Friday, July 30, 2010

Arrg! The Potato Bugs!

In spite of dutifully squishing potato beetles, nymphs, and eggs every other day for months, there seem to be more of them than ever in our plot. That makes me imagine the quantities of pesticides that have to be used on potato plants not lucky enough to have personal human guardians.

We are going to dig one hill tomorrow, to see what reward we have for our vigilance. We are looking forward to new potatoes and dill!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thanks, Painters!

Many thankyous to Sarah Dennett, Jamie Stanley, and Heidi Muller- Peterson and her daughter Caroline for helping to paint in the color blocks on the rear water tank on Sunday. We had a beautiful day to work outside, we got to listen to the baby wrens in the perennial-plot wren house, and I had my first taste ever of tomato aspic -- yum! (thanks Sarah!) Thanks also to Shirley Hansen for helping draw the design on the tank. Sometime soon I'll get the brown lines painted on.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oh, What Beautiful Gardens!

While weeding the garden plot I share with Gretchen Baune on Thursday morning this past week, I overheard and viewed a young teacher talking about and demonstrating how to turn basil into a wonderful pesto that they all helped create (and ate). My mundane task was much more enjoyable due to her enthusiasm for what she was doing and the exciting interaction with her 4-5 students.
Our garden plot experienced a terrible problem with potato bugs, and as we saw the problem reach out to the neighboring potatoes and tomatoes, we uprooted them and planted flowers instead. We have a very healthy and prolific tomato crop (eight plants) and our zucchini, beets, green peppers, parsley, basil and green beans are all doing very well. We are especially fond of our zinnias for cutting purposes and bringing them indoors. I hope everyone is enjoying their gardening work this summer - it looks like we will have large payoffs for our efforts!
Shirley Hansen

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beet This

I planted beets for the first time this year ... planted seeds right in the garden soil on the afternoon of our first work day, and I've already harvested almost all of them. They were quite easy ... no pests or problems, at least this time around! I planted a variety called "cylindra" that I got from Johnny's Seeds. They're nice because they are tubular in shape, so every slice is about the same size around. They have a really nice, sweet flavor, good enough that they really didn't need a marinade like the one below, but sometimes one feels the need to dress up a veggie! Here's a nice recipe I made this week to take to my book group potluck. It comes from a cookbook called "Recipes from America's Small Farms".

Marinated Beets (note- make 12-24 hours ahead to allow flavors to blend)

8 medium beets (I used about 6-7)
2 tbsp walnut oil
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp raspberry vinegar
3 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
toasted walnuts
1/4 c minced fresh mint leaves

Cook the beets ( I steamed them in a pressure cooker for about 7 minutes then let the pressure release gradually). Once they're cooked the skins will rub off very easily. Slice into thin slices

Mix together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, and mix well. Pour over the beets (you can put them in a bowl and toss occasionally, or put them in a zip lock bag and just tumble the bag a few times during the marinating time. 24 hrs is best.

Serve cold topped with the feta, walnuts & mint. (Add these at the last minute so the walnuts stay crisp and the feta doesn't turn completely pink!)