Sunday, 1 May 2011

April harvest

Hopefully, as the summer commences, I'll be able to do weekly harvest roundups, as is the norm in this sort of blog. However, as April is a lean time (and I didn't keep up with winter crops), I am doing one summary for the whole month.

Some things have been abundant. Applemint (which started out as variegated pineapple mint, but has reverted to the green form) grows freely in the front garden (though is rather choked by couch grass, so I need to dig the whole lot out and start again), and I've harvested lots of sprigs for summer rolls (rice paper wrappers filled with rice noodles, herbs, and sometimes prawns, sometimes chicken). Chives have been naturalised in the front for years, too, and I get lots of handfuls - it grows back quickly. The spinach and chard have bulked up almost without my noticing, and I've taken a few leaves (see the picture above). And I cut back the flowering sweet woodruff, though I won't eat that - it's mostly for enhancing rooms and laundry with its sweet vanilla scent.

Aside from this, wild foods have been abundant over the past six weeks. I've had dandelions (I gathered them for beer, then ignored them and had to throw them out), ground elder (which infests my friends' garden, and made a delicious soup with lovage and homemade chicken stock, of which more in a future post), and I keep meaning to gather the nettles that luxuriate in the uncultivated parts of the back garden (for soup, pesto, and making plant food).

May might see the first tomatoes forming, and the broad beans are already showing tiny pods. More herbs, nasturtium leaves, and rose petals will add a little interest, but no bulk. But come June, and the first strawberries, raspberries, ripe tomatoes, and salad leaves should be providing regular meals.

Total harvest to date (chives, spinach, mint, chard): 137g.


Sally said...

Those leaves look glossy and beautiful. Their flavour and goodness shine through the screen!
I always find firsts on your site - and the soup with ground elder is one such first! I thought it was a plant that offered nothing but torment for the gardener - it's a revelation to know that it has uses as well!

Scyrene said...

Thanks! I was really unhappy with the picture, actually, as I hadn't figured out how to stop the flash going off on my camera. I'm also not yet quite in the habit of photographing each harvest, as some people do - I got even nicer leaves yesterday! As for ground elder, it's a shame we're out of the habit of eating it - most similar crops (spinach types) are much fussier and plagued with pests! But if you have some, do gather the young, glossy leaves - it's very satisfying to eat your horticultural enemy.

Sally said...

Great Phrase - Horticultural enemy! However at the moment I have another pest to say goodbye to first! And whilst I know some people might consider this edible I don't!! I have two very scampery squirrels who have moved into my loft space. So the weekend is going to be about enticing them out with a fruit n nut feast! and then blocking up the hole.
I bet they were thinking free lodging and when she get's her tomatoes going - free food!