A Deck of Chard

Like most people, growing up I was not big on vegetables. My mom would force me to eat many of the things I now love as an adult. Although vegetables such as green beans, mustard, turnips, and collards were often included in our daily meals, spinach was the only one I truly loved. I think my love for spinach came from watching Popeye the Sailor Man or something.

As a child, I would grudgingly eat what was set out in front of me, but when it came to trying something different, I was always a skeptic. One day last year while visiting my mom, she introduced me to what has become my new favorite green vegetable. Good old tender delicious Chard!

It’s a wrinkly looking leafy vegetable that comes in many varieties. It doesn’t require much seasoning ( I like to saute mine in olive oil and garlic) and is pretty easy to cook. This delicious green vegetable pairs well with steaks and I even can eat it solo which is a big deal for a carnivore like myself.

This year I planted my first crop and I absolutely loved growing it! It has continued to grow all through the season while my other greens have come and gone.

10422536_1098026610212590_8397924505402769801_n

Nutritionally, it is not as high in nutrients as spinach but, it is still pretty close and, for me it’s good to break up the monotony of my spinach days. To harvest, I simply cut the outside leaves and the inner leaves keep multiplying and producing!

What makes this vegetable even more outstanding, and my favorite to grow, is the fact that none of the insects or critters that invade my garden periodically like it! There is never a hole and rarely a nibble. I guess it’s just too healthy for the animals in my area.

So if you have not tried this delicious green, be sure to include it in your next seasons garden. You won’t be disappointed!

Here is my favorite sauteed recipe from Food Network. Enjoy!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/garlicky-sauteed-swiss-chard-recipe.html

Advertisements

Composting is Not Brain Surgery

When we moved into our new home there were a lot of things left behind by the previous owners. They were thoughtful enough to leave us instructions on how to care for the pond ( which we ended up getting rid of ), the waterproofing warranty for the basement, and my favorite thing of all, a big old compost bin!

20150910_081248
My compost bin. Looks are deceiving.

When we first discovered the bin, we’d planned on just getting rid of it. It’s not the fanciest container and it’s dirty and kinda ugly. But when I got more into my gardening and did more research, I realized this ugly container was worth more than gold.

I must admit that I did not know anything about composting until I actually needed compost. It all started when I learned that my tomato plants were lacking in calcium. The biggest indicator was the sign of blossom rot on the bottom of some of my tomatoes.

char_calcium2_03Seeing the black bottom on some of these tomatoes was a huge shocker to me. I wondered what I was doing wrong since all of the soil was store bought.

I figured that this new soil would be full of nutrients since I’d mixed together, organic soil for gardening, manure, and top soil.

What I did not know is that I should have mixed in some of my native soil but being that this bed was a new bed, there was little available at the time so buying was my only option.

Not sure if the native soil mixing would have helped, but it definitely would have made the purchased soil a little firmer. I read that light soil is good, but I think mine may be a little too light.

When I began to do my research about the black bottomed tomatoes, I learned that this could be easily fixed by mixing egg shells and compost into the soil. I had used Miracle Grow as my fertilizer in the past, but somehow the thought of putting a blue liquid on my garden no longer seemed right.

My fiancee then reminded me of the ugly bin of compost that the previous owners had left behind. I figured why not try it since it was available and free. My only concern was rather or not they had put dog feces in it or something else not desirable. I decided to put my paranoia aside and hope that was not the case.

In the event that they did put dog poop in the bin, it had been sitting from at least the previous year so, by now it would be safe. Needless to say I mixed some of the compost with the surrounding soil around my plants and have not had a problem since.

11209370_1133583449990239_8431530672487301371_n
A bountiful mixture of beautiful veggies from my garden. We love fried green tomatoes in my family!

Now I have become a composting maniac. I constantly mix in the vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, eggshells and the coffee grinds I come across daily. Because the bin is a little awkward and requires some strength to mix the bottom, I have my partner turn the compost every couple of weeks with a shovel.

I do plan on investing in a better container that is better looking and easier to turn in the future, but for now, this ugly bin has become my best friend.

Please visit the below link for things you can put in your own compost bin.  

http://www.liverenewed.com/2013/05/composting-101-21-things-to-put-in-your-compost-green-in-365.html