Kate Gridley's Blog (Page 1)

April 26, 2011 - 8:27am
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

Spring is late... at least in New England.

I have just returned from a quick trip to Cape Cod (to ride bikes and eat fresh fish) I find myself thinking about what is happening with the growing season in other parts of the country? Cape Cod was a little farther along than the middle of Vermont: the forsythia was in bloom, banks of daffodils lined the roads, and there were discernible pink tinged buds on the trees. And I was served fresh asparagus with ramps one night, next to my fresh fish.

Eating Well readers might well be tired of us Northerners desperately looking for signs of spring, but there it is. Our spring is late, and any fresh green direct from the earth is to be celebrated and savored a bit more keenly.

Ramps, otherwise known as wild leeks (allium tricoccum), are a broad leafed leek, native to eastern North American mountains...

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April 12, 2011 - 4:33pm
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

There is still snow under the piles of leaves in the corners of the yard, but the sorrel is up. And not just peeping through the mulch of ground up leaves; it is really up. Like my garlic, which has grown six inches in a week, the sorrel is starting to take off.

I am looking forward to next week, when the lemony leaves will be ready to harvest.

Last year, when spring came earlier, after several weeks of tangy sorrel soup and tarts, and luscious rhubarb pies and rhubarb wine (!!), I wondered if the slightly sour tang of these two early-season ready-to-eat plants could possibly be related? To my astonishment, I discovered in Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen “Sorrel is the startlingly sour leaf of several European relatives of rhubarb…”

Though the sour of sorrel is, for some, an acquired taste, it goes...

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April 7, 2011 - 10:10am
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

While John worked at fixing the raised beds this weekend, and built a tunnel so I could get some plants into the ground earlier, I messed around with compost.

Sounds disgusting -- but actually, while I discovered no rich crumbly soil at the bottom of the heaps, I did find rotted material that was quite dry. I think it needs to compost further. So I reorganized our compost.

I have always been a lazy composter. Which is to say, while I believed in the theory of composting -- that circular miracle where food and plant scraps go back into circulation, with the addition of soil, and maybe some limestone, altered by tiny microbes and worms -- it seems like it has never really happened in my yard.

Every year, we pile as much organic detritus as we can fit into the southwest corner of our lot, behind some scraggly yews. When there's no more room...

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April 4, 2011 - 2:23pm
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

So the talk at church yesterday in all that beautiful sun was "Can I plant something?" "Is it time for peas? Lettuce? Spinach?" A year ago at this time it took all my will power not to plant the peas in the beginning of April. After a week when temperatures had risen into the sixties and a succession of blue sky days and bright sun, it was almost impossible to hold back. The sap had stopped dripping into the buckets. The Farmer’s Almanac read “Chipmunks are waking up and coming out of their burrows.” For a moment, listening to the cry of returning geese overhead, the cacophony of robins, the love calls of cardinals, and even the discovery of the remains of an egg ( surely from one of last year’s broods), I was tempted to think “Tomorrow I plant!”

But not this year. When we lifted the mulch yesterday while repairing the raised beds and building a...

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April 2, 2011 - 4:12pm
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

April 2: Finally a saturday with some warmth!

Yesterday's nor'easter did not materialize, so we're proceeding with mending the raised beds, and the hoopla of putting in our first tunnel (the bok choi under the grow lights screams "Let me out, it's too hot in here."). I may also sow a few early seeds: spinach is on my mind.

The garlic is just up. And the sorrel over in the herb garden is showing it's first growth of pale green leaves tinged with ruby.

Imagine my delight when I discover that the rows of leeks that were solidly frozen into the ground at Thanksgiving (preventing me from serving them to the New York relatives with a "and these are not only local, I harvested them myself this morning!") havewintered over. The snow cover was so deep and consistent this year, the leeks are still edible.

Partly this is because I grow leeks...

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