The Portable Garden

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I have written about gardening in pots before.  I love them and I know how handy they can be.  A half bag of potting soil, a reclaimed three or five gallon bucket (they give them away for free at the bakery counter in grocery stores) with a few holes drilled in the bottom, and a packet of seeds is all you need.

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The sides protect the seeds from being blown away.  Birds and other seed lovers don’t seem to find the loose seeds in a pot.  Water each day if dry a few inches down.  When our friend called and warned us about the hail storm’s imminent arrival we were able to cover the pots.  They were the only thing not shredded!  They could have been brought inside if necessary!  They can be moved into more sun, less sun, or indoors for winter.  Shyanne and I enjoyed a delicious salad for lunch the other day of fresh oak leaf, baby kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and radishes.  A moveable feast!

A Perfectly Marvelous Salad

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A perfectly marvelous salad should be extremely simple to make, quite inexpensive if you have to purchase the ingredients because of the snow in the garden, and nutritious with lots of unique flavors.  This one fits the bill.  It meets every possible diet, I think, and is so tasty, I could practically eat it every day.  It is our main course lunch salad quite often but with a side of salmon or egg drop soup it would make a nice supper.

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For two people chop one head of romaine and split it between two bowls.

Slice open an avocado and discard the pit.  Place one half on each bowl.

Fill cavity of avocado with pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds.

Drizzle very lightly rice wine vinegar, a bit more sesame oil, and good splashes of soy sauce.

Enjoy with green tea or a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

To your health!

Weed Farmer (and Eater)

dandelion field

Beneath the mounds of snow lay sweet foods of nature, that didn’t even need to be planted by human hands.  The once glistening cool snow in all its glittery wonder, bringing us comfort and thoughts of outdoor play, is now muddy, mussed snow, with patches of melting ice.  Not as pretty of a sight, but sign that Spring will be upon us any day now.

In the summer we dine on fresh vegetables, directly off the stalk, or chosen carefully off of a farmer’s table at market.  A dash of salt is all that is needed, a leaf of fresh basil finishes sliced, juicy tomatoes.  It does not take much to elevate summer fare.  Brushed with sweet butter and lime on a grill accompanied by a cold beer and surrounded by friends, corn is at its very best.  We eat fresh, we play hard, summer is great for food.

Autumn brings us the harvest.  Warming dishes of soups and heartier fare sneaks onto the table once again as we reenter the kitchen, less sweat and happy to be home.  Winter brings heavier fare as nature would intend.  Even if it is not terribly cold outdoors, our bodies instinctively know to eat up and get through the winter.  Pastas, canned foods, frozen foods, cheese, cream laden soups.

lamb's quarters (Lamb’s Quarters)

And then Spring beckons, bringing her own fare.  Dandelions bob their cheery heads, dancing in the still cool breeze.  Lamb’s quarters make a break and attempt their control of the garden.  Their sweet leaves begging for dressing.  Very small sunflower leaves, furry and nutty.  Wild onions, wild garlic, mallow leaves….Spring brings her own picnic basket.

Often folks are so busy clearing all these out to make room for plants that barely survive the climate.  Grass is not as tasty, I assure you.  It is easier, you know, to just go pick the weeds and bring them into the kitchen!

mallow (Mallow)

The greens are tonic, meaning they help the body detoxify and clear out all the heavy foods we put into the body and the excess weight to keep warm.  Greens cleanse the blood stream, help fight free radicals, balance the thyroid, improve digestion, heal up ulcers, and give bursts of energy.  And that is just home grown greens!  Wild greens, like dandelions, have ten times more nutrition than garden greens.  Calcium, magnesium, iron….and great, refreshing taste.

I grow baby greens in pots in the house, so I simply take a handful of lettuce, baby chard, baby kale, and small dandelion leaves, lamb’s quarter leaves, mallow leaves, etc and throw them in a big cereal bowl with pumpkin seeds, and drizzles of sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  Or perhaps I will go with a really great infused olive oil and fresh sea salt.  Just a touch of sugar.  Just a few pine nuts.  The combinations are endless.

dandelion leaf (Dandelion Leaf)

Soon, I will look out the window and shades of sweet green will be crossing the yard, sneaking a stretch to grab some sunlight, and then jumping into my salad bowl.