Early Spring in the Garden
After a tough winter the first ingredients in my spring garden are finally ready to harvest. In April I featured wild nettle, green elephant garlic, chives, violets, rhubarb and wild sorrel.
I am lucky enough to live next to a creek and have been gently tending a small patch of nettle over the years which has now reached a good size to harvest.
Years ago I bought a start of Sweet Cicely from Blue Heron Herbary on Sauvie Island. The whole plant is edible and has varying degrees of gentle sweet licorice flavor. It has been flowering for the past month. The blossoms taste like candy and I can’t help but snack on them when I’m outside doing chores.
In March I assembled a small hoop house that I draped in plastic to keep the soil warm. In it I planted three kinds of lettuce, watercress, spinach, arugula, frisée, radish, carrot, scallion, yellow and red onion. Even though things have been pretty gray this spring so far the lettuce, spinach, radish and watercress are all ready to eat.
I also have a lot of fruit trees that are flowering: cherry, apple, pear, plum and blueberry bushes.
There’s nothing like farm fresh eggs. They taste completely different from conventional eggs and are a lot more fun to cook with. I’ve had a small flock of hens for the past 12 years. I honestly enjoy them as pets. I bring them back the compost from work so in addition to the back yard they forage they get extra veggies from the scraps I bring home.
I have mostly kept to the same two breeds of birds that I started with. This year I decided to branch out and immediately fell in love with Marans. They are used as both meat and layer birds. They have black and white speckled feathers and lay very dark coffee brown eggs. I bought the chicks on the first day of spring and have been watching them grow up. I should have my first eggs in the late summer if all goes well. So far they are a lot of fun.
In the coming weeks I hope to have some peas, scallions and frisee ready to bring to work. My herb garden and strawberry patch are also waking up. I noticed strawberry flowers yesterday so I should be seeing fruit soon.