Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Better at Beets

Beets just made our list of favorites. Not even kidding. My kids went back for seconds of beets and nothing else.

Here's how it played out:
I pulled the beets and hosed them off. Then I scrubbed them with a soft vegetable brush. Chopped off the leaves, but left a couple inches of stems. Two different sources told me that would keep them from bleeding out like before.

Then I set them in a casserole dish, covered them tightly with foil and baked them. At 350 degrees, they were in there for way too long. I got busy and didn't check them for over an hour. I was cooking some chicken too, and for some reason chicken takes a long time for me. So they were both in there for over an hour.

I finally got them out...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Balcony Farm Update

The balcony farm is growing, but not getting enough light. 

This is what it looks like and you can tell it needs more light two ways:
The plants are leggy. That is garden talk for floppy and stretched out.
The plants toward the back are pale, like they need nitrogen. I put a few more pellets of fertilizer on them, but I feel like they should not need it. The fertilizer we put on initially is a 3-4 month fertilizer. I guess we'll find out if more was too much pretty soon.

I also felt like the squash plants should be larger. That is another reason...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

That's Not Blood

Scrubbing with a Brillo pad removed most of the skin, and soil.
That's not blood. It is beet juice. Wear gloves. Beets are the new kale. Right after the broccoli greens. Hipsters are going to be so healthy! And broke! A small bunch of beets, meaning 3 beets, at the grocery near my house, is $3!

Peeling the beets though, that's what they are hiding. You'll have to look it up to find out that peeling beets is equivalent to peeling moon rocks. All those beautiful Pinterest recipes only show the pristine, tempting, amazing-looking dishes filled with shining, deep red, super-foods that will make you live forever! They gloss over the peeling-the-beets part.

It also released their bloody essence.

Essentially, folks recommend cooking the beets first. Have you seen that Pinterest Fail website? That's how that worked for me. The beets bled...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Kitchen Garden in a Bag!

Our sophisticated way of drilling drainage holes.
Once there was a tiny, tiny patio, without a plant growing on it, although a number of plants had died there.

The patio belonged to a twenty-something woman, who ate a lot of drive through food, but yearned for better health. The young woman had an old friend who knew how to grow food. They decided to plant vegetables on the tiny patio.

They were working with a budget the size of the patio, so buying containers was out of the question. They decided to plant the kitchen garden right in the bags. They bought...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Broccoli Leaf Chips!

Broccoli lost its head.
These broccoli leaf chips are some kind of delicious.

Here is how to make their salty, melt-in-your-mouth, delicate tastiness:

Cut the leaves off and toss them with olive oil and sea salt.

Bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.
Take out the crispy ones and put the others back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Repeat this until all the broccoli leaves are crispy.
They may be brown. At first they might look like they have turned to soggy mush. They crisp up though.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Great Headless Broccoli, Batman!

Headless, broccoli failure made the day!!
Today was the greatest.
Maybe just very, very good, but VERY VERY good.
Maybe it was the two chocolate bars, but it was a very, very good day.

First, I got stood up.
The only person who showed up for work day at the farm was the friend who had organized it, because she wanted to work for food. So that was...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Orange Creamsicle Flavored Spinach Smoothie

Purists are going to hate me, but things went wrong and all I had was some aging, orange Gatorade. So, I used it.  Spinach has never tasted so good.
(BONUS: This smoothie turns your teeth and tongue blue!)

Thanks to every healthy-living guru who has ever touched a computer, we all know that for optimum health, one must drink smoothies for breakfast. Since I planted roughly 600 spinach seeds last fall and we had a mild, wet winter, about 20 of them grew. 
Waste not, want not!

I couldn't bring myself to actually eat the spinach, so I bought some frozen blueberries and vanilla ice cream. Orange Julius, at the mall, blends blueberries and a big scoop of ice to make the smoothies I buy there. By twisting their concept, I thought frozen blueberries would...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

About That Tampa Bay Article

If you look closely, and you know a lot, you can see this basil is about to die.
This article about Tampa Bay restaurants is blowing up the internet.

