Seeds, Round 1

We’ve learned firsthand that not all plants are long for this world (RIP basil & corn salad).  A couple of weeks ago, we transplanted our first crop of seedlings to the outdoor raised beds (minus the tomatoes, they remain inside til we’re sure it’s warm enough – per our research and all of our friends’ suggestions.)  This means that we pushed peas, hot peppers, bok choy, spinach, basil, mache verte, and radishes out of the nest.  Here are a bunch of them just before they went into the ground:

The planter furthest from the house we left most empty (for tomatoes) and put a row of basil on the end (because it makes sense to keep the tomato and the basil together, gastronomically speaking).  The middle planter got mache verte, baby bok choy, and spinach (in that order).  The planter closest to the house holds hot peppers and radishes (in the front) and a row of peas (in the back).

I’m sad to report that the mache verte and the basil did not make it 😦  Both wilted and disappeared (almost as if the plants had never been there).  The spinach is struggling.  The peppers are not flourishing, but they seem ok.  The peas are making a come-back.  And the baby bok choy and radishes are the real winners – they’re doing great!

4.28 radishes looking great:

4.28, questionable spinach:

4.28, baby bok choy:

Peas, peppers, 4.28:

So that is, in a nutshell, where the seeds from round 1 stand.

The tomatoes remain inside.  I’ve noticed that the Brandywine tomatoes seem to be having the hardest time – so we started a few more from seed a couple of weeks ago (just to be on the safe side).

The tomatoes:

Also outside, the cilantro.  The cilantro used to look like this:

And now looks like this (at the top – the smaller plants in the front are chammomile):

Lastly, the sunflowers… which used to look like this:

Now look like this!:

Also, the nasturtium, which I’d all but given up on… finally sprouted.  I must have planted them outside just over a month ago.  Just this week I FINALLY saw them emerge.  I had no idea flowers could take so long to sprout.  I’m really happy (they’re one of my favorite flowers!) that it looks like we’ll be seeing their happy orange faces in the space between our raised beds.  Success.

I planted these because they’re pretty… but it bears mentioning that they are another edible in the garden.  Oftentimes people find the bulk of the plant too bitter, and so stick with only the petals – but they can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen.

One website (www.herbalgardens.com) shared the following recipes:

Stuffed Nasturtium Flowers

Mix 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 2 Tablespoons finely minced chives or other herbs of your choice. Stuff the mixture into nasturtium flowers and place on a tray that has been lined with nasturtium leaves. Serve at room temperature.
Nasturtium Vinegar

1 cup nasturtium leaves, flowers, and buds

1 pint champagne or white wine vinegar

Place the ingredients in a clean clear glass jar or bottle. Tightly seal. Let sit for at least 3 weeks before using. Place a new nasturtium in the finished bottle for decoration, but you should make sure the vinegar always covers the flowers or they will mold. Makes 1 pint vinegar to use in salads, sauces and flavoring in other dishes.
Nasturtium Lemon Butter

This lovely butter has a mild lemon/pepper flavor and a colorful appearance. It is wonderful on fish, chicken and vegetables. This is also great on those small party breads, pumpernickel especially.

1/2 cup unsalted butter softened

1-2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (according to taste)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons finely chopped nasturtium blossoms

Mix all of the ingredients well until smooth and well blended. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. Makes 3/4 cup flavored butter.
Pickled Nasturtium Seeds

Use green nasturtium seeds, and in picking retain a short length of stem on each. Lay the seeds in cold salted water for two days (two tablespoons salt to one quart water), then place them in cold water for another day. Drain well and place the seeds in a glass jar, cover with vinegar heated to the boiling point, and close the jar tightly. In a few days the seeds will be ready to use. They are an excellent substitute for capers.

I’ve also seen them in stir fry, cooked with pasta, or used as a garnish in a variety of ways. (Particularly lovely: on top of a cupcake)

And then I stumbled upon this recipe for nasturtium mayonnaise (I wonder if the mayonnaise-only store that just opened in my old ‘hood is going to have this!…. yes, a mayo-only store… WTF).

Nasturtium Mayonnaise
makes 8 servings as a sauce for fish
T his recipe is the perfect compliment to chilled summer salmon, or any fish, fresh off the grill. Also makes a great spread for tea sandwiches, or any sandwich needing some zip.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 tsp. coarsely chopped capers
1/3 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 tsp. chopped nasturtium leaves

 

Combine all ingredients. Keep chilled until ready to use.

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