Monday, February 25, 2013

Harvest Monday–25 Feb 2012



The garden is under a foot or more of snow with a few inches more on Sunday, so anything from the garden is coming out of the basement or the freezer. Last week I used the next to last red onion from the garden to make Rouladen, a German dish similar to “birds”. The supermarket had some thin sliced sirloin steak featured, which prompted the idea of serving this. The beef was sliced into strips and pounded to make it thinner.



A slice of bacon was laid on each strip, the strip slathered with Dijon mustard, and then sprinkled with the chopped red onion from the garden and sweet gherkin pickles.




The strips were then rolled up and fastened with toothpicks. The Rouladen were browned on all sides and then braised in some beef stock and red wine for about an hour. The juices make a great gravy, rich with mustard, onion and bacon

This Sunday we had roast chicken. I used one of my two remaining  Meyer lemons to flavor it. The lemon zest was blended with butter and dried basil from the garden and inserted under the skin of the breast and the juice dribbled over the chicken. The chicken was then roasted for an hour with mini carrots and asparagus from the store. Spring asparagus is starting to arrive so we enjoy it while it is available. My daughter wanted to make a pumpkin cheesecake, but unfortunately the pureed pumpkin that was defrosted last week to make waffles was moldy, so we resorted to canned pumpkin, which has a totally different and stronger flavor from fresh puree.

To see what gardeners around the world are harvesting from their gardens or freezers, head over to Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Garden Planting Schedule 2013

I finally have completed my 2013 planting schedule sufficiently to post on Google Drive and share. It is a modification of my spreadsheet from last year. I deleted the column for seed source because that information is in the Planting List.  Since I am using Square Foot Gardening, I have added two columns for number of squares allotted to the vegetable, and either seeds/plants per square or the number of plants I need to start indoors. Note that the file will be changing as I tweak the schedule.  I print off a copy of this spreadsheet and take it to the garden with me, along with the plot plan. The biggest hurdle remaining is completing the plot plan and figuring out where to allocate all of these vegetables I hope to plant.


One of the challenges I have is figuring out what to do with the new and uncommon plants I am trying. I am going to treat fava beans just like peas and plant them in late March. Kohlrabi will be started and transplanted on the same dates as other cabbage family plants like kale and collards. I also figured an August planting date for fall harvest of Kohlrabi. Then there are the Asian greens like Tatsoi, Fun Jen, and Hon Tsai Tai. Most of these can be grown in early spring and late summer/fall, but I have no experience with them.


We are having a snowy but not awful Sunday, perfect for thinking about gardening. I finally got my Copra and Rossa Lunga di Tropea onion seeds planted in pots today and nestled on the heat mat. I outsmarted myself flipping particular seed varieties back and forth between my Fedco and Pinetree orders and succeeded in not ordering the Red Wing onion seeds I need to plant today while double ordering the fava beans. Oh well, I ordered a packet from Pinetree and will just have to wait for them to arrive. I hope I like fava beans.


I decided to try seed blocks for seed starting this year and ordered 3/4”, 1.5” and 2” soil block makers. I also ordered a 20 quart bag of Johnny’s 512 mix, which cost me $12 plus $6 dollars for shipping. A $20 box of dirt! But I wanted to see what the real thing was like before I try mixing my own. Some use the Vermont Composting’s Fort Vee Mix, which is carried by a local hydroponic supplier, so I may also try that when my supply of 512 runs out. I also used the 512 for the onion seeds since it has compost and some fertilizer and the onions will be in the pot for a long time.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Planting List 2013


My seed orders are placed and most are in hand except Fedco, which was a group order and I must wait for that order to arrive and be distributed. Now to figure out where to put everything in the garden and plan the seed starting schedule. My planning tends to be impulse driven. More ooh that’s cool, where can I put it and less here’s an empty spot, what should I plant. I admit I’m a sucker for the seed catalogs with color photos.


The garden will be similar to last year, with a lot of the old reliable varieties and a few new ones. New vegetables I am trying include kohlrabi, carrots and broad beans. I am also planting an expanded variety of Asian greens, going beyond Choi to include Tatsoi, Fun Jen, and Hon Tsai Tai. Hopefully I can do some fall plantings of these so I get some greens into cold weather. I have not bothered growing carrots because they are so cheap, even “organic” ones. The trick was to find short carrots that will row in 5-6 inch deep raised bed without resorting to height extenders.


I had a miserable season last year with eggplant and peppers. This year I will try a couple of Ping Tung eggplants under cover in hopes I get a few. My unscientific observation the last couple of years is that the oriental types of eggplants seem to be less susceptible to flea beetle damage. For peppers, I have given up any hope of growing bell peppers and will stick to small peppers this year. I’m trying Padron, which Michelle grows with success, and a few other small fruited peppers like Jimmy Nardello. Hope I get some. I think I harvested three Jalapenos from two plants last year.


