Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Botanical Quiz - Veggie Edition

Welcome back! Today we'll hopefully solve the mysteries of the vegetable garden. Before I sample any of the greenery I've found in there, maybe you fine folks can say, "DON'T EAT THAT!" It would really suck if I ended up trying to nosh on something and Matt comes home to me doing a faceplant erroneous plant.

Many thanks to those of you who either commented or emailed me with some answers to yesterday's plants. I can't wait to see what crops up, and what I can actually grow!

Let's begin.
Absolutely no idea. When in doubt, rip it out. This goes for plants, bad hairstyles, and knitting. Not that I know about the knitting part, but I know some others that read this blog do!
This almost looks like basil to me. But when I ripped off a smelled like nothing. Perhaps it's part of a mesclun salad?
These jobbies, I know these. These are chives. Too bad I don't like chives. But look how happy they are! Who wants to take home some chives?
I was absolutely over the moon to see this plant. This means I don't have to endure 9 months of pregnancy. We can just have a Cabbage Patch kid. Look, it's already cooking away in there! But are cabbage plants supposed to be furry like that?
These guys totally look like lettuce. And as a matter of fact, they're shaped in a very deliberate "L" pattern around the garden, so I know they're supposed to be in there, but what are they? Romaine? Iceberg? Lettuce find out! Yuk yuk yuk.
This guy looks very cool but I don't know if he serves a purpose. He also has a slightly furry/ thick leaf.
Look, here's the same plant, just more of it. I know. Riveting.
And then we have these rocket ship looking things, that also look like they belong in a mesclun salad, but then again, I always think a mesclun salad is just from someone mowing a lawn and putting the clippings on your plate. Hmm.
Now these guys, I have no idea. They're cute though, and nice leaves. Although I did scout something lying nearby that may be a clue, and I nearly ran back into the house in terror:
OH NOOOOOO! Not Brussels Sprouts! Those are just as bad as a weed! Unless anyone wants 'em, you're welcome to them, as long as they don't crowd the beloved tomatoes/ corn/ peppers/ strawberries/ bananas/ grapefruit/ coconuts I plan on growing.

Let the guessing begin!


JayZ said...

Basil has a very strong it's definitely not basil. But you should plant some because homemade pesto is the best! I'm not very good on vegetable plants. If you're not sure, maybe just rip everything out and start fresh.

Hmm, does the thing you think is cabbage smell? It looks like sage leaves to me...but you would be able to smell it. The ones that look like rocket ships could very well be rocket lettuce. See, you have a green knew the name already :-) And brussel sprouts, gross! Tear those out now!

How can you not like chives?! I love them...delicious on a baked potato and I have a chive dip that is yummy with cut veggies! The chives I planted look a little sad but I'm hoping they come back up.

lizzieblue said...

Your chives might be scallions, if they're really as big as that photo makes them out to be! I agree with janelle, the cabbage patch looks an awful lot like sage, but it's tough to tell from a picture... the smell would be pretty strong. You sure do have a lot of different kinds of lettuce! I think they're probably edible if they're in the area designated "vegetable patch" by the previous owner, but if you're worried, rip it out! or take your photos and a leaf or two over to agway and find their greenhouse specialist. There's a woman at cosmo's agway on rt7 near new milford high school named Annie who knows her stuff. But hurry, i hear they're closing because of some complication with the rent/politics/rt7 widening.
PS- brussel spouts don't deserve such a bad rap! roast them with a drizzle of olive oil and they taste a little bit like a nutty, roasted brocolli

Amanda said...

Wow, I'm loving this plant identification thing! These aren't so easy but I'll give it a shot. I don't think these are all vegetables, some are flowers. The first photo looks like a daisy. Second photo not sure. Yes, the third are chives. Next one is lamb's ear. It will grow purple spikey flowers in the summer that attract bees. It spreads like crazy and has very soft, fuzzy leaves. Thus the name. I don't know what the next few are but the rocket ship looking thing is a dandelion! it's a weed unless you're making wine from it! Next one looks like a daisy again. Hope this helps!

Cynthia D said...

I love this new game! It's fun to read what others think this stuff is. I have the most important tip of all...ya ready???


No, just teasing. But some wild mushrooms are fab and very expensive to purchase. In France, one may take a mushroom into a pharmacy, and is told whether the mushroom is edible.

Back to your problem...your chives may be scallions, or dare we hope...ramps? What? You've never heard of ramps? Neither had I until I was in the middle of a cooking class in Paris. After arguing with the instructor, a wonderful cookbook author named Susan Herman Loomis, I learned I was wrong. Roasted or grilled ramps are wonderful. Some French restaurants serve them as a veggie.

