Friday, May 4, 2012

Sweet Arugula?

Last fall, I got a phone call from a friend of a friend who informed me that I won the lottery. Well. To me it was like winning the lottery...except there was no money involved. She called and asked, by chance, if I'd like to go with her and her family to glean fields at an organic farm that was done for the season.


We (Daughter and I) drive around in an old beat up chugger of a station wagon. We bought three shopping bags with us and filled them quickly with all kinds of wonderful produce - peppers, napa, savoy, red and green cabbages, boy choy, daikon radishes, turnips. Three bags didn't cut it. So I looked at Daughter, and she looked at me, and we just started piling produce into every nook of the car. It took a week to clean out the dirt completely, but it was worth it.

There were even plants that we were welcome to take or they would be composted. Lots of arugula. I had never even had arugula before, so I didn't know if I liked it. So I took two  as an experiment.

A few weeks later, I used power tools for the first time - ever. No one was hurt. I built the cold frame below and planted my arugula along with some lettuce to see if they'd make it through part of the winter.

Not only did they make it through the winter, they GREW all winter providing extra greens to our salads. And I DO like arugula - NO, love arugula.

This spring, I let the one on the left go to seed (to save), and actively pinch the one on the right to keep it producing leaves until my new seedlings are bigger. The buds of arugula are spicy and great in salads too!

Yesterday, I was cleaning out the cold-frame in front of the arugula, adding new soil and compost to get ready to plant radishes. All of a sudden, the sweetest smell that reminded me of baby powder wafted through the air. I looked all around and couldn't figure out where the smell was coming from.

Guess what? It was the arugula flowers! They smell heavenly! So I ate one. Starts off sweet and ends with a little spice. Bravo! What a pleasant surprise! Love to learn something new everyday.

This is a salad I've enjoyed lately for lunch: arugula, dandelion
greens, violet greens, sprouts, viola flowers, and some
homemade feta.
Next time I'll be sure to add some arugula flowers.

Take time to smell the arugula!
Enjoy the day-

This post linked to: Barn Hop #61, The Morristribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival, Hearth and Soul, Frugal Days/Sustainable Ways, Homestead Helps Wednesday, Homemaking Link Up, Whole Foods Wednesday, Simple Live Thursday

Walls O Water

Have you seen these little beauties? It's funny, because I thought everyone had until recently. Quite a few guests have asked "what the heck are those?". I could have sold a ton of them...if I had extras. In fact, I wasn't even sure they still made them until I did some digging on the net.

I've been storing these for a LONG time (since I was a puppy), through two moves, and almost threw them away several times. A salesperson for the company gave me these samples when I worked at a garden center, and boy, am I appreciating them right now!

These Walls O Water are season extenders. I remember the big thing when we sold them (at the garden center) was that you could plant your tomatoes as soon as the soil was workable and have tomatoes by Memorial Day. That may have been a slight exaggeration....tomatoes 'set' on the vine by Memorial Day, not in your salad.

The sun heats the water in the plastic tubes, which heats the soil and the air inside the plastic tee-pee. Pretty cool, huh? Speaking of cool, we've had many super cold nights since planting with several frosts and temps in the teens. The frost date for our area is the end of May, I set these up and planted my tomatoes sometime in mid March. Take a peak inside....

This tomato plant is three times the size of it's sister plants that are still inside the house waiting for the coast to be clear of frosts.
Ok, so they do work. But how easy are they to fill?

Well, first of all, you must absolutely do this job ALL by yourself in order to get the same results as me...(ahem).

Suited up in my gardening clothes complete with rubber boots and gloves, an upside down bucket to sit on, and a garden hose turned on with a constant stream (without a nozzle attachment) of ice cold water. It's cold, it's wet, there's get the first one half filled and it slips out of your numb hands and spills all the water on the ground so you have to start over, there's profanity going on (son of a peacock - ooh, sorry, I said it again!), and this is just working on the first one! With a strong streak of stubbornness, you're sure to be on your way to get them filled and get the same results as I did.

Or. You could do it like this nice, clean, dry, calm, woman in the video below does it. Just found this bit of info this morning.

What a show off. Perhaps I'll try her method NEXT year.