Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Back from Trip - What is going on in the Garden and another "creamy" Soup

Dear Folks,

I came back to really BIG crook-neck squash - this is what you get when your wonderful, but none cooking partner, does not harvest and use (or give away)! Still wonderfully delicious and I used in a soup recipe - see below.

One of the few none-edible plants I grow is this stunning Amaryllis - I look forward to the bloom every year.

I got started growing Amaryllis decades ago when my Dad gave me a bulb - I missed its bloom this year while traveling, but I know Dad's original one is healthy and so are some of the babies I transplanted around the garden.

Our winter produced some amazing affects including an amazing bounty of fruit on our trees.  This is just a small sampling of what is ripening now Peach, Apricot and Barbados Cherries.

Another interesting cold winter induced response is this Lamb's Ears growing.  I have not had this plant growing in the garden in quite a few years and I can only presume there were dormant seeds which just needed the right conditions of light, cold and whatever.  I love the soft furry leaves.  Lamb's Ears are antibiotic and were used as wound bandages during the Civil War.

I often swap plants in the same large pot or bed from season to season, where they share the same pot, but grow - that is the theory - at different times.  So it was time to harvest my potatoes which I planted in early January and I discovered peanuts growing! (The green plants on the left in the pot.) I had grown them last summer and thought I had harvested all of them, well apparently not. So I tried not to disturb those plants and will add the peanuts I saved from last year to the pot in a week or so.

I am experimenting with changing out where I am planting season things like potatoes, sweet potatoes and root crops.  I have decided to try and contain (insert laughter here) my sweet potatoes and am growing them in two large pots this year.  We will see how that goes.  Since the peanuts did not mind sharing the pot with the potatoes I may do that one more year.  Meanwhile I got a bit more than a half of basket of the potatoes, which I used for the soup recipe (mentioned above and see below) and I have enough to do more dishes with the remaining potatoes. I will save the very small ones for re-planting next January by storing in the crisper in a cardboard box.

I used some of the squash and potatoes to make one of my "Creamy" Soups.  I have made asparagus, broccoli, and several other vegetable soups using potatoes as the "creamy" to add thickening and flavor along with herbs. To this one I topped with some chopped organic celery and ground walnuts (we have a dear friend in California who ships us some from his old ranch every year).

Basic "Creamy" Soup
2 cups of chopped vegetable of choice
Optional:  Herb to pair with vegetable (rosemary, thyme, or oregano work well)
2 tablespoons choice of oil - I like avocado but olive or vegetable works too (or you could use uncured bacon grease if you want more flavor :-)
1-2 cups of potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces (more potato makes a thicker soup)
2 cups water or broth of choice (I usually have my homemade chicken broth on hand)
Onion of choice - about 1/2 cup chopped - more if you like
Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
1 lime cut in half
Garnishes of choice - chopped vegetables, edible flowers, ground nuts, snipped dill or cilantro or herb of choice
Optional: 4 ounces of cheese of choice - I frequently use Parmesan but any cheese you like works.

You will be pureeing this soup - an immersion blender works well for this.
Prepare a cookies sheet with aluminum foil.
Preheat oven to 450.

In the pot you will be cooking the soup in, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil, just to warm. Toss the vegetables in the oil to coat.  Spread vegetable on prepared pan, season with salt and pepper and any additional herb you desire  Put in oven and set timer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile heat remaining oil in pot and sautee onion for 5 minutes, do not burn.

When the timer goes off, remove vegetables from oven and toss, return to oven and set timer for 5 minutes more.

Bring water or broth to boil in the pot and add potatoes, cover and cook until timer goes off.

Add vegetables from oven to the pot of potatoes, scraping the foil to get all the good bits.  Stir, bring back to boil, then simmer, covered until potatoes and vegetables are knife tender - approximately 15 minutes.

Blend soup, add cheese and put back on burner if needed to completely melt cheese.  Serve with a squeeze of lime in each bowl and topped with garnish of choice. 

For this Squash soup I also added about 5 marinated artichoke halves to the roasting pan with the veggies.  Just a bit more complex flavor.

You can search the blog on the side bar for more soup recipes.

My Turmeric Is Up!

With all my helping family and then some trips to visit family I never got around to harvesting it this winter so - there you go, it is getting another year's growth in!

We have baby watermelons!  I am so happy to see this in the new area I decided to sow my Black Tail Mountain Watermelon Seeds.  This is a great melon, a bit bigger than those personal size ones, with sweet red fruit.  Can't wait.  I took the picture about 3 days ago and the fruit is already a bit more than double in size - oh boy!

