Friday, April 27, 2012

The New Cedarbrook Community Garden is Taking Shape

I've been trying to take pictures of the Community Garden on a regular basis. Hopefully we can start a blog or a website for the gardens once we are all done with this intensive labor. It's just amazing how far they have come in such a short period of time!

There are 110 plots at the Community Garden. Here are some photos taken on Monday evening. A lot more has happen since then.

These are to the right behind our plots.

This plot is a couple back from us.

The guys across from us have their tank up and filled

Jay & her hubby are doing a great job setting up their plots.

This is a group of 10 plots which is occupied by Jose and his group. They really have their plots looking good!

I just love this tool stand they put up.

Our automatic fill water system is up and running. It was a bit full when I took this photo due to the rain that day.

Another group of gardeners together.

Same group from another angel.

Frank from Sicily. Wait until you see his plot when everything is up and growing!

Some of the gardeners removed their clumps of grass and put it in the area we have to dispose of garden waste.

The County brought us some picnic tables this past week.

And Whitie's site is looking great! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard...........4/26/2012

This week we had one of our favorite meals, Fish and Cauliflowerslaw. A few years ago "The Italian" created Cauliflowerslaw. It's like coleslaw.....but, much much better! I'm also going to share his Rub Recipe with you. This rub can be used on fish or pork.

Rub for Fish or Pork
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Salt (I'm not sure if he uses this much salt)
1/2 Cup Chili Powder
1/2 Cup Paprika
1/8 Cup Ground Allspice
2 Tbsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Cumin
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Celery Seeds

The recipe is a lot. We keep a batch of this rub in the freezer and use it whenever we need it. You could cut the recipe down and make a small amount for one meal.

Season Fish and Fry in Butter....that's it!

These ingredients are approximate since we don't measure when making, you may have to adjust them a bit.
  • Cauliflower, cooked al dente and then chilled
  • 1 1/2 Cups Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp.Celery Seed
  • 2 Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce (this is his secret ingredient)
  1. Cook and chill Cauliflower.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together, pour over cauliflower & mix
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use. I think this is better after it sits overnight. But, it's great when fresh too.
This Slaw is wonderful! We like it much better then Coleslaw!

What's been going in or out of your Kitchen Cupboard lately????

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Update on the Plots

The plots are starting to take shape. I managed to get everything transplanted from the old site to the new site last week. I also planted the potatoes, onions, overgrown favas and a couple of celery plants. Then we had some much needed rain over the weekend which lasted into Monday. Monday evening I went over  and turned over the next 5' x 20' bed. Yesterday was election day here in PA, so no visit to the plots. I am an election official and was working from about 6:30 AM until about 9:30 PM.

All of the potatoes have been planted in the long bed on the left. I covered the area in the front before the rain hoping to keep the grass from growing. This will be the last area dug, prepped and planted.

One post for the gates is up. I couldn't use the supports that we used at the old site. There is no way to pound those long supports in since there are so many BIG rocks deep down in the ground. Since I had already cut the posts down to 6', I couldn't just use concrete and stick them in it. 

I am using post tie that attaches to this bolt in concrete. I didn't take any pics of it and of course did have an issue with the one which I won't go in to today. Hopefully, it is all worked out and the other post will be in place soon.

Here are some Fava Beans planted in front of the Asparagus.
I started my Fava Beans inside since I didn't have a place ready for them at the plots. Then we had that really hot weather you can see they got really big before I was able to plant them. Hopefully they will be OK. I also planted a lot of onions in the middle bed and a few celery plants.

The Blackberries have been moved from the old site to the new site and seem to be pretty happy so far.

The Strawberries have also been moved. 
I lost about half of the plants from our severe heat and droughts last season. There are more roots on the way which are scheduled for delivery today.

