It seems to happen to me at least once each spring. I finally get my garden growing and then POOF something bolts to seed before I’ve had a chance to harvest it! This year I am determined to be more diligent with my vegetable harvesting. Each day I am going to wander around the garden looking for items that are ready to consume.
A key factor for me to remember is that almost everything that I grow organically outdoors, is going to be smaller than the same item raised by conventional farming where it’s fed rapid-growth chemical fertilizers. If I wait too long for a vegetable to reach a “large” size, I could pass it’s optimum point.
This purchased Asian vegetable went to seed within a week of being transplanted in my garden. There could be a couple of reasons for this. One, the variety might be a quick-growing kind, meant for microgreen salads or it could have been affected by drastic temperature changes which can cause vernalization. Vernalization is used to force plants to flower for commercial sales, so perhaps this vegetable pack was exposed to the same process as the flowering packs. Regardless of the reason, I harvested these plants right away. We ate both the leaves, and the flower bud, which resembles broccoli in flavour.
This Bok Choy was looking beautiful except for one bug tattered leaf. Before the bugs enjoyed anymore of this plant, I cut it off at the root and prepared it for lunch. I sautéed up a sliced carrot in a bit of coconut oil until it had some caramelization. As soon as the carrot was cooked, I added the whole diced up Bok Choy.
After seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper, I added 1 c. of water and a large handful of chow mien noodles. I let the water and vegetable juices simmer into a broth while the noodles seemed on top of them. A lid held all the moisture in the pan.
Only a few minutes later, these 3 ingredients had transformed into a hot lunch. I added some sriracha sauce and fresh cilantro from the garden to complete my plate. In the past, I’ve served this with ribboned egg omelette and green onions.
Bok Choy Noodles could also be a side dish for some Sweet & Sour Pork which I simply make with 2 cups of pork cubes, salt, pepper, 1 can of tomato paste, 1 can of crushed pineapple then simmer for 30-45 minutes. Children love it as is or add some chilies and cilantro to kick it top a notch.
My spinach patch is also looking amazing lately. I can just see the flower buds forming since the warmer weather has arrived. Those buds are my sign that the spinach needs to be harvested ASAP. It’s also a sign that more spinach seed needs to be planted.
I used scissors to cut the spinach stalk, leaving about 2 or 3 leaves on each plant. All of the top leaves were de-stemmed and washed. The base of the spinach plant will grow a few more leaves for us to eat in the next week or so. After that I will remove these plants and grow something else in this garden space, probably bush beans or fall carrots.
As I was wandering the garden, I found this young garlic stalk keeled over. I don’t know what happened to it, perhaps a grandson had stepped on the poor thing. I brought it into the kitchen, peeled off the outer leaves and then chopped the tender green parts, along with the white, to start a flavour base for the spinach.
A lot of spinach steams down to a small portion in a short period of time. Before I added the spinach to my garlic base I made sure that the rest of our meal was completed and ready to plate. I think that the key to great tasting spinach is ample seasoning and to not overcook it.
My overflowing pan of fresh spinach cooked down in 4 minutes. I added a bit of milk to make a creamy garlic sauce and added a generous amount of salt and pepper. This perfect spinach is still vibrant green and barely warmed through. I served it immediately.
Creamed spinach with herb-crusted lamb chops made us a spectacular spring meal that we ate in the garden. Simple fast food. Check your garden today, and make sure eat all of that glorious produce that you are growing.