Monday, March 04, 2013

Dandelions and Lemons

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Thanks to a chronic sinus infection, I've spent far too much of the last few months sprawled on the couch, reading garden blogs.  Reading is great, but it's not the same as actually gardening.  I can never decide if I'm a terribly incompetent gardener, or if garden bloggers are an unrepentant pack of liars. My back garden bears no resemblance to the massive abundance of the photos I've seen on garden blogs.

My garden might as well be in a state of suspended animation.  While none of my plants are actually dying, they're not growing either.  Worse, some of these static plants are showing signs of bolting.  This is entirely unlike the lust growth shown by the garden bloggers in Maine or Montana or up by the Arctic Circle.  Clearly, I've been tricked into believing that California is some kind of holy ground for winter agriculture.

One of the least-pathetic things in our winter garden are the greens that go by the confusing names of ether Italian Dandelion or Chickory. We planted this last year, but never really figured out what to do with it. By the time we got around to harvesting it, the greens were too bitter, even for me.  (The chickens weren't so fussy.  They chowed down on these greens.)




Robb chopped up the "dandelion" greens as well as some garden kale, and made what Southerners might call a mess of greens.  A delicious, delicious mess.




Even if these plants tasted like poison, Id keep growing them because they attract so much wildlife.  The green bees adore them.




And this is the only plant in our back yard that has attracted goldfinches.  I'd call that a success.




We do a fair amount of over-the-fence swapping with our next-door neighbors.  We gave them a batch of our meyer lemons, and got back marmalade and salt-preserved lemons in return.  We gave them freshly baked bagels (possibly slightly undercooked) and they sent over a huge pile of their mystery lemons.  Have you ever seen such a huge lemon as the one on the bottom of our plate?  It's as big as a grapefruit!

I may not be able to grow winter cabbages as well as the crazed garden bloggers in the frigid north, but I'm fairly certain that they don't have surplus lemons.  And let's get real.  Lemon and honey are better than bok choi when you want to make a whiskey sour.





Want to read some of those insane garden blogs?  You can find them at Daphne's place.


7 comments:

Michelle said...

What, it's not sunshine, balmy weather and bumper crops all year round in your garden? LOL

I barely got a couple of harvests of Lacinato kale, which I started from seed in August. The birds pecked most of it down to lace back in January just when it was starting to produce some good leaves, so I didn't get any then. Now that it's recovered from that it's starting to bloom. Fortunately one of them is putting out lots of side shoots so I'll harvest those while they last. Yeah, I'm such a great gardener! :)

Bleah, dandelion greens, I don't know how the Italians make it edible.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Well, you know....sautéed with olive oil, and seasoned with lemon, just about anything is delicious!

Norma Chang said...

How I would love a batch of your Meyer lemons.
I grew red dandelion last year and really liked it. Did not have much so just combined with other greens to make a salad with balsamic and olive oil dressing, but a meyer lemon and olive oil dressing would be delightful.
Nothing growing in the garden yet, snow finally gone but grounds still too cold and wet.

pandamum said...

Green bees??? Have never seen or heard of them! How interesting!! :)

Rabid Quilter from CA said...

Oh how I wish we could give you our yard. 10, 5x8 raised beds in full sun with independent, timered sprinklers languishing because we weren't born with green thumbs. We're only a little over an hour away. . .

~~Doublesaj~~

Bee Girl said...

Well, I
m sorry you've been feeling under the weather for so long, but I'm glad you haven't lost your sense of humor about it all :-) I'll take lemons and honey for a whiskey sour any any :-)

Stefaneener said...

I'm so sorry you've been sick. My garden, as you well know, is a wasteland except for the volunteer kale. But you're right about the lemons. We have limes, if you want more. You'd think, for all I like you, we'd see each other more. Now I'm going to go make kale with lime juice and fish sauce for breakfast. Because I can.

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