Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reaping the Rewards

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.

22 comments:

  1. So much work, but such great rewards. Oh boy yes spinach!! (and pear with parmesan, yum, yum, yum.)

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    1. I guess the trick is remembering the rewards while you're doing the work so you don't get too frustrated.

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  2. I can so relate to your feelings about the veggie garden, Marguerite. I like planting it, but I'd rather spend the time in the flowerbeds instead. As a result, the weeds have taken over a corner where I wanted to do some late planting, but I'm going to have to spend a lot of time with a hoe before I can ever plant.

    I love fresh spinach, too, but mine didn't do as well this year because of all the heat we've had. Yours looks delicious, especially the yummy salad!

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    1. I understand how quickly the weeds can take over. Another issue with veggie garden for me is the constant weeding. No fun at all.

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  3. I love spinach in any recipe, especially salads though. Growing it is the best to pick young and fresh. Pears sounds like a nice topping, I use dried cranberries and almonds too.

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    1. You're right, the leaves were just the right size when we first picked. They're starting to get larger now and will likely be used more in cooking.

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  4. We didn't eat enough spinach this spring. I miss it now. Your harvest looks great!!! We eat it as salad, I am not a big fan of it cooked. Like the recipe you shared! We have one with bacon, mayo/orange juice concentrate dressing and apples.

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    1. I had forgotten about that kind of spinach salad, my mom used to make one like that. so yummy, now I need to find that recipe.

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  5. Excellent ! I love spinach too but like yours mine won't/ wouldn't grow either. Now I know how too fix it I'm off to buy blood meal.

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    1. Hopefully that's the missing ingredient for you. I'm not sure which amendment did the trick for me, I just tried to add lots of everything to cover all my bases.

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  6. the spinach is still in the fridge, but we did have fresh organic pears to dip in our cheese fondue this evening.

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    1. I wouldn't have thought to use pears in cheese fondue. Interesting combination.

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  7. Replies
    1. Thanks Frances. I'm so glad this finally worked out, I was beginning to give up hope.

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  8. Replies
    1. One nice side effect of fresh veggies from the garden is we eat so much better this time of year.

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  9. Actually, in my experience, spinach can be a bit cranky. I've had more than one failed crop. Sometimes we get a run of unexpected warm weather, and it bolts. Other times our overwintered crops just sit there like green bumps on logs. I tend to cheat now, and grow a lot of Tatsoi instead, as it seems more tolerant of our variable growing conditions. I'm glad your hard work paid off though, and those leaves look fabulous. The pear just puts it over the top...yum!

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    1. You're right, I've heard lots of people have trouble with spinach bolting. When I was on the west coast though it seemed like such an easy plant to grow. My mother overwinters the stuff and it's all over her garden. I just assumed I would have no problems here.

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  10. Wow, you keep on keeping on..how lovely those spinach leaves look..I usually grow it, usually bolts on me fairly fast..love it mixed in with other salad greens too.. or with bean sprouts and fresh raw mushrooms...this year grew baby bok choy and it's ready to eat..pears on your salad look delicious..Happy gardening Lannie

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    1. I can be pretty determined when I've made up my mind!

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