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Winter Garden UPDATE!

  • Friday, December 19, 2008
  • So I haven't written for ages and so much has happened - from my winter garden, my indoor garden, and my 'winter veggie challenge'- so much to talk about!

    A few updates are that I am now writing a column on local eating for the Blue Ridge Leader. Only two columns so far, but still- way cool!

    OK, updates:
    Winter Garden: So the frost and cold took over about a month ago and really killed everything back. I have the lettuce patch covered with a floating cover, and it is kinda keeping my turnips alive. My swiss chard looks very burned- even though I covered it with leaves. We get crazy strong winds at the house which keep everything nice and cold. The garden by the walkway in front is doing GREAT! I am still picking all the greens, and use them everyday for smoothies :) Actually the cold has helped since it has killed those green worms I was fighting before :)

    Inside Garden: Looking good! My peas are up and I already harvested lots of greens from it. All of my other seeds have sprouted but not produced anything yet. I usually garden in the bathroom while Broden is in the tub -- and even he loves eating the leaves!

    Mushrooms: I ended up growing the Shitake kit I bought for Luke and have lots of big Shitake's ready to harvest! What fun! Hard to keep them wet all the time, but very cool to see mushrooms growing.

    Winter Veggie Challenge: So I am still true to not buying any veggies this winter. I am actually having fun with all of the frozen veggies. A snap to prepare since I pre-cooked them all before I froze them. The only issue now is that the little freezer has so much stuff in it, I can't find all the veggies I need!

    Ok- gotta fly, but things are looking good!

    It is cold...but my brain is on fire!

  • Saturday, November 29, 2008
  • So it may be too cold outside to do much, but inside I am gardening! I just grew my first harvest of sprouts and used them in some smoothies, and my indoor garlic has come up! Can't wait for some cuttings of these shoots. I also just finished writing my first column called Locavore Living for the Blue Ridge Leader, in Purcellville, VA. My first article was on growing an indoor garden, and my next idea is to talk about the Power of Greens. I am still harvesting turnips, kale, curly greens, tatsoi greens, and seven top turnips. I am also pouring over seed catalogs with ideas for next year! I even have a tentative garden plan....I am keeping things simple, but just growing more of what I love. Last year I did abit of everything, but time to grow lots more of what we love! I considered not growing Okra, but just got some very cross eyes from my mother-in-law, ok- it is back in the plan! Ok- gotta go!

    Random Garden Photos

  • Wednesday, November 19, 2008
  • Sweet Potatoes Dehydrating
    Peanuts from GCF drying

    Swiss Chard Harvested in late October

    Gorgeous turnips from Potomac Veggie Farms

    Lettuce harvest in October

    Winter Garden

  • Southern Curly Greens

    Seven Top Turnips


    Tatsoi Greens

    It may not look like much, but I have four kinds of greens here and they are satisfying my family's need for greens this fall/winter.

    It is Mid November and look at my harvest!

  • Since I worked from home I could actually see my garden! Check out my harvest, YUM! I have turnips, and all types of lettuce here, all ready to go into my daily green smoothies- green never tasted so good.

    GARDEN UPDATES - Mid November

  • Tuesday, November 11, 2008
  • Would you believe I am just as busy now as I was in the spring? Well I am! Here is that I am working on:

    • collecting as many leaves as I can for me new beds, and covering up my winter hardy plants
    • digging new beds with a borrowed MANTIS tiller (it rocks!)
    • searching on Craig's list for free manure and spreading on beds
    • buying winter seeds- micro greens, sprouts, and some veggies for inside
    • preserving my greens: dehydrating, freezing etc.
    • mixing soil for indoor garden
    • cleaning up garden - putting things away- pulling out dead plants etc.
    • burning braches around property
    • moving worm bins inside garage
    • preserving harvested apples
    • protecting my 'greens' from icky green worms (hand squishing them)
    • reading seed catalogs for next year!
    • planting garlic and onions

    So as you see, lots to do with little daylight to do it.

    Garlic Listing....

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2008
  • Ok, drum roll please.... Here are the garlic varieties I planted:
    1. Broadleaf Czech

    2. Chet's Italian Red

    3. Chrysalis Purple

    4. Tochliaviri

    5. Georgian Crystal

    6. Samarkand (Persian Star)

    7. Shvelisi (Chesnok Red)

    8. German Extra Hardy

    9. Elephant Garlic

    10. Russian Giant

    I planted 1-7 in the bed in the garden, and 8-10 and the second bulbs within the pool area. YUMMY!!! Sleep well my cloves, see you soon! (got my sampler from

    Garlic, garlic, garlic!

  • So just a quick note that I finally got my garlic in for the winter. I planted over 11 varieties so should be a fun July next year.... I prepared the beds with 3-year old manure from George's farm and then I plan to blanket them with leaves and maybe hay. Fingers crossed that none of them get 'stolen' by the squirrels. I really am not sure if they like eating garlic bulbs - hopefully the smell will keep them away!

    I will list out the varieties later, but they sure are interesting!

    My new Logo!

  • Sunday, October 26, 2008

  • So for my business, Foodscaper, my awesome officemate made me a cool new logo!

    October Updates

  • So although the frost came and went, a few updates:

    • CSA ended last two weeks ago :( Last pick up we picked peanuts which was CRAZY weird and fun!
    • Picked up three truck fulls of manure, 2 from George, 1 from someone on Craig's list
    • Have been mowing leaves and grass to get more material for lasagna beds
    • Finally got garlic beds ready to plant!
    • Used mantis to till up old beds and working to create three more
    • Made 'mock' jelly with green tomatoes!
    • Dehydrating up a storm! Squash, potatoes, jalapenos, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes etc.
    • Winter garden doing GREAT! All the greens are doing well.
    • Was on a cable cooking show talking about being a locavore and cooking in-season food!


