Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Plots are Tilled and Ready to Go!!!!

I called Dora late this morning to see if they managed to get the plots tilled yesterday as planned. Yes they did!! She said it was 100% better and they were going to re-stake them after lunch. She didn't have much help and asked if I could come over to help. Of course, I went right over there! Four of us spent a good 3 1/2 hours staking and placing the plot markers on each site.

The photo below is before

And this is it

Boy what a difference! 

This is the upper area

This is my area

and this is Steve already working on putting up their fencing!

I am so happy with the results!!!

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard..........3/29/2012

I was planning to do a post today on how to freeze greens. I will do that next week. Instead I will share a couple of great meals we had this past week from our nice harvests of Greens & Spinach.

One wonderful meal was Paprika Pork Chops w/ Spinach & Raisins. I didn't take any pictures of it and I thought that I had posted it last year. But, I can't find it on the blog. I have to say that this meal is a winner and it's a great way to get the "little" ones to eat their spinach!

Paprika Pork Chops w/Spinach & Raisins

  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 Bone-In Pork Chops (about 1" thick)
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Stock or water
  • 4 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Raisins
  • 10 oz. Spinach
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the chops with the paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer the chops to a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat. Add a little stock or water, about 1/4 Cup, add the scallions and raisins and cook, stirring, for about a minute
  5. Add the spinach and Cook, tossing, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve with the chops. 
This next recipe is how I cook a Pot Roast with greens. I did take some pictures of this!
Braised Beef w/Greens

  • Roast of choice, it could be Beef or Pork. I used a Beef Chuck Roast
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Onions
  • Wine - I use Red Wine for beef
  • Lots of fresh chopped Greens from the garden

  1. Slice an onion or two and salt & pepper roast
  2. Heat the olive oil a nice big pot over medium/high heat. Then Sear the meat on all sides.
  3. Add the onions while searing the meat
  4. When you are finished searing the meat, remove to plate and de-glaze the pot with the wine. 
  5. Return the meat to the pot and add some more wine and a little water.
  6. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium or low. Then cook for about 2-3 hours. I like to cook my roast until it falls apart.
  7. When your roast is cooked to your liking, add chopped greens to liquid and cook until tender.
This is not the best picture...but, it sure was yummy! I served the roast and greens with some mashed cauliflower....yum!!

So, What have you been making from your stored or fresh harvests....or putting away for another day??

Monday, March 26, 2012

Harvest Monday............03/26/2012

There were some pretty good harvests this past week here at the home garden. I finally got around to harvesting some more overwintered Collards, Kale, Lettuce & Spinach!

Overwintered Cold Frame Vates Collards, 14.5 oz.

Overwintered Cold Frame Lacinato Kale and a few leaves of Winter Red, 10 oz.

Overwintered Cold Frame Squire Kale, 8.5 oz.

Overwintered Spinach of mixed varieties, 13 oz
This is my first good Spinach Harvest since 2010!!! And there is a lot more out there!

Total Weighed Harvest - 3 lbs. 4 oz.

Collards, Vates - 14.5 oz.
Kale, Lacinato - 10 oz.
Kale, Squire - 8.5 oz.
Lettuce - 6 oz.
Spinach - 13oz.

Stop on over to Daphne's Dandelions, our host of Harvest Monday to see what's going on in Veggie Gardens around the globe!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Citrus Trees........11 Month Update

Last April I purchased 3 Dwarf Citrus trees. Which I posted about here. Boy these little guys are really doing well! They have spent the winter in "The Italian's" nice sunny office.

This is the Meyer Lemon Tree

It looks like we have a baby!!

This is a cluster of 4 blossoms.....hopefully they will all produce little babies!

There are also two other future blossom clusters on this little tree!

The Dwarf  Lime Tree is growing blossoms yet.

The Dwarf Orange Tree is also growing signs of blossoms here either.

We are hoping that we will get some blossoms on the other trees this year too!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard..........3/22/2012

I haven't been the most creative cook around here this week. I think those couple of days at the plots and the warm weather has been keeping me away from cooking a bit. I have also been spending the mornings taking care of my neighbor. She had a spinal cord injury and had to have surgery on her neck. This injury has severely affected her hands and her walking a bit. I think I've been doing more cooking over there then here.

Last night I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures of anything for today's post. So, I made another really easy pasta dish for "The Italian". He is one happy Italian this week. We had two of his favorites dishes two nights in a row! I don't think that I have posted this recipe before. If so, here it is again.

