|Should salads bite back?|
|Written by Chandra L. Mattingly|
|Friday, June 29, 2012 2:17 PM|
If you like a bit of bite in your salads, watercress might be for you.
This is the first year I've started watercress from seeds and it is surprisingly easy to grow. You just keep the pots in a container of water, and if it's outside, change the water every few days to discourage mosquito larvae.
A member of the cabbage family, watercress is related to mustards and radishes and has a similar pungent taste. The first nibble of the crisp, hollow-stemmed sprigs is misleading, because the bit of a bite comes a few chews later. Like many vegetables, the plants become a bit bitter once they begin to bloom.
Traditionally, watercress has been used to treat coughs, gout and arthritis.
Watercress aside, we're eating well from the garden now. This week we've enjoyed fresh broccoli, lightly steamed – secondary and third shoots from our spring planting; abundant tomatoes from both the hothouse and outside in the big garden; our first green beans; a couple red and one yellow sweet peppers; shallots; lettuce; coleslaw from a mix of red and green cabbage; and a few blackberries and red raspberries.
We've had fresh herbs in scrambled eggs, too: sweet marjoram one day, lemon basil another. And the garlic is nearly ready to harvest, though I've dug some ahead. A little diced and sauteed in butter adds flavor to all kinds of dishes, including eggs and meats.
The early sweet corn is within a few days of harvest, and the the second planting, of Silver Queen, is chest high. We've been watering most of the vegetables, but haven't yet watered the corn. With its deep roots, if you do water corn, you need to water thoroughly to do any good.
Speaking of which, I've been enjoying the rainbows in the water sprayed from the irrigation system at Nick Domaschko's farm near the Ohio and Dearborn counties line. This looks to be a year when the cost of irrigation systems will really pay off for crop farmers.
Back to the vegetable garden, most vegetables can still be planted now and provide a good harvest. Green beans, cucumbers, carrots, summer squash, and even long season corn can go in the ground now. Just remember you will have to water to ensure good germination and a good crop, unless our weather changes greatly and we get more rain.
Herbs, too, can still go in the ground, given sufficient water. I've still got lemon, red and other basils, sweet marjoram, parsley, sage, lavender, chives and other herbs at my plant sale, as well as many perennial flowers, black raspberry plants and even fig trees. (109 N. High St., Ind. 56, Rising Sun.)
And yes, there's watercress for sale on the porch! Plus my honeybees have provided fresh spring honey, never heated and only lightly strained, but you have to call first for honey. 812-438-3182 and leave a message.
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|Last Updated on Friday, June 29, 2012 2:44 PM|