The Most Nutritious Vegetable

And it comes from a weed

I don’t know if it’s the most nutritious, but it’s certainly up there.  I speak of the humble sweet potato–a vegetable I never much cared for because people have this tendency to make it sweet with molasses and brown sugar.  Yet the vegetable itself I find to be more savory than sweet, and is better complimented with salt and butter.

Of course, salt and butter are not what make them nutritious.  But they are delicious.  So when the victory garden went in, and we decided to experiment, sweet potatoes made the list.

They eventually took over, so they’ll get their own spot next year.  I also learned that I’m terrible at digging them up, as I severed more than a handful before Liz took over.

There were quite a few, although I was disappointed with their size, save the goliath.  Next year we’ll start them earlier.

And they were about the easiest plant to grow.  No bugs ate them, and they required no attention.  I can see why they’re popular across cultures.  Surely some more attention would have swollen the harvest, but at least I can have the satisfaction of using my own sweep potatoes for the holiday dinners.

–Simon

Sunflower

I used grow sunflowers back in the townhouse.  It was amusing to see the tops of those giant plants sticking above the privacy fence in that 12×12 area, but the limited space required vertical gardening to get anything resembling a respectable garden, and sunflowers fit the bill.

But when we bought the house, we stopped planting them, for no reason other than all the existing garden space was being used.  But then we tilled up grass for a new garden, and with the excitement of seemingly endless possibilities, sunflowers were thrown into the mix.

Then, as flowers do, they turned to seed.  And sunflowers make a lot of seed.  And squirrels are greedy bastards, but I can’t shoot them in my backyard.  So I harvested the seed.

I’ve tried other tools, but the katana really is the best one for the job

I don’t know what to do with them, so they’re hanging in the basement drying.  Maybe next year I’ll create a sunflower forest.

–Simon

Ad Victorium

I’ve often referred to my vegetable garden as a Victory garden, for no other reason than to give a historical tribute to the WWII public campaign aimed at reducing stress on the national food system and coping with rationing.  It’s also somewhat ironic in that we garden for pleasure, for it’s really not feasible now to compete with the prices of farming conglomerate-grown produce.  Nor is it a good time investment.

But it’s fun, and the results are tastier.  And, I get to revel a bit in historical Americana.

Yet the existing garden was too small.  It needed expansion.  It needed to push the boundaries between hobby and chore, the way my in-laws still maintain a garden large enough to feed a German-Catholic family.  For ’tis the manner in which all those with hobbies internally debate why they must still invest the time and energy into an obsession.  But that is not the topic of discussion for this post.  The topic, rather, is what we did, not why.

And what we did was borrow the in-laws’ tiller, to destroy one deeply-rooted icon of Americana (the lawn) for another.  And we did so in a most American fashion–by burning gasoline.

A little amateur engineering cleverness later and I had a small rabbit-deterrent around the perimeter as well.

Surely the ends were worth the means, for we now have one medium-sized timesink with cucumbers on the way!

And weeding…lots of weeding.

–Simon

Tomatoes, Again!

Yes, I like tomatoes.

And this year, I started them earlier.  I also reinforced the net, mulched, and am spraying neem oil.  Yes–I’m getting serious.

Why?

Because I discovered home-grown tomatoes make the best Bloody Marys.  Mmmmm.

–Simon