Sunday, June 8, 2014

Eat Your Thinnings!

Today I thinned out my first plantings of carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, spinach and pak choi. I was a bit hurried as I planted, so there were a lot of clumps of seedlings. Leaving them as is would mean a fair amount of leaf growth, but no roots, so I thinned them to their proper spacing. I feel really bad about wasting seeds though, especially since I like to buy really good seed.

All of these veggies have edible leaves, so instead of tossing them into the compost, I tossed them into my salad bowl. I ended up with 2 cups of beautiful microgreens to add to our dinner salad. No waste, and I get fantastic nutrition and flavor. And just look at that color!

Also, while I was thinning out the beds, I weeded them as well. There were a few baby dandelion plants that had popped up since I first prepped the beds in spring. I picked those and tossed them in with the microgreens. When this young, dandelions are rather mild. I sometimes toss in violet and plantain leaves as well.

While weeding, I accidentally uprooted one of the pea plants. This is devastating because I have been in a battle against a ground hog over my pea patches. One of the few pea plants that survived his greed fell to my momentary carelessness. Rather than let it go to waste, I'm going to add those tasty tendrils to our salad.

If you grow hardneck garlic, it will attempt to go to seed and send up a scape. They are really beautiful with a cute little curl to them. It is best to cut them off so that energy can be put into producing large heads instead of seeds. Instead of throwing them away, eat them! They are crunchy and have a milder garlic flavor. They can be used to make pesto or added to stir-fry or casseroles. I'm adding mine to a quiche tonight.

Onions, leeks and scallions will sometimes produce scapes, so harvest those too. If you let them stay, eventually they will bloom int little pop-poms. These flowers are also edible and can be added to salads, pizzas, soups, etc.

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