Category Archives: Gardening

This Crazy Spring

We had snow through a lot of April.  We had cold cloudy weather in May.  In fact, there was still ice on many of the lakes five weeks ago.  Needless to say, the gardens have suffered.

Due to a decision to change our CSA membership to the “share” box instead of the “family share” we are taking better care of our own vegetable gardens.  That has been nice.  Albeit, slow.  This would’ve been the year we could’ve “lightly” harvested the asparagus we planted last year, but only one of the 6 plants came up.  My hubby is particularly perturbed by this!  The seeds are all slow, but growing.  Tomato and pepper plants are growing but not quickly.  I’m still hopeful.

my little rhubarb patch

my little rhubarb patch

The great thing is that I got to FINALLY harvest some rhubarb yesterday!  It made a delicious rhubarb-apple crisp for Father’s Day.  We moved the patch of rhubarb about 3 years ago, I think.  Since then it hasn’t really produced.  But this year looks good!

A few other pictures of my gardens, taken last week:

hoping for some blueberries off these bushes planted last year

hoping for some blueberries off these bushes planted last year

trying some squash again

trying some squash again

a few of the many pepper plants.. LOVE salsa!

a few of the many pepper plants.. LOVE salsa!

one of the two raised square foot beds

one of the two raised square foot beds

There’s a little sneak peek… Let’s hope the next pictures show HUGE growth!  Sunshine and hot summer days; that’s what we need!

If you garden, what is going on in your little patch of dirt?

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CSA: Week 15

CSA Week 15 ~ 9.8.10

Oh look!  Vegetables!

Must be the Wednesday delivery.

As you can see, there is the usual…corn, potatoes, cuke, Walla Walla onion, garlic, green beans.  Then there are a few new things…beets, red onion, jalapeno, BIG banana pepper, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, sage.

Within a couple of hours the tomatoes were already in a new pot of salsa.  Batch 3 for the season.

I really am not sure how I’ll use the rest.  We are planning on eating out the next couple of nights, so some of it I will incorporate into lunch this week yet.  The rest I’ll use up this weekend.

Are you enjoying the garden bounty that comes with late summer?

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Tomatoes

It hasn’t been a good year for tomatoes.  Most people are getting a little concerned about having enough for all the canning they would like to do.  Knowing this helps me remember to be thankful for the tomatoes I have.

I love the romas for canning.

We haven’t had a bumper crop by any means.  That was two years ago.  But we are doing ok.  I have 10 containers of stewed tomatoes in the freezer and 2 batches of salsa done.  I would like to can some plain tomatoes, either puree (haven’t done before) or whole tomatoes.  We’ll see what I have on hand tomorrow before I decide.   Another batch of salsa would be nice too, but not essential.

The crazy producer is my grape tomato plant!  Dan finally pulled it up last night.  On one plant I got pails full of the sweet little things.

This is the 8th or 9th time we've picked at least this many. Seriously.

Tomorrow I plan to can the flat in my garage.  There are a lot more out there that are ready too.  So some of the ripest will get canned and then we’ll see.  Maybe some more salsa on Monday?

(our csa garden had the tomatoes fall to blight so there isn’t going to be a tomato pick there)

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CSA: Week 14

Here we are…another CSA post.  Just 6 weeks and a couple more picking events left.

CSA Week 14 ~ 9.1.10

Again with the corn.  It will taste good with the grilling I’ve got on the menu plan for the holiday weekend.

The green beans will definitely be easy to eat.  Probably for lunch tomorrow, as I’ve got some in my garden to pick too.

The pepper is HUGE and beautiful!  Not sure exactly how I’ll use it, but I will!

The carrots, cucumber and kale will become snacks or salad additions.  I think I’ll do kale chips again.

The zucchini will get baked and added to a meal.

Garlic?  Well that is always useful.  And the other little bit of green you see in the top of the pic?  That is sage.  If I don’t get to it fresh I will dry it when I get ready to dry more basil and oregano.

Look at that!  A plan for all this garden yummy-ness.

A quick question too…Do you freeze carrots?  Or dishes made with carrots?  Tell me more!  Last time I froze carrots they didn’t really get eaten.  And I have the carrots shown as well as a lot of carrots in my garden waiting to be picked.

