doing the blog thing. fifteen minutes at a time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Independence - Cucumbers and Basil

Planted this week were 6 cucumber seeds (that's going to be totallly too many cucumbers if they all grow and survive) and three pots of basil seeds (roughly 6 seeds per pot). The cucumbers are bush plants that are in an earthbox. I hear they're heavy feeders, so perhaps they'll like the constant water-availability of the swc.

My spinach is not looking so hot. Or... maybe it IS looking hot. It's been kind of warm some of these days (up to 85F or so this weekend), and the leaves on the spinach are looking brown and dry. Perhaps it's time to harvest the "baby" spinach before anything crazy happens like mass bolting.

Chard also doesn't look great. Peas look good, though. They're not more than 8 inches tall yet, though. I do hope to get some peas out of them before the weather is in the Summer And No Doubt About It temperatures. The sage is blooming. Lovely purple flowers.

I harvested a bunch of mint that was sneaking up under the rosemary plant, and I made a quart of cold mint tea. It tasted a little funny, though. Perhaps I let it steep too long.

In non-garden news, we're going to a strawbale building workshop the weekend of the fourth of July. Yay!
Also, our dog had some seizures this weekend and has been diagnosed as epileptic. We are officially the home for broken animals.
Double also, I've been to a yoga class three out of the last four days. Love it. Going again tonight.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Independence days - Potato

This weekend I managed to plant a potato. Ha. It's a very good potato. I think it's the red kind (I threw most of our overwintered potatoes out on the patio a couple weeks ago and now I can't really tell the difference between the varieties). I put it in a container with some soil that grew... basil or something last year, and as it grows up, I'll cover it with leaf mulch to promote the production of more baby potatoes.

When I went to choose which potato to plant, I investigated the potatoes that had been rolled off the patio into what I thought would be a potato patch (I since realized that it is directly beneath the laundry line and thus is not an ideal place for planting). They've rooted themselves and are beginning to grow leaves. Hunh. I didn't even bury them when I rolled them out there. They've just gone ahead and attached themselves to the ground. I'll help them along as time goes by by also covering them with leaf mulch and trying not to step on them when we do the laundry.

This brings me to the idea that planting isn't a particularly exact science. The packets and books say specifically when to plant and how deep to plant, but oftentimes, seeds just want to grow and may very well do just fine if you LEAVE THEM ALONE. I have half a mind to put all my seeds in the garden in the fall and see what happens when they have the option to grow as soon as they sense that conditions are appropriate.

As for harvesting, I pulled a dandelion and chopped up its root to dry for tea. I think that's it. I did make tomato sauce out of home canned tomatoes plus a red and a green pepper from the greenhouse grower at the farmer's market for lunches last week.

We visited the Queens Farm Museum yesterday with some friends, and it was really nice to see farm animals in abundance, plus their growing plants. They already have tomatoes and squashes in the ground, which means I could probably plant mine. The animals I saw included goats, sheep, baby pigs, big pigs, a donkey, tons of chickens including banties and roosters and all manner of colors, a cow, ducks, geese and peacocks. It was interesting to see the pigeons in among the chickens. They were about the same size as one of the banties.

Monday, May 11, 2009

independence days - leeks and dandelions

in the past two weeks, i've managed to plant a row of leeks, keep everything alive, eat a butternut squash (only two left now!) and cook tomato sauce from my canned tomatoes. oh, and i made some iced dandelion tea again. tasted pollen-y this time.

peas and spinach are growing well. some radishes are up, though oddly the ones that i planted second are doing much better than the ones i planted first. chard is up but still tiny. no sign of garlic or carrots or parsnips or the lettuce i planted this year. some volunteer lettuce around about the yard, though.

tomatoes look good in their pot indoors. need to prepare their beds for them to go outside. cabbage that's indoors is getting mighty leggy. not sure what to do about that. perhaps transfer the pot to the patio so they can have more light and wind.

planning to plant:
basil in all available pots
bush cucumbers in self-watering-containers
flax seed around about
a loofah or two

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Independence Days Year 2

Sharon's Independence Days challenge is moving into its second year. I like the spring because it's hopeful, and I'm hopeful that this year I can keep up with the challenge a little longer. I've managed to plant things for the last three weekends, and have foraged a bit in my backyard already.

Things I have planted:
Tomatoes (started inside)
Cabbage (started inside)



Things I have harvested/foraged:
Day lily shoots (chopped and sauteed with a fake sausage link)
Dandelion heads (made into iced tea, thanks for the idea Maud!)

Things I have cooked:
Spaghetti sauce with my home-canned tomatoes from last year

Connected with several CSA people at a party. One woman is coming over to take some of my plant pots off my hands on Thursday.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

independence days week 11

well, i didn't manage to plant anything, but i did manage to harvest and preserve!

1 planted: nothing

2 harvested: mint to dry, lettuce for salad, lamb's quarters to dry

3 preserved: dried collard greens, lamb's quarters, mint, zucchini "noodles"

4 stored: 25lb wheat, 25lb baking soda, 25lb garbanzo beans, 25lb lentils, 1lb thick rolled oats (wanted to try them before we bought in bulk), 3 qts of soy milk, 4 cans pineapple chunks, olive oil, two pounds brown rice

5 prepped: nothing that i can think of

6 managed: nothing that i can think of

7 cook something new: beet and carrot latkes from the csa bounty, brownies

8 work on local food systems: nothing that i can think of

9 reduced waste: chopped down weeds and threw them on the compost pile

Monday, June 30, 2008

independence days week 10

this has been a week of not much happening in terms of independence days. this is the point at which i started to lose interest in the garden last year. things were in the ground and i would find "better" things to do with my time. goal this coming week: plant something! preserve something! hack down the yard weeds! spend time in the back yard!

