I’ve been trying my hand at growing some new vegetables in the garden.
These choices have been based on a value for space ratings provided in Joy Larkcom’s excellent and informative ‘Grow Your Own Vegetables’.
One of the vegetables that got a high rating was broccoli raab aka broccoli rabe aka rapini aka cime di rapa . The name ‘cime di rapa’ means ‘turnip tops’ in Italian. I planted about 0.5 sqm around mid March and about 2 months later this is what I got, a sort of raggedy leaf with spindly shoots and florets…
Ideally I think that the plants are supposed to have more of a floret but as they where starting to flower it seemed like a good time to bring them in.
I’ve cooked it twice, once in a pasta and sausage dish and today with a beef stir-fry It tasted good to me, like a sort of Batman broccoli, dark and broody, sort of bitter and complex. I like it and will grow it again though it might be a bit heavy/bitter for some taste.
( broccoli raab = 430g)
For the stir fry I also took the 2nd cut of some stir fry greens after getting about 100g of young leaves for an oriental salad a few weeks ago.
The main thing I couldn’t help noticing about the stir fry greens was how beautiful the leaves are to look at. It seems a shame to eat them.
(370g stir fry greens)
I was out watering the vegetable beds this morning at about 8am, it was so beautiful and peaceful, the closest I’ve had to a ‘quiet time’ in a long time.
Then my sense of peace and contentment is nagged by thinking that it’s all very well for me to watering plants at 8am but if I was a real man I wouldn’t have time for so much gardening, I’d be careering of to a job like my neighbours, I wouldn’t have time for faffing around with mizuna and broccoli raab or writing a blog.
So often I wrestle with God in the garden. It is an odd mixture of guilt and delight, pleasure and pain. What is work? What is a job?
The questions comes thickest in the carrot bed. I’ve weeded that carrot bed so many times already, the weeds keep coming up.I’m aware of the threat of carrot flies. If I’m lucky for hours of work I’ll get 50 about carrots. I can buy a bag of them up at Joyce’s for 39c.Is it worthwhile investing precious hours on growing something which has a combined worth of about €4 according to Joyce’s?
They might be loss leaders or whatever but that nearly makes it worse. Carrots are being treated as a commodity or bait to encourage people to spend their money on other more worthy groceries and good.
In a world where our value and worth to society is measured by the benchmark of money and the Market weeding a carrot bed for 50 carrots throws up questions, questions about what is worthwhile work or who gives value to work, what work should you be engaged in.
Are you crazy or is the world crazy?
Is this just a middle class privilege thing or is their work of true value in growing a turnip?
Turmoil in the turnip patch, serpent in the garden.