Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baby Greens and Miners


Inspired by our plot neighbors at the community garden Matt and I thickly planted our greens this year with the intention to thin them progressively.  This way we get to eat baby greens which are so incredibly tender and delicious as well as maximize the yields of our garden beds.  I mean, why plant them far apart to start with when the thinnings are so tasty?!
Pre-thinning on the left, post-thinning on the right.
So two days ago Matt was out in the vegetable patch looking them over, thinking it was time to start harvesting baby spinach, kale, chard, and arugula.  Then he noticed something else, too.  Those darn leafminers again!  The damage was very limited, but certainly noticeable now that we know what to look for.  I don’t know if they’d been overwintering in the bed (who knows what was growing there last) or if some adult leafminers just happened by and found our sweet, delicate, defenseless little greens ripe for the taking.  In any case, the miners have followed us from one garden to the next. 
Oh well, we just have to be sure to vigilantly smash the teeny-tiny eggs laid on the bottoms of the leaves so as to nip their lifecycle in the bud.  There aren’t that many eggs really and so far only a couple worms inside of the leaves so we didn’t lose much….if we stay on top of it.    We’ve also decided to purchase row cover cloth as that seems to be the primary deterrent for them.  
Matt, smashing eggs on the far left.  The onion bed is directly in front.  This year we planted both sets and seedling (is that the right word?) onions.  We've never been terribly successful with onions, which is probably due to grower-error, but we thought we'd try both side by side and see how the compared.  We eat a lot of onion so I'd really like to learn to grow a lot, too!
In the meantime it is egg-smashing in the garden, though it isn’t as violent or gross as that might sound since the eggs are nearly microscopic.   If they weren't laid in groups I doubt you'd really notice them with the naked eye.  Until they hatched and started turning your leave all slimey that is.  One tends to notice that.

Matt and I went out and did our leafminer patrol this morning and already you can tell the numbers of them are dropping.  There were hardly any eggs today.  Also, we have yet to find any of the leafminers or their eggs on our kale or arugula, so blessing for that.  They appear to have a real fondness for spinach and chard.
We did get to do our first harvest of the year though, despite the pests, and thus our first garden-fresh meal.  After the egg-smashing fun we went inside and combined the beautiful, tender spinach, chard, and arugula leaves and sauteed them with potatoes and some of that absolutely fabulous homegrown garlic Becky and Scott kindly sent us.  Served in a locally made jalapano-herb tortilla.  Breakfast doesn't get much better than that for me.   Oh how I love garlic, spinach, and potatoes. (I did receive word yesterday though from Matt's aunt Verna that we are getting another jar of her homemade maple syrup which is another nearly unbeatable breakfast element, if you ask me.  So more amazing breakfasts to look forward to!)
Garlic from Becky and Scott, The Garlic King.  Amazing.  Huge cloves and lovely flavor.  Since we didn't plant any garlic in the fall (because of our pending move) we were extra-grateful for these beauties to spice up our plates!
Yum, garden fresh breakfast.  Early harvests rock.

3 comments:

  1. SO glad you enjoyed them. Did you see our harvest this year? Scott amazed himself.

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  2. Oh boy have we enjoyed them! I just showed the photo to Matt yesterday. We're both very, very impressed...and inspired!

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  3. We ate our thinnings this spring too! My husband's idea - or maybe he got it from somewhere else. I was dubious, but it worked great.

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