Oven Roasted Garlic Scapes with Sweet Miso Ginger Sauce

I know a lot of gardeners look forward to an annual garlic scape pesto, personally it’s not my thing I prefer cooked scapes, they are lovely in stir fries or soups. Mine are at the very end of their harvestability so I roasted them all off whole. I left the scapes intact because they look pretty but the unopened flower bud doesn’t taste very good, practice selective eating here. To roast garlic scapes simply toss with oil and salt, spread on a baking sheet and pop in the oven at 350f for about 15 minutes.

Sweet Miso Ginger Sauce
There are so many miso paste varieties, they range from the brown/black types that are extremely salty and tart, to the smooth, sweet yellow types, from brand to brand the same colour miso will not have the same range of flavor. My absolute favorite miso paste is a yellow type that doesn’t have any English on the package except the word “Marukome” I am assuming that is the brand name but I don’t really know.

1 Tbs Yello miso paste
2 Tbs Rice wine vinegar
½ Tsp Honey
½ Tsp Fresh grated ginger
½ Tsp Sesame oil

Method: Whisk everything together.

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Welcome Summer

It’s hard to see the scale of what has happened to the garden but please keep in mind that is my 6 year old son standing there in front of the fava patch.
The paths have disappeared, engulfed by perennial greens, favas and garlic, just walking through the garden means wading waist deep in rain dipped stems, leaves and flower stalks. No matter how many times I try to stake the falling asparagus ferns now standing six feet tall the weight of the rain carried by each delicate fiber keeps them constantly slumping over the main path to my house, fine for everyday trespassing but surprisingly disappointing when trying to get to my car for work, not that getting to the car dry should matter after a few meetings I am generally soaked to the bone as I stand out in the rain waiting for clients(for anyone who doesn’t know I work as a realtor).
Instead of this being a fabulous month of gardening it has been an extreme frenzy of all things work related and all sorts of poor weather, the insistent grey drizzle did let up just enough this week for me to snap a few photos and think it was warm enough to plant tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Turns out it really wasn’t warm enough to plant any of that.
Busy times like these make me thankful for perennials, considering other than tomatoes, cucumbers and squash that probably won’t live, I haven’t planted anything this June and this is supposed to be the big month to plant everything. Right now I have more perennial greens than I know what to do with, raspberries are coming up in droves, cilantro has self sown everywhere and despite my lack of annual plantings I have plenty of mystery volunteers appearing that look like either rainbow chard or coloured beets, either is fine with me.
It’s another sad year for blueberries I must take some sort of drastic measures, all my plants were devastated by what I think is kind of blight or virus? My 20+ plants were literally covered in flowers and as the flowers gave way so too did the all the stem tips that should have been producing berries they just dried up and fell off, each plant only currently bears one or two berries each, its beyond disappointing, perhaps overcast only on the disappointment meter by my cherry trees which also were loaded with flowers but the immature fruits have all dried up and fallen off.
In happier happenings the fava patch is overwhelming, last fall’s plants are starting to fall over heavy with fava beans and this year’s plants are bursting with blooms.
Peas which should be loving this weather are not doing much at all, standing only a few inches tall, they do seem to be flowering and I even scored a few pods the other day right before I took this picture actually.

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Spectacularly Pink Rhubarb-Aide

This is such a bright refreshing drink, it’s worth growing rhubarb for this alone! If you like lemon water forego the “aide” and forego adding sweetener, it’s delicious and just as beautiful as a flavored water. The stunning pink colour holds up really well in the fridge so go ahead and make ahead, just don’t add the mint until right before severing or it will go brown. I have measured out in parts so you can make as much or as little as you like.I should mention you do need a juicer and the filtering step is essential as rhubarb juice produces a lot of sediment.

1 Part micro filtered fresh rhubarb juice
3 Parts water
Lots of ice cubes
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
*optional* sweetener to taste

Method: Use a juicer to juice fresh rhubarb stalks, don’t peel the stalks it will enhance the colour. Set up a micro strainer or a sieve lined with cheese cloth, over a container large enough to hold the juice, pour in rhubarb juice and let strain, you will be left with a surprisingly large amount of murky sediment and the strained juice should look almost like red wine. Drop a few fresh mint sprigs or leaves into a single glass or pitcher(depending on how much you want to make), fill to the brim with ice, add in filtered rhubarb juice and water, sweeten with honey, sugar, stevia or your favorite sweetener or just enjoy as a rhubarb flavored water without sweetener.

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Rhubarb “tzatziki“

Does everyone who grows rhubarb end up with a freezer full at the end of the summer? I think that question goes along with does anyone who owns a juicer have a good use for all the left over pulp? I don’t have an answer for those questions but I am trying to use up all my rhubarb fresh this year and if you own a juicer this recipe can be made with rhubarb pulp! More recipes coming for what I am doing with rhubarb juice later. You can substitute rhubarb in place of cucumber in any tzatziki recipe simply omit the lemon juice. If you don’t have pulp to use up, strain and drain grated fresh rhubarb in the same way you would prepare cucumbers for tzatziki. Cucumbers are totally out of season right now but I had all the fresh herbs out in the garden for souvlaki and my in season rhubarb tzatziki worked surprisingly perfectly.

