On that long list there are two major competing tasks: planting and weeding. In order to have vegetables constantly ready for harvest, we have to be constantly planting, especially for those crops like lettuce, beans, and such, that have a shorter harvest window. We could invest all of our energy in planting along, yet, if we just leave our vegetables out in the world to fend for themselves they will be consumed by weeds!
When I asked Jim, "Should we plant or weed?" he said "Spend some time cultivating a relationship with the crops you have!" I laughed and then we all put our shoulder into it.We have been weeding for what feels like all eternity. Our weeding yoga is strong and our weeding muscles buffed. We can hold fifty pounds pinched between a thumb and forefinger, we can squat for hours, we float down rows of vegetables neatly picked clean of weeds. While this is the fantasy of a woman weeding too long (what is the mind to do during endless hours?), the beds that we have cleaned up are looking crisp and free. We haven't finished the onions like I wishfully predicted last week. Instead we skipped around to rescue some of the other crops. We pulled weeds from the sweet potatoes, which are putting on growth, from the peppers, flowers, carrots, some brassica greens and some basil. We freed up a little of our Swiss chard and gave the cucumbers and squash a little breathing room. And even though the weeding is endless, we crammed a little planting in there too, tucking the second round of squash,cukes, melon, and watermelon into the earth. And then, back to the million weed challenge!
It is clear that all of our hard work is paying off, with vegetables becoming harvest ready on the regular. Why just this week the Napa cabbage came in. I am going to try my first batch of Kimchi. I have never made it before and am very excited. I am using this recipe, but of course, the recipe will be modified match the ingredients on hand. But the main point is that it will have our delightful cabbage in it, shredded and fermented.
I have been hearing more and more that fermented foods are wonderful for you. A quick google tells me that fermented foods do the following: add probiotics to your diet, improving digestion among other things; help the body absorb food better by helping to balance the bacteria and enzymes in the gut; are easy to make; and offer a fast and easy way to preserve food. I love the invigorating bubble and flavor of fermented foods and am excited to start trying it out.
Fermentation takes a bit though, and if you don't have time to wait, you can try our quick Kimchi recipe:
3 Cups shredded Napa Cabbage
1 tablespoon of sriracha
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ to 1 teaspoon of salt
All you need to do for this recipe is mix all the ingredients together and place the mixture in the fridge over night. The next day it’s ready to eat!
You could also add ginger, scallions, radishes and pepper flakes to suit your tastes!
And a nature note: We are discovering so many types of ants in our field. There were three, distinctly different types withing a five foot span in one onion bed. I really would like to take the time to identify them and learn more about them but in general, we like ants. They eat pests- larval stages of flies, aphids, and other insects that would love to enjoy our produce. I like them less, when after I rudely disturb their home, they attack me. Incidentally, it also causes me to like them more. How admirable to be willing to attack me, a giant that is approximately thirteen and a half million times its size, in order to defend the colony. And I am just bumbling along, weeding onions.
Look for us at market!
Produce showcase: Salad Mix!
Four flavorful kinds of lettuce, mixed and pre-rinsed. It keeps for at least a week in the fridge, if you can stop yourself from eating it!
Fresh from the field:
Bok Choi- limited
Mustard- Spicy like wasabi
Cilantro- for limited time only
Garlic Scapes- Try garlic scape pesto!
Kohlrabi- Like a juicy vegetable apple. Try it raw with a little salt
Napa cabbage- check out our quick kimchi recipe. Or if you have more patience, try the real deal. Fermented foods are so good for you.
Summer squash- It is just getting started so it will be limited.