My Wild Montana Apple Tree.

My "wild" Apple Tree Experiment.  Last April I purchased Wild Montana Apple seeds from Baker creek and sowed them in late September in jiffy pellets - they sprouted October 5 - I put them in 4 inch pots for a couple of months. Transplanted to this pot January 13th at about 4 inches tall.  Now just over 22 inches tall.

These Wild Seeds are a "landrace" believe to have been tossed as families and travelers rode through that area and the various types of apples sprouted and crossed.  I could have some delicious fruit it they actually blossom and fruit or I could have crab applies

ust enjoying the experiment
I also another one in a large pot and that one is about 28/29 inches tall now.  Grown on the southside of other trees.

One of the ongoing discussions on apple trees in the valley is whether they are limited to desert-adapted varieties such as Anna - so this is my experiment.  I am trying another store bought variety I sprouted in the ground to see if there are issues with not being on a graft.


I hope you are having fun in the garden and kitchen with your bounty!



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Edible Flowers Talk This Saturday, May 11, 2019

Dear Folks,

I am pleased to be speaking this Saturday at Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market on "Edible Flowers" part of "Original Arizona" at the Market.

Mark Lewis has taken his expertise of 8,000 years of southwest plants and herbs known as "Chmachyakyakya Kurikuri" and created a Saturday Spring Season Speaker Series "Original Arizona", where the topics and speakers reflect the diversity of our original and Native Agriculture local to Arizona, and have included Andy Weil, John Slattery, Peggy Sorensen, Kelly Athena, Ramona Farms, AZ Cactus Ranch, Tonto Basin, SW Mushrooms, SW Herbs, noted chefs and Mark.

The links below let the Market know of your interest for this event.

https://www.facebook.com/events/344813656238567/

https://www.instagram.com/oldtownscottsdalefarmersmarket/p/BxL9RlbFX0o/


Mothers' Day, Herbs, Flowers and just what IS an Edible Flower?

Join Catherine, The Herb Lady at the 

Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market
(3806 N Brown Avenue – the SW Corner of Brown & 1st Street)
on May 11, 2019, Saturday from 9 -10AM (The Mothers' Day Market).

National Herb Week, which celebrates herbs in all of their usefulness and glory, ends on Mother's Day.  This is fitting as most beloved culinary herbs have delicious and beautiful flowers, and flowers are what many Mother's love and many families enjoy gifting.

What Is An Edible Flower?
It could be a vegetable, like an artichoke, broccoli, or caper. 
It could be one of the old garden favorites, like hollyhock, stock, marigold, jasmine, pansies, or nasturtiums.
It could be an herb, meaning a plant with beneficial properties, like hibiscus, rose, lavender, dandelion, or one of the much-loved culinary herbs, including basil, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, dill, or thyme.

OR it could be all of the above.

Catherine will discuss edible flowers as pretty, fun, tasty (most are tasty), and safe additions or garnishes to enhance your meals. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "The earth laughs in flowers."  Why not make them edible!

 


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Saturday, May 04, 2019

Today is National Herb Day, Lecture Coming Up, and More!

Dear Folks,

National Herb Day, May 4th celebrates herbs in all their fragrant and useful forms.

This is just the start of a series of celebrations.

May 5th is International Permaculture Day, begun in 2009 in Australia, is a day of celebration and action for permaculture around the world.

While herbs are just a part of permaculture, their presence in the scheme of sustainable permaculture is necessary for the "whole" of a thriving permaculture garden/land.

And then -- Monday May 6th, begins National Herb Week, ending, I think appropriately, on May 12th, Mother's Day, a day we celebrate our mother's or those people and concepts who are mothers to us in ways not limited to family ties.

The nurturing environment of gardening is not a great leap to be seen as a mother to our lives.  Many famous folks have written about mothers and gardens.

My own Maternal Grandmother kept a garden I remember from my childhood, perhaps is that connection for many of us that our Grandmothers and Mothers gardened.

I hope you find a way to celebrate herbs and permaculture - and Mother's Day for those who are important in your lives - perhaps with a bouquet of herbs and edible flowers to brighten their day even more.

In keeping with the theme, on Saturday May 11th, I will be giving a talk on Edible Flowers (some of the lovely examples are herb flowers - check out the flower of the Conehead Thyme pictured above)  at Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market.

I hope to see you there!

