WARNING: This video is NSFW and definitely not something you want to watch if you are offended by the swears. The foraging woman in this video goes off something fierce.
I’ve had some strange experiences gardening in a public space, a handful of which I documented on this website (here’s one that comes to mind), but I’d say that this probably tops them and then some. In case you don’t want to watch the video I will provide context. A rhubarb plant has grown beyond the borders of a backyard garden (as rhubarb often does) and has spilled out into public land beyond the fence line. The owner (or her daughter?) confronts a woman that she finds harvesting from the plant. Chaos and a very heated exchange that includes colourful, if not downright creative name-calling ensues.
I’ve been sick with a virus this last week, hence the lack of posting. As it is hard to do much when you are laid up in bed with the plague, I spent much of my quarantine watching historical re-creation reality shows on YouTube. It began with a re-watch of my favourite show in this genre, Tales From the Green Valley and spiralled into a marathon viewing of every one that I could find online: The 1900 House, The 1940s House, and Coal House at War. I even made my way through the less educational and more socially dramatic American programs Frontier House and Texas Ranch House.
Unfortunately, these shows (other than Tales of the Green Valley) are disappointing in their lack of information, re-creation, or experimentation with historical garden practices. I would have loved to have seen the people of the “Texas Ranch House” using the garden that was provided for them and exploring the wild edible possibilities in the landscape around them. There are a few shows that do delve into gardening and kitchen gardening more specifically. The Victorian Kitchen Garden is one that I have enjoyed in the past. Also in this series are The Victorian Kitchen, The Wartime Kitchen Garden and The Victorian Flower Garden that I am yet to watch in full.
My fermenting obsession continues to play out at a fever pitch. The honey wine is kicking ass and I just purchased 4lbs of parsnips from the farmers’ market with a loose plan to make parsnip wine. The book, (“Country Wines” 1953) speaks very highly of this particular brew.
Thanks to Paula, who sent me a link to the video (above) featuring Alex Hozven, the proprietor of a pickling business called The Cultured Pickle Shop, in Berkeley, CA (How many more reasons do I need to get my butt out to Berkeley?). Her enthusiasm is infectious and her ideas… Let me put it this way: fermentation is a great, wild world and I am only just barely beginning to scratch its surface.
Photo of me in my community garden taken by Davin Risk.
Spigarello aka Spigariello is an old Italian heirloom leafy green that I grew last year. Some refer to it as broccoli rabe and others call it “leaf broccoli.” Both descriptions are apt. I’d put it somewhere between kale and broccoli.
The plant grows just like kale, but produces small broccoli-like florets late in the season. Every part of the plant is edible and tastes like broccoli. The new growth is tender enough to eat raw right off the plant. I sometimes munched on it as I worked. Continue reading →