“Three Simple Steps for Planting a Chaos Garden”.
This was the title of the article I read online. The basic idea is to mix all your vegetable & flower seeds together, scatter them around your garden “and then sit back and see what happens … You might find that you end up with far more produce for the effort invested than if you took the time to form perfect beds and plant everything in tidy rows.”
I guess you might.
I guess you might also end up with a weedy mess & very few vegetables!
I found the article funny – but also annoying. While we all like to get great results without much effort, life doesn’t often work that way. Certainly farming does not! (though of course we continually strive to find better & easier ways to grow our crops).
But the chaos part we can identify with. Chaos happens!
Here’s our herb garden …
If it looks like weeds & thistles, that’s because it is! Most of the herbs didn’t survive the winter. (The loss of all our 50+ lavender plants hurts the most.) While we waited to see if they were merely late in springing to life, the weeds took over. Chaos indeed! And it’s right beside the road so everyone passing by can see. This week finally we dug out the few survivors and then sprayed a herbicide on everything else. I guess that makes us guilty of wanting good (and quick) results without much work, but it seemed the best solution (and one we rarely choose). Shortly we’ll mow everything down & plant a cover crop for the summer to smother weeds & improve the soil. By next spring we can plant vegetables here again.
Our other chaotic herb garden. But because it’s hidden behind the lilacs & golden hop trellis, it doesn’t stand out. You might say that this bed was made according to the article – we just planted a bunch of different herbs and let them grow. The angelica and bronze fennel were the bullies and outgrew everything else (except for the weeds again).
Two other examples of chaos on our farm. Along the railroad tracks …
… and the berm surrounding our pond.
But mostly we keep the chaos in check!
The kale from last year is now blooming – bright yellow & chaotic, but in a good way!
Tomatoes are all planted and we’ve started to mulch them.
Beautiful lettuce for our CSA shares this week.
What’s in the box?
Lettuce mix, bok choy, spinach, arugula, radishes, green onions, rhubarb.
- The lettuce mix, spinach, bok choy & arugula have all been rinsed once to remove any field dirt. You will probably want to wash them again before eating. Store them in the plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will usually last about a week.
- The lettuce is a mix of different colours & kinds of lettuce. It is not only beautiful, but delicious too!
- We always pick our greens the morning of CSA pick-up day (or the day before the farmers’ market) so they are fresh. This means the spinach might be baby spinach, or sometimes bigger leaves – depends on how the weather has been. Tomorrow’s spinach will probably have smaller leaves than Friday’s. It all tastes great though!
- Bok choy is a great Asian vegetable. It can be added to your salad and eaten raw, but most often is sautéed or stir fried. We like to cook some garlic or onion in a bit of oil (olive or sesame) for a couple of minutes, then add the bok choy and continue cooking until it is wilted & still bright green – around 5 minutes or less. Every year we try different kinds of bok choy – white & green, small & mini, tight heads or looser heads. Some prefer hot weather while others like it cooler. But all of them react to big temperature swings and can bolt & go to flower in a day or two. Needless to say we have a lot in flower already this spring season. The flowers are totally edible, so be sure to use them if some show up in the bag.
- If you are not familiar with arugula, then you’re in for a surprise. Arugula is quite spicy! It is one of the most popular crops at our farmers’ markets. People absolutely love it! Some eat it in a salad (with strawberries, feta cheese & a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette) while others mix it with lettuce or other greens. It’s also great in sandwiches.
- Radishes also can have a bit of a bite. Enjoy them in your salad with the lettuce, spinach, arugula …
- The first onions of the season are green onions, also called bunching onions or scallions. Eat everything – the green leaves & the small, bottom white bulb.
- There should be enough rhubarb in your box to make a pie. Or almost as good, and way easier & faster, make a rhubarb crisp or crumble. We also enjoy stewed rhubarb. Chop rhubarb and cook in a saucepan with a bit of water until tender. Add sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup) to taste. We sometimes add apples or other fruit to cut the tartness of the rhubarb. Delicious on it’s own or poured over ice cream, pudding or custard.
We’re excited to see everyone this week at the first CSA pick-up of the season!