Lessons from the Garden

If you garden, you know, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the heck is happening to your plants.  I grow some of the vegetables in large containers in our back rock garden area.  This morning I thought I’d plant some seeds in a couple containers where the plants just all of a sudden died.  When I pulled the remains of one of the plants out, I discovered a healthy gaggle of grubs.  Somehow I just don’t think of them as getting in the pots.  It’s hard to stay ahead of the bugs, the blight, the powdery mildew, the wilt…….  I figure if I keep acting like I’m winning, eventually I will!  So I mixed up a batch of beneficial nematodes and went out to attack.  Maybe the soil will be clear by next week and I can plant some seeds.

The rosemary is a little different story.  I’m noticing webbing around some of the branches.  I’m not exactly sure what this bug is, but left unchecked it will destroy the plant.  Two years ago I had this same problem and lost one of the huge rosemary plants.  So I’m starting with a heavy spraying of soap.  If you use soap, remember it needs to be late evening or early morning.  For the rest of the week I’ll blast them with water, then regroup for the next plan if I need it.

I have a lot of really healthy beautiful green plants coming up in my garden and in areas where I don’t water.  Something reseeded, but I wasn’t really sure what it was, until yesterday when I broke a leaf and tasted it.  It’s arugula.  If I had planted it, it would not grow in the hot summer, in dry soil, but who’s going to argue with Mother Nature.  Now arugula is not one of my favorite things to eat raw, but it’s growing great without water or any care, so I’ll make the best of it because it’s a great “green”.  I use the cooking method I use with radish greens.  I boil them until the bitterness is gone, the smell becomes less peppery as they cook.  Then they can be added to soups, or my favorite is to use them in frittatas.  Sauteing it like spinach with olive oil and garlic works well also.  If I eat it raw in a salad, I use fig vinegar in the dressing, and let the salad set for about a half hour to mellow the bite of the arugula.  Alessi makes a White Balsamic Fig Infused Vinegar that I get HEB to order for me.

This year there is a small volunteer garden in the compost pile.   We’ve got some kind of watermelon and the little green eggplant I grew last year just thriving, so I’m letting them grow.