Pioneering in Paradise

Pickled Spring

It seems like most of North America is a lot closer to summer, while the Avalon is still in early spring mode. That being said, there's a big advantage to this: spring crops can get a second (or third) round before the heat starts. As well, while we may not have had a lot of sun, we've had plenty of rain, which is great for some plants. The question then becomes, what do we do with all the extra? I have one word for you: PICKLING.

A lot of people associate pickling with the fall; beets, cucumbers, late-crop beans and the like. Personally, I think that a lot of spring veggies get even better with a good dose of brine! So, with that, here are a few recipes to capture spring in a bottle of herbs, vinegar and salt.

Asparagus, Photo by Liz West

Asparagus is reaching the end of its season in Eastern parts of Canada, but if you can find some fresh stuff, Pickled Asparagus is a real treat. This recipe, courtesy of (a blog run by a fantastic couple in Toronto) would also work for my favourite pickle in the world, Pickled Garlic Scapes.

Speaking of Pickled Garlic Scapes, Washington's Green Grocer has a very interesting spin on them, including flowers in the final product!

Just about everyone I know has access to at least one rhubrarb plant, which isn't surprising since it grows like a weed! I love the tart flavour of rhubarb, so I'm very curious to try giving it a dose of brine!

And finally, need to clear out some of those turnip greens before they go bad? Why not give try this Pickled Mustard Greens recipe a try? The basic principle would be the same, and you'd have a really interesting side dish for spicy stir fries or BBQ skewers.

Good Things In The Ground

Good Things In The Ground

Hi everyone! Sorry for the rather long hiatus on Pioneering in Paradise, but it's been a crazy month. On the plus side, things have calmed down and I'm happy to report some real progress on some of my projects.

I've built my first potato tower, and planted out 16 seed potatoes. The boards on the outside are 8 inches high, and as the plants start growing up, they will get buried up to the top set of leaves. Since high amounts of nitrogen can cause issues with potatoes, I used a mix of composted sheep manure and black earth as the growing medium, so we'll see how that goes. Since I still have some seed potatoes left, I'll be building a second box, so stay tuned!

Growing In A Potato Box

Growing In A Potato Box

Thanks to the listing from Seeds of Diversity, I was able to locate a gentleman in Newfoundland who has a great deal of experience growing a wide variety of potatoes here. Last week, I recieved by my set of samples from George, and here's what my benefactor told me about the varieties:

Red Dutch: A very dry, yellow flesh red from Holland in the 1940’s. An excellent potato. Late maturing.

Northern White: A white flesh variety, from Quebec apparently, from the early 1900’s. Very high yield. Good taste.