1 planted: nothing

2 harvested: one of our basil plants for pesto thursday night. two sugar snap pea pods just before i tore out the plants to make room for more planting. not sure what i'll put in that pot...

3 preserved: nothing

4 stored: picked up a couple months' worth of honey and 9 months' worth of yeast

5 prepped: received my order of five colored bucket lids with spouts. not sure how the spouts will do with emptying/refilling.

6 managed: weeded a bit

7 cook something new: cole slaw! from the new moosewood cookbook. yum.

8 work on local food systems: csa pickup - fruit shares have begun!

9 reduced waste: nabbed a novel and several half-filled notebooks from neighbors' trash piles

Friday, June 27, 2008

independence days week... 9 i think

1 planted: kentucky wonder green beans beneath my corn and sunflowers

2 harvested: a handful of snap peas, mint for tea

3 preserved: nothing

4 stored: placed a bulk food storage order! 25lb baking soda, 25lb red wheat berries, 25lb garbanzos, 25lb lentils, 1lb thick rolled oats

5 prepped: placed an order for some bucket lids with spouts to see if we can do those perhaps instead of/to supplement gamma lids (which are quite expensive!) also, joined in on sharon's food preservation class which starts next tuesday :)

6 managed: weeded the corn patch

7 cook something new: made a mahvelous mock tuna from garbanzo beans. also blettes grand-mere, which is swiss chard with raisins, rosemary, and pine nuts.

8 work on local food systems: joined the just food mailing list.

9 reduced waste: can't think of anything out of the ordinary here...

10 learned a skill: i don't know that i like this category because i feel like learning is not a "boom. it's done." thing. i can't say "i learned THIS this week," because learning is a long-term process for me. perhaps i'll skip this category from now on.

Monday, June 23, 2008

independence days check in

i've started to lag in my independence days efforts, but this week, my lady led the charge and we actually got a lot done! (and most of it was done yesterday!!!)

planted: none. hoping to plant beans under the corn this week.

harvested: much lettuce, lambsquarters, onion greens, 10 quarts of strawberries from our csa's u-pick venture, roughly 10 sugar snap pea pods which got added to a quart we got at the market

preserved: froze probably 8 quarts of strawberries, plus a couple pounds of rhubarb. the plan is to make strawberry-rhubarb crisp next week (we didn't have oats this week)

stored: nothing that i can think of

prepped: also nothing that i can think of

managed reserves: again, nothing i can think of

cooked something new: strawberry pie (my very first piecrust EVER), pb granola bars for the son who doesn't like to eat breakfast

reduced waste: participated in crunchy chicken's liquid gold challenge saturday, ate the entire GIANT BOWL OF LETTUCE that my lady made for us to use up the bounty of lettuce from the csa and our garden

expand local food community: picked strawberries at our csa farm, borrowed a pastry cutter from a friend (instead of buying my own) - she'll get a piece of pie in return

learn a new skill: fertilizing garden, making pie crust

Friday, May 23, 2008

independence days weekly update

1. planted: replanted some more peas that didn't come up.

2. harvested: nothing yet, but i found four stalks of wild garlic that i want to nab. three are in our back yard and one is in the front yard of someone down the hill from us. my potatoes are sprouting now! the purple peruvian ones. yay!

3. preserved: not so much.

4. stored: i stored 3 more liters of water, and about 7 cups of white rice that the roommate left behind when he moved out.

5. prepped: built the bean trellis frame, just need to add strings. made stick-trellises for the peas. dug up half a bed that will hopefully be finished and planted with popcorn and sunflowers and melons this weekend.

6. managed: went through the freezer and composted some old old veggies. cleaned out the fridge of all the things the roommate had left in there to rot.

7. cook something new: made the red, gold, green and black chili from - it was excellent!

8. work on local food systems: shopped at the farmer's market per usual and welcomed back some of the farmers who were returning for the summer season.

9. reduce waste: i ordered pet food online and specified that i didn't want any packing peanuts or other plastic packing materials, so they stuffed the box with shredded junk mail :D that made me very happy. have also been eating the food that the roommate left behind him. snagged a 3L soda bottle from our neighbor's recycling to store water in.

10. learned a skill: hand-cultivating a garden bed was new to me. it's some work!

eight out of ten this week :) not bad.

the no-power-hour

inspired by crunchy chicken's eco-throw-down challenge, we're doing a no power week starting monday. here's what we've got so far for an outline:

1. the fridge stays on.
2. the rest of the breakers in the box get turned off so we don't accidentally flick the light on out of habit.
3. we're picking up some extra local-beeswax candles at the market tomorrow.

that's all i got. working will involve electricity still. as will commuting by subway. also, i'm unsure about whether our stove/oven uses electricity... though i doubt it. another iffy thing is the boiler that heats the hot water for us as well as the people who live above us... i'm not going to cut them out of hot water... or me.

personally, i'm looking forward to no tv for a week.