Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hort 2334 Food Crops, 2-28-2013

Image from here
With the daylight lasting longer and the temperature slightly above bone chilling we were out in the plot first thing this class.  We confirmed the marking lines that were set up the other day and began laying out the perimeter and main dividing paths.  The process for building the paths was to lay cardboard down, filling all weed infiltrating cracks with news paper and to then cover that with mulch.  We ran into a little snag, the line between our teams plot and the next ran though the edge of the existing garlic patch.  This was easily remedied by transplanting row of garlic from that patch to a more central one. I volunteered for the job and found it very enjoyable.  I can't wait to really dig in.  As the sun slipped below the horizon we were cleaning up and heading in.  Our next task for the evening was transplanting in the green house.

A survey of our plants showed that the tomatoes and peppers have sprouted, the leeks are progressing slowly, the beets look great and the lettuce looks like its ready to go out as soon as possible.  We transplanted many flats of basil.  Even at sprout sized this basil had a strong fragrance.  It made me wish from caprese salad and summer! As we packed up to head back to lecture Tina spotted a rather well fed looking rabbit watching us.  It looked very cute, but all I could think about was our lettuce being the first thing out and what that rabbit might want to do to it!

We finished the evening with presentations.  Kayla's presentation was on Hominy.  Hominy was a new discovery for Kayla and you could tell she had a good amount of enthusiasm for it. Hominy is flint or dent corn treated with an alkaline to remove its outer coating and make it more nutritious. I learned that the word for that is "nixtamalization".  Also that this process converts the corn to a complete protein and makes the niacin and calcium more bio-available. The origins of this process go all the way back to the Aztex and Mayans.  Kayla finished up her presentation with an excellent hominy casserole.

Following Kayla was Joe with his presentation on peanuts.  It may have been one of the most entertaining presentations so far. Peanuts have had some pretty funny names.  They have their origin in Peru, have been grown in the USA since colonial times and are actually pretty good for you.  There are four main verities grown: Spanish, Runner, Virginia and the Valencia. We also learned that they are a legume, not a nut and that they have a pretty flower.

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