Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Who is eating my Arugala?

Gardeners have been experiencing very unusual and unpredictable weather lately. In my own Central Florida garden, my Christmas Cactus photographed at Christmas/late December 2010 is just beginning to bloom. This plant typically in past years has been as predictable as the best calender, displaying it's showy flowers, as a gift, just in time for Christmas day. We were caught with little warning in mid December with a "hard frost" for two consecutive nights killing off and browning up plants, gardens and even turf. Floridians like myself are not used to this and as a gardener, I find this to be just so invasive of nature to just wipe out with one swoop my beloved garden. Below is what was left of my "edible garden".


As I moped about, surveying the damage, I did discover buried way in the back of my yard in a very often not explored spot, a Bromeliad in bloom. Was this a sign that Mother Nature was attempting to win back some of my lost admiration and wonderment?


So, after looking at my edible garden disaster for several weeks , as long as I could possibly endure this, I did break down and pull everything out and replanted. Ah a new fresh start. I planted all the "winter or cold weather" veggies that could survive another hard freeze. I planted several varieties of lettuce, celery, broccoli, cabbage-green and red, brussel sprouts, kale, beets and probably some additional veggies that I just did not think of now, in addition to many herbs in portable pots, that can be moved under cover in severe or freezing weather.


So here are my new little sprouts proudly doing what I expect of them. And I do check them several times a day. Even my kale and beets are coming up from seeds. My raised beds measure 4 foot X 6 foot, and were easily made by cutting 2 pressure treated boards in half, originally 12 foot and 8 foot. A drill and and some special screws and I have my raised beds to house my edible garden and I control the growinng soil. Yes, since the new planting, we had several additional evenings with a hard freeze and I just cover my raised beds with a full size fitted sheet....really easy. I would like to take the credit that I thought this out and planned it accordingly, but cannot. This worked out quite by accident!




This morning, I noticed that my Arugula was ready for harvest. There is nothing like going out to the garden to pick fresh produce for dinner. I immediately got on the Internet and found a recipe for Cape Cod Chopped Salad which looked very yummy, and proceeded to go outside with my basket and clippers to pick my Arugula. But.......it was all gone! Chewed down to just nubs. Who is eating my Arugula? What furry little critter is getting the benefit of all my work? First the weather then the critters.....

By the way, I will mention for any of you Vegitarians out there, I am sure this salad would still be yummy with the bacon left off!


Obviously the photo above of the Arugala is not from my garden. I have decided to just be patient and wait for my crop to regrow, which it will....and I will get to it first.


If you are not familiar with Arugula, it is a spicy little leaf, which some describe as bitter and others characterize as having a "peppery-mustardy" flavor. Because it is so potent on its own, it is often mixed with milder greens to produce a nice balanced salad. It can also be sauteed in olive oil. You can substitute most any green for arugula, but the closest matches are Belgian endive, escarole, and dandelion greens.


In the meantime, while I wait, I will admire my Orchid which is in full bloom and fills my kitchen with the sweetest aroma. But, I could not help to think that what I have experienced in my garden is probably how one would feel when they go to the refrigerator for a glass of milk and find a milk container empty!!!

1 comment:

Permission to Mother said...

What a difference before and after.
My arugula is doing well. I have had dandelion, endive and escarole. Arugula is my favorite for salad.