by Sabrina Lear, volunteer since 2013 and GWP finance committee member
It is this time of summer that my yard looks like a jungle and the garden is growing like a weed - or maybe there are really just too many weeds to tell the difference! Joking aside, often it can seem a chore to remember to weekly, if not daily get outside and weed. Sometimes it is the last thing you want to do after working all day. But, today I was reminded of the importance and why I enjoy doing so.
First, after working all day in an office under florescent lights I just want to be outside in the fresh air. No matter how tired I am it just feels so satisfying yanking out weeds and freeing the "good-guys" (aka my veggies) from the encroaching unwanted weeds. If I go too long without weeding, yes, it becomes a lot of work. So a little amount daily, or at least every other day, is what I've found best.
Second, getting out in the garden, if not every day for only a few minutes, then a few times a week ensures that nothing is getting out of control. Just tonight I noticed my first yellow summer squash was ready to be picked. While out there I also noticed that aphids were all over my tomatoes, so I brushed off as many as I could and made a simple soap wash for the plants. I also noticed the sugar snap peas were ready to be harvested. This time of year things are growing quite fast and waiting a few days may mean the difference between a young delicate zucchini or a baseball bat sized one (seriously, it happens - they hide!)
Lastly, I love reaping what I sow, or in other words, it is extremely satisfying to plant, tend, AND harvest veggies for my family. I can't believe how my two kale plants have been producing an abundance for us. So much so that each week we've been able to have a kale salad (recipe below). Same with my lettuce! At the beginning of the season I set a goal that I would focus on a few things rather than get too overwhelmed with wanting to do everything (we only have so much time). My goals were to tend to my tomatoes so that they wouldn't get wild and overgrown (I'm so-so with this); AND remembering to succession/stagger plantings of lettuce so that I would continually be able to harvest throughout the season (success - I haven't had to buy lettuce since May!).
So to me, the simple advice to do a little every day frees me up to not have to spend my entire Saturday working in the garden (unless that is exactly what I want to be doing). If you haven't been getting outside daily, rededicate yourself to tending to your precious plants and you'll be happy when they start producing. In fact, I ate my first cherry tomato yesterday and oh, how glorious it was!
Remember - "There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments." -Janet Kilburn Phillips
Garden Summer Kale salad
-Kale (washed, stems removed, and chopped)
-Broccoli (washed and chopped)
-*Kohlrabi (washed, peeled, and chopped)
-cheddar cheese cut into cubes or shredded
-onion chopped (I only use about 1/4, but that is my preference)
-bacon crumbled (I don't like cooking bacon so when I do I make a lot and freeze it for exactly this reason)
-craisins (dried cranberries)
-salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and then select a dressing below. I tend to not measure anything so just use whatever you have on hand. Just be sure not to use too much vinegar or it will be overpowering. *Kohlrabi - I had never eaten one of these before, let alone grown one but I did both this year and harvested my first on the 4th of July. I read online that people cut it up and added it to their salads. It was a really nice crunch. My husband said it tasted like cabbage.
-1/4 cup or so mayonnaise/dressing
-1 or 2 Tbs of sugar/honey
-1 or 2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar
-a dash of olive oil
Mix together using a small whisk then pour over salad mix
Avocado dressing (I ran out of mayo one day so I made this up after seeing it online)
-little olive oil
Mix all together by hand or in a small blender/processor and pour over salad. Combine then eat, or set in fridge until ready to serve.