What’s a Weed?

About a week ago, we changed seasons here in Virginia. We put down the shovel and took up its summer counterpart: the hoe. This is not to say that there won’t be more planting going on (there will), and it’s not to say that there wasn’t some weeding going on back in March and April…

Of Tatsoi, Beets and Duck Eggs…

When it came time for lunch today, I knew I needed to use a bunch of produce from the garden. All the rain has made everything grow twice as fast, and it seems there’s already more available than we’ll ever be able to eat. Today my mission was to use a lot of tatsoi. I’ve…

You Were Right about the Peas!

At the end of February, I wrote a post about last year’s abysmal failure growing peas. But I said that, despite all the non-germinating seeds and withered seedlings of last year, I was giving it another go, planting several feet each of Amish Snap, Mammoth Melting Sugar, and Burpeeana Early. And, my dear readers, you…

Mid-Spring Salade “Niçoise”

This salad isn’t made the way someone from Nice, France, would make it. For one, it has lettuce. And it doesn’t have any tomatoes. But it does have the trademark hard-boiled eggs and preserved tuna (even the Niçois wouldn’t dream of using fresh tuna in this dish!). And we combined those with the vegetables that…

Tatsoi Recipes?

While I can’t deny that I love bringing in from the garden crisp young lettuce, sun-ripened tomatoes, and the sugariest of sweet corns, I also get a lot of pleasure from harvesting foods I’ve never eaten before–or even seen. Tatsoi mustard (Brassica rapa narinosa) is one of the latter. I ordered Tatsoi seeds to help…

Brassica Attack

Remember how my nasturtiums were supposed to act as a sacrificial crop to protect the cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower from cabbage white caterpillars? And how I wasn’t sure they’d be able to do the job because they couldn’t be planted until after the last frost, when the brassicas had already been in the ground for…

The Earth’s Gift to Itself

For Earth Day, it looks like nature decided to give herself a present–around here, anyway. The ground in our part of Virginia hasn’t seen substantial precipitation since March 5. When it was snow. But today, when May flowers are already in bloom, April showers have finally arrived. It’s a luxurious feeling to go out and…

Planting Corn

What a gorgeous day for planting corn it was yesterday! In the 70’s with a breeze blowing and a few fluffy clouds wandering across the sun. It was so nice I got my entire first planting of corn in in one day, even though it meant digging compost and fertilizer into almost 200 sq. ft….

Planting Tomatoes

April 15 is a red-letter day here in Zone 7. It’s our last expected frost date. And especially in a warm year like this one, it means all the frost-tender crops like tomatoes and peppers can safely go outside! Actually, since the weather was already so warm (today we’re supposed to hit 90 degrees…good grief),…

Asparagus, Part 5: They’re In!

Eight weeks ago, I started 30 Mary Washington asparagus seeds between two damp paper towels. Potted up, 12 of those became healthy little ferns, and now they’re continuously sending out new shoots, each one a little bigger in diameter than the last. (We might finally be up to a hair’s breadth!) Since the apple trees…