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CSA: Corn Pick

Does it seem like everything is about this CSA lately?  Are you bored to tears?  I need to get this down so I remember…you know, for next year.  Yeah, I think we’ll be doing this again next year.  Call me crazy.

one of several flats of corn we cleaned

A few weeks ago we got an email that the corn pick was on. We can pick about 10 dozen ears of corn at the farm.  While we would’ve rather waited another week, we decided to go right away.  Early on a Saturday morning, Dan and I set out, leaving the kids to sleep.  Picking went really quickly.

Then we went up to the farm place to pick up the first of our chickens. With each share in the farm, we get two chickens.  They are big chickens that spent their life feeding on the cover crops at the farm.  My mom & I went together to purchase a chicken share also.  That is 20 chickens we’ll split.  I am really excited to try these birds out.  The first of the two we brought home is thawing now.  It will become a beer-can chicken this weekend.

As for the corn.  Combined with what we had at home already, we froze 163 ears of corn.  The kids really don’t mind cleaning corn so they helped a lot.

A daycare family of mine in HomeTown (and also a farm family & sweet corn growers)  shared a recipe for corn with me years ago.  It is my favorite.

getting a pan ready for the oven

** see the cobs there?  An electric knife works great for getting that corn cut off quickly!

Canned Sweetcorn

40 ears corn, cut from cob

1 pound butter

1 pint half&half

4 Tbsp sugar

4 tsp salt

Mix together in roasting pan and bake for 1 hour @ 350 degrees, stirring occasionally.   Bag in quart size zip top bags and cool bags in ice bath.  Freeze.

It isn’t thick like creamed corn, but it is kind of soupy.  There is great flavor and I’ve found that I can cut back a little on the butter and half&half.

this was taken directly to the town's compost site

After getting the 2 dozen quart size bags of corn into the freezer, all that remained was husks and cobs.  Thankfully the town’s compost site is open until 7 pm on Saturdays.

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CSA: Week 13

CSA Week 13 ~ 8.25.10

It was another full, heavy bag of produce.  Some things were the same: zucchini, cucumbers, onion, corn, potatoes.  And then there were some other things:  green pepper, garlic, green beans.

Our challenge this time was just that…the time.  We get our delivery on Wednesday.  On Thursday evening we had piano lessons, hair appointments and a football informational meeting.  Definitely no time to eat any of this.  On Friday we left for a long weekend in HomeTown.  We wouldn’t be eating at home again until Tuesday (yesterday).  So what do we do?

Compromise.

I hate to see anything go to waste if it doesn’t have to.  I knew I had a lot of paperwork to do on Wednesday so I didn’t have a lot of time.  Dan agreed to go to the work to freeze the corn.  I grated the zucchini quick, leaving out a few cups to bake into somethin’ yummy on Thursday, freezing the rest.  And I added the tomatoes, green pepper and onion to some tomatoes from my garden and stewed them.  They were tucked away in the freezer on Friday.  I also made Pineapple Zucchini Bread & Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes on Friday before we left for HomeTown.  The cucumbers turned into refrigerator pickles that we took with for the family reunion dish-to-pass.

Green beans were divided up and given to the neighbors.

The potatoes?  Well they are still in the cupboard with a few other weeks’ deliveries of potatoes.  I really need to figure out what to do with the surplus.

And that took care of it.  My crisper drawers were empty with the exception of a few apples.

In a few hours I will receive a text letting me know that the deliveries are here.  Sweet corn anyone??

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CSA: Week 12

CSA Week 12 ~ 8.18.10

Two weeks ago we picked up a very heavy bag of produce.  With 5 inches of rain at the farm in the days preceding our delivery, the guy in charge, Mark, didn’t think we’d have much in the bag this week.  Fortunately picking went better than expected.

Again there were 2 dozen ears of sweet corn.   Stanley made a comment about how it tastes so good when we finally start eating it each summer but when you have it so often, it gets normal.  That started a nice discussion about eating seasonally. That it helps to see the seasons pass, knowing that early summer brings sweet, fresh strawberries while late summer brings sweet corn.  Winter is a time where we don’t eat as many fresh vegetables, mostly potatoes, carrots and squash unless it is frozen or canned.   And it helps us to appreciate each season’s bounty so that things don’t all seem “normal” all year long.

And with that in mind, I won’t complain about the abundance of produce and the work it brings with it.  What will I do with all my time in January?

**Everything you see in the picture was eaten or preserved in some way for later use.

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