Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Earth Day

St. Louis has a big Earth Day Festival each year, but we missed it today. The weather was just too nice not to spend it in our own yard. Doug raked acorns and de-thatched* the front yard, while I started on a wine bottle border for one of our garden beds. I managed to get all of my food plants fed and mulched today as well, so I feel I've accomplished something.

In early spring, just before the first time you mow, you may notice a lot of little purple violets in your yard. It blows my mind that so many people think of them as weeds: I think they're beautiful. The leaves and flowers are also edible (provided you do not use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on your lawn). They taste mild, like a lettuce, and they make for a beautiful salad!

As with most plants, violets seem to look fresher if you pick them in the morning. If you're not going to eat them right away, place them in a bowl and cover with cold water. They'll keep that way for hours, maybe longer but I've never tried. I use a "Salad Spinner" to dry them before use. That's all the prep you need: even the flower stems are edible.

* When you've been organic for awhile, you shouln't have to de-thatch your lawn. However, we're in transition since we have only been here 18 months, and the lawn has suffered from years of high fertilization and short mowing: a perfect recipe for thatch.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fabulous Weekend!

The calendar says spring started weeks ago, but this was really the first weekend of spring in the St. Louis area. We had two perfect days (60's & 70's), and trees everywhere are in bloom!

The nurseries are starting to get a better selection of plants, so I picked up a columbine, a calla, and a few gerber daisies to fill in some areas of the yard. I planted brussels sprouts, garlic, cauliflower, and onions in a bed that my husband double-dug for me a few weeks ago. I don't know how I'm going to line the raised bed (wood? bricks? bottles?) or what its final shape will be, so instead of letting it sit there while I make up my mind, I just planted it. Most of the veggies in there will be through by mid-summer so I can deal with how the bed should look then. At least it no longer looks like a grave!

Other beds got cabbage, broccoli and lettuce. Some spinach that I planted in the fall and gave up on seemed to spring up overnight, and we ended up eating two bunches of it with dinner yesterday. A bunch of the vegetable transplants ended up in flower beds. I love mixing flowers and veggies!

I also made some progress on planning for the garden club. No details yet, but it looks like things may get off the ground in July.