Welcome to our garden, two years ago it was all lawn.
Alfalfa is a delicate little seedling that needs assistance battling the weeds, but once established, it is a cut and come again hay producer. The rabbit approves.
We've yet to attempt harvesting and processing the rye and wheat for cooking. Its purpose here is to serve as a ground cover and cushion around tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins. It makes a great companion plant.
Mature Rye - May '11
2011 had an unusually early last frost/freeze. We had sunflowers in full bloom in mid April.
Millet, several types of sorghum, with amaranth in the background.
While most of the grains we planted did well, millet (bird seed) is perhaps the most dependable and prolific. It can be planted to choke out weeds anywhere.
Amaranth - May '11
This was our first year growing this amazing plant. Surprisingly, it thrives in our hot, humid climate. Mostly grown for grain, but the leaves are edible too.
Flax - May '11
The flax didn't do so great. We havested about a tablespoon of seed out of our entire crop. The frail plants couldn't compete with the weeds.
Field corn - June '11
That favorite southern grain, corn. This Hickory King variety is great for grinding into cornmeal for bread. Planted beside it is another southern favorite, acre peas (in the same family as blackeye peas, but picked green and served or frozen fresh, not dried).
Ripening grains - July '11
If anyone knows an easy way to separate the grain from the chaff, let me know!
Sorghum, the tall kind - July '11
Notice the luffa gourd growing in it. The tall sorghums make a great support for vining vegetables or flowers.
The mighty collard green - July '11
Another southern favorite. This is the heading, or cabbage, variety of collard.
Golden Giant Amaranth - September '11
Amaranth continued to stun us all summer, reseeding immediately. We got two crops between spring and frost.
Second crop Amaranth - October '11
The variety on the left is Burgandy Giant. FSU Seminole fans in the neighborhood loved the colors.
Mustard Green - December '11
My favorite green, the southern mustard is tender and sweet. The Asian varieties are sharp and hot, and make a great addition to stir fries. My project for this winter is to learn how to make Chinese mustard condiment from the seeds.
A mix of rye, lettuce, several kinds of mustard, leafy cabbage, scallions and dinosaur kale - December '11
Dinosaur kale has been a big hit. We've got one plant still thriving that is over a year old.
If there's one thing that we've got plenty of, it is turnip greens and roots. Here's a recipe for the roots for those that don't like them prepared the traditional way, boiled with greens.
6 - 8 turnip roots, peeled and chopped into 1" squares
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 pats butter
a smidgen of milk
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped garlic chives or your choice of herbs
Bring water to boil and add sugar, salt and turnips. Boil 20 minutes or until tender. Drain very well. Turnips hold more water than potatoes do when drained. Return to pot and either mash by hand, or with a mixer. Add butter, sour cream, milk and chives. Be careful not to make it too soupy. Turnips thin up a lot more than potatoes do - they are less gluey and more delicate. The sugar in the cooking water takes away the strong taste.
Either eat as is, or pour into single serving size casserole dishes and bake 20 minutes, as you would a stuffed potato. Additional ingredients could be cheese, chopped vegetables, bacon...you name it! You can even add a few eggs to make a souffle type dish.
I like to steam a few chopped turnip greens on the side and then mix in with the mashed turnips on my plate. Mmmm.