Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring spinach for localvores

It didn't snow today here at 7,000 feet in the southern Rockies, so after last night's silvery coat of frost burned off in the morning sun, we took the row covers off the spinach in our kitchen garden. The crinkly green leaves are just starting to lift off the warm surface of the soil, but they're not quite big enough to pick yet. After an unusually long and cold winter, I'm eager to get back to eating food grown from my own soil.

I planted the spinach last fall just in time for them to sprout and grow a few tiny leaves before the weather got too cold and the days too short for them to do more than hang on under the insulation of the row covers. But now that the equinox is almost here, and the days are lengthening relatively fast, my spinach plants are perking up. I'll thin them this weekend, and by next week, I'll pick a few leaves for our lunch time salads. The localvore in me is getting impatient to taste my terroir again!

It's time to plant the sugar snap peas too, plus some other spring greens. Last year we discovered chervil with its lacy leaves and delicate licorice flavor - it's a wonderful addition to sandwiches and salads. This year I'm going to plant tat soi (also called bok choi), turnips (I'll pick them tiny to steam greens and all), and I'm trying gala mache, also called corn salad or lamb's lettuce as well.

As always, I rely on plantswoman and cook Renee Shepherd of Renee's Seeds for my gourmet kitchen garden seeds. She knows gardening, and she knows flavor and cooking, and the combination makes for unbeatable seed varieties and prodigious and yummy harvests. Thanks for satisfying this localvore's hunger, Renee!


Janet Grace Riehl said...

Spinach is looking mighty good, there, Susan! I remember when we used cold frames for our winter gardens.

Watch out. I might pop over for a little portion of spinach salad one of these soon days!

Janet Riehl

Susan J Tweit said...

You're welcome to pop out for spinach salad anytime. And I'm contemplating a cold frame for next winter, because I really like the greens from my garden better than anything I can buy. They're tastier, greener (in both senses), they don't cost nearly a much, and best of all, they connect me with my terroir - the soil and air and climate that define my home.


Karen said...

I like the 'adolescent' look of the spinach in the photo - gangling and growing and seeming to inhale food and then suddenly 'beefing out'.

And yes! to your comment on being connected to 'home' through the
simple act of growing things.

On site spinach reminds me of climbing malabar red spinach - I hope to track down a plant or two this year as I have had no luck starting it from seed - one plant in a pot on a deck will provide me with snacking on the small green succulent leaves for the entire season. I wonder if you have experience of it.

Sherrie said...

I know, I know... you have no time to be tagged with the Six Word Memoir meme... but guess what!?!? I tagged you anyway. I did give you until July to do it, though. Really.

Here are the rules (copied from the original blogger who started this):
1. Write your own six word memoir
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4. Tag five more blogs with links
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Susan GT said...

OOh...a fresh spinach salad sure sounds tasty right now especially today with out rain/snow mix here...it has me longing to a taste of spring and summer!