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In search of greens

By Penny Stine

For the past couple of months, my husband and I have been drinking smoothies for breakfast. My rule of thumb is to combine at least three different veggies and three different types of fruit. Boy, does that make it easy to get your daily recommended dose of fruits and veggies!
I almost always try to add something green, like spinach, kale, Swiss chard or beet greens. I do it for the nutritional content, not for the color. I've discovered when you add green leafy veggies, toss in a carrot or some cucumber, then add strawberries, frozen pie cherries or any other red fruit, you get a really yucky-looking smoothie. Tastes good, it just looks bad.

Today's smoothie actually had amaranth leaves instead of something green. I was hoping the red leaves, combined with carrots, sweet red peppers, strawberries, grapes and a banana would make it an appetizing color. I don't think it did, but we drank it regardless.  It tasted just fine. 


I've been able to use greens from my garden since about the middle of April, which has saved me a fair amount of money. It's also made me want to find more greens that will grow here in the heat, since my spinach now looks like this. I've got kale growing, but I'm on a quest to find something else, too. 







Which led me to this. No, this is not a glass of red wine, it's a glass that had red malabar spinach seeds soaking in water overnight.I planted some red malabar spinach seeds a few weeks ago, but so far, I don't think any have sprouted. Being the impatient gardener that I am, I ordered more seeds. After planting the first seeds a few weeks ago, I read that the germination rate is better if you soak the seeds overnight before planting. So I did. I'll probably have it coming up all over the place. 




While I was planting the seeds (which were nice and swollen, about twice as big as were when dry) I noticed this. It could be a weed. It could also be a tiny seedling of red malabar, since I have no idea what they look like. 

All in all, it's shaping up to be a fine gardening mystery. The malabar is supposed to have bright red stems and brilliant green leaves. No telling what that will do to the color of my morning smoothie. 






I've been pulling amaranth in multiple places, trying not to let it have the run of any of my gardens, flowerpots or planting beds. I thinned the ones in this plot, but decided to let them grow as big as they wanted. The bed also has some rhubarb I recently transplanted, asparagus, winter squash and a trellis with green beans and malabar spinach, so I figured it would look very interesting in another month or two. Oh yeah, it also has a nice patch of grass, but we'll just ignore that. 



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