½ Cup Plain Yogurt
¼ Cup Rhubarb pulp or grated strained rhubarb
1 Clove garlic micro grated
Sea Salt to taste
*Optional* Fresh minced; mint, dill, parsley. Olive oil, freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Method: Line a strainer with cheese cloth and set it up in a bowl, pour in yogurt and let rest in the fridge for a few hours until enough liquid has run out that you are happy with the consistency, tzatziki consistency is strictly a matter of person preference so when you are happy with the thickness transfer the strained yogurt to a bowl stir in rhubarb pulp, garlic and salt. I like it just like that, so it’s up to you if you want add some fresh herbs olive oil and black pepper.

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Growing Asparagus-or at least things I’ve noticed while “trying” to grow asparagus

Asparagus is a long term commitment, it takes at least 2 years before you get a solitary harvestable sized spear and more like 4 years before anything productive starting happening. I am coming up on my fifth full season since I started my asparagus journey and I have posted about asparagus along the way, so I’ll try not to repeat myself. I had planned on 15 plants and every single plant did make a small fawn their first season but not all of them came back, I lost 5 plants in total. Initially I started a mixture of seed and crowns, the crowns turned out to be an unnecessary expense as only one out of my five crowns survived where as only one of my 10 seed asparagus’ didn’t survive and my crowns didn’t produce any sizable spears any sooner than my seed plants.Each asparagus plant is supposed to yield 5 to 7 spears, I wrongly assumed the asparagus would all pop up at once and I would have a huge hoard of 50 plus spears to impress my family with at Easter dinner. In reality my asparagus harvest has been more like a trickle, each plant pushes forth its harvest in a random shuffle to the tune of 5 to 7 spears per plant spanned over a several month period. I have yet to pick enough asparagus at the same time to serve as even a side dish! Some days there are none, some days there are a few but once a spear cracks the earth it moves quickly shooting up in to a fern stalks and not being edible in just a couple day, Like the productive zucchini patch so too is the productive asparagus patch, asparagus waits for no one.Everything tastes better fresh out of the garden but asparagus is almost a different vegetable all together! Freshly harvested asparagus is juicy sweet, light and crisp almost like an apple. Side by side home grown puts store bought asparagus to shame, the stuff I picked up tasted moldy in comparison, although I am sure what I bought wasn’t actually moldy, ultra fresh pick asparagus is just in a legue of its own and it turned out to be a mistake to try to top up my small harvest with a bundle of commercial asparagus, they were drastically different and all the more reason for me to get out there and keep breaking ground for my second asparagus patch!

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Losing More Lawn

As a family we have decided we don’t like lawn grass, my husband is allergic to it, I hate weeding it, my son doesn’t play on it and nobody likes mowing it, except our awesome new neighbour she started mowing for us but she doesn’t like our mower! When I originally started removing lawn from our lives I did leave a grassy area thinking my son needed a “yard” but what I didn’t realize is there is much more to yards than sod. Paths to chase on, stairs to roll things down, trees to hide behind, hoses to get wet in, all these things seem to trump the grass, so we are saying good bye to some more lawn and hello to a new blueberry and asparagus patch. It’s been a few years since I have dug out any grass and I had forgotten what truly hard work it is. After purchasing 6 new blueberry plants I was left with a couple hours to cultivate their new growing space. Thinking I was a seasoned pro I grabbed my trusty spade and 2 hours later my back was killing me but I had only gotten about four square feet of grass out of what will be an eighteen square foot bed! I am undoubtedly out of grass removal practice and it’s no wonder the neighbours thought I was crazy for ripping up four hundred square feet of sod the first time around, its ridiculously harder work than I remember! Now, completely burned out, not even half way through my “quick and easy afternoon project” I was staring at a huge pile of displaced clumps of grass, I didn’t start out with a game plan of what to do with all the remnants but I did do this before right? what did I do with all the left overs back then? Well, I piled wheel barrow full after wheel barrow full of dispatched lawn in the neglected north corner of my lot…. and….well, it’s actually still sitting there, so not only do I need to figure out what to do with one pile of grass but two.

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Little Ones in the Garden

My adorable niece searching for Easter eggs among the bolted kale

It was a spectacularly sunny winter day and although the ground was still frozen and large crystals of frost were everywhere my son announced “time to plant in the garden!” he had made an interesting somewhat fundamental connection, the sun is shining it must be time to start gardening. What my son brought forth was a little hand full of marbles he burrowed a frosty hole in the earth dumped the marbles in and mater of factly said “plant marbles, grow marbles”. Whenever we have kids over they are utterly amazed when given the opportunity to yank a green frilly stem up to unearth a colourful carrot or go searching for sweet fresh strawberries buried under the arugula. In the heat of summer when the garden is over flowing, no child entering our yard can resist running along the narrow over grown pathways, hiding behind the labyrinth of climbing beans trellises or getting their hands dirty in a muddy mud patch of freshly turned soil. We gave away our son’s sand box because he just wasn’t interested who wants to climb into a crusty old 6” deep plastic box filled with dry powdery sand when you have 400 sqft of soil at your disposal, you can dig as deep as you want and use the hose without causing a flood. There are of course losses you have to accept when letting kids run free in the growing area, freshly sprouted seedlings don’t often stand up to being “watered” by 5 year olds and creative young minds seldom want to “colour inside the lines” of straight rows and recommended spacing. Then there was the year the helpful harvester picked every single green tomato off every single plant at the beginning of July, then proudly organized them largest to smallest in a long row on the front path, please note here on the wet west coast our outdoor tomatoes ripen in August! In the end the benefits of welcoming children into the garden far outweighs any potential loss of plant life. We do after all have a fantastic farmers market here in New West where I can replace any casualties lost in the wake of fostering childhood garden curiosities.

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