Wednesday, May 23, 2007

the Lafayette garden report; or, last year's leeks

Mr. Tart and I were slow to put in our vegetable garden this year. I feel sheepish admitting this, but we didn't get around to cleaning up the detritus from last year's garden until recently. You see, we figured that we'd have some mild winter weekends that would allow us to go in and yank up the old stuff, check on the radishes and spinach planted at the last minute, and keep harvesting the herbs that survive. But no, this was a snowy, snowy winter here in Lafayette, Colorado, and for months the dessicated tomato plant carcasses swayed in the wind, mesclun greens poked feebly through the snow, and the radishes refused to sprout.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we took stock of our sad little garden on a slope. We pulled out the dead plants (and all the new weeks, flourishing after all the snowmelt) and decided that it's silly to plant on a slope; every time it rains a layer of topsoil washes away into the rock beside the garden. Our plants gasp and struggle to grow in the remaining clay, while the weeds have a field day in the rock with its rich earth. So Mr. Tart bought retaining wall bricks and many bags of manure and top soil and turned our slanty plot into a series of upstanding raised beds!

But that's another story--I'll post about that (with pictures) and what we planted a bit later.

What I do want to say is that we found dozens of leeks under all the dead plants. None of them actually grew very big (which is probably why I never dug them up last fall), but they were still alive in April, so I pulled them all up, gave them several baths, and then stared at a huge bowl of smallish leeks: And then put them in a gallon zip-lock bag at the bottom of the fridge.

Several weeks later, investigating a funky fridge smell, I re-discovered them and decided that it was time. I had put too much effort into reclaiming those leeks to let them rot away! So I stripped off the slimy bits, washed them again, sliced the larger ones in half, and threw them all into a baking dish with some half and half, a little butter, and salt and pepper. I roasted them until they were tender and glistening, and Mr. Tart and I ate them all in one sitting (they had shrunk considerably in the oven). And they were good--but not that good.



Blogger Judy said...

Yeah, I never had much luck gardening either. I'm sure if I were to go back to my community garden plot this year, I'd find many potatoes under the earth. Oh well.

6:12 PM  

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