Wednesday, June 5, 2013

first harvest meal

Hooray gardening!
Picuted above is the first harvest from my 2013 home garden.  It is 5 shelling peas, 2 garlic scapes, and a meal's worth of mixed greens.  I planted a whole bed of mustards and kales this year.  They were scatter planted so the bed looks very wild, colorful, and textural.  With this bounty I made Japanese style greens with tofu. Basically a stir fry with a miso and sesame paste sauce.  It turned out really good!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hort 2334 Food Crops,4-25-2013

Class Thursday was preparing for the end of classes this semester.  The last class is next week already and I think I will really miss this class.  Having the opportunity to spend two hours a week talking about food and gardening with like minded people was really a pleasure.
Out in the plot we weeded and set up supports for the cucumbers and tomatoes.  We talked about the notes and map we need for class and the volunteers.  In the green house we potted up more tomatoes.
Later we gave our presentations   I won't lie I was unprepared, but my team came though.
So for next week I'll make corn bread and bring my family to meet the class and see what I've been working on.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hort 2334 Food Crops,4-18-2013, or Christmas in April

Eva had other obligations during the first hour of class Thursday.  We were instructed to lay the paths for the community garden.  I was on time but by the time I got out to the plot many people were already hard at work. Chris seemed to be organizing things and we were done only a little after Eva arrived.  Again she told us how amazing this class was. I wonder if she says that to all her classes.

After the paths we went into the green house.  There were many tomatoes to transplant as well as herbs.  It was getting really tight in the green house and time was coming for the sales, and to sent starts off to various projects.  Eva directed some of us to put things in different places and to take some out to the benches.  Now class was somewhat lightly attended that night but those of us that were there were suddenly happier then usual because Eva then told us that all the plants out on the bench were up for grabs!  It was like Christmas, better for me because I usually only get socks!  Somehow work still got done and no one got to greed.  How great is that?  We get to plant some of our hard work in our home gardens!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hort 2334 Food Crops,4-11-2013

This evening threatened rain, although it never did deliver.  We went out to the plot first.  We got to taste the first of the purple passion asparagus   That was an amazing taste, sweeter and more complex then any asparagus I had had before. There was a bit of talk about meat and the preparation of meat. Bryan and I did something funny.  People must have been punchy in class that night because everything was funny.

Carlo and I decided that the time for optimism was over regarding the cauliflower. We planted replacements between the ghosts of the last try. The kale looks great, the lettuce, leeks and beets looked encouraging.  Overall the plot looked quite handsome.  Tina is a weeding machine!

Back in the greenhouse we transplanted peppers for our team and for the class.  For the second week I harvested chamomile.  The chamomile has an aphid problem, I'm hoping the harvesting will help keep the aphid problem under control. I'd be really upset if it started to effect other plants. We washed the chamomile and Tina took some blossoms home to dry for tea.

Class finished up with a lab.  We tasted 12 types of tomatoes.  I'm afraid to say but winter tomatoes are always a disappointment to me, at least the slicing verities   Despite this there were two to add to my list of  out of season tomatoes worth buying.  The grape tomato "Santa Sweet" and the cocktail tomato "Amorosa".  The Amorosa was at least as good as my usual kamato.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hort 2334 Food Crops,4-4-2013

Our plot's raised bed, wish I had taken a picture last week when it looked full.
It was a lovely evening and I was looking forward to working in the plot.  Eva came into the class room and said "I have good news and bad news"  there was a groan from the class, she replied "
everything in the green house looks great, but every out in the plot froze".
We had had and under 30 degree night the night before and almost everything had froze.
We went out to the plot to survey the damage.  I think a good deal of our crops will survive but the cauliflower did not look good to me at all.  I was ready to pull the whole lot of it.
Eva and Adam though were optimistic about them so we left them.  Tina and I stayed with the plot to weed, plant carrots and lettuce.  Adam and Carlos went to the green house to transplant our tomatoes.
Mr. Toad was put out of the plot unharmed
Later we went back to the class room to watch some opinion pieces about bt corn. I'm no fan of Monsanto, they have to much power and are predatory sales people, but these pieces were scare segments with very little basis in reality.  

bt as I understand it is a chemical made by a bacterium that stops soft bodied insects from being able to feed.  I can buy it in a shaker can from my organic gardening website. It seems to only effect soft bodied insects. Americans have been eating GM since the 70s, I don't know enough to say it has had an effect on people.  There is some correlation but no causation had been proven.  I don't believe GM Products are equivalent  or that they should be allowed to go to market with out testing.  I don't think GM products should fall into the "Considered Safe" category they currently do, it should be evaluated as a new and novel product and have to be tested and reviewed by the FDA.  I also feel that it should have to be labeled as a GM product.  If there is fear that the product won't be purchased because you tell them what it is  maybe more thought needs to be put into that product.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hort 2334 Food Crops, 3-28-2013

Our bench in the greenhouse just before we took them out to be planted.
Arrived just a bit late for class Thursday so I missed the opening remarks.  I met up with the class in the green house.  The weather was finally spring like  so we gathered up out cauliflower, beets, leeks and lettuce and went out to the plot.
The first order of business was to build a raised bed in the center of the blot, Carlo took charge of that task.  I think it took nine hay bales and six wheelbarrows whole of soil.  It looks quite smart.  The leeks and beets were then planted in the raised bed since they will benefit the most from loose soil and good drainage that we think we'll get from this bed.
Tina and I turned over the far bed, compost was mixed in and then the cauliflower was planted.  The lettuce was intercropped with the garlic.  We did some more tiding up and dusted the rest of the beds with compost just as the sun set.  Then there was a quick bit of tomato planting and fennel potting before we went back to the classroom for presentations.
Tina started us off with sunflowers.  She said this was her first powerpoint but if she hadn't told me I wouldn't have known.  Sunflowers are native to North and South America.  They like warm, moist soil.  The native Americans consider them the "fourth Sister".  They have a weevil problem and Russia grows the most sunflowers.  The most interesting part of her presentation for me was use of sunflowers for phytoremediation.  I'm going to have to look into that more myself. Tina concluded with some very good cookies!

Up next was Paula with the cranberry.  This was one of the more in-depth presentations we've had. Cranberries are evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines.  There are three types; Common, Small and American.  They are picky about soil type and conditions, they like acid peat soil, lots of water and a long growing season. It takes them six years to make fruit.  Paula also showed some videos of wet harvesting cranberries.  This is possible because cranberries have air chambers so when flooded, they float up.  Paula made two kinds of cranberry muffins and brought a very tasty cranberry preserve.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hort 2334 Food Crops, 3-21-2013

Last Thursday was very cold and windy.  It was far from spring like, despite what the mini-irises growing by the green house where telling us.  Thankfully we had plenty of indoor work to do.

This weeks' class opened with presentations   Matt started us off with Blueberries.  There are four main types; northern high bush, southern high bush, rabbit eye, and low bush.  The low bush type are the "wild" type.  They are native to North America, are relate to cranberries and are the second most popular berry after strawberries.  They have many health benefits.  Eva added that Bears need then to be able to hibernate.

Chris then presented Persimmons.  Unripe fruit are very high in tannin making them very astringent and almost inedible. The bark is deeply cracked, they are a very handsome tree.  The fruit comes in two main types the fuyu or tomato shaped and the hochiya or "acorn" shaped. 

After presentations we started at least 500 carrot seeds.  I have a feeling this is going to be like the Camille and the basil, it'll take over the greenhouse!  All of our starts look so good.  Our class's bench looks like the most glorious salad bar you've ever seen!  Now if it would just get nice enough outside to  plant them.