Wild Ramps, Beautiful Brassicas, and Growing Mushrooms on my Straw Bales
This spring…I guess I should start saying “summer”… is really getting off to a slow start. Looking back on my garden log from last year I see that we harvested wild ramps on April 28. This season the ramps were ready for picking a good month later, around the first of June! Since everything in my garden is growing so slowly, it feels really nice to be able to do some select wild harvesting and preserving.
With the ramps we made some delectable fish chowder, pickled ramps, and ramp pesto. Yummm!! So green and garlicky–the taste of spring! The pesto and pickled ramp recipes came from Teresa Marrone’s book Abundantly Wild. The pesto just uses ramps instead of basil and garlic. It makes for a really strong onion flavor that I like to add to potato salad, mashed potatoes, pasta, soup, or eggs. A little goes a long way. Opening up a jar in the middle of winter is like stepping into the lush, green springtime forest. The pickled ramps recipe is gingery and sweet.
So my home garden is depressingly small for mid June. The bunny keeps eating my new strawberry plants and pea shoots. One encouraging thing is that my carrot seeds I seeded well over a month ago have finally germinated after the heat we had last week! The other highlight of the season so far is my cabin garden!
Our cabin is far enough away from the lake to make a difference! My shelling peas and rutabagas had great germination–which I worry about there since I’m not there to water and the soil is so sandy. And my pampered brassica plants look awesome at the cabin! They’re big and robust-looking with no pest issues—yet.
Straw bale experiment update: we’ve got a crop of mushrooms growing on the bales planted with potatoes. Not sure if that’s good or bad. So far I’ve seen two potato plants poking up, but not on the bales with the mushrooms. Anyone have any experience with this?