Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hipster Supported Agriculture

I'm taking part in the Kinder Gardens challenge by inviting, not children, but my twenty-something friends to come garden and cook with me. The deal is, they come once or many times, and I share the bounty from the garden and the kitchen with them. Had a wonderful first day, with a parade of visitors through my garden on cool and sunny Monday.

First to come by were my skating student Katie and her mother Trish, who like to garden but always complain about living in a condo. Then it comes out that they have a 17-foot wide balcony (didn’t ask if it gets sun). Trish said they grew cauliflower in a big plastic bin last year, so I’ll see if I can pass on some tomato seedlings for them to try. They helped me plant out the chard, dill and broccoli, and I showed Katie how to plant broccoli seeds with a radish; the radishes come up fast and mark the row, then you pull them just about the time the broccoli starts to take off. Unfortunately, I meant to plant the early sprouting purple, and handed her the Pinetree mix by mistake. Oh well. We put in more than 100 chard sprouts, so when they get to size, Katie and Trish get their first "HSA share" for their help with planting them.

Right after Katie left, a gardening buddy from (another Katy) came by and I sent her home with borage volunteers and chamomile sprouts, a tiny raspberry cane, some lily of the valley and some dwarf iris. We looked for some of the things I need to divide that I can donate to her later in the summer as well (she’s trying to put in a free garden; since that’s how I put my garden in, I’m paying it forward here). She’s going to bring me some parsley in trade.

Second Katy left, and my friend Dee stopped by with her nanny charges, 2-year twins. We thought about gardening with them, but they weren’t crazy about dirt. (Who ever heard of two-year olds who don't like dirt?) They did however really like the flowers and the colors. Once we managed to convince them that picking flowers is okay, I sent them home with violet-tulip-grape hyacinth bouquets wilting in their hot little hands. I pity the next garden they see, because they now know “picking flowers is okay.” Well, it is in my yard.

After they left, I finished the garden tasks for the day: putting in several rows of carrots, planting out the nasturtiums and the second snow pea planting.

There was one more 20something to collect: at the end of the day, we went to the airport to gather my daughter, who had been on tour since August. What a perfect day.

Apple-spinach slaw with honey remoulade
3 medium apples, sliced very thin, mixed with a little lemon juice to preserve color
small red pepper, sliced very thin
10-12 oz spinach, blanched and sliced (reserve some of the water)

3 T mayonaisse
1 T honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

Toss the apples and vegetables together. Whip the dressing, using a little of the spinach water to thin it if necessary. Toss and chill for one hour.

I served it as a slaw with crab cakes, but it's delicious on its own as well (in fact, I'm eating it right now!)


  1. What 2 year old doesn't like dirt...what a pity! Funny you taught them how to pick flowers.

    Love the fact that you are sharing your garden with a generation that is not very well acquainted with the whole gardening thing...great job! Kim

  2. I'm so glad you taught them how to pick flowers. Many children are told never to pick anything.

  3. That is soooo nice of you to open your garden to others. What a great idea! It'll be fun to hear more of this adventure. Cheers ~

  4. Hey, it feels just like I've been in your garden HA! I had the same first thought--toddlers who don't like to play in the dirt?! i NEED TO FIND SOME YOUNG FOLK WILLING TO WORK IN MY GARDEN! (oops cap lock situation)

  5. I love the ideas you share here! Exams will be over soon and I will be able to get into the garden. I'll have to think on who I can invite over to help and what I can send them home with. Oh, I know. Lettuce. Got lots o'lettuce! Thanks so much for sharing great ideas!

  6. @Monica, I can't believe I didn't think to put you to work. Darn. @maggie- brilliant use of lettuce!