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We usually have helpful friends come lend a hand in the garden, but we’ve had too many unwelcome “visitors” this year. Here’s a few on our most wanted list:

Gopher: at first we thought it was a giant snake hole. A snake would have actually been helpful. Grrrrr. He defies my anger with his cuteness. Here he is on his front porch: my radish patch.

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Deer: they have to walk through an entire field of alfalfa to get to our garden, yet they decide to postpone their munchies and wait to eat the lettuce, corn and peppers – especially the peppers.

(I hope a picture isn’t necessary here)

Cucumber beetles: these are big problems. We will probably not have any melons this year because of these pests. They eat the leaves AND the roots!!!!! This is when I really wish I could just douse the garden with pesticides.

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Monster caterpillars: these are more amazing than problematic, but they could easily become a big problem. They are eating machines, and so far I have only seen them eat a certain weed. That’s a really good thing, but I’m just not sure they would stop at weeds. I’m pretty sure they will eat everything they can get to. And the site I read (Bug Eric has great info!) said that the momma moth can lay 500 eggs at a time, which would mean A LOT of “very hungry caterpillars”. It’s hard to get a sense of the size of these caterpillars from the pictures here. This one was about 5 inches long and as fat as my thumb, which isn’t visible to you, but is, I think, a normal “fatness”. Here’s a photo of his whole body and another one a little closer so you can see him using his baby t-rex arms to eat — awwww!

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I will neither excuse nor apologize for my long hiatus. The past is behind us. Here’s a new post, dedicated to Mary Lou Lauritzen!! Thank you for your encouragement to keep posting :)!

Radishes are so lovely and colourful, a perfect way to forget a cold colourless winter. But… what to do with radishes? I checked out NPR’s Splendid Table and they had a few suggestions. I tried the recommended pairing with cocktails without hesitation, but found it too salty for me. I haven’t tried the sauté she recommends, but while eating the last few jars of last year’s pickles, I thought pickled radishes sounded really good! I wanted to use my mother-in-law, Lynda’s, usual pail-pickle recipe, but in a seasonal-eating epiphany akin to when you first realize that peas and carrots CANNOT sit on a plate together, I realized that people probably started using dill and garlic in their pickles because it is available at the same time as cucumbers…. which is long after radishes are used up and gone. So, I tried a dill-less recipe I found online here: http://gardentherapy.ca/pickled-radishes/

Thankfully, Lynda found some of our garlic from last year patiently waiting on top of her fridge for just the right recipe. We generously unleashed our experiment on a large family reunion gathering of Lundgrens. It seemed everyone enjoyed the opportunity to try something new, but I don’t think anyone walked away thinking it was their new favourite relish.

I’m holding onto a gallon or so of fresh radishes, hoping they will last until I can get some fresh dill. I will update with the outcome.

An even better way to use them up, in my opinion, is in the traditional “cowboy caviar” as some call it. That recipe calls for black beans, red onion, corn and green bell pepper. I kept the same colour palette by substituting red radishes and (*gasp*) store-bought celery, and it was great!!!

 

radish bunch