Early this spring I was grumpy. My vegetable beds were a mess. Last August I quit weeding and it showed. The beds were covered in a mass of twisted greens. Clumps of dead lettuce that I hadn't bothered to pull in fall were still standing in place. I had a lot of work to do and where I really wanted to be was in my flower garden.
It's hard work digging up weeds. Edging beds and adding amendments to the soil. At the time I muttered to myself about how I really wasn't much of a vegetable gardener anyway. I prefer flowers so why was I wasting so much time digging about in these empty beds pulling rocks and heaving around bags of manure?
Well I got my answer this week. The past two seasons I have been attempting to grow spinach. This shouldn't be a difficult thing. In fact, I can't think of anything much easier to grow but for some reason the darn stuff just didn't like this garden. It was yellow and stunted, the leaves curled and had white blotches. This year I was determined to grow proper spinach. I picked a bed and added a half dozen wheelbarrows of compost. Then lime, blood meal, and bone meal. And then topped it off with manure. I really wanted that spinach.
This week I got it. Dark green with perfectly rounded leaves. The plants were so thick and plentiful that they even required thinning. For those of you thinking - yuck spinach! Oh boy yes spinach! Fresh spinach doesn't have a bitter aftertaste which many associate with this vegetable. In fact the flavour is quite mild. And it's good for you. High in iron, calcium and Vitamin A. We use a lot of spinach - in salads, stir fries, omelettes and spanikopita. But this first picking of spinach was extra special so we made one of our favourite salads.
Fresh spinach leaves coated with a balsamic vinegrette then topped with parmesan and chopped pear. yum yum yum. It almost made me forget the hours of labour in the vegetable patch.