Saturday, January 30, 2010

an indoor winter pea shoot garden

We've been enjoying delicious peashoot salads for the last 3 weeks. It has been a mild winter here on Mayne Island so we have lots of delicious greens and other veggies for eating still growing outside in the garden but there's just something about that fresh green new growth taste that is such a luxury and joy at this time of year. And for folks who live in snowier climes, it's really a treat!
Below is a photo of the first harvest of peashoots mixed with outdoor winter spinach. What a delicious wintertime salad, yum!!

I've been growing these decorative pots for the past 3 winters and almost everyone who sees them on my table wants to grow them too! They're really fun and easy to do.

So here's how I do it:

I begin by measuring how many peas I need to cover whatever pot I choose to use for growing. I then soak the pea seed in a bowl of water for about a day, making sure the water is covering all the peas by an inch or so because as they soak, they'll absorb alot of the water and I don't want them to dry out.

Once the peas have soaked, I fill the container with potting soil, making sure to leave quite a bit of space between the top of the soil and the top of the pot. This is because as the peas send out roots and greens, they'll expand and fill the space and if there's not enough of it, they'll pop out of the pot. That's what happened to me the first time I did this and it was very disappointing!

I water the soil to get it nice and moist and settle it into the pot. Then, I layer the pea seed on top so I can't see any soil through the peas. This is why it's important to measure how many peas I'll need for the pot I choose to use before I soak the seed. I don't want to waste any extra soaked seed and I also want to make sure I have enough to cover the soil nicely....

Then, I cover the seed with a very light layer of potting soil, just enough to keep the peas moist. Most of the time, I can still see some of the peas on top, they don't have to be completely covered. Also, I like to use a potting soil that's certified organic so I know there aren't any synthetic fertilizers or moisteners added to the mix that my food is growing in....something to think this photo I'm using SeaSoil potting mix. I give it one last watering with a fine sprinkle from a watering can or my mister bottle works really well too.....I sit the pot in a plastic tray to catch water that drains.....I continue to water the top with a mister bottle to keep it moist (about twice a day) and I also keep the bottom tray filled with'll wick up into the soil in the pot and soon I begin to see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot!.....and I wait and watch.....

The peas 4 days after they've been planted into their container....little white roots and bits of green appearing....exciting! See how they're expanding and filling up the top of the pot too.

6 days after planting in the pot....I think we're going to have a crop!!

Tadaaaa!! Ready for harvest.....8 days after planting, 9 days after soaking. The timing will vary depending on the temperature of the room....this container sat on the table very close to the warm woodstove so it grew quite quickly.....after the first cutting, I continue to water the pot and the peas will send out new shoots again!....and sometimes even a third the third time though, I've noticed that they're not quite as tender and juicy as the first 2 cuttings...

Delicious and nutritious! I read somewhere that pea shoots are packed full of Vitamin C, Folic Acid and Vitamin A.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

weeding and seeding

Yesterday and today have been such nice days to go out and do some winter weeding.
A few days ago, I was talking with another gardener and we were wondering about what our worst gardening failures have been. I decided today that mine is: I never keep on top of the weeds because I don't hoe and weed enough and I don't mulch enough and ultimately I continue to let the weeds go to seed. Here's a nasty example of that! An entire bed taken over by unwanted herbage. The saying goes: "One year's seeding makes seven years' weeding." ....and unfortunately, I have found that to be oh so true.....this year, I'll work on becoming a better gardener by resolving to keep the weeds from going to seed!! It sounds simple now but come late spring into summer, I'll be challenged!

Monday, January 11, 2010

a winter garden harvest

I was so inspired by the red cabbage salad I had for dinner at a friend's house last night! It was such a hearty, flavourful, crisp and refreshing winter-time salad.
So earlier today I went running out to the garden to see if I still had some red cabbage to harvest. I did! And some yellow carrots and beautiful dark green tuscan kale too! I feel SO lucky here on the coast.....we get to harvest veggies out of the garden in the wintertime!

Look at the beautiful tuscan kale sparkling with raindrops....

And the carrots still in the ground with that nasty looking little red cabbage way in the cleaned up real good!

Just pulled yellowstone carrots.

The kale, cabbage and carrots all rinsed and cleaned up, ready to take into the kitchen.....

All chopped up and sliced, tossed with a simple dressing, so delicious and nutritious!

How I did it:
I planted the kale in the spring and left it to resprout (I've been harvesting these kale plants since summertime), the cabbage was planted in mid summer, the carrots in late spring and left in the ground.
I thinly slice the cabbage, grate the carrots, chop up the kale, not too fine....I also threw in some thinly sliced shallot that I'm storing from the summer garden.
Then I tossed the veggies with a dressing of about 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of a lemon and a splash or 2 of apple cider vinegar. I also mixed in some crushed garlic from summer.
Next time I think I'll throw in some broccolli shoots that I have in the garden, maybe try some grated beet that's also out in the carrots would be a pretty colour combo....these veggies get so tender and sweet when they're left out in the cool winter weather. And just harvested is the best flavour ever.
Last night we ground some seasalt with kelp onto our salads....from these folks: the gathering place yum!!
It's available at Happy Tides on Mayne Island and it was delicious and I'm going to go get me some!