This year I will be growing four types of onions and starting my own onion plants from seed for the first time. Last year I purchased a 4” pot of red onion plants from a local nursery and tucked them in here and there. I was pleased that I got nice, large onions from these plants and still have a few in the basement. So now I am going to try growing my own from seed. The little I know so far is that right now is the time to start them, since they grow very slowly. I plan to start them in some kind of flat and will use the Johnny’s 512 mix I got for seed blocking since it has compost and fertilizer added.


Here is the 2013 planting list, hopefully complete and accurate (but always subject to change):


•    Basil Genovese, Siam Queen, Spicy Globe (purchased plants)
•    Bean Bush Provider (PT)
•    Bean Bush Jade (PT)
•    Bean Pole Fortex
•    Bean Pole Trionfo Violetto (PT)
•    Bean Broad/Fava, Windsor (PT)
•    Beet Touchstone (F)
•    Beet Red Ace (PT)
•    Beet Boro (HM)
•    Broccoli Di Cicco
•    Broccoli Purple Peacock (F)
•    Brussels Sprouts (purchased plants)
•    Carrot Shin Kuroda (F)
•    Carrot Mokum (F)
•    Carrot Caracas (J)
•    Cilantro Large Leaf (PT)
•    Collards Champion (HM)
•    Cucumber Summer Dance (PT)
•    Cucumber Pickling Jackson Classic
•    Cucumber Green Finger (HM)
•    Cucumber Crystal Apple (PT)
•    Dill Fernleaf
•    Eggplant Ping
Tung (PT)
•    Endive Dubuisson (J)
•    Escarole Natacha (J)
•    Garlic German Extra Hardy (GM) –planted 10/2012
•    Garlic Chesnok Red (GM) –planted 10/2012
•    Greens Pac Choi Win-Win (J)
•    Greens Fun Jen (F)
•    Greens Hon Tsai Tai (HM)
•    Greens Tatsoi (F)
•    Kale Beedy’s Camden (F)
•    Kohlrabi Kolibri (PT)
•    Lettuce Green Ice (PT)
•    Lettuce New Red Fire (PT)
•    Lettuce Buttercrunch (PT)
•    Lettuce Forellenschluss (F)
•    Mustard Green Wave (PT)
•    Mustard Red Giant (F)
•    Onion Copra (PT)
•    Onion Red Wing (PT)
•    Onion Rossa Lunga di Tropea (F)
•    Onion Evergreen Hardy White (F)
•    Onion French Red Shallots (SESE) –planted 10/2012
•    Parsley Italian Flat Leaf (purchased plants)
•    Pea Snap Sugar Ann
•    Pea Snow Oregon Sugar Pod II
•    Pepper Padron (BC)
•    Pepper Jimmy Nardello (F)
•    Pepper Tiburon Ancho (F)
•    Pepper Red Cherry (PT)
•    Pepper Lipstick BC)
•    Pepper Jalapeno (purchased plants)
•    Pepper Thai (purchased plant)
•    Radish White Icicle Short Top (J)
•    Radish Watermelon (PT)
•    Radish, French Breakfast
•    Rosemary (purchased plant)
•    Spinach Tyee (PT)
•    Squash Zucchini Dunja
•    Squash Zucchini Costata Romanesco
•    Squash Pattypan Sunburst
•    Squash Summer Tromboncino (F)
•    Swiss Chard Orange Fantasia (PT)
•    Swiss Chard Flamingo (BC)
•    Turnip White Tokyo Cross (PT)
•    Turnip Yellow Golden Ball (F)
•    Tomato cherry Sun Gold I (purchase plants)
•    Tomato cherry Black Cherry I (PT)
•    Tomato Roma Gilbertie Paste I (HM)
•    Tomato Juliet (purchased grafted and un-grafted plants)
•    Tomato Roma Striped Roman I (BC)
•    Tomato, Cherokee Purple I (purchased grafted plant)
•    Tomato, Big Beef (purchased plants)


BC=Baker Creek, F=Fedco, GM=Green Mountain Garlic, HM=High Mowing Seeds, J=Johnny’s, PT=Pinetree, SESE=Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo 2013

Winter storms in New England are a common occurrence. When you hear a storm has been given a name, that gets your attention. Winter storm Lulu (was it Lula?) turned out to be just a nuisance. But Nemo was something else! The state has been shutdown for two days now. Two to three feet of snow fell and the coastal areas were damaged by high seas and hurricane force winds. Fortunately, here in Bolton we only got about 20 inches of snow and winds were minimal. We still have power and life goes on, while folks along the coast are struggling with flooding and power outages. My family is warm, we have power, and I am planning my 2013 garden while I think of those still struggling with the weather gremlins.




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