Today we put on our gardening gloves and really got a lot done. It felt so good to spend the whole day working in the dirt!
I got the front flower bed all weeded, edged, and topped with fresh topsoil mixed with compost. It looks amazing now. Conan helped by picking up handfuls of the topsoil and putting them back into the wheelbarrow as I worked to spread it all out. It was really cute, he was quite determined that he should put it all back.
I also cleaned up and mulched the bed by the front door. It really needed some work, and still needs some more plants. It's a tough spot - sunny in the winter, shady in the summer, and surprisingly dry because the eves overhang both edges. The rocks are part of a strip we put down (ok, I admit it - I didn't move any rocks myself) a couple months ago all the way around the house to keep the cats from using the dry area under the eves as a litter box. It's working wonderfully and looks great.
I planted a few pansy starts in this bed as well, but Conan helped by picking all the blossoms off the dark blue ones - you can't really tell in the picture, but that's what he's holding in his fist. For some reason he left the white pansy flowers alone. This was after he picked every blooming dandelion flower from the entire lawn, and brought them to me one by one. He's such a sweetie.
We also planted a row of raspberry starts that our neighbors kindly gave to us along the edge of the garden. We got the rototiller that Steve Ripp gave to us fired up and gave the garden a once-over as well. We'll need to add some compost, rake out the weeds, and till it once or twice more before we're ready to plant, but this feels like a great accomplishment.
Conan helped by dumping the dirt out of an old pot and wearing it around as a hat. He definitely needed a bath tonight!
Before we could till up the garden, I had to harvest all the overwintered crops. I got a bucket full of parsnips, a dozen or so small turnips, and a bonanza of spring bunching onions. It took me a full hour to wash, peel and trim all the parsnips and turnips, but they were delicious simply roasted in my largest baking dish. The onions were a bit of a conundrum - what do you do with an armload of green onions? We certainly couldn't use them up the way we usually use green onions, which is as more of a garnish than an ingredient. After thinking on it a while, I decided to make soup. It was easy and it turned out spectacularly, so I'll share the recipe here, in case you happen to have a garden full of overwintered green onions or shallots.
Spring Onion Soup
Clean and trim the onions. Bring 1 qt of vegetable or chicken broth to a boil. Chop the white and light green sections (I had about two cups) and add to the broth. Simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop about 4 cups of the onion greens and set aside. Let the cooked onions and broth cool slightly, then puree in the blender. Add 1/2 cup of yogurt and blend. Pour back into the soup pot. Return to a simmer. Add two tsp lemon juice, the chopped green onions, and a little water if needed. Cook until the green onions are tender, about 5 minutes, salt & pepper to taste, and serve. A little dollop of yogurt on top is a nice touch. Enjoy!