    It came....killer frost.

  • Monday, October 20, 2008
  • So I prepared, and it came- the first killer frost.

    Here is my view this morning. I took off my tomato blanket which was covered with ice - not sure how they fared, I will see them this afternoon! What a blanket of white ice!

    Ode' to the First Killing Frost...

  • Sunday, October 19, 2008
  • Well here I am, sitting in my warm house reflecting this year's garden.....tonight the first killing frost is predicted and I must say goodbye to this year's core growing season. Now don't get me wrong, things are still growing, my kale, tatsoi greens, garbanzo beans, lettuce, and turnips - but the bulk of my garden will look droopy and will destined for the compost pile.....

    So my real adventure begins now. My objective for this year's garden was to grow and preserve enough food to feed my family (for veggies only) for the entire winter. I have diligently canned and dehydrated and frozen and NOW is my time to break into my stash. Wow - during the height of the season this day couldn't come quick enough, and now- it seems it came too quick. Here is a snapshot of all of the canned and dehydrated treats that are waiting to be cooked!

    So in one last stance, I blanketed up my tomatoes in hopes it would protect them from the cold. I know, a futile attempt, but the attempt at least made me feel better, and provides a very funny picture!

    More info on Winter Garden Plants

  • Thursday, October 9, 2008

  • Winter Garden -- things growing.

  • So here are the things I am growing with some notes so I know how and when to harvest!

    Southern Giant Curled Mustard
    1935 All-America Selections Winner! 56 days. Brassica juncea. Plant produces good yields of large green frilled mustard leaves. Superb flavor. High in Vitamin A, B, and C. Excellent freezing and canning variety. A traditional Southern favorite. United States Department of Agriculture, NSL 6133. Plant Height: 24" tall. pk/100

    Tatsoi Mustard
    55 days. Brassica juncea. Plant produces good yields of flavorful mustard leaves. This oriental vegetable forms dense leaves that can be also be harvested as a whole plant and bunched. Excellent greens used in salads or cooked. pk/100

    Seven Top Turnips
    45 days. Brassica rapa. Plant produces high quality of tender turnip greens. One of the most flavorful fresh greens on the market. Roots are woody and should not be eaten. High in Vitamin A, B, and C. Excellent freezing variety. United States Department of Agriculture, NSL 6121. pk/50

    Red Russian Kale (& Squire Kale)
    50 days. Brassica oleracea. Early variety produces flavorful red and blue-green leaves. An heirloom presumably brought to America by a Russian trader. Very winter hardy, withstands colder weather.

    Canning Adventures

  • Friday, September 12, 2008
  • So I mentioned the amazing tomatoes I have -- and now I have amazing canned tomatoes.... I took teh plunge and figured out how to can, and you know what? It isn't that bad.

    It does take a LONG TIME..... so giving cans away is truly a labor of love. I now have 14 jars, and would like at least 30 for the winter. I had fun making striated jars with red, yellow, and green tomatoes- cool!

    The apples are now coming in as well -- so gotta start making applesauce and all that fun stuff.

    How embarrasing .... two months have gone by?

  • Gosh- how did this happen? Oh yeah, life, vacation, kids.....and squash beetles :)

    So I know I haven't written in awhile, but my garden is now much different than it was just a month again. The first major change was when I came back from vacation in mid August. While I was gone, it was very dry, and although my wonderful friend, Natasha, was a wonderful caretaker- my garden got stressed and got attacked at all angles. My squash was under attach by squash beetles, and some other bug got my cukes and watermelon. That then spread to my butternut squash .... and gosh, what was left? Oh right, my tomatoes have been coming in very well, and I have sizes and all kinds of colors and shapes and flavors. The Okra is doing fine --- I seem to be the only one that loves that stuff.

    Oh, must I forget, my SWEET POTATOES!!! I dug them up and they are amazing. Haven't tried them yet, but they look so great. It was such a surprise to pull up these massive roots. I have some pics of these I need to post.

    So since my garden took a sharp turn downhill, I have ripped up all the old vines, and my winter garden is now in session. The only orignal item still growing from the spring is my tomatoes....everyting else is tilled up and ready for something new. Thus far I have planted:
    • kale
    • turnips
    • beets
    • carrots (why not?)
    • mustard greens
    • spinach
    • salad
    • chard
    • garlic
    • onions
    • black garbanzo beans

    So we will see if and what comes up!

    The Patty Pan Squash are coming....

  • Wednesday, July 23, 2008
  • so the harvest of Patty Pan squash has been prolific. I went to just 'check' my garden and came back with all of these:
    And blackberries I picked from my CSA!

    Random photos of garden and property

  • Ode to SUNFLOWERS!

  • I just can't get enough of these sunflowers- they are all heirloom varieties with wonderful names and colors :)

    SUCCESS with the clay oven!

  • Monday, July 21, 2008

  • So last night I had my 'locavore dinner club' over and I tried out our outdoor clay oven. This was built many moons ago by some wonderful owners/gardeners using the clay from a nearby lake! Anyhow, although it looks abit 'rough' it worked like a charm. We had delicious pizzas: artichoke and sausage; and pesto/queso blanco/mozarella.

    ONIONS are in!

  • Check out my garden helper, Katie. She plucked out our lovely onions!

    Check out my garden helper!

  • Friday, July 18, 2008

  • Updated garden pictures....