Mothers’ Day, Herbs, Flowers and just what IS an Edible Flower?

Join Catherine, The Herb Lady at the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market
(3806 N Brown Avenue – the SW Corner of Brown & 1st Street)
on May 11, 2019, Saturday from 9 -10AM (The Mothers’ Day Market).

National Herb Week, which celebrates herbs in all of their usefulness and glory, ends on Mother’s Day.  This is fitting as most beloved culinary herbs have delicious and beautiful flowers, and flowers are what many Mother’s love and many families enjoy gifting.

What Is An Edible Flower?
It could be a vegetable, like an artichoke, broccoli, or caper. 
It could be one of the old garden favorites, like hollyhock, stock, marigold, jasmine, pansies, or nasturtiums.
It could be an herb, meaning a plant with beneficial properties, like hibiscus, rose, lavender, dandelion, or one of the much-loved culinary herbs, including basil, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, dill, or thyme.


OR it could be all of the above.

Catherine will discuss edible flowers as pretty, fun, tasty (most are tasty), and safe additions or garnishes to enhance your meals. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “The earth laughs in flowers.”  Why not make them edible!

 


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

You can find my calendar and books for sale at my website.


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Monday, April 22, 2019

Opposite Garden Flavors

Hi Folks,

Mulberries and Garlic in the Garden

Yesterday we had a simple BBQ with a dear friend, enjoying the backyard with burgers and our own asparagus bacon-wrapped bundles. (Sorry I keep forgetting to take a picture of these when they come off the grill.  If I have basil I add that to the bundle = 4-5 trimmed asparagus, basil leaf/leaves held to the bundle and 1 thick slice of bacon wrapped all around held in place at each end with toothpicks.)

AND our Mulberries with Pineapple Guava Flower Petals!!  The petals are so naturally sweet, they had both visual and taste appeal to the fruit.  Lovely!  The mulberries are perfectly and wonderfully sweet when picked ripe - when you can easily pluck them from the tree.  I harvest by holding a bowl under the area and just running my fingers gently through the berries.  The ripe ones fall into the bowl.

Here is a picture with the full Pineapple Guava Flower if you have not seen this beauty.

On the other end of the flavor spectrum is our garlic is now producing the scapes, signaling that harvest time will be in about 3-4 weeks.  I have two types growing:  regular (there are many varieties of regular garlic) and elephant garlic, which is actually a leek on steroids.

Regular garlic pictured - just to the right the drying mass you see is my sugar peas which are in the final drying stages and I can then harvest the seeds for re-sowing next fall.  One could also cook up the dried peas as you would any other dried pea, but I prefer growing a lot of sugar peas and I am already planning on expanding the area next September.

Our elephant garlic is doing well, mostly.  The bed is east to west - which is the best orientation when planting ANYTHING in areas with trees and you need to ensure enough sunlight for all the plants.  The challenge with where I located the elephant garlic bed this year was it was too shaded on the east by our grapefruit tree, so literally half of the bed is huge and the other half - well about half in size.  I'm sure we will enjoy all of them when I harvest later.

When the scapes (this is the unopened flower bud on a thick stalk coming straight up out of the center of the plant) start appearing you cut them back to the first leaf.  Many people treat the scape as a short seasonal treat frying up or adding to stews.  I am leaving for another visit with family, so I won't have the time.

But - cutting back the scape begins the process of the finishing the bulb formation in the head of cloves we are all familiar with.

While enjoy our patio yesterday, we snapped a couple of feathered neighbors. The dove picture was as the sun was setting and I think s/he was just choosing this spot for the night.  The  little Inca Doves are always so sweetly appealing.

We have lots of sparrows and finches and Deane was trying to catch a hummingbird flitting about our Acerola (Barbados) Cherry Tree, and decided to catch the sparrow which was not flitting about :-)

I hope you have a wonderful week in the garden and kitchen with your bounty.




-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Blackberry "Tree" of My Childhood

Dear Folks,

Just a short post about my "blackberry tree" aka Black Mulberry.

I ordered two seedlings Mulberry Dwarf (Morus nigra) in December 2014 and they arrived in late spring 2015.  By August 2015 they were about 8-9 inches tall and ready to be put in the ground.

The trees are at least 12 feet tall and growing.  I have not pruned them.  While the one pictured above is producing a lot of fruit the other one is shaded and produces very little.  No matter they are fine healthy trees and someday they will be the stars of our shaded front area.

