Something has been eating my collards and leaving behind tiny holes. The entire crop will be wasted if I can't figure out how to stop this from occurring or find a cooking method that makes me comfortable that the food has been sufficiently disinfected, yet nutritional value retained. Any suggestions?
My preferred recipe has been, up to this point in time, to lightly sauté the julienned greens in extra virgin olive oil, add some diced garlic and sauté a little bit more.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
Holly from Richardson, TX
Howdy from east texas Farmers and kitchen gardeners have dealt with this problem for thousands of years. Bugs eating little bits of your greens/produce is to be expected and will not harm you.
One suggestion... go out daily, or several times a day and spray your plants with a weak solution of soap 'n water and hope it doesn't 'drown' your plants. By hand, pick off all the bugs you find; to your garden, attract frogs or other critters who eat lots of bugs; apply screening over all your plants, making sure there are no openings large enough to allow in a bug; erect a greenhouse and keep it tightly closed then grow your produce inside it.
Now to prepare your greens... rinse them in ordinary water, letting them soak up to 30 minutes so the soil can fall to the bottom of your sink/bowl (this will also 'perk up' greens already wilting). You can add a little baking soda or salt to the wash water letting it set for 10+ minutes. Alternately you could make your own vegetable spray to wash your greens hygenically... natural ingredients of vinegar and lemon juice are perfect; leave this on your vegies 10-15 minutes to kill germs found in most gardens which are not fertilized by human waste or uncured farm animal manure.
To cook... use ordinary tap or bottled water; bring it to boil... germs are killed by boiling water after 5-10 minutes just like you'd sanitize questionable drinking water.
In spite of all this... if you don't pinch out the parts where the bug ate its hole, know that eating vegetables w/insect bite marks will not harm you. People have been living with this problem since time began.
Those who have gardened a season or so will become more confident in their abilities. They rinse the produce in ordinary tap water to remove the dirt, then either eat it fresh or place it in water to boil. Season to taste. Drain when your vegies wilt to your preference.
Now, after writing all that... Relax. Your current cooking method is fine. Now you just know a few alternatives.
...signed a former non-gardener who once had questions like you :o) (04/26/2006)
Thanks for those suggestions, gator10tx! (04/26/2006)
If these are slugs, small snails without shells, you can get a control on them with a natural substance they won't cross.....sand. My hostas are holeless since learning this trick and all it took was a bag of children's sandbox sand from a local store. Pour it around the base of the stems and extend it several inches either side of the row of the stems. (04/28/2006)
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