Monday evening I turned over the next 5' x 20' bed. This bed will be prepped and framed in this evening. Once that is complete, I only have 3 more large beds to do. The rain really did help the working conditions over more Dust Bowl!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Harvest Monday..............04/23/2012

This week's harvests are once again all about greens and a little asparagus. The overwintered cold frame greens, lettuce and winter spinach bed  had started to bolt from the heat.  So, I harvested what was ready and cleaned up the beds. There is another harvest left before I have to pull the plants. In addition to what is pictured below, I  harvested at least 2 lbs of lettuce. I did not take any pictures of it though. I am not including their weight in this week's total. As I am not sure how much of the lettuce is good and will add the weights in as they are eaten.

The spring planted Collards & Kale did not bolt. So, we will have another flush of Collards & Kale before the summer weather sets in. I also have some spinach starts to plant out once the rain stops.

8 oz. Vates Collards

5.5 oz. Squire Kale
This variety is not bolting

4.5 oz. Lacinato Kale

12.75 oz. Mixed Spinach

2.25 oz. Asparagus
All of the transplanted asparagus plants are sending up shoots!! I really don't think we will harvest much more though. As most of the shoots are very tall & thin and starting to flower out into ferns. I am just so happy that they survived the move!

Total Weighed Harvests - 33 oz.

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

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard..........4/19/2012

This past week we have been eating a lot of easy dinners. No new and exciting recipes to post. I have also started freezing some of our fresh harvested greens.

Since preserving is one of the reasons I started this weekly post, I thought I would talk about getting ready for canning season. Last year I canned at least 220 jars of goodness! Hopefully this year the garden will provide us with a lot more to can!

Most of my jars are kept in the basement. There are stacks every where!

This stack has jelly jars, some pint jars and my really old jars.

This box is under one of the germinating tables. It is supposed to have only pint jars, two high. But I ran out of room where I stack my quarts and asparagus jars. So there are a few of those in this box. This box holds about 60 jars.

This stack is for quarts and asparagus jars.

Another box under the one germinating table. It contains misc. jars that I can use for mustard and sauces.

There are a couple of big bags like this containing rings and used caps.

Inside one cabinet in the basement there are more misc. jars and new caps. As you can see I only have one box of regular and wide mouth caps.

Sitting in the kitchen on top of my seed stash. I have a brand new box of quart jars that my dear sister in-law dropped off for me last week. Thanks Luanne!

I rarely buy new jars, with the exception of jelly jars. Those seem to disappear. I always watch Craig's List for canning jars. A few years ago I purchased boxes of jelly jars on Craig's List for $2 a case! Then I have my one best friend Judy, who deals in antiques. She goes to a lot of auctions and yard sales and finds great deals on pint and quart jars. She usually just gives them to me! Then there are friends, family and neighbors who are always willing to give me jars they have around. All you have to do is give them a jar or two of some canned goodness or fresh veggies from the garden!

Rings and caps are another story. Last year I did a post about the poor quality of the new ones. They are just lousy. The best prices on these last year were at Lowe's. Hopefully they will have good prices again this year! As soon as they arrive in the store, I better start stocking up!

No, I haven't inventoried my jars yet. That will have to wait until the plots are ready and all of the starts are out of the basement and in the garden! I do know that I will need more pints and jelly jars though! I guess I better start nagging Judy to find me more jars!

So, what's been going in or out of your Cupboard lately...anything good??? Do you have enough supplies for canning season???

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Two Years Today!!

I can't believe that it's been two years since I started this blog! It all started as a way for me to document my gardening. I never imagined that I would meet such a great bunch of people! You have taught me a lot, given me encouragement and really opened my eyes to more then I ever imagined!

Thanks so much for hanging around!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Work Progresses at the Dust Bowl...a/k/a the Plots

Work is progressing at the plots. Yesterday was a scorcher though. It was 90 degrees at noon and we still haven't had any rain.  How crazy is that??? It's April!!

The long bed to the left is the potato bed. 
This bed is amended and ready to be planted. The potatoes will be planted tonight or tomorrow. I have held off planting due to the excessive heat. I also marked off the pathways so I wouldn't walk on the soil where the beds will be located. 

