Friday, May 31, 2013

Around the Garden 5/31/13

Picture heavy walk around the garden the end of May 2013.
View of the NE Garden from the upstairs window. The potatoes and the raspberries have heavy growth.

Bush squash and cucumber trellis at the back of it, with lots of baby cucumbers!

Potato bed along fence, raspberries in back.

Three Sisters beds. Corn, pole beans and vine squash. The first 2 sections are Blue Hopi, and the far two sections are Hookers Sweet Indian.

Garlic is outgrowing the tomatoes here for now. I have already cut the garlic scapes! Most of the tomato plants do have a few flowers on them. Hopefully we get rain this weekend and kick them into high gear!

PEAS! Hope they have time to develop. It has been hot with no end in sight! These are Blue Podded Blauwschokkers. None of the other peas took off, the bunny ate them. These are in my kiddos big pot.

3 of the 6 Blueberry plants, these are now giving us berries. The others are not ready yet. Also some of the strawberries the bunny hasn't got to.

Lungo Bianco squash! Pollinated this one myself!

8 Ball Squash, pollinated these as well. There are two!

Asparagus bed. You can barely see the 10 ferny little things in the pic. There are some cabbage at the back as well. I don't know why, cabbage, broccoli, etc just will not get growing for me! My friend has some a few blocks over that are HUGE and I think she planted after me! Hope I get something.

Sweet potato bed. There are a few Pak Choi in here that will be picked soon. And the one and only Purple broccoli right here at the front, also not growing much. This bed also has a bit of dill and parsley. I was not able to get the cumin to take off. May have to try again.

The raspberry bed is full of flowers and budding raspberries. Mmmm! Can't wait!

This bed has a lot of carrots, peppers and a patch of potatoes at the back there.

Cranberry plant is flowering. I am being careful to water it well this year in hopes of getting some. It got too hot and dry last year and the buds just dried up and did not produce!

This is the bed the bunny got to. I had it all fenced in, but I took it down and put any "extra" plants I had in here since I didn't want them to go to waste. Tomatoes along the flower line, sweet potatoes in front of that, and the cabbage and lettuce that the bunny didn't destroy will hopefully finish up before the other stuff gets too large. And a couple of peppers between the cabbage and lettuce. I am sure I way over planted!

My new beds, Corn at the back, and squash on this end. Beans have also been recently planted between.

The corn end, with some vine squash and beans will pop through soon enough.

A view from the other side. There are also some melons planted in the bed along the fence and a few popcorn. It didn't have good germination, so there is not a lot.

Herb pot. Thyme, oregano, rosemary and a tiny basil plant.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Harvest Monday 5/27/13

A little tiny bit of color is starting to show up in the harvest this week!
Raspberry leaves to dry and fill my jar for tea.

The first strawberry. No, I didn't get to eat it. My 3 yr old did! And, a little basil and kale. Just trimmed the tops off the basil to get it to branch out more.
  I was hoping my strawberry harvest would be bigger this year because the plants started out full and plentiful. Then a bunny came along from under the patio, eating through the lattice, and then half the strawberry plants. But, I still may get more than I have before, this seems like a good spot I have found for them, other than the bunny issue.

Some tiny wild flowers from the back of the yard.

Lettuce for burgers fresh from the farm! Mmmm they were yummy! Also made homemade whole wheat burger buns from fresh ground wheat berries!

The second strawberry! No, I didn't get this one either. My 7 yr old did. Maybe I'll get one when no one is looking! Also, lettuce, chard and kale.

Spinach, which is getting ready to be pulled because it is looking close to bolting. Other stuff is beginning to fill the area anyway! Make room! Summer is coming, I think...
And I thinned the cilantro a bit, which doesn't seem to want to take off this year. And a bit of cut oregano.

Next week there may be blueberries! Wonder if I will get any of those!

Go ahead, check out some harvests at Daphne's Dandelions. She has a few more strawberries than I do!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Harvest Monday 5/20/13

It's Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions and I have about the same to show this week as last week.

Red Russian Kale, Lettuce (Rougette de Montpellier and Red Sales), Ashley lettuce and rainbow chard.

 That is it for the harvest. Around the garden things are coming along. These are all pictures of the garden on the NE side of the yard. Last week I showed the new beds on the SW side of the yard.

The potato bed is flowering, maybe I will search for some new potatoes soon, if I can do it without messing up the beans...

I may have to plant beans else where, the potatoes got so big so fast that I don't know how they will do. They are planted in between every potato row and they ARE growing, we'll see how well.

The older kids and their 'garden'. Growing well, but not sure if we will get peas, this spring has been too weird, it was 90 or close to it today! They have carrots, lettuce and a small White Currant tomato plant.

The White Currant tomato plant is blooming. How fun! I think this pot needs something though, the plant sure has a lot of yellow on it.

One side of the 'L' bed has 5 tomato plants, garlic, basil and carrots.

Other side of the 'L' bed, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, basil.

Carrots, peppers, potatoes, and basil. The spinach and Lettuce will probably be pulled soon with these hot temps!

Bush squash and cucumbers at the other end.

Cucumber end. I have had terrible luck with cucumbers the past couple of years, we will see how this year goes. My daughter would really like me to learn to make pickles!

