Archives for posts with tag: Pine Island

As we dug in the east planter—the first planter we built, two years ago—I noticed that the soil has achieved a dense, solid feel and attained a deep, dark color.  It is almost black, like the soil we saw in the Black Dirt Region of New York, near Pine Island (see October 1, 2011).  At just over two years of age, the soil in this planter is still very young and it is heartening to see that it is improving.  Hopefully, we will see more rapid improvement than our farmer friend, Jay (see June 9, 2012), who waited eight years before he was satisfied with his soil.

Also, after finishing up in the east planter, we decided that the seedlings that have not been transplanted (and which we still hope to give away) need not go back inside the house at the end of the day.  After all, had they made the cut (or had we had the space) and been relocated in the garden, they would be spending their first night outside tonight anyway.  We’ll leave them on the back porch until their foster parents (whomever they turn out to be) retrieve them.  The indoor growing apparatus has thus gone dark for the year (and looked a bit lonely).

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Quite unexpectedly, we received a seed catalog in the mail today.  It came from John Scheepers, a company I usually associate with bulbs.  We’ve purchased bulbs from them in the past but not for several years.  And we have never gotten a seed catalog from them before.  Why did they choose to send their Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog now?  Perhaps they’ve been reading my blog and knew I was interested in growing from seed this year?  (No, probably not; anyway, the catalog was addressed to Rachel.)

While looking at the variety of available seeds, Rachel was reminded of one of our favorite salads.  It is composed of arugula and thinly-sliced turnips in a honey-based dressing.  The original recipe (Shaved Turnip Salad With Arugula and Prosciutto from the New York Times Dining Section) calls for prosciutto, which adds a hefty umami component and is quite tasty, but we prefer to crumble in goat cheese instead.

The key to the salad is that the turnips are used raw.  Therefore, it needs to be made with the freshest available.  We have a good source for turnips (a Pine Island farm that sells at our weekly market) but why not grow our own?  There’s no way to get turnips fresher.  And that way, we would also get to eat the greens.  As we learned last year with the radishes and beets, that’s a bonus we can’t usually get, even from the farmers’ market.  I’ll peruse the Scheepers catalog for turnip seeds and other potential vegetables.

I will also be looking into the Hudson Valley Seed Library, an organization devoted to preserving the seeds of plants well-suited to the climate of the Hudson Valley (and of the Northeast, more generally).  It’s a great concept:  gardeners borrow seeds in the spring, plant them and nurture them to fruition and then, in the fall, harvest and preserve the seeds and return them to the library (some of the plants must be allowed to grow beyond the vegetable-harvest stage).  These days, the library also grows and sells its own seeds.  A field trip may be in order…