June 18, 2009

Guess Who Likes Beet Greens?

When one grows one's own food, one tends to get a bit more careful about what one discards when preparing said food.

Let's take beets.

A little background...I have been trying to grow beets for three years now. Each year, I have planted at least two rows (usually four or five) of a couple of varieties of beets. Out of a cumulative 100-plus row feet of beets, mother nature blesses me (in a good year) with maybe one meal's worth of beets per season, i.e., about six beets.

This year was different. I planted only two rows in a new spot, added loads of compost, a little boron (which, I found out, beets need) and was pleasantly surprised to get a meal's worth about two weeks ago with the promise of a few more meals left in the rows for subsequent weeks.

Don't get me wrong, the rows were by no means full of beets, but they were exponentially better than in any prior year.

But back to the greens.

We brought home that beautiful, first, beet harvest. As I contemplated cutting off and discarding the greens that I had waited three years for, I felt a little silly. Why throw these beautiful greens away? So, I cleaned them up and sautéed them up with a little garlic, salt and red onion. I placed them as a bed under fresh tomatoes and herbs and grated parmesan cheese on top. Much to my surprise, everyone really liked the addition to the salad! Even my Mom commented that she really enjoyed the greens. I was thrilled.

So, you can imagine my utter dismay when, upon arriving at the farm last Tuesday evening, two large female deer were leisurely grazing INSIDE MY GARDEN. Apparently, a storm had damaged the fence and they were able to get in. Even worse, however, is that they evinced a particular fondness for the beet greens. Up and down the two rows of beets, all that remained were half-eaten beets and deer hoofprints.

Balance was maintained in the universe, I suppose. I had my one meal's worth of beets yet again this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment