Garden Grit: When to plant, a cold pickle radish recipe & Palisade cherries
Free Press Opinion Columnist
COLD PICKLE RADISH
This recipe was inspired by 626 on Rood. Enjoy for up to one month, add to salsa sandwiches and salads!
1 bunch or 4 long radishes (about 1 pound, 400 grams of radishes)
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
Optional: 1 chile pepper, split lengthwise
1. If using long radishes, peel them. Trim off the leaves and roots and slice thickly.
2. In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar or honey to a boil, until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and add the peppercorns, garlic and chile, if using.
3. Pack the radishes in a clean pint-sized jar, and pour the hot liquid over them, adding the garlic and chile into the jar as well.
4. Cover and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
Source: Jessica Washkowiak, Field to Fork CSA
DARK SWEET CHERRIES
Sweet dark cherries are truly decadent and delicious, but did you know that they are good for you?
One of the most interesting health benefits of sweet cherries is their completely unique set of antioxidants. Anthocyanin glycosides, which give sweet cherries their deep, red-almost-black color, are one of them. This compound also provides inflammatory properties, even against serious conditions such as gout, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or painful muscle-related sports injuries.
Sweet cherries contain the antioxidant melatonin, which can have a calming effect on brain neurons and the nervous system, soothing irritability, insomnia, headaches, and even helping to establish regular sleep patterns.
Palisade will have great cherries this season. Support your local farmer and eat fresh cherries you won’t be disappointed.
Gardening is an on-going process. While timing is important, don’t be discouraged by a feeling of being too late. All too often, I hear that gardeners use a day of a particular month to plant produce as though it was written in stone.
For example, in Mesa County most people have heard about planting tomatoes once the “swan neck breaks” on the Grand Mesa, which refers to snow formation that looks like a bird. If you followed that old wives tale this year you might have been sorry. Temperatures were cooler then normal through May and snow was still falling in the mountains along with cool rain and hail in the valley.
Each season is different and garden planting dates have been even harder to peg down. It’s not too late to plant a great garden, even in June and July, with much less concern for frost.
At Field To Fork CSA we have planted most fruiting plants by now; and most tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are in the fields. Our main season of planting will be completed this month.
All plants need to be set out now with at least six to eight leaves. Time is moving quickly and the zucchini will be bigger then baseball bats in a blink of the eye. Then weeds will start to get away from us!
July is still a great time to start your garden, however. Many, if not most, summer producers will grow quickly from seed planted in early summer when the soil is warmed up and teeming with life. You’ll be surprised how fast seeds will come up and explode with growth. Don’t hesitate to direct seed for cucumbers, beans, radish, carrots, beets, summer and winter squash. Start a crop of “cut and come again” salad mix, braising mix and mild mustards.
Make sure to plant in a spot with bright light but out of the full, hot sun. Plant heat and sun-loving herbs like basil, chives, parsley and cilantro.
When first watering use a gentle can or spray nozzle. Forceful watering will wash your seeds away. Keeping the seed beds well moistened until germination and through sprouting is very important. If you have birds eating your seeds a mesh grow cover called agro-bond will help keep them out.
I recommend a water timer and soaker house, or micro drip tape. These tools are inexpensive and can be reused year after year. They can also be set to water your garden when you are at work or on vacation.
Most of these seeds I mentioned are 30-90 days. Once September approaches you will have enjoyed most of your garden bounty with more producing during the fall season.
Jessica Washkowiak is co-owner and operator of Field to Fork CSA, an organic farm in Palisade, Colo. As a gardener in western Colorado, she aims to educate locals about how to make a garden thrive in Grand Valley’s desert climate. Please ask questions and share your tips as well by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and weekly farm updates, visit http://www.fieldtoforkcsa.com or find it on Facebook.
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