It was a warm weekend here on the Pickle Farm, and sunny weather in mid-October means it’s time to start planting seeds in the garden. So the kids and I spent most of the weekend shoveling horse poop, poking little seeds into the dirt and playing with the hose. It was glorious!
The garden is so full of possibilities at this time of year…
We planted garlic mid winter as part of a local trial for our seed savers club. When we harvest them each bulb will be weighed and measured and tallied along with all the rest of the garlic that was planted to find out what the best variety is for our area which is kind of cool.
We are counting the weeks till the strawberries ripen and all taking bets on whether this year will be a bigger or smaller crop than last year.
Thankfully I have the tractor to turn in all the green manure crop we planted over winter, but I still have to shovel makeshift beds by hand. My filthy finger nails and blistered hands will hopefully be worth it when all these beds are full of vegies! We’ve planted zucchini (Black Beauty and Tomboncini), cucumbers, corn, beans (6 different kids which is probably over kill since beans and I are not friends), pumpkins (two kinds so far with two more to go in soon), chia (trying again), linseed, sunflowers (a gazillion!), turnips, radishes and a heap of herbs.
I still have to plant the tomatoes, chick peas and the wildflower/herb/green manure mix in the next few days if the rain stays away.
Despite all the new planting and bare earth this is lots to eat from the garden at this time of year.
The peas are getting fat in their pods… though most won’t make it much past the baby pea stage thanks to my little pea thieves.
This is the best time for lettuce and as more and more volunteer plants pop up we’ve been eating home grown spring salad at almost every meal.
Yesterday I found a volunteer (self seeded) radish) among the lettuces and we also collected some of the edible flowers from the borage and calendula to add a little colour to our spring salad, along with a simple, homemade balsamic salad dressing.
This spring salad with balsamic dressing is easy to grow and easy to make.
For the Salad:
- Two (or more) varieties of lettuce - we used Coss and Oak Leaf Lettuce as they are easy to grow.
- 2-4 mint leaves
- 2 sprigs of chives
- Borage Flowers
- Calendula Flower Petals
For the Dressing:
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tbs grainy mustard
- 1 tbs dried or fresh herbs
- pinch of salt.
For the Salad
- Wash all ingredients well.
- Pat the lettuce leaves dry and arrange in a bowl.
- Slice the radish thinly and add to the salad.
- Finely chop the mint and chives and sprinkle over the salad.
- Add the borage flowers and sprinkle with calendula petals.
For the Dressing:
- Place all ingredients into a clean jar, or bottle, with a tight fitting lid.
- Shake well.
- Add more oil, vinegar or salt to taste.
My little helper also made his own salad dressing… with water and flowers and herbs he picked from the garden, and a whole lot of shaking!
What is growing in your garden at the moment??