Pasta Piselli
  • 1 Package of Frozen Peas or 1 Can of Le Sueur Peas
  • Olive Oil
  • Chopped Onion
  • Canned Tomatoes or Tomato Puree (this time I used 1 pint of puree and 1 pint of whole tomatoes)
  • Pasta of your choice
  • Grating Cheese 
  1. Chop about 1/2 of a medium onion
  2. Saute the chopped onion in a little olive oil until translucent
  3. Add puree or tomatoes, bring to a boil then reduce and cook for about 30 minutes or until desired thickness
  4. When your water is about ready to cook the pasta, add the peas to the sauce
  5. Serve with grated cheese.........that's it, no other ingredients or seasonings! 
This is a great Easy Peasy Recipe!!

I found some wonderful cheese in the cheese drawer that we bought in Little Italy. Grated it and served it in this pretty little bowl.

So, what have you been whipping up with your stored goods or putting away for another day??? 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Peas are Popping and Sowing Carrots

It cooled down a bit today and we even had some misty rain this morning! We haven't had rain in forever. The last couple of mornings I have been watering the beds a bit to try to get the soil damp enough to plant some carrots. I figured if I watered then maybe we would get some rain.

This is the Right Cold Frame Bed. 
The soil was amended and loosed up a bit so the carrots could grow. Then I put down carrot seed mats that I made back in January, covered them with a little damp soil and then put boards on top to keep them moist until they germinate. I also stuck in some onions plants wherever I had some room. I think that I put in about 30 onion plants throughout the beds. I still have at least a couple of hundred to plant at the plots!

This is the Left Cold Frame Bed.
Last week I planted out some more Kale & Collard seedlings that were started back in January. I had to put the bird netting back on both the beds since the Dang Squirrels were in there trying to rip out my seedlings. Everything is growing like crazy! I guess that I have some harvesting to do!

The overwintered Spinach is growing like crazy too! I also planted 5 Quattro Stagioni Sel. Rossina Di Pescia lettuce plants in this bed....boy that's a mouth full!

The peas that I planted on March 13th are popping up!

All of the garlic is going to town! 

I decided to dig up a Blueberry Bush that I planted about 4 or 5 years ago on the property next door. There were two and they never did well. Something would nibble on them and I don't think the soil was any good for them either. So, I dug this little guy up and put it in one of the big pots I have. It was mulched and also covered with bird netting. If I don't cover something right after I plant it, the squirrels will most likely dig it up and just toss it!! I swear they watch me plant!

This year I am planning to buy 3 Dwarf/Miniature Fruit trees for my 3 biggest pots and one more Blueberry bush for another pot on the deck. Then I won't have too many flower pots to fill and we will have some nice fruit to eat!

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Garden Plots..........Day 2........Work Stop

I went over to the new plots at around 8:15 this morning to begin Day 2. Some of the county workers were there for awhile working on some of the trees in the back. Then Dora came with her crew to put in the permanent markers. Her boss also showed up. Around noon I left to go home and have lunch with "The Italian".

This is what I got done this morning. Another 3' bed along the side. I also moved the rocks to the end of the plot near the road.

This is from the other side. 
The bed to the right I did yesterday and also about another 7' more to the left.

Just as I was getting ready to go back to the plots, Dora called. They have decided to get someone else in there to till this better. There are many plots that have ruts 2' deep and the sod is in huge clumps. There are also some areas that were totally missed. I was a little upset at first. But, I think in the long run, it will be much better. They have calls in to some people with heavy tillers that you put on the back of a tractor. It seems that the equipment the county has is not heavy enough to do this correctly.

Hopefully, they can someone in there soon............I have gardening to do!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Garden Plots......Day 1........OMG!!!

Before I went to the new site, I had to go to the old plots and work for a couple of hours. I removed all of the old short rusted T Posts for Dora. Then I trimmed back the blackberries and removed their supports. There were three 9' posts with wire fencing. Boy, was that a job! Then I had to go search for a Port O Pottie down at the ball fields!!

When I got to the new site, I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed at first. Then I remember what my honorary Mother said to me. It's like eating an elephant....just a little at a time. First I got out my measuring tape to make sure that they were the size they were supposed to be. Next I got out my field tape and strung it down two sides. Then I started leveling out the one end. The only way to do this is to lay the turned sod over as flat as you can, remove big rocks and fill in with some loose soil. I found many a nice big worms under the sod! That made me very happy!

I don't know if you can tell from this picture how hilly and uneven it is. The turned over sod seems like mountains!

I managed to level out about 10' x 30' when I bent over and heard something rip! Yes, my old jeans gave way! 

