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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Got Lettuce?

by Sadge, at Firesign Farm
A story in our local newspaper the other day told about the lengths a local gardener had gone to in order to protect his plants from marauding birds and critters. I wish I had some way to link to the photos - he'd built a net and plastic pipe "house" over his entire garden. I haven't quite gone to that extreme (but I'm thinking it did look like a good idea), but when your garden is an oasis in a sea of sagebrush and sand it does tend to attract everything in the neighborhood.

This Spring, after quail had eaten all my peas and lettuces down to the ground, I suspended netting over my entire "early" bed and replanted. I'm happy to report that it worked - so well in fact, that I now have a bumper crop of lettuces and greens. I'm enjoying lots of fresh-picked salads and wilted greens side dishes, but I've also discovered a new treat.

I've been making green smoothies. There are lots of specific recipes on the internet (search either "green smoothie" or "raw food") but to generalize just blend a fruit or two (strawberries with a banana are my current favorite, but canned peaches are a close second) with 1/2 cup of water (throw in a few ice cubes too), and then add a couple heaping handfuls of some lettuces or other fresh greens and blend again. Yum! I plan to play with vegetable-based versions too - using canned tomatoes (and a splash of hot sauce?). Either way, I've found green smoothies make a great breakfast treat or mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

12 comments:

lakeviewer said...

What wonderful idea!

Annodear said...

Very interesting!! Green smoothies sound... well, interesting. lol But I *love* greens ~and~ smoothies, so maybe one of these days.

Gotta tell ya tho, I made a nice gazpacho last summer in the blender and one of the kids asked, What's that? A vegetable smoothie?

To which I had to reply, Yes! :-)

linda said...

Canned tomatoes have BPA in them. Use fresh or those found in glass jars.

Sadge said...

Good point, Linda. The peaches, tomatoes, and hot sauce I'm using are those I've grown and canned myself (in glass jars).

livinginalocalzone said...

I haven't jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon, but the greens are definitely a staple these days - mesclun and other lettuces for salad every day in lunch; chard/kale etc. each day in dinner. Some is getting made into a delicious soup with onions and the abundunt garlic scapes and frozen for the winter. I've also been using the young spinach in salads with strawberries and the veg slowly coming into season....

Janis said...

Regarding the netting, we did something similar here in Seattle, Washington, to keep cats and squirrels from digging up our little plants. It worked, and was easy to use by sticking skinny stakes along the edges of the beds, and then suspending the netting down low, and attaching it to the stakes with clothespins. I just moved it up when I weeded and added mulch. Your idea for green smoothies sounds interesting...I'll have to try it. Thanks!

Sadge said...

Thanks for the clothespin tip, Janis! I just draped the netting over the tops of the t-posts, but it's already ripped a small hole over one. I was thinking about putting cans or something on top of the posts to provide a bit more surface area, but using clothespins (duh) sounds much better!

Annodear said...

Clothespins have got to be one of the BEST inventions ever!

Annette said...

What a great idea - the suspended netting and smoothies. I'll have to try a smoothie soon.

Kristen's Raw said...

I LOVE green smoothies. YUM! They're so wonderful for us. :)

Cheers,
Kristen

shelle said...

But where did you get the netting?! We have been searching for netting in CO at both hardware stores and garden centers and no one carries it. We started looking for the large stuff for SFG trellises but in the end we would take any netting...
We had to cage our strawberries from critters but the birds and squirrels have been working together to free our strawberries.

Sadge said...

Hi Shelle,
Originally, I got my netting pieces in various sizes from a local (not chain) garden store here in Nevada. It's made of tough black nylon in 1/2" squares. I reuse one long piece year after year over my seedless grape, winding it around an old Christmas wrapping paper cardboard tube to store. Check Gardeners Supply:
http://www.gardeners.com/Bird-Netting/16319,default,pd.html
or American Netting:
http://www.americannettings.com/