May 29, 2019
Because of Memorial Day weekend, the newspaper deadline was moved up. This is being written last Friday (I’ve become a time-traveler). Seems like I just wrote a column and here it’s time for another.
In spite of the cold wind and cool temperatures last week I did get all of my walls of water filled while avoiding frostbite on my fingers. Well water is barely above freezing (okay, it’s really 40°), but combined with the wind, the chill factor on my hands was an icy below freezing. I took several breaks to go inside to warm my hands. So now I have 10 tomato plants in the ground as well as six peppers. They all survived the transplanting. A quick tip on tomatoes: you can plant them deeper than they were, up to the first set of leaves. They’ll grow more roots along the main stem, making the plant stronger. I put in all the new fruit bushes, too. So far they still have new green leaves on them.
During one of my trips up to “the farm” to help refill the grain cart with seed wheat, I ran over to the shop to check on the styrofoam cooler I’d filled with my gladiola and lily bulbs and dahlia tubers after digging them last fall. I stored them in the shop, kept at 40° all winter, since I don’t have a root cellar. (The squash that was in another styrofoam cooler had deteriorated into a goopy ooze, so were tossed. Lesson learned: squash won’t store there.) The bulbs were all sprouted nicely, but very pale from no light. The tubers also were showing new spring growth. All of those are now planted, with a sort-of fence alongside the row. I unfolded several short square cages and attached them to each other for a fence.
I love having flowers in the garden. They attract bees for pollination, and please my eyes. Sometimes they’ll grace my table in a vase. I know where I’m planting zinnias, Mexican sunflowers, and sweet peas once I find the time.
Yesterday I planted Swiss chard, carrots, and green beans. I weeded the three rows where the corn will go. The honeysuckle bushes had some of the dead branches/twigs trimmed away. They were looking pretty shaggy. The deer have been using my immature chokecherry trees to rub the fuzz off their new antlers, so those got trimmed as well. I think maybe those trees will now be bushes.
I’m planning to move my many houseplants out of the house in the next day or two (or four, depending on time and my energy levels). They’ll spend a week or so on the back deck, out of direct sunlight, so they become acclimated to nature. Then the pots will get moved to various flowerbeds where I hope the wind won’t be too harsh and they’ll be out of the way of the mower and weed whacker.
Speaking of mowing, I’ve done my yard twice so far. I see I have a great crop of dandelions coming. I guess a good spraying of weed killer is in my near future.
I made another variation with my asparagus right after writing my last column. I’d shared the Lemony Saute, now let me share this one:
Cajun Spiced Asparagus
1 1/4 # asparagus, cut into 1” bits. Toss with 1 Tbl olive oil, 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, and 1/2 tsp salt. Roast at 400° for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through. Serves 4.
I skipped the salt as I felt there was enough in the seasoning. I didn’t have any Cajon seasoning on hand, so Google to the rescue. You can find almost anything there. I now have a large quantity of that and am planning to use it with my roasted veggies (Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, and sweet potato. I’m going to add some chopped up bacon to that mix.) today. It was tasty on the asparagus and should be as good on other veggies. (I’ll probably use it on chicken, too.) I will be using melted coconut oil in place of the olive oil since I’ve used up my supply of that. I just knew I had another bottle but can’t find it. It’s on my list now.
3 Tbl paprika
2 Tbl kosher salt
2Tbl garlic powder
1 Tbl black pepper
1 Tbl white pepper
1 Tbl dried oregano
1 Tbl cayenne pepper
1 Tbl onion powder
1/2 Tbl dried thyme
Mix all together, store airtight.