Columns

Gardener's Grapevine 2015.07.08

By JO ERBSKORN

I asked my husband Art what I should write about this week. His answer was weeds, weeds, weeds, to which I thought everybody who gardens is guaranteed to want to scream at the very mention of. After the Saturday of the great flood, we all have more than our share of weeds, some in enormous sizes.

Sometime in the past I wrote a column on weeds and some of their origins. A lot of what we think are weeds are actually quite edible and were brought here by early settlers to ensure they had something to eat. Now most people wouldn’t even consider munching on a salad made from them.

This past weekend was the holiday weekend and the usual parade of cars going to the lake went past our house on Main Street starting Thursday night, and going the other way on Sunday. This is a weekly occurrence all spring, summer and fall. We’ve seen it without fail the whole 28 years we’ve lived here. How these people get anything done at home is what I’ve always wondered.

Art and I get very little free time so we decided with all that needed to be done at our house we would stay home this Fourth. Sometimes that is as much fun, if not more, than going away. We worked in the garden and flower beds, painted, had a cookout with the neighbors, enjoyed some porch and deck time in the evenings and mornings, saw the new Jurassic Park movie in 3D and really just enjoyed a quiet, easy weekend.

I love spending the entire day in my flowers. I weeded, fertilized, mulched, pruned and moved a few. The roses got some much needed TLC and I think I heard them sigh.

One thing I’m not saying is, lordy you should have seen the weeds. We filled a trailer the size of a small car. However, our corn has rebounded nicely and is doing well. I thought it was a loss for sure, but as long as we don’t care about the shape of the stalks, we are in business. Apparently when the wind blew it over, it did not stand totally back up, it just started growing upward. So the stalks are L-shaped. We have ears on the stalks and they are doing well. Art stood the small stalks back up once the flood water receded and they also took. I have to admit, I never thought any of it would make it. The beans bushed back up after being flattened by the pounding rain and the peas have gone crazy with the rain and cooler weather.

Last weekend Art and I drove our son Nick back to East Lansing to college. There is a wonderful farm market type store called Horocks there. Horocks is a farm market on steroids. There is fresh produce, unique groceries and beer, wine, coffee and tea from all over the world. There is a meat market, cheese haus, gardening center, greenhouse and florist.

I was looking at eggplants at Horocks when a lady came up and picked up indian eggplants. They are small like oversized golf balls. I asked her what she did with them and what they tasted like. She said she slices them thin, puts them in a skillet with onion and other veggies and sautés them with some olive oil. I bought one of each and sautéed them with the fresh sugar snap ​peas from our garden. All I can say is they were yummy and I’m buying more next time I go.

I never mind trying new produce, I just need to know how to prepare them. I’ve learned that if you just ask, people are more than willing to tell you how they use them. By adding these little eggplants, we found another great way to eat our peas.