28 May 2012

So...my camera died. Or at least I think it did. You'll just have to use your imagination to picture my garden in your head. I'm really ashamed of half of it, as it is all weeds right now. The other half looks impressive. I'd guess that I've gotten two dozen peas so far, and there are plenty pods still swelling up. Green beans are about 6" tall and all leaves. Cukes are getting nice and fuzzy. Tomatoes are little, but I'm hopeful. Okra is looking good. Strawberries were a no go. It was my first experience with transplanting bare roots, so I'm sure it was me. Peppers are right along with tomatoes. I decided that the bad half I'll use for pumpkins. I just have to buckle down and rip up those weeds.

The CSA is going well. It's been mostly lettuces and greens, so the family is a bit bored. However, salad is all I eat when it's hot, and I've been sneaking the greens in scrambled eggs or just freezing them for later. I love mustard greens. We had some baby leaves in a spring mix, along with some spidery lettuce I forgot to ask about. But it is so zippy and spicy! I started piling it on my burgers instead of an actual condiment.

I have mastered grilling steaks. I usually suck big time for whatever reason. I just haven't been able to get it right. However, my husband and I had the weekend to ourselves, and I felt like treating ourselves. I pulled them about 40 minutes before cooking. Went heavy on the kosher salt, a bit of pepper. Threw them on when the grill was a screaming 500 degrees. And voila. Hubs didn't even reach for the A1. And that, my friends, is a rare occasion.

One more note, and I'm off. I caught this show called Frontier House. I am in love! I will definitely be looking for more episodes.

11 May 2012

Sqare Foot Gardening & Make this for your Momma!

Brandywine Tomatoes
So, my garden looks like a garden. Like a real one and everything! I've got respectable peas and beans. My first bean sprouted up in just 4 days! I ate my first homegrown beet yesterday. It was smaller than a golf ball, but it was so sweet! I've never had that taste with raw beets before. Okra and cukes went in Sunday. Tomatoes went in today as well as supports for the peas. Peppers may be in next week. Again, with the hardening! PS: Those newspaper starter cups are doing great.
Peas earlier this week
One thing I have noticed is that the heirloom varieties, purchased from a small farm off of, you guessed it!, localharvest.org, have a higher growth rate than the store bought varieties. That is, the peas and beans, which were put directly into the ground. The transplants were not successful, but I think that was due to my inexperience. I'm impressed though. I literally mean 100% are shooting up, whereas about 60% of the store-bought are alive and kicking. I'm interested to see how the end results differ.
I have been reading Square Foot Gardening. I really wish I had done so 6 months ago. There are lots of great ideas, and I definitely would like to try this method next year along with a traditional plot. I think it's a great option for kids. Getting mine interested has been a struggle. It's too hot. I don't want to get dirty. There's a bug on me. I'm hungry. I'm bored. It takes a maximum of 3 minutes to hear one of these...and it doesn't stop until we're inside. God forbid my kids survive without my watchful eye for an hour. Of course, we'll have a complete 180 in 10 years with me begging to hang with them 24/7. I digress. If they had their own little plot with quick growing produce and a flower or two, I think that would grab their attention. Another great thing about the book is options for gardeners unable to stoop because of back problems or those using a wheelchair. I also think the size restrictions are a good idea for starters, such as myself. I went big. Too big. If I had something small then progressed reasonably, then a full scale plot would not be so daunting. But, you know, eyes bigger than the stomach...or hands? You get what I'm saying. Anyways, McKay, a local used bookstore, had it for $1.50. Well worth it.
If you are in the Nashville area, check out McKay's new location. It is HUGE! It looks like a gymnasium in there. But for nerds. They have a great selection and usually good prices.

Mmm Good
I did want to share a recipe this time around. German Apple Pancake. This is really great, one of my family's favorites. It's elegant, rustic, and simple. Perfect for holidays or—don't forget this Sunday!--Mother's Day. Serve with a pot of coffee or tea, thick bacon or country ham. The apples kind of peep out at you, while the caramel just oozes seductively.
      1. Preheat oven to 400.
      2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in an oven proof skillet (cast iron works great) over medium heat.
      3. Add 2 medium Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced or chunked if you prefer, ½ cup brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp cinnamon. Cook until tender. Here you can add anything extra jazzy, like a splash of liqueur, a dash of your favorite spice, or chopped nuts. Mmm, dried cranberries would be good.
      4. In a bowl, whisk together 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 tbsp melted butter, and ½ tsp salt.
      5. Whisk in 1 cup AP flour.
      6. Once the apples are cooked down, remove from heat and pour batter on top.
      7. Bake for about 20 minutes until nice and golden.
Serve plain or topped with syrup, whipped cream, powdered sugar, etc.

Alright, guys. I'm a little silly from lack of sleep, so I'm off. Oh, yeah! First CSA pickup tomorrow from Delta Sun Farm! I'll let you guys know how it goes. They have baby pigs. I can't wait to squee at their adorableness.