Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I Love Yellow Wax Beans!

This is the first year I've planted yellow wax beans in the garden.  It was purely by accident.  I went to the feed store to get green beans, and, well; one should always have their glasses on when shopping.  That's all I'm sayin.  By the time I realized my mistake, they were sprouting.  So I let them go.  I have yet to can any.  Not because we aren't getting them coming in, but because we have discovered roasted beans.   The clouds parted and the angels were singing!  It takes a lot of beans to roast, and you will eat every one I promise.  Just toss them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Preheat your oven to  450.  Spread them out even on a cookie sheet.  Bake in the 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Toss once about half way through the time.  Enjoy!

I always knew about roasted potatoes.  Who doesn't.  Then I learned about roasted carrots.  Now roasted beans.  I'm thinking this roasting thing is going to be my new go to.  I still need to can beans for winter, but I think I'm gonna keep them whole and try roasting them from the jar.  It's an experiment in the making.

The squash is covering me up.  I have grated Zucchini, and sauteed Zucchini and put them in the freezer.  I've made Zucchini relish.  I've also sauteed yellow squash for the freezer.  We've had it for dinner multiple times as well.  In fact I will cook some for just myself some lunches.  I still have it coming in.

So far I have about 4.5 lbs of blueberries which is more than I thought I would get.  The blackberries are coming in as well.  All in all, I'm very pleased with the results.

I have to say I like the "Back to Eden" garden.  I know it isn't at it's full potential this year, but it has seriously cut down on the amount of maintenance needed for my garden.  I can't wait to get all I want covered in wood chips done.

So do you have a garden this year?  How's it going?  Share your stories or pics!  I would love to see them!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Uppin My Game

My latest book read is "Folks this ain't Normal" by Joel Salatin; owner of Polyface farms in Virginia.  Highly recommend this book.  He's a big proponent of not just local eating, but scratch cooking, old skills, hard work etc.  Anyway, he got me to thinking and so I started looking around for local sources as well as organic, free range, pastured sources for food.  Here is what I know.  I can't do it all.  So if I am going to be able to buy truly local and organic foods I will need to grow most of it.  Next on my list is raising pastured  chicken cause that is out of my range too, but I digress.

As a result of my new found determination to grow as much of my produce as I can, My garden is slated to be in over drive for the season.  I'm fortunate that we have a long growing season.  Our first frost usually isn't until Oct 21st and we normally don't get brutally cold (teens and twenties) until Jan.  This give me extra time for cold weather crops to come in.  Currently there is no more room in my garden for anything else, but as things play out and are pulled out, I will be replacing them with something else.

Squash- The first to go.  I currently have 9 squash plants growing.  These were all planted a few weeks behind each other.  The first set of three is about done.  They will be pulled out and some volunteer lima beans will take their place.  The volunteers are currently growing next to my decks bottom step.  Green beans( bush) will more than likely replace the other squash plants.

Cucumbers-  These are only the first 3 sets planted.  I have four more that haven't started producing yet.  Okra will go there

Corn-  The corn is going gang busters!  Once these beds are done, I'll plant more green beans.  Corn is a heavy feeder and so before I plant the beans, my plan is to mix in more compost and let the beds sit a few weeks.  I will plant these beans about August 1st.  Beans take nitrogen out of the air and put it into the ground through their roots.  It will continue to replenish the soil.

Yellow Wax, and Lima Beans- These are currently growing and beginning to set pods.  As these finish, I will begin planting my cool weather crops: Beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflowers, spinach, and lettuce,

Cherry tomatoes_ despite my no volunteer pledge, I finally got to the point where I had to let some stay.  The are relegated to one main branch,  however.  As these die back, the plants will be pulled out and maybe snow peas will be added.  The cherry tomatoes will be dehydrated (I hope).

Roma tomatoes-  Once they die back they're done.  I'm not gonna try to let them keep going.  I'll replace them with snow peas if possible.

When my slicing tomatoes die back, they will be allow to stay.  When it cools off, they will come back and make the prettiest tomatoes.  These I will pick green and can fried green tomatoes for the pantry.

How cool will it be to have a garden last until Dec or Jan?  AWESOME!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Garden Update

The Garden is in full swing now.  Things are starting to bloom and I'm finally getting some squash.

Not sure if the "romance" worked or if my problem was one of a pest causing the squash to not produce.  I went to an area farmers market and, while there, talked to a very nice farmer who recommended I remove all of the babies and spray with an organic spray.  Desperate to try anything, I went home and did just that.  Well I did almost that.  I removed all of the affected babies; those that were no longer viable.  So not sure if the assisted romance worked or if his idea worked, but something did and for that I am thankful.  You want something good to eat?  Melt a little butter and chop up a yellow squash and some onion.  Saute it all in the butter with a little salt and pepper until the onions are kinda caramelized and the squash is soft.  Oh YUM!

This is one of my favorite beds.  I have no idea why I took this picture without putting that flat cinder block back in place, but it is what it is so just disregard that and feast your eyes on the pretty plants!  Tomatoes are all along the back.  Then from left to right we have Parsley, Marigolds, Basil, Bell Peppers, More Marigolds, More Basil, More Bell Pepper, and last but not least, More parsley.  By the Way, far left you see something growing out of the cinder block.  That isn't a weed.  It's Marigolds.  I let them stay where they landed and they are thriving.  Go figure.

The corn has sent up it's tassels and is currently taller than me.  It's over 6 ft at this point.  At least this bed is.  This is my first batch of corn.  There are 3 more beds behind this one in development.  Ironically all of the seeds were planted in the bed you see before you.  The subsequent beds of corn were transplanted in place to thin this area.  Once you transplant a plant, it sets it back a bit because the plants has to re-establish itself.  That takes time so the regular growth is interrupted for a bit.  This is a great way to succession plant without having to pull out the seeds each time.  I planted them all at once, then moved what I needed to.  You can go to my "How to" page to see a tutorial on transplanting successfully.  Here's the link to the page :

Click Here

So here is the organic garden spray recipe I use:

1 onion, chopped
4 gloves garlic (you can use garlic powder)
2 cups fresh mint leaves
2 TBS cayenne pepper
1 TBS dish soap
Enough water to make a gallon.

I start with putting everything but the water and soap in a 2 quart jar and adding just enough warm water cover it all.  Then Pulse it in my blender.  I let it sit over night "steeping".  In the morning I strain out the "stuff", leaving the liquid.  Add the rest of the water to make a gallon and the TBS of soap.  Put in a spray bottle and go.  Spray either early in the morning or in the evening.  Try not to spray in the heat of the day.

This has served me well so far and is so inexpensive I don't mind having to reapply if needed after a rain storm.

Hope this serves you well as well.  Have a great day!  BTW aren't my free wood chips so pretty!