Yesterday the sun finally showed its face and has decided to stick around since... Denver's nearly two weeklong cloudburst even elicited a few tornado warnings. Tornado warnings out here have always confused me--I feel like we get them a lot (at least a lot more than when I lived in Iowa, and I had my roof taken off while I lived there!), yet I've only seen one big funnel cloud over Coors field a year or so ago. In any regard, I rather thoroughly enjoy downpours, as any midwest-raised gal should, but I started to wonder if it was ever going to cease. Torrential rain like we've had is so rare for Colorado, and I was worried all my little seeds and sprouts would get washed away since last week I eagerly laid down some new seeds and re-planted a bunch of similar varieties right smack-dab in the middle of the two-week deluge.
Specifically I was concerned about the broccoli rabe I planted in a pretty deep trench; I was afraid a pool of water just sat on top of the seeds for the past seven days and drowned them out. Surprised, I came to find the brocco-sprouts (pictured top left) flourishing more than anything else! Below the brocco-sprouts you can see the beets are popping up too! You can also see some carrots sprouting behind the beets (they're the unfocused green sprouts). Perhaps the weather man was right--it was a perfect week for planting and growth.
Obviously, I'm excited. Broccoli and beets are probably my most favorite vegetables. That being said, I don't think I ever ate broccoli until 2008, and I'd never even tried a beet before 2009. Around the same time I started studying nutrition, I also started working as an Administrative Assistant and Admissions Representative for the Nutrition Therapy Institute. Not too long after I started this job, the cooking school hosted a staff appreciation lunch. I can't remember exactly what was served, but I remember sitting elbow-to-elbow at this big, round table cautiously eyeing and being leery of the beet salad. Sitting to my left was one of the cooking schools' chefs, and throughout the whole lunch her toddler bounced quietly on her lap, dominating a large bowl of cooked beets, giving a new meaning to face and finger painting. The little tyke inspired me and in the two years since, I'd like to say I've become quite the beet connoisseur. I love raw beets, roasted beets, steamed beets, boiled beets, any kind of beet! IMHO, it's a really under-appreciated vegetable and ends up in the same recipe over and over again (beet salad with balsamic-vinegarette, topped with warmed goat cheese). It's my belief this stems from the fact that most people aren't sure what to do with beets. I'm not going to lie, when I started buying them I was really intimidated by them--I had no idea what to do with them and they would sit in my fridge and go bad. Sound familiar? Check out one of my favorite websites for information on how to cook beets and read about how amazing they are in the cellular detoxification process. This week I also made an outstanding vegetarian summer salad with some baby beets (I modified the recipe, of course).
Anyway, back to the garden! Below is a picture of my kale and/ or chard sprouts--I'm not really sure which it is as I ended up accidentally putting kale seeds on top of already planted chard seeds and vice versa. As you can see from the picture (as well as the picture of the broccoli), it's going to get clustered, fast. I think I am going to have to do some sorting and re-planting once everything really starts coming in; whoops! Again this weekend I thought I might plant the tentative tomato plants. Alas, I have too much work to do and it's not going to happen. I did get some pretty rad gardening gloves in preparation for it though, AND, in the middle of the plot, I did lay down two round, unfortunate-looking, brick stepping stones that were just hanging around the community shed (one of them is actually split in half--so you could totally say three stepping stones). I like it. It takes me back and makes me feel like a little girl trying to be cool, just like her mom; but let's just that my plot doesn't look nearly as "sophisticated" as my neighbors who have sandstone walk ways and raised beds :)
It seems as though y'all are for the pet pig--yet no one addressed my predilection for a grilled cheese slathered with bacon and cooked in bacon grease.