Friday, February 8, 2008

What's growing?

Recently, I was poking around the yard to see how things were growing. We have a lot of work to do! We're down to only 2 boxes upstairs so we're almost completely settled indoors so now it's time to focus outdoors. I took a few pics along the way.

Here are some more lemons! I picked a ton in the fall and to my pleasure, more are growing! Amazing!

Fresh mint.( Diosmo) I still don't have a lot of uses for it but I will definitely find some. It's often an ingredient in yemista (stuffed peppers) but I usually leave it out when I make them. I think that fresh mint might taste much better in a mojito! Oh, and it releases a heavenly aroma after the rain, just heavenly.

Garlic and onions. I planted the bulbs back in October. As the onions were first growing it was great to go to the garden for the fresh greens. They're well past that point so now we're waiting for the onion bulb to grow.

Romaine!(Marouli) One of my favorite greens. I planted the seeds in November. This batch seems to be growing slow. Apparently, it's time to plant more seeds for the next round.

Spinach,(spanaki) my all time favorite green. I planted the seeds in November along with the romaine. I love going to the garden for my spinach.

Parsley.(Maidano) I use it almost daily in everything from salads to main dishes. I planted this batch but there is plenty growing randomly around the property.

Arugula. (Roca) I thought that these were just more green weeds until my neighbor pointed out that it was argula. It's growing right near our back porch so I didn't think anything of it. What an awesome discovery! I've noticed that Gigi likes to snack on it as well.

There is also fresh dill and horta( veggie greens, nettles, dandelion greens etc). I won't eat HORTA though. I capitalized the letters because MIL keeps insisting that I don't know what I'm missing. When she talks about horta she usually refers to dandelion greens. The greens are usually boiled and served with olive oil and lemon juice. First things first- to me, dandelions are a weed that I've spent my life trying to keep out of my yard. They've made me miserable every spring due to my allergies. Second, I don't like cooked greens. I love fresh spinach and the only way that I can eat it cooked is if it is in something like spinach pie, not on its own, no way. It's too slimy.

Some other things I have going on here include oregano, a flamouri tree(sage) and a daphne tree (bay leaves). Hopefully we can save a lot of money on groceries this summer.

I've gone from a city slicker who was used to container gardening to city slicker that's in the boonies trying to figure out how to really garden with lots of space to do it. Who would have ever thunk it?


  1. Wow - what a beautiful sight! And great photos, too! Any cilantro? I manage to get a bit every year in the Spring but it really doesn't do too well in boxes on the balcony. Let's hope that by this time next year we'll have a little space for greenies too - otherwise we'll come over to you guys and raid the garden a la Peter Rabbit!!

  2. I have to agree about the dandelions, but we used to get a curly kind of horta from the mountains which didn't get slimy. Yum yum.

  3. Ado, thanks! I know, fresh is beautiful isn't it? I haven't planted the cilantro seeds yet. We'll plant them in a few weeks. We have to prepare the garden first and then I'll have everything growing I hope.
    I also hope that you are able to get your own green space by next year, you deserve it. You are welcome to raid my garden now if you want!

    Syd, I wonder what that curly horta was, I'm willing to try anything. Who knows, I may have something like it here, I just haven't noticed. MIL fills bags and bags of horta over here so who knows what other things she's picking up. I'll keep my eyes open.

  4. Sorry, I don't know it's name. I do know that generally, it was expensive and not one of the horta people picked in one another's yards. You could only get it at the grocery or the fruit/veggie market. I was told by an entirely unreliable source that it grew only under the bushes in the mountains.

  5. Just tried leaving a comment and it disappeared. Let's try again.

    A very awesome and enviable post, something a city dweller like me can never have unless my 18-month push for a move to a proper house comes true. Speaking as a cook, you have everything I'd want in the way of vegies, fruit and herbs. Just great!

    I think horta is an acquired taste, and it has to be done right. I hated it for years because it was boiled beyond recognition and drenched in too much olive oil, but done right it can be good and I'm usually the one ordering it nowadays.

    May I make a suggestion about spanaki? You can disregard if you like, but you're right in saying it's slimy if boiled or overcooked. If done in a frying pan on med heat with a bit of olive oil and the leaves still wet, it retains all of its vitamins, cooks in a few minutes and can be removed with tongs. I add a sprinkle of sea salt and crushed garlic to the pan for flavor. Result is bright green cooked spinach that's still firm, no leftover juice or discoloration.

    I agree that the mint should be used for mojitos. Forget the gemista! :)

  6. Btw, there are a lot of different kinds of horta, as you know. But I'm told the curly kind is called vlita. You can ask Kosta if that sounds right to him. We can get it at the laiki here in Athens, as it's quite common, though I don't assume that's true everywhere.

  7. Syd-I've notice some curly-type horta in the yard, but I haven't seen it anywhere else. I hope to go to the laiki tomorrow so I'll check there. It wouldn't hurt me to eat better!

    Kat-Hey you! Thanks for the compliments! As for the yard, I know, a lot of people love what's going on over here and think that I'm wasting a lot. I'm not though, I use the arugula regularly, the little spinach that I have and more. I've been baking my little heart out with all kinds of lemon recipes and I LOVE running outside to grab bay leaves off the tree just before I pop them into a pot of fakes. As I may have mentioned before, I used to have a container garden in the city so this is a slice of paradise for me.
    I will definitley try your suggestion for cooked spinach and let you know what I think, thanks for the suggestion. Who knows...maybe I'll even try dandelions one day...??? But, not too soon!
    Oh, and like I told Syd, I will check the market for vlita avrio so I can possibly see if it is, in fact, what we have growing here. ?

  8. What wonderful photos! Identifying horta has been a real challenge for me. I have some photos posted from the market and the garden, but even though I've been in Greece for just about 40 years, I mix them up all the time.

    I'm sure you'll find a million uses for the mint other than gemista, if that's not your preference. I put it in cheese pies, in watermelon soup (a delight), in oven casseroles, croquettes... and it looks as though you have enough for any/all of that AND mojitos!

  9. Nancy, welcome to my blog! Thank you for the link to your photos. I've often visited your site for tips and ideas, you have a great thing going on there!
    About the mint, I will find more uses for it. I have it in the garden as well as in the front flower beds, but I may be taking some out of there to plant more flowers. I'll visit your site for great mint ideas. Thanks again!

  10. Thank you for the warm welcome! I've lurked in the past... grin... and it's nice to "meet" others who are living here trying to figure it all out.

  11. Nancy-You're welcome and you've hit the nail on the head..."trying to figure it all out". It's definitely a challenge!

  12. I mentioned your blog today in my front page piece about winter greens. Hope others enjoy your writing and photos as I do.

  13. Thank you Nancy, that was really nice.