Thursday, April 25, 2019

Redleaf Lettuce in Wine Barrel

Over time, I have often noticed small weeds trying to grow from the sides of my wine barrel planter. Sometime over the winter I decided that, if weeds can do grow there - then veggies can too.


I planted some Outredgeous red lettuce seed in the side of the barrel by poking some small seeds in the side, then adding a bit of very fine compost.

When I say "red lettuce seed" I don't mean the seed is red. It's the lettuce that turns red: you'll see! 

The lettuce grew pretty slow at first, so I added a little more soil to them.

Once the little plants were established, they did really well. They kept growing until the heat set in.

I was a bit worried that the heat would turn them bitter, so I harvested all of the outside leaves when the lettuce finally began to wilt. Fortunately, they were very sweet. No bitterness at all. That is a lot more than I can say for the greenleaf lettuce grown in the main garden. The green looseleaf lettuce turned bitter. Perhaps it had to do with how little I watered it?

Finally, for those of you inclined to watch my lettuce grow, here is a little GIF.

 I hope you have a bountiful harvest wherever you choose to garden this spring.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Garden Fun with Favas Part 2 - Snap Fava Beans & Favism Warning

A lot has happened in a few short weeks over here. In order to ensure that my greenhouse was getting sufficient light, I began chopping down the fava beans around the greenhouse. In the process of chopping, I discovered something.

The mighty Favas continue their upward progress

The first thing that I discovered was that bees were pollinating the fava beans.

Look closely and you will see a bee.

Slightly closer.

The second thing I discovered were that the fava beans were growing. A lot of them.

In fact, the fava beans were growing so much, that I could actually harvest some to try. Though I had heard that people do eat fava beans in their immature "snap" long bean stage, I had never tried this. There seem to be no recipes online or any indication that anyone had actually ever eaten snap fava beans and lived to tell the tale. So, being the ever-courageous gardener that I am, what do I do?

That's right - fava beans are on the menu. And why not? Once they start going into blossom the plants can quickly set dozens of beans on each plant - so here is the report:


This time: stir fry with a some melted butter

My report is that they are quite good. Given that I have tried both Chinese Long Beans and purple hyacinth bean (both of which require salt blanching) I was expecting the worst. My wife said they tasted like beans - not too bad. (However, she later became sick from eating them (Please see the information below). There is just a bit of a fresh asparagus aftertaste, but nothing like the old metallic asparagus aftertaste of the aforementioned beans. This aftertaste is quite pleasant, in comparison. They also taste really good steamed.

Important Update: Be very careful when eating Fava Beans. There are some populations of people throughout the world that can be poisoned by fava beans. If you are trying them out and cooking them for the first time, start with a few and start small. For more information, please see the linked article and map for information about G6PD enzyme deficiency and information about the associated allergic reaction to fava beans that is known as favism.