Now I only have another 30' x 30' to go. After I am done with this step. I will either put the fencing down two sides or start framing out the beds. That will depend on when they get the permanent posts in place. The beds for the Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Asparagus, Onions and Potatoes will be the first to be done. I am definitely having a big load of soil delivered as soon as I can. I'm going to put down paper and then put soil on top. That is the only way I can do this site and be able to garden this year. 

There were a two other gardeners there today. Whitie, the nice gardener who gave me wonderful Sweet Corn on a few occasions and Sweet Potatoes last year. He is in his 80's and told me he is also having some soil delivered. Steve, the guy who watered my plots for me last year was also there. He got out his rototiller and tilled for about 20 minutes and then left. 

Tomorrow, will be day 2.............I wonder if I can finish the next 30 feet????

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Community Garden Site Plots are Marked Off!!

I have to say that Dora is doing a great job pushing to get the new Community Garden site ready to go! She has been spending 5 days a week + getting things going. Even though she is a part time employee for the county. Thanks so much Dora for all the time you have been spending getting the new site ready!!!

Around dinner time yesterday, I decided to take a ride over to the new site to see what progress has been made this week. To my surprise, all of the plots are marked off! Yippee!!! This was finished late yesterday afternoon, about a week ahead of schedule!

All of the plots are marked off with these temporary orange markers. Starting Monday they will be replaced with permanent stakes. Since most of the stakes put at the old site are missing, Dora asked me if I had any short T Posts available. Last Sunday I spent 4 hours at the old site and removed almost all of the stakes and fencing that I am planning to keep. This afternoon and tomorrow I will go to the old site and remove all of the other T Posts that I won't be using and give them to Dora. This will help speed things along. I don't think this will take too much time. Then I am planning to go to the new site and start picking rocks and raking it out a bit. I  may have a load of mixed soil & compost delivered to my new plots to put on top of the existing soil. This is how I started my beds here at the house. The soil here was all clay. So, I framed out beds, put down a heavy layer of paper and put the new soil on top. I have a great source for some really good clean organic mix that I can get delivered. I think it may be money well spent.

The county has started to deliver some compost to the new site. They are supposed to dump it around the perimeter for the gardeners to use to amend their soil. I'm not sure where this comes from and how good it is.

They dumped some big piles down at his end. This area is not going to be made into plots. When they tilled it. They found that soil wasn't good and there was concrete and other stuff that had been dumped there years ago. I guess that this compost will have to be hauled by wheel barrow to usable plots.

Wish me's going to be a lot of work!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard..........3/15/2012

This past Saturday I made a wonderful dish with some of the fresh greens from the cold frame beds and peach jam glazed pork chops. As usual I searched the internet for a recipe for Jelly or Jam Glazed Pork Chops and some Braised Greens. I found a few recipes. They gave me some ideas and this is what I came up with. This is one of those recipes that turned out perfect!

Jelly or Jam Glazed Pork Chops & Greens
  • 3/4 Cup Fruit Jam or Jelly - I used some Peach Jam that I had in the Cupboard. I really think any type of homemade jam or jelly would be great.
  • 1 piece of Fresh Ginger - grate about 2 tsp.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp of good Soy Sauce
  • Pepper of your choice - I used some homemade Cayenne pepper, probably about 1/4 tsp.
  1. Combine Jam & Vinegar in a small saucepan
  2. Cook over low heat until the jelly or jam melts
  3. Stir in Ginger, Garlic, Soy Sauce & Pepper and set aside

Greens & Glazed Pork Chops
  • Pork Chops
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Chopped Greens - about 8 Cups - I used a combination of Baby Choi, Tatsoi, Kale & Collards
  • 1/4 Cup Water or Vegetable Stock -  I used Veggie Stock
  • 1-2 Cloves of minced Garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Chop Greens

      2.   Salt & Pepper the Pork chops, heat a grill pan or frying pan on med/high with a little olive oil
      3.   While the pan for the pork chops is heating up, add a little Olive Oil to another large skillet or wok over med/high heat.

      4.   Add the greens & garlic to the skillet and saute for a few minutes. I always add the stalk of the greens first since they take longer to cook.

      5.   Add the Veggie Stock or water to the greens and about half of the glaze. Cover and simmer until done.

      6.   When the pan for the pork chops is hot, grill each side for about 3 minutes. Then glaze with the Jam glaze and cook each side for about 4 minutes on each side or until done.

This was one of the best dishes we have had in awhile!

So, what good dishes have you been making with your stored goods......or what have you been putting away for another day????

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Cleaning, Spring Mess and Planting Peas!

