I haven't finished writing about Italy or our wedding, but I realized that it has been quite some time since I've written about the crop, my little collection of beans, on which I'm focusing for A Growing Challenge.
First to bloom and set fruit is Indian Woman Yellow. The flowers are a lovely soft cream color: they look like Victorian pantaloons.
Their first beans are tiny, slender little things now, but seeing them, I can already imagine their swelling sides, pregnant with future soups and refried beans.
The Pencil Pod Wax are also beginning to bloom, a soft, even lavender with long "landing pads" for pollinators.
The winner of A Thinking Stomach's Legume Beauty Pageant is Blue Coco. The vining stems are a deep burgundy-purple, the lush foliage dark green with purple blushes, and the blossoms are purple on the upper edges, fading to a soft pink. This plant could easily serve as an ornamental, they are that lovely. I can't wait for the vines, already as tall as me, to begin blooming more profusely.
The Asian Yardlong (aka Asparagus or Snake) beans are not close to blooming yet, but they're beginning to grow vigorously. They started slowly, but all of a sudden, they are thigh-high and climbing briskly.
Beyond beans, a couple other interesting things are happening in the ol' garden plot. The edible flowers of my black hollyhock, the variety that Jefferson chose to grow in his extensive gardens at Monticello, have just begun to unfurl. Honestly, I can't get enough of Jefferson's choice of plants—they've never disappointed me. I planted these as seedlings last spring, and since they're biennials, I've had to wait until now to see them come to blossom. The wait has been worth it.
Another curiosity I planted last year is the Egyptian Walking Onion. This variety sends up scapes that are loaded with little mini-plants that eventually fall over and plant themselves where they fall. The mini-plants can be harvested to start new plants elsewhere, or dried and the little bulbs pickled. The larger bulbs underground never get huge, but can be used just as any other onion, if one chooses to harvest them. I think I'll focus on the Egyptian Walking Onion as a producer of small bulbs, my pearl-onion producer.
Also on the allium front, while checking the bulb size of my Korean Red garlic yesterday, I accidentally got a little too aggressive and dinged the bulb of the plant I used as a guideline. Rather than risk letting the damaged plant get sick, I pulled it out. And with it, I made the most glorious salad dressing I've made for quite some time.
Green Garlic and Honey Salad Dressing
This recipe should make enough for a large salad (for 4-6 people) or two smaller ones (for 2-3 folks). I used half of it one night's dinner salad for ECG and me, reserving the rest in a jar for the next night's salad.
You will need:
The juice of one lemon
The same amount of good olive oil as lemon juice
One large stem of green garlic, cleaned, roots and tough parts removed, and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
To make the dressing:
Toss all the ingredients in in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a creamy green-gold vichyssoise. Taste test with a leaf of whatever salad greens you are using; check for a balance of salt, tang, sweet, and garlicky-warmth. Adjust ingredients as necessary.
This tasted particularly good on a tangle of Marveille de Quatre Saisons lettuce and salty-tangy orach from the garden, combined with arugula from the farmers' market. Use it with whatever greens are in season in your garden or market right now.
After eating, be warned: this is raw garlic. Breathe accordingly.