So, the back story is, growing up on the east coast, about a block away from us was an abandon orchard where we tasted yellow cherries before anyone even knew they existed, along with sour cherries, apples and pears.

But for a short season the star for my sister and I were a pair of "blackberry trees" at the end of our cul de sac and the neighbors allowed us to climb the trees and pick the fruit.  (More like they just ignored us because we did not damage anything.)

It was many decades later that I determined our "Blackberry Tree" was a dwarf black mulberry.  When I tasted berries this morning from MY tree it took me back to my childhood picking those wonderful black berries.  Truth be told the ones growing on the east coast are quite a bit bigger than on my tree, but I do not care.  Picked perfectly ripe (when they pull easily from the branch) they are the taste of my childhood.

As you can see from the photo there are a lot which will be ripening and I hope to have a nice batch to serve with dinner on Easter.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday,


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

P.S.  I discovered a glitch in my posting engines so if you missed my May Planting tips here is the link for that post.  I hope I got the glitch fixed :-)

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

May Planting Tips

Dear Folks,

We are still enjoying our asparagus, Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) and celery fresh from the garden.  For this dish I also used some of my dried rosemary to season the chicken. I roasted the chicken, asparagus and Gai Lan on a sheet pan, cooked up the pasta and tossed the pasta with fresh shredded celery. Yum!

We have several more weeks of harvesting from our mature asparagus bed.

I have celery growing here and there to take advantage of different shading during the day.  They like a little afternoon shade when we start going into heat and they are not heat-lovers.

Meanwhile enjoy another view of our Johnny Jump-Up lawn.  I merged two shots to show you a panorama of how the Johnny's follow around.  That is Sugar Cane in the left back portion and the Nasturtiums climbing into our Myrtle and LimeQuat.



MAY PLANTING:
Artichoke, Jerusalem
Beans, Soy
Cantaloupe
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Fig Trees
Fruit Trees (With Care)
Melons, Musk
Okra
Peppers, Sweet
Peppers, Chilies
Potato, Sweet
Squash, Summer
Squash, Winter
Tomatillo
SEED IN:  Basil, Chive (Garlic or Onion), Epazote, Egyptian Spinach (Corchorus olitorius) Perilla, or Catnip-- making use of the canopy of flowering or vegetable plants.

EDIBLE FLOWERS TO PLANT:

Impatients Wallarana
Marigolds, including Tangerine Scented (Tagetes Lemonii), Citrus Scented (Tagetes Nelsonii)
Portulaca
Purslane
Roselle (sow)
Scented Geraniums
Sunflower
Zinnia

GARDEN TIPS for May
    By the end of the month harvest the rest of your potatoes, keeping the smallest ones as “seed” potatoes for next January — store in cardboard egg cartons in your crisper -- don't store near other vegetables or fruits.

Planting sweet potato, and sowing Roselle and Egyptian Spinach will give you a wonderful selection of “lettuce” leaves options all through the summer.

Bee-Aware!
    As more and more flowers open and fill the air with their perfume, all the pollinators enjoy the garden as much as you, including bees.
    Swarming is where a new queen goes looking for new digs, taking with her some of the workers (as many as 50,000).  Swarming bees are a challenge to deal with because of the Africanization of the honey bee population.
    But intelligent handling of any contact will not result in a problem for you. First, the bees are not interested in you.  They are usually filled with honey for the new trip and interested in finding a new house before the supply runs out.
    Wear white or light colored clothing while gardening.
    Do not do stupid things to bees!  That should be self-evident, but some of the reports of bee encounters makes me wonder how we have survived as a species.
    If you are near a swarm or they get near you:
    a.  Move slowly and do not make aggressive moves.
    b.  Walk slowly to a house or car and get inside until the swarm moves off.  Keep all pets, children and other people from the area.
    c.  Do not go into the pool!  If the bees have been aggravated, they--will--wait--for--you!
    d. Usually the swarm will move off within a short time.
    e.  If they do not move off, then you have to call a professional service or the fire department.  They will kill the bees.  They do not have a choice because of the danger — and you do not have a choice as a homeowner — they either have to kill the swarm or you have a hive full of dangerous 'neighbors.'

Transplanting and Sowing

This time of year we are in one of those transition times, where going from mild to hot can occur in one felled swoop of heat.

Transplanting vs sowing can be a challenge as transplanting can stress the plants.

