It has recently occurred to me that I ought to harvest things from the garden. This may seem like a really strange revelation for a person with a vegetable garden the size of an infield.
Last year, the deer ate almost everything and we had one of the worst droughts in a hundred years. We ate fresh herbs, a few tomatoes, some yard-long beans, a handful of cucumbers and one pumpkin, but mostly everything else was eaten by deer or scorched in the cracking clay. I was content to go in the garden and look, dig and take pictures of the pretty things the deer weren’t eating and enjoy the garden for its aesthetic value. Any vegetables we were actually able to eat were a bonus to the experience.
After installing the deer fence, gardening is a whole new deal. We have eaten a ton of greens (kale, spinach and various lettuces) but today is the first day I felt a real harvesting process beginning. I cut eleven artichokes, a whole bunch of chard, a dozen or so gold marie vining beans, a dozen squash blossoms, a mass of purslane, thyme and lemon balm and I dug up a head of garlic.
The Spy and I ate the chard for lunch: In a pan over medium heat: a teaspoon of olive oil, a chopped clove of garlic, a tablespoon of chopped green onions, the chopped chard and half a head of romaine (also chopped) and all the squash blossoms* I had picked. Sautéed for just 5 minutes, until the greens were softened but still had a crunch. Dumped the greens onto our two plates and garnished with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and some chopped green olives. The Spy said, “OH my gosh, this is delicious.”
I removed the artichoke hearts (comme ca) and then tossed them with: olive oil, white vinegar, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, lemon balm, lemon zest and juice, chopped green onion, the gold marie vining beans (which I had boiled along with the artichokes and then roughly chopped) and the purslane. For dinner I will just boil some pasta (I always buy the “plus” kind with more fiber/protein/whole grains) and mix it with this yummy herb/veggie marinated mix (but you could serve it with anything).
*One side note about harvesting squash blossoms: the ones on the long stems are the “males” and they will not form into a fruit, so if you pick them you are not “wasting” what could become a squash, as only the females (the ones on short stems close to the base of the plant) will become squash.