Monday, January 25, 2010

Purple Cabbage and Sister-in-Laws

Tonight my sister-in-law and I ate our first homegrown purple cabbage of the season. Crunchy tasty. Purple cabbage makes a great salad (or coleslaw) and lasts much longer than lettuce in the fridge. I see lots of coleslaw in our future with at least 10 more heads growing out back.

The amazing thing about my sisters-in-law is that they are both really incredible. Sometimes I like to keep the government out of it and just call them my sisters. This is a bit out of the realm of this blog- but my other sister-in-law is the most incredible chef. If you know me, you know I eat a lot of dessert, so I do not make this next statement this lightly, she cooks the best pie I have ever eaten. When we start our farm with commercial kitchen- she will be our farm chef. (And my personal pastry chef.) Doesn't she seem like the kind of person you want to know? She just started a blog featuring her homemade recipes. This stuff should be locked in a vault somewhere but she is letting it out. Check it. I think I should start challenging her to make recipes with the random things we have growing in the backyard. Challenge 1- What do you know how to make with purple cabbage? Discuss.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Keyhole Gardens and Winter Compost

Right now is a really good time to start some new beds. The grass is mostly dead and not too much else is going on in the garden. We do not need any new beds right now, so we are fixing up our old ones. We spread almost done compost and leaves over the beds. This will decompose in place fixing the soil for our spring veggies.

If you are starting a new bed, winter is a good time to use the lasagna method for building a new bed. Hot tip: Using a garden hose or bag of flour, you can mark off the outline shape you want the bed to be. Then you can check out how it will look before you start the hard work of digging. Dig out the grass. Which should be easy now that it is dead. Put down plain cardboard and wet it with the hose. Then pile compost and leaves on top. In a few months, your grass should be 100% dead underneath and the soil will be in good shape for your new garden.

We are switching to a keyhole shape in our veggie garden. We formerly had simple rows. The keyhole is a staple in permaculture gardens. It offers more gardening space with the rows still easily reached by the smaller path area. The path looks like a straight line with a circle on top. (hence- the keyhole) We used cuttings off our Christmas tree to mark the new path area.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When Do I Plant...?


People often ask me when to plant different veggies here in town. We use this nifty planting guide. It is one page and super easy to read. It only mildly pains me to say it was created by Aggies. But hell, they don't call them Aggies for nothing.


*This photo has nothing to do with when to plant what. It is to make the readers demanding more photos of the Dirtiest Kid happy. She is amazingly clean here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Have More Picnics

Tonight at dinner we had a backyard salad. Which contained arugula (a taste for which I have finally acquired), spinach, lettuce, carrots, broccoli and radishes. I plucked it all before the flood of 40 years. The saying, "When it rains, it pours," was definitely coined in Central Texas.

Cut and go lettuce is quite easy to grow. We planted some of the seeds I saved from last season. And ta-da! free, organic, local fresh salad. Lettuce will turn bitter if the weather gets unexpectedly too hot. This might sound funny to people not living here in Texas in January- but you never know when a random scorcher will arrive again.

The photo is from a backyard/ farmers market/picnic at the river meal. More people need to have more backyard picnics. Specifically with me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

These Are Not Carrots

They might look like carrots. But these are actually weeds. This is the winter of a 1,000 carrots. Truly, I think we bought 900 carrot seeds during some insane sale at Johnny's Seeds.

My husband has a habit of super over planting and then pretending he is going to thin the plants out. Overplanting can be a good idea if you think the seeds won't grow or you like to be on the safe side. But there is a dark underbelly to overplanting that involves pulling out otherwise perfectly healthy plants just because they are too near other perfectly healthy plants. It takes a certain sort of person to be able to execute this task. But all our carrots were getting stunted- so I did the deed. We got a bunch of cute baby carrots for snacks and the chickens got all the carrot green tops. All in all- I think we, and the carrots who remain, are going to be happier with this turn of events. As per my mother-in-laws instructions, I thinned them to be no less than 2 inches apart.

That would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food and the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like you could eat a carrot with an onion ring and they would travel down to your stomach, then they would get there, and the carrot would say, It's cool, he's with me.”- Mitch Hedberg