As a small farm owner, I can say this is probably true in most places.

When I have discussed growing schedules with restaurant owners, one big problem is: if you buy locally, you will be eating the same thing all summer. How many squash specials can they sell every week? Additionally, all the restaurants would be serving squash all summer. Seasonal veggies last the whole season. And if it's a good okra year, all the farms will have plenty, and all the farms will be having a bad tomato year simultaneously. Americans no longer eat things they don't like just because that's what's available. Try getting somebody to have a radish special because that's what's growing well this week. 

From a farm perspective, growing...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Grow Vegetables In The Window

Lettuce. Two weeks old.
Growing plants, herbs and vegetables especially, in a window is quintessentially charming, but can it be done?  How much of a hassle is it to water, trim, turn etc?
Radishes planted the same day. See what I'm saying?

Take a lesson from NASA and start with the vegetables that are easiest to grow. Even seasoned gardeners have to relearn some things when they are growing in a new environment, so start with the can't-be-killed vegetables first:

Lettuce - NASA started with lettuce for it's Growing Vegetables In Space Program. Lettuce germinates in a day. You should have sprouts in 2-3 days. You can start harvesting the lettuce in about 3 weeks. The astronauts on the space station harvested theirs at 33 days. It wilts when it's thirsty, so you have some warning before it's dead. Of coarse, that's if everything goes right. If you don't...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Feed That Addiction, Plant Junkie!

Nobody else was taking pictures in the cemetery, or I would have retaken this contraband photo.
Feed that addiction, Plant Junkie! You know you want to!
If you missed the Hall County Master Gardeners Spring Expo, you still have time to enjoy these:

The Gently Used Plant Sale (Display models being sold at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.)

Herb Society Plant Sale
(also at the Atlanta Botanical Garden)

Norcross Garden Club Plant Sale
(I was a speaker there one year!)

In case the cold weather kept you home:
Oakland Cemetery is an Historic Atlanta landmark, and they let me in anyway! The GPS got me to the ornate gate that they picture on their website. I was worried. The website makes it sound enormous and my hiking skills are beginner level. Bring a cane if you aren't steady on your feet. There has been a little settling int he last 200 years.

But WOW! This place is...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

What to Plant in APRIL!!

What to plant in April:

Here's a breakdown:
If it's still cold, plant cole crops.

If it's not going to frost again and you are cheap, direct seed your entire summer crop now. If you want to get a jump, buy bedding plants. Here is one of the most boring videos ever (mine) about how to plant tomato plants. And here is Bonnie Plant's video about it. (Hi Bonnie!)

See how easily they could be stepped on?
One more thing...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What to Plant in March

Plant Everything in March! This is the month you've been waiting for! (Here's How to Start Seeds)

If you live in the mountains or "Up North" plant some spinach and Swiss Chard. If you aren't expecting any more snow, plant lettuce, beets, carrots and radishes. If you live in the tropics, plant tomatoes.
Non-tropics dwellers: plant tomatoes anyway, just do it indoors. It is time to...

Friday, February 19, 2016

Garden Plan: What To Grow

Procrastination Pays Off! 
Growing compost isn't my idea of time well spent, although psychologists might argue. The food pantry gets a good bit of our crop each season as well, but it's the stuff I keep and never use that lingers in my conscience. So, seed and plant selection is becoming more important as I get older and less willing to grow compost.

Plants and seeds are safe, or getting the boot by these criteria:

1. What do we eat when it's laying around the kitchen?
Or in the "Go Rot" drawer of the fridge?
Lets face it...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What to Plant in February

Yeah, same photo every year!

The inventor of Valentines day was not a gardener. Who would dream up addressing envelopes with the new Spring light streaming through the windows? 

February is a month of potential. Just not the kind where somebody else is going to fulfil your romantic dreams. Only you know your dreams. Buy your own candy and quit expecting other people to read your mind.

Now, for the garden... a great topic for February. 

Seeds. Start them.  
I know you haven't planted your seeds yet. If you had a field full of winter veggies, you wouldn't be reading this.  
Plant them...