As for the poor Brussels Sprouts, I can give you a recipe that will turn you into a Brussels Sprouts Lover, not hate!

The lettuce looks like romaine. And don't be so quick to throw out the dandelions. Gourmet stores, and some regular, sell dandelion greens. Yes, they are edible and quit tasty if one likes the slightly bitter greens.

Have a good everyone!

Cynthia D said...

I tried to say:

Have a good day everyone!!

Alisha said...

The lettuce lookes like Boston lettuce... or bibb lettuce. at least by looking at the leaves I've seen in the grocery store. (Both are super yummy and are like softball sized lettuce balls.

Are those chives? or wild onions/scallions? I thought chives were much darker green and skinnier... I'd think scallions too because the bottoms look like they have a pretty sizeable white bulb.

Will your cabbage patch have a signature on it's hiney? What shall we call him/her?!?

KC said...

Thanks all! This is such fun, I'm enjoying reading everyone's responses! I think I've deduced that the rocket ship leaves are, in fact, dandelions as some of you have said, especially since I spotted more rockets in the front yard. Out they go!

Cyn, Matt would love some mushrooms. And you took a cooking class in Paris? You are so worldly!

Amanda, thanks! I'm so glad you're having fun with it, that's what counts! You can make wine from a dandelion?

Leesh, yes, our kids will all have a signature on their bums. :)

Catherine said...

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the only green thumb near my household is the dude who came this morning with a leaf blower. However, having said that, I have identified something in every picture! That's right...leaves. I cant spot and identify a leaf at 40 feet. All that other green crap? No clue. I'm glad you have other friends who can be useful here.

Catherine said...

That should have been "I can spot a leaf at 40 feet." I'm sleep deprived today.

Aislinn said...

Okay, I'm going with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. I feel a song coming on. No, I did not see rosemary or thyme, but definitely parsley and sage. I don't like brussel sprouts either, so I'd give those to the neighbors. I'd throw them right in their pool, yep, I would.

Cyn, cooking class in France??? Well, Miss Globe Trotter, I took a sponge painting class at Home Depot once. So there!

Cynthia D said...

That's perfect Ais, while I'm in their kitchen cooking up the Brussel sprouts, the dandilion greens, the rabbit that got caught in the pool, etc. You may use your talents to paint their house!

KC said...

I am totally taking a picture of the pool. And hope that my neighbor never looks at my blog.

Arliss said...

It is SO much fun going through these pics, and your comments, AND everyone's posts! You all are a hoot!

Sad to say, I have a perhaps less encouraging view of some of the flora pictured above! I'll just lay it on the line: I'm pretty sure that some of these guys -- the top plant, and the bottom three pics -- are, sadly, what the technical garden folks around here might refer to as "weeds" I know this, because many of these characters in the mug shots above are all too familiar, their relatives having up through the mulch in my flower beds, hoping they won't be noticed, thinking they'll pass themselves off as just another hard-to-identify species that I foolishly wasted money on at the plant store.

The rocket-ship looking one is definitely a variety of dandelion. At the risk of sounding ruthless, this should be pulled up before it goes to seed and makes lots of little friends everywhere you don't want them. The fuzzy one that looks a whole lot like lamb's ear (a lovely and valuable perennial) is actually a wild plant native to this area that grows quite big with a tall, not very pretty spike with some yellow blooms on it in summer.

I'm pretty positive that the chives-looking ones are actually a type of onion (maybe scallions?). I have a big patch of chives, and mine look much skinner than the plants in the pic.

Just so you know, many (most?) vegetables are annuals -- that is, they die off every year and aren't likely to come back up in the spring. Exceptions to this include rhubarb, asparagus, onions and garlics, many herbs. These are perennials (come back year after year). But beans, lettuces, tomatoes, etc. -- most die away and you put in new plants or seeds if you want them the following year. Basil, for example, won't survive a northern winter, so it's unlikely you have any basil coming up.

The cabbage-y looking one definitely looks like a vegetable. ... OK, I just went outside to see what my rhubarb plants (put next to our garage by a previous owner) look like, and the leaves look nearly identical. I'm going to say that's rhubarb. I don't have much use for rhubarb myself, but some folks like to use cut-up rhubarb stems in fruit pies. Don't care for it myself. Important note: Large amounts of rhubarb can be toxic to both humans and other animals when eaten. It can kill goats; I've not read anything about horses eating it. (Maybe they don't like the taste?) Anyway, I'd definitely check out this link about toxicity in rhubarb:

ROFL re the reaction to potential Brussels sprouts! And also re "coconuts"!