Great Scapes!

garlic scapesLast weekend, as the fabulous Endurer was making yet another delicious dinner, he stumbled across a sad, forgotten head of garlic. A rarity around here.

Happily, the timing corresponded nicely with art time. So the Hurricane and and I decided to do something with them and with an old pot.

While these won’t wind up as nice, plump heads of garlic and the pot won’t find itself at MOMA anytime soon, they will provide scapes for many mashed potato and roasted chicken dinners to come.

Seeds, Seeds, Plants, and Seeds: Cucurbits

Cucumbers, oh, cucumbers. How we love thee.

  • Speedy Green Hybrid: Maybe a few cukes can be harvested in 42 days? Say, before the aphids attack? This is a biggie (12 x 60), so one per pot.
  • Supremo Hybrid: A little less huge, but still big (15 x 36). Prolific and disease resistant, thankyouverymuch.
  • General Lee: Yup, POD’s Minder is of the Dukes of Hazzard generation. Yup, Bo and Luke? Crushable. The Charger? Still wouldn’t kick it out of my garage (if I had one) for leaking oil 3_6_14genlee(a paint job, perhaps, yes). A disease-resistant cucumber named the General Lee? Yup. Sold. Thanks, Organic Gardening, for pointing this gynoecious paradox out!

Muskmelons! Such luciousness. And so many exciting new hybrids to try! (Side note: heirlooms are great, but will have to wait for the POD’s next, much-larger, raised-bed garden. Thanks for the courage, Michael Tortorello)

  • Honey Bun Hybrid: “Honey Bun is a real bush cantaloupe that is well suited for the smaller garden. The little melons are 5″ across with deep orange flesh and honey-sweet flavor. Each vine will produce 3 or 4 fruits.” That just about covers it.

Seeds, Seeds, Plants, and Seeds: Tomatoes

Tomatoes: After a string of planted-too-soon failures (both self- and nursery-started), we’re hoping these high-tech hybrids hit the sweet spot, timing-wise. Since Burpee’s home base is only 30 miles north of POD’s sladder, we’re optimistic. (And playing it safe, per last year’s notes, POD just fired off a note to Burpee’s asking for a later shipping date. [Let's hear it for Burpee's -- permission granted!])

  • Honey Delight: yellow (the Hurricane’s favorite), “prolific” (the main Minder’s favorite). And 2″, 4-oz. fruits seems just about the perfect balance between cherries and traditional tomatoes
  • Sunchocola: POD tends to have decent luck with cherry tomatoes, and this “smoky,” “disease-resistant” hybrid sounds like a winner
  • Early Girl, Bush: The earlier the better. July 4, you say? Perfect. Also? Determinate, small, container-friendly with “multiple disease resistances.”

Seeds, Seeds, Plants, and Seeds: Corn & Peppers

March happens. And for years and years it appears, Plants On Deck feels the urge to buy everything this time each year. Then, weeks and sometimes months later, when the precious cargo arrives, the reasons behind the carefully-researched purchases have been long forgotten.

So this year, we’re writing it down. Bit by bit. It’s an all-new crew, so there’s lots to remember. And hey, that was the original point of this here note-to-self blog.

Corn: Yes, corn. Like, on the cob. In a pot. So. Excited. POD’s managed to do okay with veggies, considering the space limitations imposed by a 10 x 10 mixed-sun (too much, then too little) deck and a 8 x 4 sun-struck expanse of concrete and exhaust. There’s this smell, though, that only a nice row of fresh corn stalks can deliver. It’s the smell of my mother’s garden. And, as she reminded me this morning, my grandfather’s garden.

It smells like home.

  • On Deck: Okay, so the name also spoke to POD. But get this, the 4-5′ tall stalks can produce two to three 7-8″ ears. 9 seeds per 24″ container.  (Soil temp at least 55 degrees.) Breathe deep.

Peppers: Peppers are well-like at POD, but we’ve never planted all that many or paid that much attention to them. Now that we’ve given up on green beans (sigh), there’s an extra container begging for some color.

  • Tweety: yellow (naturally), small fruits, compact plants, early-maturing, and “prolific”
  • Sweet Cherry: see above, but red.

C is for Celery

21914_celeryIt’s March! Which is usually a time for celebration for Plants On Deck, but The Winter That Won’t End means that instead of running outside to plant leftover radish seeds, on the off-chance that they’ll work, we’re scrambling around the house, looking for more windowsill gardening projects. (Mission accomplished, btw, more on that later.)

Success: Peashoots
Fail: Radishes & Carrots (Too lazy to post progress, but in a nutshell: too gloomy, too tired of clutter to set up grow lights, too cheap to keep the house above 59 degrees for any length of time.)

So far so good: Celery

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Edamame, White Bean, and Pea Shoot Dip

2914_peashootsA month after POD’s pick-me-up indoor gardening experiment commenced, shoots were snipped and added to a pretty tasty little dip.

There’s something about the fruity, light zing of pea shoots that lends a spring-like note to a tasty, but otherwise fairly standard, edamame dip. And hey, it’s also a great way to use up two bags of frozen edamame from Greensgrow’s Winter CSA.

White Bean and Edamame “Hummus”
(Adapted from CHOW)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled, cooked edamame (about 24-ounces, boil pods in salted water for 3-4 minutes. Cool. Shell. Share a few pods with tiny sous chef.)
  • 2 medium garlic gloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 tbs water, plus more as needed
  • zest of one lemon
  • 4-5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons), to taste
  • 1/2-3/4 c. pea shoots (optional, I suppose, but kind of critical for our purposes.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place the cannellini beans, edamame, garlic, water, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and sesame seed oil in a bowl and put your immersion blender to work (or, if you have a food processor, go nuts). Season with pepper and process until smooth. If the dip is too thick, pulse in more water, a tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
  2. Taste and season with more salt or lemon juice as needed.
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flakes and fledgling celery

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Give Us Strength

imageIt’s been nearly three weeks since the peas were planted and yesterday’s 14-inches of polar vortex-induced snowfall, and today’s single digit temps, made these little guys a welcomed site. Nothing like a little splash of green against a wintery backdrop to perk a couple of gals up.

At this point, the ultimate success or failure  of the pea shoots experiment is irrelevant. They make us happy.

Celery Flats

growing celery indoorsIf memory serves, POD’s not-too-distant relatives toiled in southwest Michigan’s celery flats. Fast forward a few generations, travel several hundred miles to the east, bunker in for yet another nippy weekend and growing celery indoors doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. growing celery indoorsThis Pennsport gardener and her trusty knife-wielding sidekick hacked off the end of a nice fresh bunch and stuck it in a bowl of warm water. With any luck, fresh shoots and roots will emerge in a week or so.

Forgotten Shoots

Oops. It’s like POD’s “minder” (term used very, very loosely these days) forgot there was a blog attached to the name.

So this happened. Like, a week ago:

1914_peashoots