Thanks to everyone for their great garden tips following yesterday’s blog entry!
Here’s a quick-hit list of the advice for first-time gardeners:
– Don’t plant too early.
– Try watering with used dishwater.
– Don’t overwater your plants.
– Mix in top soil and/or manure if your soil isn’t already rich and dark. (This is a particularly helpful tip for me because my soil is almost straight red clay. Yuck!)
– Hot peppers are a great beginner’s plant because they are quite easy to grow.
– Grow what is expensive in the grocery store in order to maximize the benefits to your grocery bill.
– Try Liquid Fence to ward off deer. Hopefully, I won’t have a big deer problem in the heart of Northwest Roanoke, but those little buggers will find a garden if there is one, I know.
– Prepare well. Don’t rush into the garden because if your soil and fertilizers aren’t great, you’ll have a big weed problem.
My next question has to do with controlling pests of the smaller variety. I know bugs can be a big problem with a home garden, but I don’t want to use any harsh chemicals. If possible, I’d love to be able to use organic methods. Does anyone have any suggestions on that front?
Conveniently, I just received a big, beautiful cookbook in my mailbox called “Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden” by Jeanne Kelley. I’ll attach a recipe after the jump.
Beet and Red Greens Salad with Walnuts and Maytag Blue Cheese
1/4 cup minced shallot
3 Tbsp. toasted walnut oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 bunches baby beets, trimmed
8 cups greens (such as lolla rosa, red Belgian endive, radicchio, red butter lettuce and baby beet greens), lightly packed
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
4 oz. Maytag blue cheese
For dressing: Whisk shallots, oil and vinegar together in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
For salad: Preheat oven to 375. Arrange beets in the center of a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a small amount of vegetable oil and enclise in the foil. Roast until tender, about 1 hour. Cool. (Beets can be roasted up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated).
Peel and quarter beets.
Toss beets with half the dressing in a small bowl. Toss the greens with the remaining dressing in a large, shallow bowl. Mound the beets in the center of the greens. Sprinkle with walnuts and cheese and serve immediately.