Kitchen Garden

Kale Harvest and Summer Solstice

Taco filling made with kale, black beans and Guajillo chili sauce.

I caught a break between thunder storms.

Friday I donned my wax jacket and rubber boots and went to the garden to harvest kale in a light drizzle.

The leaves were ready to pick and I wanted to get a regular shipment to someone.

It was a big harvest and what I didn’t give away was washed and went into the ice box and freezer.

I made a batch of taco filling with fresh kale, black beans and Guajillo chili sauce. It is Mexican street food and one of my favorite dishes. This year I planted Guajillo chili peppers in the garden to see if I can replicate what I’ve been buying from Mexico. Here’s the recipe for the sauce.

With today’s planting I consider the garden in. There are a couple of empty spots to fill and plenty of weeding and mulching, but the seedlings that need to be planted have been and it’s time to clean out a space to put my car into the garage again. Actually I just took a break from the computer to do it. The car is inside again marking the end of Spring garden planting.

From here gardening gets easier. I started Imperial broccoli seedlings to replace Blue Wind when the time comes. I also have basil and cilantro seedlings that will go in when there’s space. There are extra seedlings of tomatoes, eggplant and hot peppers ready if one already planted fails. I’m about ready to compost those as most everything took the first time this year.

As I mentioned here I moved the composter and spread out what remained. Some type of burrowing animal has been living there and I disrupted its home. It looks like it has been burrowing under the locust tree, which may be causing the problem with leafing out this year. It/they also got into the kitchen waste composter, which is comparatively tightly sealed. They drug a lot of stuff out, including most of the egg shells, to build a mound under the outdoors sink that was turned upside down sitting next to it. It was a surprise and I moved the sink up on a pallet.

The good news about compost was for the birds. Multiple species spent most of the afternoon prowling the newly spread compost looking for worms and insects, of which there were plenty. They don’t seem bothered by my presence.

The wax jacket is for garden and yard work. I bought it while vacationing in Stratford, Ontario where we went for three consecutive years when our daughter was in high school. It’s never been re-treated but repels water quite well and still fits. It’s the gardener’s equivalent of a barn coat.

My time at the farms finishes this week, tomorrow at Sundog Farm and Tuesday at Wild Woods Farm. I met with Trish Nelson at Blog for Iowa yesterday and I’ll be covering for her beginning July 1 so she can take a five-week hiatus. The first weekend in August I plan to return to Wilson’s Orchard for my seventh year as seasonal help and after that, it’s a rush to finish the year.

I plan to take a deep breath and reflect on my life as a gardener and citizen for a few minutes tonight after dinner.