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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

The sadness of garden greens in winter.

In Gardening, Hand-made life on February 6, 2013 at 13:14

As autmn began I started to plan putting the garden to bed. Autumn came and went, winter set in and still the garden was not fully tucked in to bed. The mustard greens that I had let go to seed with the intention of using said seeds to make mustard powder slowly fell to the ground and started to sprout. The broccoli rabe that had not really matured during the summer had continued to attempt to grow. The kale grew on, the garlic I planted too late last season began to sprout and the buckwheat I planned for the chickens emerged from the ground. We are having a very mild winter.
A few weeks ago I started to look through the seed catalogs and decided that with what we had still growing and seeds we saved from last year, we wound attempt to just plant what we have and see how it went. Then the garden massacre happened.
Due to miscommunication (I am being nice), some workers our landlord hired to cut down a tree “weeded” the yard. Because no one was around to tell them what was a weed and what was food and I suppose assuming that nothing grows in the winter, the lovely (I am being nice) workers proceeded to rip up every green thing emerging from the ground and remove the first inch of top soil cleaning up. The mustard greens were gone, the kale gone, the buckwheat gone. Half of the garlic remained but because they had removed so much soil most of them now stood naked above ground, their roots exposed. I later found out that they had ripped up all 4 kinds of mint we had growing, and as if to add insult to injury after they had made bare our raised beds they trampled through them to remove the cut down bits of tree from the yard. (Footprints don’t lie).
I have been feeling sorry for myself garden wise since then. I know it’s still early and there is plenty of time to plant most things again. I just really want to yell at someone for this but that won’t happen. So I shall start planning my spring garden as if nothing happened and look forward to eating those first greens.

A week of firsts.

In garden, Gardening, Grain mill, Hand-made life, photos on July 22, 2012 at 22:13

I sent Ben up to the top of the tallest ladder we have. He came down with about 16lbs of cherry plums.We also harvested the first two sacks of our potatoes this weekend. While we did get 3.5lbs, i have to admit that i expecting tons of potatoes. I think i planted too many seed potatoes into each sack. But we shall enjoy what we grew and we now know better for next year.

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The potato harvest brought with it our first meal made entirely of food from our back yard.

Potato fritatta with some baby onions, and the last of the peas sauteed in their pods.

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Also from this weeks kitchen:

zucchini onion corn fritters, with potato salad and broccoli

zuchinni corn brocoli onion fritters

And with my lasted thrift store score ( a nearly new ice cream maker) Spice cream! ( cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg soy milk ice cream) and gingerbread cookies made from spelt ground in our bike mill.

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This was my first try at ice cream. I couldn’t find a recipe that had things in it that i wanted, or ingredients we had in the house so i made one up. Next time i will add less sugar. The texture was wonderful when we tried the ice cream straight from the maker, but it got a lot harder once we transfered it into the freezer, and the texture became a bit more icy. I will have to find out if this is something i can stop or if it will happen if i don’t use “cream”.

In the Garden : July 2012

In Gardening, Hand-made life on July 12, 2012 at 11:06

The growing season started late. At least it started late in my dream world. We had months of gray and rain with patches of sun. Not enough to make things grow. We still have peas growing, and the lettuce has not shown any signs of bolting yet.The plums that are too high to reach are still ripening. The squash is finally flowering but is not being pollinated and the flowers are just dying and falling off. The kale, broccoli, carrots, and peppers i planted have been very slow to grow, but i am hoping that it will catch up with the new sunshine we have been getting. Most of the herbs have not done well. The mint has stayed a live and useable, but it certainly hasn’t started to take over. the basil however remains seedling like and too small to use…. The garden grows.

Cauliflower
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Tomatoe(s)!
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Potatoes!
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Beets, Onions, Cabbage
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First Nasturtium
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Corn!
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Mystery Squash
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Red Cabbage
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And i just noticed that we have an elderflower bush/tree? in the yard.
Tomorrow Elderflower cordial….
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In the Garden: May 2012

In garden, Gardening, Hand-made life on May 21, 2012 at 03:24

garden may
(bad composite photo of the patio and the 2 beds next it)

The red cabbage, onions, and beets in the right bed are doing well. The potatoes in the sacks are doing well. Carrots in the half barrel, and new lettuce in the box are doing lovely. Herbs in the pots.. lemom verbena, basil, stevia, tarragon, catnip, doing lovely. The cauliflower, and peas in the left bed. We pulled and ate all the radishes in the left bed that grew. Some of them didn’t and they were given to the chickens. The beets in the left barrel got eaten by squirrels. I hope they enjoyed them. I plan on fighting back next time. The tomatoes in buckets in the far end of the garden are doing ok. I will watch them for a bit to make sure they are getting enough of what they need. We are preparing to put out the squash and cucumber starts we grew. They will go just on the other side of the ferns. And the corn will go just behind the white rhodys next to the tomatoes which surprisingly gets the most sun. Around on the other side of the house the garlic is doing well, as is the spinach, broccoli, kale, fennel, and mustard greens. i have more lettuce to put out with some more rappini. The first batch that was started in the ground got eaten by cutworms. I decided to start more inside and transplant them in a bed in the upper garden once it was a little established. I am hoping we will have some to harvest. Ill need to do a sweep to see if there are any cutworms in the new bed, and i plan on getting some predator wasps to help me with the cutworm infestation i seem to have in the lower garden down around the chickens.

