It’s happened. I’ve turned into my mother.
I spent a good part of Saturday ripping bolted lettuce and other past-their-expiration-date plants out of the garden. Then I brought them into the house, chopped them into pieces (the long-unused cleaver came in handy), packed them into the blender, added water, and made blender compost which I carried outdoors and poured into shallow trenches I’d dug according to the advice in Marta Teegen’s Homegrown. Just like Mom used to do.
Subtitled “A Growing Guide for Creating a Cook’s Garden in Raised Beds, Containers, and Small Spaces”, it’s brief but packed full of practical information so you can dig right in. So to speak. Subjects covered include composting, building beds, companion planting, maintenance, cover crops, and controlling pests.
About this last. The caterpillars have defeated me for now. No matter what I do, when I inspect the kale and cutting broccoli, another plant has disappeared. And today, a whole row of lettuce went missing. Ms Teegen’s book did explain the mystery of my disappearing chervil. “Chervil is an excellent trap for slugs. I often plant it as a border for my salad greens.”
Homegrown includes 50 recipes as well, many of them with creative uses for herbs. Which reminds me that, to my great surprise, I’ve discovered all sorts of uses for the lavender salt I made (I just ground the lavender up with salt). I made it for an appetizer a friend described as having learned from Chef Annie Somerville of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco: a halved fig (and they are into their second coming right now) stuffed with a dollop of goat cheese, a drop of honey, a sprinkle of lavender salt, and topped by a toasted almond. The salt has a heavenly aroma—if you like lavender that is—and I’ve discovered it tastes really good on melon, tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, and apricots, and even eggs. If you think of it as a close cousin to rosemary, you might also try it with chicken, and a host of other dishes.