Weeding, Mowing and Rewarding
June 13, 2018
It’s that time of year where the garden is really starting to look like a garden, but it isn’t producing much yet. The weeds, however, are trying to take over. Therefore, I’m doing lots of weeding, trying to give my veggies a leg up. Weeding is grunt work, and the older I get, the more I grunt.
My weeding is done by hand. I’d rather wear my kneepads and crawl alongside my rows than try to use a hoe. I find those are really hard on my back, and quickly give my hands blisters. I’ve had gas-powered tillers in the past but always found them to be temperamental. They were hard to start and were really picky about the gas-to-oil ratio. They were also extremely noisy which totally ruined the peacefulness of nature. Both hoeing and using a motorized tiller leave you having to hand weed the actual rows anyway.
It’s easiest to do the weeding after a rain, when the ground is softened up and the roots of the weeds are softer. Obviously I don’t get everything weeded at once. After a section is finished, it will be time to mow the yard again. I put the grass clippings on the section I’ve recently weeded, between the rows and around the plants, leaving a little space for the desired plant. It might take me most of the summer to get the blank spaces covered with clippings. Weeds that sprout in the grass clippings are easier to pull. The ground underneath stays looser and holds moisture in better, giving those weeds a softer life. They’re like spoiled children, not quite as tough.
We’ve had enough rain (so far) that I’ve already done a lot of mowing. I have more of the garden already under grass clippings than I had all of last summer. I hope the rains continue. I rather enjoy riding the mower. We are enjoying fresh green onions and radishes. I’ve made chive pesto, and can make a tarragon pesto also. I shared that recipe with a friend to whom I gave some tarragon starters. (Tarragon seems to thrive up here. I didn’t know it would come back, so I’d planted it directly into the garden. It’s been tilled over the past two years and is still growing in the same spot. I did transplant some to a permanent spot, and it’s doing well there also.) She thought it would go great with grilled chicken breasts, so I’ll have to give that a shot. I used salted pistachios, and just didn’t add any salt afterwards.
1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbl fresh tarragon, chopped
2 Tbl unsalted pistachios
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 C olive oil
2 Tbl water
Puree the first five ingredients in a processor. Add oil and blend until coarse paste forms. Mix in water. Season with salt and pepper.
Soon there will be leaf lettuces and Swiss chard. I’ll be making salads and my poppy seed dressing as well as candied almonds to toss in. My youngest sister took those recipes home to Missouri with her a few summers ago. She just commented on Facebook that she’d made both and was fondly reminiscing about their trip up here. (They’re the ones who had the “instant radification”.) The raspberries are forming flowers, so there should be lots of berries to enjoy next month.
The rhubarb is still producing nicely. I have found a muffin recipe to try, but haven’t found the time or energy to actually try it yet. So I won’t share that recipe just yet. However, I remembered this recipe a friend from Nashua gave me a few years ago. This one did get made this past week and it’s as good as I remember it being. It makes the meat very tender. I’m sorry I forgot to take a photo before we consumed it, but I was taking the meal to the field and was in a hurry.
Pork Chops with Rhubarb Dressing
1/2 tsp rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
6 pork loin chops, 1” thick
2 Tbl salad oil
1/2-3/4 C packed
4 slices firm textured bread, cut in 1/2” cubes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
4 C rhubarb, cut into 1/2” pieces
3 Tbl flour
Heat oven to 350°. Mix the first three ingredients together and sprinkle on the chops. Heat oil in pan over high heat, then brown the chops on both sides. Set aside with the drippings. Stir the rest together, and spread half in a greased 9x13” dish. Arrange chops on top, spooning 3 Tbl of the drippings over them, adding water if necessary to make this amount. Top with the remaining dressing. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
I had a package of eight chops, probably not loin, and certainly not that thick. They were on special. Anyway, this was enough dressing for that many chops. I did overlap them a bit to fit into the pan. I think part of the reason this was enough dressing is because my other half didn’t eat much of the dressing. He’s pretty picky and not very adventurous with trying new things. I think I’ll try this dressing with chicken sometime. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be good.