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July 18, 2013

Greens in the Florida Summer

Greens? We know that in the summer we might as well throw in the towel, or a shovel... Nothing grows but cowpeas and okra.

Some months ago I planted, as an experiment, some sakurajima radish. Granted, I planted it a bit late, probably in late March, so when our infamous heat started frying the garden, sakurajiama went to seed. I only harvested maybe some fist size radishes, very short of promised watermelon size. But then the radish plants went into seed - not a bad proposition - I love my seeds, so I collected a few for the nest season's planting.

Well, to be fair, quite a few seed heads fell onto the ground, and now, voila! I have radishes sprouting everywhere, even on the lawn. To my surprise, this is one resilient radish.

And it is quite tasty too, if you don't let it grow oversize. To compensate for the lack of greens in my salads I now add these greens, combined with the still surviving bunching onion, purslane, some amaranth leaves, and still surviving curled parsley. It's organic, it's fresh, and it's free. Can I ask for more! Here's the start of the garden salad from the garden.

Note to self: next time collect more sakurajima radish seeds to have on hand for the summer greens.  Highly recommended!

July 7, 2013

Praying Mantis

That's one bug you want to attract and keep. They are a predator insect, and feed on moths, mosquitoes, flies, and crickets, among other things.

This particular individual decided to land on my seed catalog. Maybe it was hinting at something, or was learning to read... In any event, this was a pretty fun picture to take.

So, when you see a little fella like this in your garden, do not shoo it away or kill it. It might do your garden a favor by eating a few bugs here and there.

July 3, 2013

More cowpea uses

This was a hint from my fellow gardener, Carol, who makes some delicious dishes out of green cowpeas. Usually, I cook young cowpea pods like green beans, or use dry cowpea beans in soups or salads (cooked, of course :))

Who would have thought that you can use green cowpeas like you would regular green shelled peas. You would want to pick the pods while they are still green, but "a little bit pregnant". You want to see these bumps on the sides of the pods:

Green cowpea pods

Then, simply shell them:

Shelled green cowpeas

I don't have tons of these to use right away, so I simply freeze the portions that I pick and shell. Afterwards, lightly steam the green cowpeas to the desired softness and use in salads or any other recipes that call for green peas.

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