not a stitch on me

Posted on Posted in food and garden

so yeah, i planted rapini this year, expecting the half-hearted response i normally get from planting greens. but lo—my usual luck was overtaken by a faerie or something . . . because dudes, do you see how thick and lush that patch of rapini is? and it grows tall really fast, too.

if you are thinking about gardening at all, this kind of crop is a great confidence-builder. put some in a window box and see what happens. heck, norma is even helping you out with a garden-along (and trust me, she’s much better at it than i am).

before i run full-tilt into this post, i have to warn you—i did not get a stitch knitted yesterday so there is nothing new in the woolies department. i did get a big chunk of a big pattern done and sent to the test knitters, so i accomplished a wad of knitting in my head, but alas, that is not photograph-able. and then there were a number of hours spent working in the yard. i regret therefore, that there is no knitting content today.

i will attempt to entertain you duly with other distractions.

i DO have an update on the matching fund reduction . . we are halfway there—way to GO!
remember, if you give, or have given, this year to claudia’s ride for MS, i will beef up any offering . . . the object here is to make the money go faster, so don’t be shy; just leave a comment to let me know you gave.

so anyway, there comes a time in every bed of greens when it needs to be thinned. i “planned” my first weeding of the bed to coincide with the first thinning because i did find out last year (woefully so) that weeding can disturb the tiny, tender new plants enough to kill some of them. so if some of them are gonna get pulled anyway with the weeding, then i may as well thin at the same time.

as you can see above, i have quite a thick growth of rapini, but not so much in the chard and mustard greens areas. i hated to pull out plants where germination was already scarce, but some needed to go because they were piggy-backed on other, stronger ones.

that’s the chard after thinning. i took out as few as i could get away with, aiming for a 4-inch space between them. these are still small, but as (or if) they get bigger, a second thinning to space them 12 inches apart will be needed (last year it wasn’t necessary, to my great chagrin). then i got to work on the rapini

i took that photo when i was about half done. there was a lot to take out, which got to me at first (who will live? who will die??), but then i realized this was good for all of us and got busy.

making progress as the evening drew in, i started to see space opening up. and at root level, i’m sure the big boys were happy to be freed of the pesky little runts tagging along on their coattails (why i need personify the plants is beyond me . . . i’ll try not to)

muu-u-uch better. can’t you just hear them taking deep luxurious breaths and drinks of water? i ended up removing at least half of the plants. and again, in another two weeks or so, i may take out more, depending on our progress here (of which i’m dubious. i really need a good book or website about growing greens specifically. i love to eat them above almost all other vegetables, but growing them continues to confound me, though others claim they are the easiest of crops. possibly, i am overthinking things. heh. ya think?).

now, lest you wonder at the waste of it all . . . “she plants a whole packet of seeds and then throws out half of them!” . . . never fear.
i am a hoarder and saver in some part of my heart, and this is one place i give it free rein

by evening’s end i had twice this many culls in a huge colander, which i brought inside and tossed into a cold bath. after several soaks and rinses, i wrapped them in a damp towel and parked them in the vegetable bin.

we are SO having these sauteéd in roasted garlic and oil over pasta for lunch today.
(the garlic is roasting in the oven as i write this and it’s all i can do to keep from drooling with anticipation—can you smell it?)

another bonus of my time investment yesterday on this small patch of real estate was a little more space. i reseeded the areas where the chard and mustard greens germinated inconsistently.

and i still had a nice 8-inch or so ring of nice, clean, soft soil around the whole bed afterwards, where no greens lived. i’m sure what happened was this: when i scattered the seeds over the bed during the initial planting, i raked dirt in from the sides to cover them with a light layer of soil. i probably carried any seed with it, causing a concentration of plants in the center.

so i made a shallow trench all around the outside in that space and planted the spinach in it which i couldn’t find room for earlier. we’ll see what happens . . . i’m picturing a beautiful circle of dark green all around the rim of the bed, but, this is me we’re talking about.

ok, there will be knitting tomorrow, i promise.

21 thoughts on “not a stitch on me

  1. Scissors are a scary idea for some knitters but they can be a thinners best friend. Even nail scissors work well: snip off the unwanted tops, pop into colander and the roots simply become more compost in the undisturbed soil.

  2. Mmmm…sounds so good. But then garlic makes everything good.

    And, re: Claudia…I just donated $40. Do you want copies of Paypal receipts or anything like that?

    It’s a very generous thing you’re doing.

  3. Oh yeah! I forgot about the matching fund… I gave today so you’re out another 5 bucks!

    Today I finished a version of Twining… absolutely love it! The pattern was so clear and very fun.
    I made this in a worsted weight, and decreased the repeats down to two to make it more scarf sized… it’s very cool. As soon as I get a picture up on my blog I’ll have to let you know.

  4. Nice garden! I really need to get out and weed ours… The clover and thistles are having a field day!

    I donated $100 to Claudia today. Thank you for supporting the drive in this way!

  5. Thanks for the gardening info. Tom’w I have to thin greens and beets. This morning my husband saw a bunny in the driveway, so we have to peg down our feeble fence as well. Maybe the thunderstorms will keep the bun-buns at bay 🙂


  6. Mmmmm. I just love thinning the greens! One of my disputes with the Square Foot Gardening book is he says not to over-plant — just put one seed every four inches for beets, for example. I followed his advice one year, and I was so disappointed because I didn’t have any beet greens for thinnings. Never again.

  7. All your veggies look yummy. Btw, your new scarf is just beautiful. I love the stitch and the colors are fab 🙂

  8. Rapini is speculated to be the plant so strongly desired by Rapunzel’s mother that her father stole it from the witch thus ending with Rapunzel being in the tower.

    I see it has a similar effect on you. :0)

  9. I just made a donation to Claudia’s ride. Who can resist between the double whammy of her great prizes and your generous donation matching fund.

  10. All right, you’ve enabled me yet again. I just donated 10$ (wish it could have been more, a dear friend of the family passed away from MS years ago, and I remember how awful it was). Every little bit helps, right?

  11. I love the garden pictures – they inspire me to go out and work in my own garden. I also think your generosity to the MS Society is fabulous! I’ve just donated to Claudia’s ride to further the support.

  12. Sometimes snipping the runty greens with some scissors works better in cramped quarters and you lose fewer seedlings in the end. Your greens look lovely.

  13. So will there be lots of recipes this year too??? (fingers crossed in hope on this end)
    I love your garden photos, and your conversational way of walking us through your day – very lovely.
    I’ve never had rapini.
    Hey – I bet you could sell a cookbook on this site along with your knitting (grins big on this end).. like you need something else to do right? right.

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