Sweet potato bed with a few Pac Choi around the edges and the other end has my one and only Purple Broccoli after the bunnies ate the others. The sweet potatoes all look pitiful with some of the cold temps we had. I tried to keep them covered. They all have new leaves so  that is a good sign. The ones that came in the mail looked really pitiful too but they are perking up after planting.

Pac Choi is looking lovely!
Head on over to Daphne's Dandelions. The harvests are growing with more variety each week!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beet Kvass Smoothie

Last week I posted about making a fermented drink called Beet Kvass. Today I went ahead and moved it to the refrigerator to sweeten up. When I went to make my lunch time smoothie, I realized I was out of both yogurt and kefir, so I decided to put 4 oz of my beet kvass into it. It tastes SO yummy! Maybe one of the best smoothie concoctions I have made. (My husband calls them witches brew, a few toe nails here, some fungus there...) I have not drank the kvass plain yet, because I am afraid it may still need to mellow out, but it should already have all the probiotics and enzymes I am hoping to get.
It is a cloudy rainy day, so the pictures just do not do the color of this drink justice. It is a beautiful color! That always makes things taste better doesn't it? ;)

So, in my vitamix, I put in 4 oz of the beet kvass, the core of a pineapple (suppose to be lots of good enzymes in there), some frozen strawberries and a few frozen blueberries. Super yummy, and this kvass was super easy to make! It will definitely have it's place in my kitchen!

Try it, you'll love it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Harvest Monday 5/13

It is Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions! Come share your harvest and see what other gardeners are growing!
Last night some areas were expected to get a late frost, IN MAY! Crazy! So I had to cover everything, and since my garden has grown in size this year, it was a LOT to cover. I don't want to have to do that again! It was a pain. But my thermometer says that it got to 39 in my back yard, so I hope they were all safe.
My herbs were getting a bit out of control already. I cut some oregano, thyme and rosemary. Those ought to refill my herb containers, some were getting low or gone!
Spinach and lettuce again. We are still enjoying the salads and even the occasional spinach omelet!

This is a homemade chicken and rice with cilantro. I began by "frying" the dry rice, about a cup or more, with some butter and chicken stock with a nice gel on it. I added salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and a handful of dried cilantro (from the garden). I added 2 plus cups of homemade chicken stock. Brought to boil, reduce and simmer about an hour. This was very flavorful and a bit spicy. I normally like white rice better than brown, but for some reason, the brown rice really soaks up the flavor better in this recipe. The basmati rice I tried once did not turn out flavorful at all.
Around the garden, most things have been planted.
 This is my newer section. It is not as neat looking as the other side of the garden. We couldn't figure out what to do since it would not till up at all! So we ended up just putting a layer of compost over top and planting directly in it. It is probably going to get seriously weedy. But I have lots of squash, melons and corn planted over here and will be adding some beans around the corn. It will be quite the tangled mess here I am sure.
This is the other end where the corn is. And some sunflowers on the very end.
The challenge here will be how to keep the squirrels from getting the corn before us.
Hope you are having a great harvest week. Happy Harvesting!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Beet Kvass

Have you ever made your own fermented foods at home? Well today I am sticking my toes in the water. I have started my own first fermented drink, Beet Kvass. It looked easy enough, not too intimidating. It is suppose to be a super healthy tonic full of probiotics, enzymes and other good stuff. I don't normally like beets, but this drink just looked so beautiful I had to give it a try.
So, I will give you a pictorial of what I did.
Ingredients: Whey (I actually changed my mind at the last minute and used organic Kefir instead of this organic yogurt, same idea though), organic beets, sea salt, filtered water, a gallon jar.

To get my whey, I put the kefir in the thin towel over the strainer and once it got thicker I hung it from the cabinet overnight. What was left was a thick yogurt, or cream cheese that can also be used for other things. The liquid below is the whey.

I don't have a great filter, so I let my water sit over night to allow the chlorine to dissipate.  Chlorine, choramine, and fluoride, I have read in various places, are not good for the living organisms in fermenting. Next time I will buy some filtered water at the health food store.

Cut the beets into large chunks, smaller ones ferment faster.

I placed the beets in the bottom of my jar.

I had premixed the other ingredients and poured them over the beets and closed it up tight. Then I placed a towel over the jar to keep out of sunlight and I will let it sit on the counter for several days to weeks. I am going to open it occasionally to make sure the gasses don't build up and make sure the jar doesn't explode all over my kitchen!

And, I won't be wasting these. I think I will put them in a smoothie today for lunch! Mmmm, healthy!
After the Kvass is done on the counter, I am going to put it in the fridge. I have read that about another week in the fridge will mellow it out, sweeten it up, and the saltiness will fade. I will let you know how it goes.

And if you have followed my blog for long, you might notice, I have never grown beets. But, there is a time for everything, right? Hopefully I didn't get them started too late, but I planted Bull's Blood and Chioggia. I figure if the kvass doesn't work out, I can always give the beets to someone who will enjoy them! Or maybe I will find another use for them, like these crackers!

So, do you ferment? Tell me about it. 
Next on my list I am going to try to make my own Kombucha, fermented tea. I tried a store bought version yesterday with hibiscus flavor. I liked it. It was a tad sweet and sour and has a bite to it, but it is also bubbly like a soda. My 3 year old liked it too. My husband didn't like that particular flavor, but maybe he will like another!