1) Harden the plants off by placing in the sun 1 hour then moving to shade, next day in sun 2 hours, move to shade - repeat until the plants have been in the sun for 4 hours and you can transplant then with a whole less stress and shock to the plant.  If the temps are already in the 90+ range double the days for each hardening, e.g., 2 days for 1 hour, then shade, 2 days for 2 hours then shade.  Your plants will thank you by being less likely to die as soon as they are put in the gorund!

2)  Use my "flower mulching" technique for transplant in warm/hot weather.  Get a six pack of flowers at the nursery and either plant your target plant (basil for example) and surround the basil with the flowers (about 5 inches apart), OR plant all at the same time -- imagine a 12 inch circle and plant the basil in the center and 4-6 flower plants around.  Flower mulching canopies the soil and shades the sides of the basil, while allowing the basil to get all the sun it needs.

Use edible flower plants like impatiens wallerana and portulaca to provide 'mulch' around the new transplants.  You can also use Sweet Allysum another edible flower but it can be a bully if it is really happy.  The portulaca does the gardener the supreme favor of dying off completely when the cool weather comes in the fall, although it may reseed next late spring.

3) Sow seeds under existing plants, just under the edge of the plant/flower canopy.

Both the "flower mulching" and the "edge sowing" are variations of the "nurse plant" concept seen in the desert where the cactus seed settles at the base of a Mesquite tree.  Shielded from birds and other critters, the seed, is held in place, watered with the rain and grows up with the mesquite protecting it.

Consider SWEET POTATOES to be planted in late May through early July.  They need 90-120 days of warm weather to grow properly.  I've planted in huge containers and in-ground using leaf cover as I do with the Irish potatoes.  In fact I sometimes use the same bed, planting the sweets after I harvest the Irish.

In case you don't know sweet potatoes, unrelated to the Irish (Solano) family, are completely edible, tuber, leaf and vine.

The sweets can produce an amazing amount of leaf and vine cover so be prepared.  Some varieties are more bushy than others.

Seed Saving
Catching the seed from winter crops like sugar peas, lettuces, celery, parsley, radishes etc. is a way to save money AND get stronger plants the next year.  “Regional adaptation” grows plants more and more suited to your backyard and the area you live.  Remember to perfectly dry them.  I store in paper envelopes labeled with harvest date, in a cool, dry, dark place until next planting time.

Looking at head to June and July, there is little suggested planting options for June, but by mid-July be ready to start seeding (not transplanting) for the fall garden.

If that sounds counter-intuitive, think about wanting pumpkins for Halloween or Thanksgiving and count backwards 90 - 120 days.

Mid-July you can under-seed tomatoes (choose short-maturity varieties) and basil for a fall crop, if you do not have tomatoes or want more.  Tomatoes give us two crops a year (spring and fall) if planted in February.  They stop setting flowers in the middle of the summer because the nights (not the days) are too hot for the pollen to activate.

Save Wood Herb Stems

Harvesting or pruning herbs?  Save woody parts to throw on the grill coals the last 15 minutes to add herb smoke flavor to the food - or better yet do it from the inside out, use woody, soaked branches of herbs to make kabob skewers.


I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

I am traveling again and will answer questions after I return, May 1st.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Saturday, April 06, 2019

Coming Back to Asparagus and Sugar Peas - but first - historic gardens

Dear Folks,

Returning from a week-long family visit, a WHOLE bunch of asparagus greeted us and what to do with the remaining usable sugar peas. More below - but first -

I hope you enjoy this artistic rendering of one of my Johnny Jump Up photos - why did I create this, you ask?  Because a note about Thomas Jefferson caught my eye and then the way my railroad train mind works it jumped to my "table books".

This is the original photo.

I think the Impressionism painting style has always intrigued me because of my love of flowers and the "muted" style of this art was what landscape and flowers looked to me with my "near-sighted" eyes when I did not have my glasses on. [A historic fact is Monet may have been near-sighted and his vision become more blurred later in life.]

. . .

The garden was a passion of famous people who influenced and stirred our imaginations and views of the world.

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden." -- Thomas Jefferson (Birthday April 13th)

One of my favorite "Table of" cookbooks is the one of Thomas Jefferson's culinary curiosity.  It includes some history on his gardens, recipes and interest in kitchen "gadgets" to re-create dishes he enjoyed.

"Dining at Monticello " edited by Damo Lee Fowler

https://amzn.to/2FDPKIs

I have other "Table of" cookbooks featuring Monet, Toulouse Lautrec, Renoir and Van Gough.

