Spring Cleaning at the Community Garden
Spring at the community garden means lots of cleaning up to do. I spent a lovely part of the afternoon last weekend weeding, pulling out old plants, seeing how things over-wintered and what re-seeded. There’s a lot of mint and lemon balm that pops up, so weeding is always well scented.
I pulled out a couple crazy HUGE chard plants that had grown to almost four feet tall! My foot is at the bottom of this picture for scale. I was able to salvage some of the leaves for harvest before chopping the rest of this monster up for the the compost bin.
My scarlet runner bean plant is coming back up for its third season in my garden! It was one of the first plants that went in the garden after I got this garden plot. Since these are perennial, I cut them off at the soil level in late fall. Last year it came back super robust, and is sprouting up again after being dormant over the winter.
Borage is one of my all time favorite plants, and I’m always happy when it reseeds itself all over the garden. The flowers are a beautiful bright blue, edible (they taste like cucumber!), and attract bees for a pollination party in your garden.
There are little dill plants popping up throughout the garden. Good thing I love dill. I need some good recipes to make the most of it, so please share any good recipes that use dill.
My dear African Blue Basil. I planted this perennial variety last year, after several unsuccessful attempts to grow standard green Genovese basil and purple basil. Maybe this one is the best of both worlds — the leaves are green on top and purple on the bottom. It’s a woody, studier plant, but the leaves are just as basil-y aromatic and tasty as any other.
There were also several people up at the community garden when I was there last weekend. It’s always nerdy garden fun to check out each others’ plots and show off what we’re growing. A neighbor garden and I swapped plants. She sent me home with some of oregano harvest (some of which I cooked with already and some that I’m drying). And after she asked about the purple orach seedlings that had sprouted up in droves (they’re the purple plants in the pic at the top of this post), I dug some up and now they live in her plot.
Here’s what overwintered or reseeded:
* African blue basil
* Scarlet runner bean
* Purple orach
* Anise hyssop
I also planted new starts of bulls blood beets and erbetta chard. (Erbetta chard did amazingly well in the garden last year, and somehow resisted gross leafminers better than the regular chard. So far as I can tell, erbetta chard goes by a number of names, including: erbette, taglia verde, Italian chard, and perpetual spinach.)
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