled eggs and pizzas the past few days. I managed to throw together a 3-bean salad tonight and now I'm exhausted. But I thought I should at least explain my whereabouts.  My friend Stacie is keeping the ERT dream alive by cooking everything I ever blogged about, bless you my child.  Her friend in Germany made the black bean fritters the other night. International exposure, how cool is that?!