Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Garden planning

My neighbors have built a split rail fense so I have decided to expand the garden right up to my end of the property line. I will also (hopefully) build a tall deer excluding fense. The top picture was taken this morning from the upstairs bathroom so the angles are a bit distorted.
The deer fense will go where the black lines are, the gate where the red line is. The blue rectangle is an existing shed, the brown is an existing potting bench. The green is existing perennial herbs and muscari bulbs. The beige bed is created but not planted. The light green lines are a dirt only raised bed late fall sown with spinach that has not germinated so I am not sure if it will in the spring.
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There are 5 wood edged raised beds. The triangular area is still in sod. I'd like
to get it under some lasagna gardening coverings and kill the sod off and plant it as well. The area along side the fense is about 6 feet wide and will have something...not sure what. Potato towers in the ovals. The wide open area down by the shed will likely stay open for a table and chairs and some decorative pots.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Second crop of corn blown down in thunder storm, first crop about ready to eat.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

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Succession planting time! I have chest high corn and 4 inch corn. Winter sqaush & several types of beans in bed 1 (used to be broccoli and peas). Bed 2 (same row but on the left used to be turnips and now has some herbs, eggplant and some free space I want to get planted. Down by the shed is a newly tilled area that will be used for fall brassicas I think.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

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Plant ID help needed


I have no idea what this plant is. I thought it was a baby hellebore the first year I noticed it. For 2 years it just had basal growth. I had obtained some helebores in a garden trade and forgot where I planted them. I heard they were slow growers. But now it is about 3 years old and it just shot up and changed from a basal cluster of leaves to this odd growth pattern. I THINK there are teeny flowers about to set seed in those little branch tips.

Does anyone know what this is...I'm thinking some sort of weed now.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The big project to date (almost)

The "almost" is because Jenny Lind heritage melons were planted after this photo to the left of the corn. The things not in the boxes are planned succession crops for lettuce, radish, and broccoli areas plus more basil to inter-crop with peas and an oregano that needs to go in at a path end.
Actual garden

The graphic plan below
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sugar snap peas (horizontal trellis working moderately well)
lettuce several types from purchased starts and seed
misc mustard like greens from a spicy mescaline mix purchased start
brussel sprouts
fava beans
My Aunt Laura's Shucky Beans (heritage)
spinach (poor crop, not thinned enough, bolted very early)
onions multiple types
carrots 2 types (poor crop, may plant more seeds soon)
potatoes 2 types
tomatoes 4 heritage indeterminate on trellis types 1 hybrid determinate in cage
zucchini (first crop killed by 40 degree weather, 2nd doing well...one blooming)
yellow crock neck squash (also killed off as above)
nasturtiums (only 2 most accidentally "weeded" out)
broccoli about to be replace with eggplant and collards
strawberries here and there
garlic chives
soon to be planted oregano
Fig tree
already there thyme 2 types, rosemary, sage, borage
edibles elsewhere in yard ... bronze fennel, quince tree, oregano, chocolate mint, chives and rhubarb and sickly Myer Lemon and baby Thai Lime
2 Potted blueberries and I'm worried about cross pollination needs not being met as they bloom at different times...we shall see (need to get into ground in fall)
14 by 17 feet remain unplanted
Critter report
Many swallowtail larvae and eggs on dill and bronze fennel ++
Temporary chicken wire has kept out bunnies
no ground hogs or deer seen this year
squirrels ate a few corn seeds
aphids attacked fava beans and controlled with soapy water and plain water sprays
1 huge flock of unknown mating frenzy insects in and around upper areas of shed reduced with hand picking and seem to have moved elsewhere
1 huge flock of unknown mating frenzy insect in mulch and base of shed reduced considerably with mini dragon flame thrower when mulch was wet after 3 days of rain
slugs are small but present and small at the moment
cabbage worm moths are around but so far no caterpillars on the veggies
Neighbor's dogs were obeying their invisible fence and not becoming a problem until tonight when one walked right over and peed on my fence, lol.
Weed report
I love my new "toy" a propane torch called the "mini dragon" from flameengineering.com. I will do a better post on it later.
I do use some round up but rarely for things like thistle
mostly hand weed
do tons of mulch with grass clippings, commercial bulk mulch and leaves to control weeds
NEVER let any weed go to seed. NEVER!!! I'm still paying for that mistake with poke weed and sweet annie from many years ago
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

pressure cooker meals

"Swedish Pot Roast"

Moroccan Chicken "Tagine" made in a pressure cooker, adapted from:
Should serve at least 6 to 8 for a main dish. I'm taking it to a Couch Surfing pot luck tomorrow. Pictures to follow, :)

This is very yum...tender chicken, firm carrots, soupy cabbage/onion/tomato/prune base with a sweetly spiced taste.

Fry 2 yellow onions in 1/4 cup olive oil until beginning to brown
add 8 chicken thighs but no need to brown them
sprinkle with
2 scant T Kosher salt
2 t ground ginger
2 t cinnamon
0.5 t saffron
Stir it all together
and add
1 pound diced canned tomatoes
1 small coarsely chopped savoy cabbage
0.5 pound pitted prunes
32 ounces chicken broth

Bring to high pressure on high heat then turn to lowest heat needed to maintain pressure
and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove and de-bone and generally clean up chicken so you are left with 1 to 2 bite size pieces. Place in large flat container to cool in one layer (I use a roasting pan).

Cook 2 pounds large, whole peeled carrots under pressure in broth/veggie mix until just tender, for me this is 8 minutes. Remove carrots from broth/veggie mix and cut into largish 1 to 2 bite size chunks, add to chicken. Cover chicken and carrots with saran wrap touching the mix to keep it moist and refrigerate.

Pour broth veggie mix in another large flat container to cool (I use a roasting pan).

When cool skim off fat, reserve to use some if fat is needed for the couscous or rice.

Combine de-fatted broth, veggies, chicken and carrots and re-warm.

Serve over couscous or brown rice.

Note 1, my cooker's max pressure is 13 PSI, if yours is the standard 15 PSI you can subtract about 20% from my time estimates.

Note 2, my cooker is too small to do the carrots and chicken together but if yours is large enough the carrots could be added to the pot when the chicken is about 2/3 done.

2/2/11 making this again,
Used scant 1 T kosher salt then ground down in mortar and pestal
also ground down saffron
used 1/2 fennel bulb and leaves
boxed tomatoes 28 ounce

"Swedish Pot Roast"
3 to 4 pound chuck
1/2 celery bunch
1 large onion
1 pound carrots
3 large potatoes
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
.5 pounds prunes
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
.5 tsp nutmeg
salt / pepper to taste
5 large bay leaves

oil to sear the meat and for the seal

Sear the chuck
add the tomatoes, prunes, bay, onion and half the celery.
Cook on high for 50 minutes
quick release
add spices and remaining vegetables and cook on high 4 minutes more
quick release

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He is eating sunflower seeds coated with cayenne pepper laced oil.
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