at the Water's Edge


Living life and learning all I can along the way!

2015 Spring Garden Update & Wilted Spring Garden Salad Recipe

I suppose it's time for a 2015 Spring Garden Update. I feel like this has really been an ideal spring for gardening. The snow stopped in a timely fashion. We've had a few hot days, plenty of rain and generally weather on par for the season. I started my tomato seeds (and a few others) indoors in March and they are about a foot tall now. I thought about planting them in the past couple of weeks since it has been so warm, but once I saw we are expecting a low in the 30s this week, I decided to hold off. I don't want to shock them with cold shortly after transplanting. I have set them outside a couple of times to try to harden them off. One of the days was super windy, though, and two of my seedlings that I had growing in 2 liter bottles flipped over. I thought they were done for. I set them back up and tried to set them against a support for the rest of the day. Guess what happened. These two little tomato plants have grown into my biggest and strongest seedlings! For me, that was a good reminder, not only about the importance of exposing seedlings to the elements, but also about life -- how the trials we go through can serve to strengthen, grow and mature us, as we stay grounded in our faith and don't allow ourselves to be uprooted. So there you have it, the first life lesson from this year's garden.




"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face
trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith
produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2014
So, while the summer seeds and seedlings remain to be planted, the spring seeds were put in back in April.  Really, the first chance I had, I planted carrots, onions, radishes, lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, and lots of peas! Grass has decided to invade the fence line of my garden, and I think it choked out the carrots. We'll see. I discovered that vinegar is a natural way to kill grass, so I applied that over the weekend after hacking away at as much of the grass as I could. The onions are not growing, as usual. I have one onion transplant from a bulb that sprouted in my fridge. I'm not sure what will happen there, but after reading this blog on the subject, I will call it an experiment!

Garden 2015 - May 6: Spring seedlings starting to grow; grass invading.
The greens are growing in nicely, and I am so glad I decided to grow arugula! I love the spicy, nutty flavor, either on its own or mixed with other greens. Also, I love the fact that in the UK, it's called rocket. I think we need to petition for a name change here. Arugula sounds like a healthy green that kids will turn their noses at...but, rocket?! Who doesn't want to eat that?! Anywho, I digress...

In other good news, the vermin that had been stealing my peas before they sprouted did not find them this year! I think I will actually have a real pea harvest again this year -- hopefully beginning in a couple of weeks! This is also the second year of asparagus harvesting for me, and wow is it coming in!! We've eaten some with dinner a few times already, and I've about filled up a gallon size ziplock back with them. The radishes are coming in, too....which got me thinking...could I find a recipe that used both asparagus and radishes? I thought they might go nicely together in some sort of salad. I had plenty of greens. After a little bit of research, I decided to make up my own recipe using four spring garden treasures: asparagus, radishes, Swiss chard, and arugula/rocket.

Wilted Spring Garden Salad

wilted spring garden salad with bacon asparagus radishes arugula rocket

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Swiss chard, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of arugula / rocket, roughly chopped
  • 10 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, chopped into pieces (or use bacon ends/pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Fresh ground pepper
Directions:
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove and allow to drain on paper towel. In remaining bacon grease, cook asparagus and radishes until asparagus is tender. Add lemon juice. Add Swiss chard and arugula and cook for 1-2 minutes until leaves are wilted. Add bacon and fresh ground pepper to taste. Mix well and serve warm.

Are you achin'...yep yep yep...for some bacon...yep yep yep!

Fresh radishes and asparagus from the garden
Chopped Swiss chard and arugula, or rocket, as I now prefer to say!
Mmm...cooking in bacon grease. Doesn't get much better than that.
I'm not sure if the bacon grease counters any nutritional value from the vegetables, but I choose to go with the theory that the vitamins are best absorbed by the body when consumed with some fat, as well. And, it tastes delicious. Even Tom thought so. It was a fun way to use some of my spring veggies and I think I'd make it again! We just served it as a side to grilled cheese for an easy dinner.

The strawberries should be coming in soon for another fun salad addition. How about you? Are you growing any spring veggies, or have you found some creative combinations for in season produce?


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ABOUTME

Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Happy Gilmore. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!

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