April Eating and Gardening

Spring has been wonderfully early here in Southern Ontario and most people feel that we are about 3 weeks ahead of schedule in the garden.  It is still a challenging time to eat seasonally but I do find that there is a surprising amount of food, one just has to be creative.

Here is a list of what I have available to me

  • carrots, onions, garlic, and potatoes in my root cellar
  • one last butternut squash
  • mung bean and alfalfa sprouts in jars on my counter
  • sorrel, chives and garlic chives in my herb bed
  • kale and green onions in the garden -  I plant about 12 bunches of green onions in August specifically to leave in the ground over the winter, they survive almost every year without any special care.  Kale always comes back as small leaves on the larger plants that were in the garden in the fall.
  • Spinach in the garden – last August I planted an 8 x 4 foot bed of spinach and harvested it throughout the fall.  I made sure that I left 5 or 6 leaves on each plant in November and then covered it with about 6″ of straw.  This spring about 2/3 of the bed had survived and I have been eating spinach salads for about a week now.
  • Garlic in the garden – I always plant about 50 cloves of garlic in the fall specifically for spring eating.  They too are mulched with straw in November/December and most of them survive.  This garlic I eat like a green onion, harvesting the whole shoot when it is about 8-10″ tall.
  • Buckwheat and Sunflower seed sprouts that I make in trays of soil and grow under lights or in a sunny window.  These sprouts do require soaking and are then broadcast in about 1/2″ of soil.  (See the March chapter of From Seed to Table for detailed instructions).
  • Jerusalem Artichokes in the garden

So, that is the list.  So far this month we have enjoyed baked squash, raw carrots, Jerusalem Artichoke and Potato Soup, Pasta with garlic, green garlic, and chives, stir fries with carrots, onions, and mung bean sprouts, egg salad sandwiches with alfalfa sprouts, spinach and sunflower sprout salads with hardboiled eggs, feta, mushrooms, and/or toasted sunflower seeds,  fish in a wonderful sorrel sauce, Vietnamese Fresh Rolls with buckwheat sprouts, julienned carrots, and chives  – a new invention and very yummy, and lots of mixed bean salads with red onions, chives, garlic, and garlic chives.  I seem to have problems getting to the kale!  When I finish writing this blog I am heading out for some wild leeks for this weekend’s supper.

If you are planting a garden, there are many things that can go in in April.  Green onions, more green garlic, radishes, peas – shell, snow, and sugar snap, salad greens, lettuce, spinach, and beets all can be planted and don’t mind a few frosty nights.  I like to start green onions, lettuce, spinach and beets in flats indoors in mid March so I get a head start on the growing season.  The other way that I speed up my harvest is to cover my April planting with a layer of floating row cover.  This cover is available from Seed catalogues and will warm your soil up by about 4 degrees celcius.  I find it works better than a cold frame and speeds up my harvest by about 3 weeks.  Nothing grows quickly in cool soils!  Around now I like to start another flat of lettuce, endive, beets, fennel, and green onions to be planted in the garden mid May.

So surprisingly lots to eat and a few hours worth of planting for April – all in all a great month!

Comments are closed.