Rain, Sweet Rain!

June 16

After a week of unsettled weather and disappointingly brief showers, the clouds have at long last released their much-needed moisture upon our farm. We took advantage of the dry spell to get all our transplants out of the greenhouse and into the garden, conduct regular cutworm patrols (who knew that cutworms in the beet patch ooze blood-like liquid when squeezed, whereas those in the onions smell oniony?!), pull the larger weeds that did not look like promising cutworm bait, push cultivate, and set out new seeds in hopes of enough moisture to germinate them. We kept dry long enough to participate in our first farmer’s market in North Battleford on Friday – just long enough, in fact, to put away all our gear on Saturday morning. And then the rain (and hail!) began.

Fortunately, the hail did not last long, and did not do much damage. And the rain? Well, we wait in anticipation of the world of good it will do for our already thriving plants and all the new seedlings we hope it will bring into being.

Even prior to the rain, we have been thrilled with the success of our early garden. The asparagus is abundant, the garlic and onions are looking great (though we did purchase more onion sets this week to compensate for those munched by the cutworms), the early peas are in bloom (!) as are the broad beans, our interns have been introduced to the wonders of magic lettuce (the more you thin now the more you get next week), and our second seeding of spinach is coming along fine. (The first did not germinate, but Saskatoon members will be receiving some of our volunteer spinach this week and Battlefords folks will get theirs next week once the second seeding is fully mature.)

lettuce

Fortunately, the rain was moderate enough to allow us to go ahead with this morning’s pick-ups. We were able to harvest through the drizzle in areas that had been well mulched and therefore should not suffer too much from our footsteps. We weren’t able to get at as much dill as we might have hoped (as the larger patches were in less protected areas), but you can look forward to enjoying more in weeks to come.

This week’s orders are abundant with spring greens. You have lots of orach (if it’s too much for you to eat at once, we recommend blanching and freezing it for a taste of spring next winter), lettuce for salads, sorrel, dill, cilantro, and mint as well as your spring staples of asparagus and rhubarb.

If you are looking for ideas for how to use your mint, tea is always a good option. We tend to make a pot each morning (by placing a couple of sprigs in our teapot and filling with boiling water) and refresh ourselves with it throughout the day. Another favourite in our family is a minted potatoes recipe from Arab Cooking on a Saskatchewan Homestead:

2 lbs potatoes

6 Tbsp olive oil (we use lard, and probably a bit less!)

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint

4 Tbsp vinegar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Peel (I don’t bother) and dice potatoes into 1/2” cubes. Heat oil in a frying pan, then saute potato cubes over medium/low heat until they turn light brown, stirring a few times. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients, then thoroughly combine and serve. Delicious!

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