This is the compost that the county dumped. It's not the best. I put a thick layer on top of the grass along the fence. Hopefully this will decompose the grass. I will be planting pole beans & corn along this fence. I still haven't put the gate up. It's not my top priority at this time. I did decide to move it a couple of feet to the right. So, it's a good thing that it hasn't been installed.

I think this will be my problem area. This is some of the compost from the county which was tilled into the soil when they did the last tilling. As you can see, there are some clumps of grass that are starting to grow. I'm going to shovel as much of this compost onto the paths that I can. Then I am thinking that I should cover this with a tarp to help decompose the grass. 

This is a picture toward the back of the plots. I have the posts and gates laying by the big pile of dirt. I think that the gates will go up as soon as I finish the strawberry bed along the back. 

This is the back of the plots. The bed on the right is the strawberry bed. I installed the bunny fencing and framed out the bed. Then I started prepping the soil. This is a process. First I pull out the clumps of grass that have any life in them, lay the clumps on the path or on top of the dirt and relocate any worms that I find. Then I add some of the organic manure that I purchased last year to the soil. By the next day, the grass clumps are dead. So, I crumble them up and add them back to the bed. This drought is a blessing and a curse. It is making it easier to deal with the clumps of grass...since they die so quickly. Next, I water the bed then add another layer of some of the bagged hummus that I purchased, water again. Then add some of the good dirt, water again, mix in a little and water again!! I've been spending a great deal of time watering the soil!

The bed on the left is the raspberry and blackberry bed. The raspberries are doing well and the blackberries have yet to be transplanted. The straw is really doing it's job and keeping the moisture in. 

The Asparagus transplants are sending up new shoots!!! Yippee!!!

So what gardening did you do in that crazy heat yesterday????

Saturday, April 14, 2012

We've Got Dirt!!!

Yesterday my load of nice good dirt was delivered to the plots!! There's nothing like a big pile of good dirt to make a gardener happy!

Look at that dirt...isn't it great??? 
Now I can get my potatoes and onions in!!

Wednesday, I marked off and turned over the 3' x 25' potato bed. The bunny fencing was also installed along this side.Today I will put the boards together, they are just laying there. Then I will amend the soil with some good poop and soil. Then it will be ready for planting.

After the soil was delivered, I put the fencing up along this side. I started to pound in the post supports for the gate. But I broke the piece of wood and dinner was, I went home. Those post supports are 2' long and take a lot of pounding! I plan to finish putting up the gates today. Hopefully, "The Italian" will be able to come over after work and install them correctly!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard..........4/12/2012

This week's Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard is all about Herbs & Spices. As many of you know, I grow and preserve a lot of our herbs and spices.

This is our blurry Spice Cabinet

Top Shelf

Bottom shelf with some of the jars in the front removed.

I grow and preserve the Herbs & Spices that we use the most, with the exception of Pepper. A lot of the herbs are perennials. So, once there in the garden or container,.you don't have to plant them again! Herbs are easy and boy what a savings! I'm sure you've seen the prices in the store!

The Oregano & Chives are growing nicely right now. 
Yes, I do grow the oregano right in the garden. It does get trimmed heavily many times a year. I have never had a problem with it getting out of control. Since I'm married to "The Italian" you can never really have too much Oregano!!

This is Chocolate Mint grown in a container.
We have several varieties of mint. They are all grown in containers.

This Thyme is really taking off! 
I have 4 varieties of Thyme. I'm not sure if the Lemon Thyme made it through the winter. Thyme can be funny like that. Sometimes it will be around for many years and sometimes it just dies.

This is a Rosemary plant that I grew from seed last year. 
I can't believe it survived the winter inside and has new growth! That's a first!

The Tarragon is coming up. 

The Sage bush is greening up nicely too!

I've done some detailed posts on how to preserve Herbs & Spices in the past. If you would like to read more about it just click here and here and here.

How's your Cupboard these days?? Anything good going in or out??