Children and Nature Home Gardens Musings Recipes

Spinach, Asparagus, and Tick Season

spring-harvest-bountyLate spring days grow warmer, lilacs are in full bloom, and we’re finally harvesting fresh shoots and greens from the garden!

We’ve also been finding ticks after days in the fields and forests.tick-ID  I strongly feel that there are far more benefits than risks when it comes to outdoor play (and work).  Take a moment to read up on Ticks and learn how to properly remove them.  When you know what to do when you find a tick, poison ivy, or any other other outdoor irritant, they all seem a lot less frightening.

asperagus-roastedWe are happily harvesting large bunches of asparagus from the garden.  There are all sorts of recipes I love to use asparagus in, but recently, we’ve really enjoyed roasting it.  We simply toss the spears with olive oil and soy sauce and bake at 400 degrees on a roasting pan until the spears are crispy and slightly blackened at the ends.  YUM.


Spinach, dill, cilantro, and lambs quarters are all springing up in the garden, providing us with our first big fresh salads of the year.  We love early spring salads with cilantro lime dressing or our classic garlic dijon.  Looking back at past May/June blog posts, I can see that this year’s new and exciting salad concoctions are actually an annual ritual at this time of year.  If everything you’re harvesting for salad in May is green, try adding color with some edible flowers like pansies, violets, and chive blossoms.

Want to enjoy your greens without having salad for every meal?  We love this spinach soup recipe – it’s great warm or cold!  Happy harvesting.

Home Gardens Recipes

Early Summer Garden Greens

Yes!  It’s finally that time of year when our family of four can eat as much lettuce as possible without making a dent in the supply growing in the garden.  Each day the heads grow larger, making it hard to see signs of past harvest.  Add spinach, cilantro, dill, chives, and sorrel into that mix, and a salad lover’s dreams can be realized.

cilantro-saladAt our house, we always have some of our favorite garlic dijon dressing in the fridge.  Craving some variety, I made a cilantro lime dressing that turned out GREAT!

cilantro-salad-dressingCilantro Lime Dressing ~  Use an immersion blender in a bowl with high sides to liquify the following ingredients.  Adjust to taste.  If you like cilantro, but not in huge quantities, start with less and then add more if desired.

1 can (12 oz.) coconut milk
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 bunch of cilantro
a few dashes of salt

early-greens-stir-fryOf course, another way to use a surplus of greens is to cook them.  Make a yummy stir fry with these veggies plus a splash of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.  Pictured, from 12 o’clock clockwise are spring onions, asparagus, spinach, nettles, and lamb’s quarters.

Now that it’s finally the harvest season, I can’t wait to get my fill of the current bountiful veggie while looking forward to what’s next.  Sugar snap peas… I can’t wait!

Home Gardens Personal Sustainability: How-To

The April Garden

wild leeks ramps photoThe dry start to April allowed us to get a nice swatch of garden tilled and ready to plant.  So in went the pea seeds!  We covered last fall’s late crop of spinach with layer of hay, and the survivors have now been transplanted into a row flanked by rows of new seed.  Garlic leaves have emerged from their hay mulch.  The wierd bulb and crinkled new leaves of rhubarb seems to be hatching from the ground.  Perennials like chives, sorrel, and horseradish have beautiful tender young leaves.   Ramps (wild leeks) are the first edible plants to green the riverbank.  We’re dreaming of fiddleheads and asparagus!




rhubarb(Photos from top: Wild leeks/ramps, pogo helps out!, , garlic shoots, peas and spinach, and emerging rhubarb)

Home Gardens Personal Sustainability: How-To Recipes

Backyard Gardening: First Harvest

This post is far overdue: we harvested the first delicious greens from the backyard garden months ago. In fact, the lettuce and arrugula we planted after clear-cutting the spinach is now ready to eat!  Summer has a way of running away with my time and (happily) diminishes time near a computer.

I think in this case, pictures speak better than words.  An amazing spinach yogurt soup recipe can be found after the photos.  The unique blend of spices and herbs makes it uniquely delicious.  In mid and late summer, try substituting any cookable leafy green (like chard or kale) for spinach.

Spinach Yogurt Soup:

  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • Terragon
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Nutmeg
  • Cayenne
  • 3/4 Pound Spinach
  • 3/4 Cup Yogurt
  1. Sautee onion + butter until soft but not brown.
  2. Mix in flour, salt, terragon, nutmeg, cayenne.
  3. Shortly after, mix in broth and cook until bubbly.
  4. Add spinach, bring to a boil and then reduce heat + simmer for 10 minutes uncovered.
  5. Turn off the heat to allow it to cool for a few minutes before putting it in the blender and pureeing.
  6. Return to pot, mix in yogurt and heat until steaming – not boiling.