"Monet's Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet


 https://amzn.to/2WLtJ1D

Monet's Table was my first "table of" book and I come back to it again and again.

More than just a cookbook (but it is that), it is also about Monet and his life preferences.  "...the kitchen-garden was a work of art, one of the things of which Monet was justifiably most proud."  "Monet's home breathed to the rhythm and pace of the ancient ritual of cultivating the soil."

Monet had a famously noted salad dressing - Imagine the size of a large serving spoon --

"...which he [Monet] would fill with freshly ground pepper and coarse salt and dip into olive oil, adding a drop or two of wine vinegar. .. then pour the contents of the spoon over the salad and toss it... inedible for anyone except Monet or Blanche...[Monet's step-daughter]"


One very good reason to start seasoning with herbs first before reaching for the salt!!  :-)

Asparagus!

We are looking forward to continuing to harvest our asparagus through the end of April - 6 weeks in total for our mature beds.  When you first plant asparagus, you learn right away why I call it the "patience" plant - you need to wait 2 years to harvest for 1 week, next year 3 weeks, and by the 4-5th year you can harvest for 6 weeks then STOP however tempting it may be to let the plant grow to what I call feathers so it feeds back into the roots all summer and fall long to be cut down in December and get ready to grow again.

I wound up doing one of those "sheet pan dinners" roasting the asparagus and some Chinese Broccoli (forgot to take a picture) with boneless pork steak seasoned with my rosemary and bit of salt, pepper and avocado oil - delicious!

Sugar Peas - nearing the end of the season and what a wonderful season we have had.  Because I intensely sowed the seeds and over a couple of months, I had a ton of peas to harvest whenever I wanted and sometimes they got away from me while I was helping family.

Now to letting the remainder dry on the vine to collect for sowing this coming fall. 

Right after we got back and before I took the drying photo above, I harvested the remainder of the now plump pods and came up with a plan to use all of them.

First I made like a farm gal and shucked the peas, saving the pods.  I did a bit of research to confirm my plan, making a pea pod broth to capture the flavor to cook with.  I added thyme, a bit of one of my garlic leaves, some I'itoi onions and fresh celery - all from the garden (don't you just love "shopping from the garden"!).

I brought to a boil, covered and simmer for 30 minutes and strained into mason jar and took to the compost pile since there was no salt in it).  BTW those are the 24 ounce jars and I love them for when I am "trying" to make 2 servings of something.  By the time I add everything I want to whatever, I have more than a pint, so the jars are just perfect for my "one more thing" cooking :-)

I made the broth, then using the broth I made a "risotto" with Orza pasta in place of rice, the peas and served up with a bit of bacon and an avocado section - it was great.  I have more of the broth, which has a great mild flavor and almost sweet - perfect for cooking pastas.

Two last fun things in the garden.

Our bananas are coming along nicely, getting a bit bigger but not near ripening.  I am SO looking forward to real banana pudding and I may make a simple banana ice cream.  I have posted about this particular fruiting time.  These started in late November, the plant was hit hard by the freezes we had and then the flower, which had "stalled" began growing again.  Amazing!  BTW the picture background was the sun shining through and around it while I was taking the picture, so the lens was not directly aimed at the sun - effectively "whiting out" the background - kind of cool!

And the quail are back!  We love watching them.  They start coming back through now because our gardens offer a safe haven for nesting, although we seldom see where (and we have to discourage them from nesting in our dump trailer and it would break our hearts to find them at the dump - we use the Reservation dump as they compost it all).

Anyway - we should soon see "eggs with legs" - My Deane's description of the newly hatched babies. Nature decrees they need to be able to run shortly after hatching - and those LONG legs get them moving - and fast.

One last "garden" thing as I finish this blog Saturday morning (April 6th)  . . .

"Passing Shower" - New Meaning!

About 6:05 a.m. I heard pitter-patter on our metal patio awning - and it did not sound like the doves stomping around waiting for their morning seed.

Nope -- RAIN! - Not in the forecast - and lasted about 60 seconds - just enough to put some drops on the ground, tiny bit of runoff from the roof and the aroma of rain in the air. 


It is NOW bright sunshine!

I Love Arizona weather! -- Catherine


I will be posting the May planting tips next week.  In the meantime if you want my monthly planting at your fingertips, consider my calendar and book.

 Have a great day in the garden and kitchen.  And pay attention to the weather forecasts.  With the weather heating up this coming week, you may need to harden off new purchased plants before sticking them in the sunny ground (where they need to be for best growth and production).

 



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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