Spinach To Bulk Up My… Pasta Sauce

I’ve been feeling nauseous lately for no particular reason (not pregnant, don’t worry Adam!) and finally felt a twinge of hunger tonight. Not the “I better force down some Vita Brits or vegemite on toast or I’ll faint” hunger that I’ve been feeling, but a “hey, I actually feel like some real food” kind of hunger! In my excitement I rushed to the supermarket to get my go-to “getting over my nausea feeling” food, Latina Fresh Veal Tortellini.

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I thought I better try to hide some vegies in there to make it a slightly more healthy meal (I know, I’m hiding vegies in my own food), so I grabbed some not-so baby spinach and basil from the garden and chopped up some button mushrooms. This also helps bulk up the sauce of this ridiculously expensive packet meal and make it go a bit further.

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The tag on this spinach said baby spinach when I bought it, but I guess it’s only baby spinach if you pick it when it’s a baby, not when it’s the size of your hand like this stuff is. It grows faster than I can eat it! Each leaf seems to double in size every day. Still tastes nice when it’s big though.

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Who knows, maybe my big homegrown spinach which grows like it’s on steroids will bulk up my muscles as well as my pasta sauce :).

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The Next Crop (again)

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I’ve just planted the next crop into vegetable box #1. I’m still amazed how quickly the soil level drops. Thankfully, after the last top up we had a couple of wheelbarrows of 5 way soil left (2 soils, 3 manures) so I didn’t have to buy more soil for this top up. From left to right: leeks, baby spinach, beetroot. I tried to plant the leeks in mounds because I’ve read that this promotes more white growth in the leek, but it didn’t really work. They just started falling over and I ended up pushing the mounds in anyway so they had a bit more solid ground to hold them up. Maybe they need to be bigger first? Or maybe I just needed to persevere a little more. I’ve never grown spinach before but I love baby spinach and use it heaps so I’m excited to see how they turn out. This is my third lot of beetroot. If you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, I love beetroot!

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It’s tricky spreading pea straw over such small seedlings and not burying them with it. This layer is pretty thin so I’ll top it up when the seedlings are a bit bigger.

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I’m still trying to adhere to my crop rotation. Because I seem to have to top up the soil a fair bit each time, plus I give the existing soil a good turn over, I’m not too worried about the details of which family should follow which to get the best nutrient composition of the soil (like planting legumes after brassicas to help replace the nitrogen). Plus, since I don’t have much space for my vegies, I’d prefer to plant the ones I want, rather than one that will help improve the soil. And guess what I noticed as I was turning the soil? I’ve got worms! Lots of them! Finally they came! Clever little wormy’s getting all the way to the top of the vegie boxes!

Question: when I’m turning the soil should I avoid mixing soil between areas that had different vegies in them? Will this just spread pests/diseases throughout my vegie box and defeat the purpose of crop rotation? (not that I’ve had any pests other than caterpillars this time ’round but they’re not exactly hanging out in the soil waiting for the next leafy vegetable).