Battling Pesky Pests and Rhubarb Yummies
June 19, 2019
Those cute little bunnies I like watching have discovered my garden. Apparently the new leaves on green beans are delicious. After I discovered several sections of bare stems sticking up, reseeding with a packet of older seeds happened. I’ve covered that row with frost cloth. I had a bunch of flexible hoops (coated fiberglass rods) and a couple long swaths of thin white cloth that I had used over my strawberry row years ago. I repurposed those items to protect the bean crop. I even extended it to cover the newly sprouting lettuces. I’m holding the cloth in place on the hoops with old-fashioned spring-loaded clothespins. (The old mantra of “never throw anything away because it might still be useful” is working out well right now.)
My brainstorm about how to protect my pea crop from the birds is in action. I spent a day fixing up a canopy using netting and several of those flexible rods. I had just enough netting in my storage shed (with a little bit of cutting and judicious splicing) to make the canopy. The other two nets I had on hand (originally planned for use over my gooseberry bush) are working as “doorways” at both ends of the side-by-side fences. It looks very much like a see-through, rectangular tent. Once the gladiola bulbs have grown up on the outside of those fences, the birds should have a hard time getting to my pea crop, I hope.
My other big protect this past week has been getting that weed block cloth installed alongside/under the eastern side of my electric fence. That involved a lot of weeding. First I watered the ground well to soften it. Then I dug it up using my potato fork (much easier to break up the ground than using a shovel). The big clods of dirt were broken up and the larger rocks removed. (Those rocks were dumped in a low spot in our driveway.) Before rolling out the weedblock cloth, I sprinkled Preem heavily on that ground. Now I have two sides of the fence where I won’t have to use the weed whacker. I still plan to do the western edge but am waiting for a good rain to soften up that ground.
I’ve filled in corn seed where the original seed hadn’t sprouted. Someone with whom I’d talked gardening said their corn came up pretty spotty, too. Maybe it’s the year for spotty corn? The carrots are taking their time showing up, as are the onion seeds. Both of those are tiny when they sprout and easy to overlook. The first radishes obviously didn’t appreciate that early heat we had. They’re making lovely leaves with nothing underneath. I do have a great amount of volunteer cilantro, dill, husk cherries, and moonflowers coming. Those don’t transplant well, although I try. So I’m leaving some of each of those to grow where they wish as I do my weeding around them.
I’ve also done a bit of baking with rhubarb. I made the scones again (recipe shared two weeks ago), but used almond flour instead of wheat. The dough was wetter, so instead of cutting it into squares before baking I cut them afterwards. They still taste great, but need to be stored airtight in the fridge. I added some chopped mint leaves to the dough. (That is another volunteer crop of which I have an abundance.)
I found this recipe in Better Homes & Gardens, and will keep it to make again.
“Rhu-berry” Streusel Muffins
2 1/2 C flour, divided
1/4 C packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp cardamom, divided
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 C butter, cold, cut up
1/4 C finely chopped fresh rhubarb
1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C plain Greek yogurt
6 Tbl butter, melted
1 1/2 C fresh rhubarb, cut in 1/2” pieces
1/2 C fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly coat 15-2 1/2” muffin cups with nonstick spray (or use paper liners coated with cooking spray).
For streusel, combine 1/2 C flour, brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cardamom, and 1/8 tsp salt. Cut in the cold butter until coarse crumb stage. Stir in the 1/4 C finely chopped rhubarb. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together 2 C flour, sugar, baking powder, 1/2 tsp cardamom, and 1/4 tsp salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and melted butter. Add all at once to the mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be thick and lumpy). Fold in 1 1/2 C rhubarb and the blueberries. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3s full. Sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack 10 minutes, then remove from cups and cool slightly on the rack.