It was a busy gardening day here at the home garden. Do you believe it was 74 today? The first thing that I did was clean up the cold frame beds. I moved some of the lettuce from the one bed to the other bed to make room for the carrots.

This is the Right Cold Frame Bed all ready for some carrots!
There is some Squire Kale, 2 overwintered Celery Plants and some Lettuce in the back. The greens in the front to the left is "The Italian's" Escarole.

This is the Left Cold Frame Bed.
There's a lot of lettuce in the front of this bed and one collard plant. I don't know how that ended up there. In the back is Lacinato Kale, Vates Collards, Lettuce and one overwintered Celery Plant. 

These babies where outside today soaking up the sunshine to get ready to be planted in the empty space in the middle of the left cold frame bed. There is some Dwarf Blue Kale, Red Russian Kale, Georgia Collards, Arugula and some Quadattro Stagioni Lettuce.

While I was playing in the dirt, I stuck the soil thermometer in the soil to see if it was warm enough to plant the peas. Yes!!! The soil temperature was warm enough! Since the extended forecast is calling for nice warm weather ranging from 60-70 during the day and in the mid to high 40's at night, the peas were going in!

Since there will be no planting of peas this spring at the plots, I have to use every square inch here at the house. First I took the netting off of the Garlic Fortress. I don't think the squirrels will try to dig up the garlic now.
I took most of the straw off of the garlic planted in this bed. The garlic germination is 100%! Then I put some supports along this side and planted Green Beauty Snow Peas

Next Bed #1 was cleaned up. 
At the far end of this bed is the overwintered spinach. There is an empty space in the middle for some cabbage and the balance of the garlic at this end. Most of the straw was removed from the garlic. 100% germination here too! Three sides of this bed were then planted with peas. Spring Blush Snap Vine Peas at this end, Alderman Shelling Peas along the left side and Sugar Magnolia Snap Vine Peas at the far end. 

As soon as the plots are ready........I can get rid of this...........

and this....

and this....along with a whole bunch of stuff stacked in the garage!

What gardening fun have you been up to???

Monday, March 12, 2012

Harvest Monday............03/12/2012

This past Saturday, I finally harvested some of the overwintered Kale and Collards from the cold frame beds. I figured that I would harvest just the bigger leaves and that would be enough for dinner. As you can see, there were a lot more greens ready then I had thought!

I came in with this nice big colander full of greens! 
There are Vates Collards, Lacinato Kale, Squire Kale and a few leaves of what I think must be Winter Red Kale. There is one plant in the bed which has light purple veins. I was having trouble with the Winter Red Kale germinating...but, I guess that one made it.

Total Harvest - 10.7 oz    
Collards - 3.8 oz
Kale - 6.9 oz

Hop on over to Daphne's Dandelions, our host of Harvest Monday to see what's going on in Veggie Gardens around the globe!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Community Garden Site Update

You just gotta love how inefficient government is! Boy, if we ran our households or businesses like the government in this country, we would all be bankrupt and homeless! There is absolutely no communication! With that being said, I called Dora (the Garden Coordinator for the County Community Gardens) this morning to see if they finished plowing and disced the new site for Cedarbrook Community Garden. She was just beside herself. That woman has got her hands full for the next couple of months. She told me that her husband went by our old site last night and saw this....
Yes, someone in the county put barricades up at the old site! Hmmm, wouldn't you think that the department in charge of this site would be notified??? No!!! When she found out the County offices were already closed for the weekend. She told me to just go around the barricades, which I did. I am going back tomorrow and will spend a good deal of time there. I am planning to remove the chicken wire, some posts, some fencing and trim back and mark what blackberries I am going to move. 

Then I went over to the new site. It took the woman two days just to plow that site. It consists of 100, 20' x 30' plots. I lived on a farm most of my life and didn't know it took that long!

This is most of the new site plowed. The red X in the back is approximately where our plots will be. I sure hope those darn geese don't stick around!

This is to the right of the previous picture. There are some more plots in the back, some more parking and turn around and the area where the county will put our free compost.

I walked down to see where our plots are going to be. They will run 30' from X1 to X2 and then 40' deep. It's a good location. They are right on the road so I can park the car by the gate.

This is the road. They didn't do a very good job and it's not exactly how it was supposed to be....but, it will do.

As I was leaving, I spotted this guy way at the other end, past the plots, sneaking out of the brush.

I zoomed in as much as I could and got a pic! I have to thank "The Italian" for this great camera! I really hope that Mr. or Mrs. Fox keeps the bunnies under control!

Let's hope and pray that the site is disced on Monday. Then Dora can get the plots marked off and we all can start getting our sites ready!