Gosh I am pondering some fun topics these days. There is nothing more wonderful than calm, contemplative time with my hand tools in the garden to mentally tackle the concepts of sustainability. My latest thoughts circle around maintenance. The center of my musings are on plant maintenance. There are so many farms out there, so many fine farms out there, that plant into plastic. Long, long rows of black plastic mulch that you lie on the earth. It is multi purpose, can increase soil temperatures in the spring to jump start those heat loving summer crops, but weed suppression is plastic’s main selling point. Once your transplants are large enough, you prepare the soil, lay irrigation line, roll out the plastic, set your plants and boom, bang, no weeding, no hand cultivation, no maintenance.
Around here, we spend a whole heck of a lot of time tending the plants once they are planted. We use long handled cultivating tools, hoes, hand tools, and as much hay or straw mulch as we can get our hands on. Weed pressure can be intense and it is no wonder lots of folks use all kinds of tools (herbicides being the baddest of them, but hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of feet of single use plastic seems somewhat unsustainable as well?). Maintenance is no easy feat in the vegetable operation.
My mind then meanders to the family, likely a child or two has interrupted my quiet time in the garden and I immediately think of maintenance of the family. Pregnancy and childbirth is one thing, but raising kids now that takes a whole lot out of you. Granted, I was blessed with easy pregnancies and birthing experiences, I don’t want to diminish those who have more trials in birthing. I do think we can all agree though, those 40 weeks come and go pretty quickly and then you have the day in, day out, year in, year out, job of maintenance. Raising those babies, wow. For me, right now, that means negotiating the needs of a teenager and a 4 year old with a pre teen daughter nestled in there, now that is some kind of work.
Enough pondering, it has been a fabulous week on the farm, some rain, some cool weather, you know we love that. We were able to plant (really?) the last of the tomatoes this week, staked and caged, we have over 500 this year. We took advantage some misty mornings to cultivate and mulch our first planting of cucumbers. We wrangled into order whole wave of parsley, celeriac, lettuce, swiss chard, basil and kale. Right now, in the lovely last of Friday’s daylight, the farm looks pretty darn good. Paul and William are out cutting flowers, the first burst of zinnias and sunflowers offer such summer beauty. Sasha is on the tractor (what???) raking our farm’s own hay. Madeline is bunching a few more carrots, and I am just about to leave this computer to join her. Enjoy the week ahead folks, and know we are lovingly maintaining these fields with your plates in our minds!
week five in your basket:
Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto we have never, ever had both basil and scapes
In the same week, we all must celebrate this and make this pesto. Don’t you think?
10 to 12 large garlic scapes, with the bulb removed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup (lightly packed) clean and dry basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, pecans or walnuts
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
Add garlic scapes, basil and salt to the large bowl of a food processor. Start processing, adding oil slowly. Once a smooth paste has been achieved, add parmesan and process until completely mixed in.
Stop processing and add all of the nuts. Pulse processor until nuts are roughly chopped and fully mixed in.
Recipe concept Lettuce Wraps
This is something we rarely do here, but when we do, ooh la la. Delicious. Pick your filling, pick your sauce,use the lettuce leaf as a wrapper, perfectly adaptable to any palate and a fun spring meal.
Protein fillings: taco meat, grilled chicken breast, sauteed tofu, seared beef, quinoa, black beans
Condiments: shredded carrot, roughly chopped herbs, rice, rice noodles,
Sauces: ANY Asian dipping sauce, lemon vinaigrette..the list goes on and on, get creative with your favorite flavors and wrap it in a lettuce leaf.