Of turtles, greenhouses, plants, and all that rhubarb

Painted turtle in Eastern Ontario

We did a little walk around the vegetable beds up at the house this morning before starting work; it was satisfying to check on things after putting in a monster weeding and reorganizing day for the large rear beds on the weekend. Afterwards we walked down the hill to our greenhouse and came across the little turtle above. We haven’t seen the larger turtle who lives (lived?) in our pond this year; normally she can be found sunning herself on the ground or in the stream bed on warm days in the spring.

The inside of our greenhouse finally looks like something worth having, after the early weeks when it looked a bit thin. Remember, we are new at this, and the newness of our effort shows, but we’re pleased with how things are coming along for our first season.

Inside small greenhouse in June

Here’s a close-up of the two abundantly happy kale plants in one corner, in front of which are five little citron melon seedlings. This is a thrill, as we tried growing these indoors this spring and had absolutely no luck. The Cottage Gardener, where we buy most of our organic seeds, sent us a new packet of seeds free of charge when we wrote to them for advice. Nice customer service and I know they will care to hear how we get on with these unusual preserving melons.

Mature kale plants and citron melon seedlings

A cucumber plant with water drops looked rather pretty.

Cucumber leaf with water droplets

Remember my excitement over our first purple top globe turnips? Here are some more recently planted turnips of a different variety. We also have four or five more mature purple top globe turnip plants faring well outside up by the house.

Young turnip plant

I must confess that I still didn’t get the hang of starting sweet peppers indoors (or anywhere, for that matter!), in spite of good advice offered by at least one kind reader (ie start them in the dark, plus they love supplemental heat and babying). I think I lack the will to provide the coddling that these plants need. I love to eat them, however, so I bought young, healthy plants from a great fellow at our local farmer’s market a few weeks back, and half of dozen of these ‘Cal Wonder’ plants are coming along nicely. Clearly, they love the warmer, more protected greenhouse environment.

Pepper plants and bunching onions

Our early red rock cabbage is getting more rotund by the day and is way ahead of a handful of others planted elsewhere in the greenhouse and up in the beds by the house. He’s a trailblazer, this one (he’s also completely overhanging two red bowl salad lettuces!).

Red rock cabbage

Back up at the house before getting to work I stopped to snap a picture of our north-facing small front garden, where our four rhubarb plants are flourishing along with a half-dozen or more kale plants, lots of greens (I’ve been succession planting here quite a lot), and even some beans. In the background are several herbs destined for a new rock garden to the left of the bed seen here.

Small garden in front of house in June

I am absolutely adoring watching the mizuna mustard greens coming into their own; their shape is unbelievably intricate and pretty. I’m also loving having salads daily thanks to the greens planted in a various beds.

Lettuces and mizuna mustard greens

So, all that rhubarb? Well, last night’s strawberry rhubarb cake was a hit; it ended up taking longer to bake than expected, keeping me up past my bedtime, but its texture and flavour are simple and lovely. My mum’s visiting at the moment, so the cake is all but gone. Tonight I made a batch of rhubarb compote, which we’ll have with yogurt, on our oatmeal, and perhaps on something a little fancier too. Got some great ideas for using rhubarb compute from simplebites.net.

And the kale? It was pressed into service as a side dish tonight (sauteed with garlic and olive oil, and garnished with a little bit of cream), and I plan to do a kale-based risotto later in the week. I’m thinking next I might do some kale chips for a creation that will have a bit more longevity than a single meal or two. Oh, and I have to make my favourite Caldo Verde every year without fail, so must get some chorizo into the kitchen.

Just finishing a cup of tea and it’s off to bed, not much sooner than I managed last night.

A cup of green tea with jasmine

4 thoughts on “Of turtles, greenhouses, plants, and all that rhubarb

  1. No turtles in my corner of the country, lucky you! Your greenhouse is looking great! You cook your kale exactly the same we we do – I don’t even remember where I picked up the method, Harrowsmith maybe.

    1. Thank you! It is just such a simple way to do kale or indeed any greens (I love chard!), isn’t it. I love dishes I don’t even have to think about when I’m preparing them too!

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