All in all so far things are going well. It is hard putting this much energy in a garden at a rental house, but ill just think of it it as a test garden. Also hard to anticipate what condition everything is in since we have only been here for 7 months. Looking forward to making more things grow!

In the Garden: First harvest – radishes!

In garden, Gardening, Hand-made life on May 8, 2012 at 21:51

first Radishes

I plucked the first things out of the garden today. Yummy crunchy radishes. Im not a huge radish fan, but i ate one anyway. I grew these mostly for Ben who loves veggies, and things that crunch. I did not plant very many in the first crop, and actually not very many in the second one either. These were some seeds i had lying around from some free giveaway last year. Nothing else is anywhere near harvesting, but i am hopeful. Some pesty thing ate all the lettuce and broccoli sprouts, so i had to start more inside. Ill transplant them when they get bigger and hope the bugs don’t eat too much of them before i get to. We also started some winter squashes, zucchini, cucumbers, spinach, and corn. All but the corn has sprouted nicely. The corn is just starting to peek out of the dirt. I still don’t know where i will be planting it but i’m going to try and grow it in this yard. The tomatoes were planted into their 5 gallon buckets and evicted to the outside 2 weeks ago. Im still making observations to see what will be the sunniest spot in the yard but for now they seem happy where they are in the middle of everything. Once i figure out where gets the most sun i will put the peppers out to join the tomatoes. I am excited!

Urban Farm Handbook Challenge : April… Gardening

In garden, Gardening, Hand-made life, Urban Farm Handbook Challenge on April 29, 2012 at 03:48

Starting things from seed!
This year with the new garden i decided to start as much as possible from seed. Most things i started inside (even if they didn’t like to be transplanted), but i did put some things straight in the soil once the beds were ready and some of them even came up!. Radishes, beets, carrots, tomatoes, winter squash, summer squash, cucumbers, spinach, peppers, fennel, onions, mustard greens, broccoli,lettuce and so much more. For the most part things went well. I started a bunch of herbs, but they died. I think i over watered them. Ill try again once i have some space inside.

pepper starts in the front, and some fennel in the back
pepper starts!

Radishes! (peas, and trellis in the back)
radishes!

Potatoes in the sacks, tomatoes in the buckets, carrots and beets in the half barrels.
deck garden

PESTS!
Something has been eating my radish tops, and my lettuce and broccoli sprouts, and i brought home some aphids on a few starts i got. I made an all natural aphid poison from soap and oil. I sprayed the infested mint, and lemon balm. Im hoping it does the job, i did see a few lacewings over there too. I am hoping we can work together to get rid of the evil aphids. Though i still need to figure out what is eating my seedlings. I have not seen anything around there though i suspect i have a cutworm infestation. I plan on putting some collars on a few things. And preemptively getting some predator wasps for possible fly and maggot issues that may arrive once the weather gets warmer.

We have been trying to to make use of any materials we find around. When some branches were cut down from a large tree we discovered rolls of old wire fencing. I decided to turn some of it into trellises for the pees, and squash. And we are trying to make use of the limbs that were cut down as well. Some of them were quite large and since we don’t have access to a chipper we need to make use of them as they are. The chickens got a new jungle gym to roost on, and we are trying to figure out how to use other limbs to mark off new beds.

In the Garden: first sprouts – tomatoes!

In Gardening on March 6, 2012 at 00:53

first sprouts: tomatoes

first sprouts

I went crazy with seed catalogues this year. I ended up ordering seeds from Uprising Seeds , and its possible that i was a bit enthusiastic with my gardening plans. I have been planting seeds, staggering them so everything is not ready to eat at the same time. Yesterday i noticed a tiny green head popping out of the dirt, and by the end of the day there were a few more. I now have 6 tiny tomato plants growing. yay. Lets hope they don’t die, and maybe sometime in the future i will have some tomatoes!

Urban Farm Handbook Challenge : February.. Soil building

In Gardening, Urban Farm Handbook Challenge on February 29, 2012 at 00:13

What happens when you let worms eat your garbage?

Garbage in ( worm bin)

You get DIRT!

Dirt out (worm bin)

We decided to spend the silly amount of money to buy a worm factory because we wanted to keep our bin inside and were concerned about smells escaping. I was a bit skeptical at first that the little plastic “lid” would hold in the rotting smell. We started to fill it up with veggie scraps, egg shells, and whatever else failed to get into our mouths, and there was no smell with the lid on at all, and hardly any with the lid off. Money well spent! My pet worms eat my garbage, and they poop out nutrients my food needs to grow. It doesn’t really get much better than that.

In addition to our worm bin we have help from our chickens in many ways. Their poop is also full of nutrients the plans will need to grow, and once its composted its as good as gold. The chickens help break down their poop and their bedding at the bottom of their coop, but they also aerate the actual compost bin while they peck and scratch for bugs.

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Chicken-pile?

We still need to figure out where we will put the garden beds, but we are well on our way to making nutritious soil for our food to be.