I am pleased to announce that the the new growing season is underway. To be honest, more than a few dedicated volunteers have been working since February to help plan, order seeds, design projects, and help raise seedlings for this season. I know many of you know me as an escort working in Sin City, so you probably just assume I’d never be involved in something like gardening (Vegas, the desert? An escort, who gardens?). I get it. But you’re off base here.
If you are like me, the season doesn’t “really” start until you come to work and notice the bits of dirt that you missed under your fingernails — the true sign of spring in my books.
Last Saturday was our first work day out in the garden and we managed to prep all the beds, spread compost over a few, plant a few (kale, arugula, and spinach) as well as start the winter squash and cucumber seedlings. Not bad for about four hours of work! We are way ahead of the game this year, and if the weather cooperates we should be eating fresh greens and peas in the next couple of months — which is nice because I am about sick of root veg.
There are a few major changes to my Vegas garden this year which I will detail in a later post (namely we will not be selling produce via the rec harvesting program for a number of reasons). We will however be continuing to donate our abundance to local charities/community groups.
As for the new/experimental crops this year, we are trying our hand at some grains (kamut, wheat, quinoa), lentils, lovage, and eggplant (in the greenhouse). The usual favorites will be present as always including multiple varieties of the following: carrots, beans (bush, pole, favas), beets, potatoes, lettuce, ground cherries, parsnips, cucumbers, winter squash, summer squash, and sunflowers. Oh and the tomatoes — can’t forget the tomatoes — again all heirloom varieties raised from seed (Black Krim, Stupice, Native Sun, Chocolate Cheery, Orange Heirloom, and Milka’s Red Bulgarian to name a few).
For any of you guys reading this, if you travel on over to Vegas (and I know you do), look me up. Book me for a longer date and maybe I’ll even invite you over and fix you a great salad from my garden. Now wouldn’t that be a story to tell your bros? You date with a Vegas call girl included dinner at her place! One of the problems with planting such a diversity of crops is that, inevitably, there are a few prized items that are far too scarce to go around. It’s even worse when the item in question is highly seasonable. Worse still when said item is largely unavailable in the grocery store and/or farmers market.
So it is with much hesitation that I introduce the garlic scape to the readers of this blog.
Garlic scape is not a vegetable/herb in and of itself, but rather the growing/flowering stem of the garlic plant. Before it actually blooms, the pig-tail shaped flower and stem are harvestable, edible, and extremely delicious. The added benefit to the garlic plant is that without a flowering end, all the energy concentrates in the bulb/root, resulting in larger garlic bulbs in the fall!
The lasvegas.com site says that there are many different ways to use garlic scape in cooking. So far I am partial to using it as the main ingredient in a pesto (e.g. substitute garlic scape for basil and garlic in your favourite pesto recipe). More details can be found in this post.
I had it last night and it was Damn Good if I don’t mind saying so myself! There are a few more of these beauties left at my place, so you might want to get a few while they are still around! I have already harvested more than my fair share for the year, but am naively hopeful that no one reads this and I get a second helping. I am a selfish man after all!