Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Outside Home

These guys have finally left the porch where they have been slowly adjusting to outdoor life. They now live in the first scrap wood bed we built last year on a lot down the street from our house. It is just barely holding together. I tightened up the plants' spacing a bit but the bed is fairly deep and the soil is pretty good so i think they can handle it. From the first row to the back are teeny Champion Collards, Ermosa Butterhead Lettuce, Red Express Cabbage, and invisible rows of radishes and early and main crop carrots (I am trying Nelson and Bolero). Instead of sprinkling soil over the carrot seeds, I used damp leaf mold (chopped leaves a couple years old). I dampened the furrow first with the watering can, planted the seeds and pressed gently, then sprinkled over the leaf mold and pressed gently again. The soil is a clay soil so I know if it gets dry and forms a crust, those guys might have a tough time getting through. I think the leaf mold might be easier for them. Just to make sure, I planted some arugula right on top of them. They will hopefully push through first and can be picked as baby greens when the carrots come up and need the space. I hope they make it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Simple Pasta

4 servings (About 1 lb)

2 c all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

Make a well in the flour and pour eggs in. Beat, mixing with a little flour. Hand mix all ingredients and add a little water or flour if too stiff or dry. Knead for 10 minutes by hand or with a dough hook in a mixer. Divide into four and rest for 1 hour wrapped lightly in plastic. Roll out as thin a possible, stretching and pulling dough as you roll. Let rest 20 - 40 minutes, until leathery but not stiff. Slice on floured board and let rest 1 hour before boiling 3-5 minutes in salted water.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I did not grow this cabbage but I am practicing for the cabbages I hope will come from the garden. It seems pretty simple:

1 SHRED cabbage

2 LAYER in bowl with seasalt (1-2 TBSP per LB)

3 TAMP as you layer with your fist

4 MIX along with any other vegetables or spices

5 PACK TIGHTLY in a crock or other container

6 PRESS to push out as much water as you can and
submerge the cabbage in its own brine

7 WEIGHT the cabbage so it stays below the brine
and does not contact the air

8 COVER to keep out dusties & WAIT until its ready (1 week +)

9 EAT!

10 VISIT this website to find out more

I used small plastic food grade buckets nested inside each other...the bottom containing the cabbage and the top filled with water to weight the cabbage and make any easy pressing tool to bring out the brine.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Purslane, A Most Delicious Weed

Purslane is a common weed that may have arrived in North America in the 1400s. It is a little sour and can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked like spinach. Golden Purslane, the variety I am growing, is said to have a bit more of a lemony flavor and larger leaves than the wild bunches. Photo of fully grown golden purslane is courtesy of The Hortulus Farm Diary. The teeny purslanes are what are growing in my window.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Raised Bed Wood

Some floorboards we are hoping to turn into raised beds.

Hardening Off Cole Crops and Leeks

Since we are a little short for space, I think it is time for the 2 week old cabbages, kale, and collards to find a new home and give up their pampered life under the lights. I began hardening them off yesterday. I set them out in the shade for a few hours and will increase the amount of time each day, moving them into the sun a few days before planting and leaving them out all night (protected) the night before planting. It is supposed to be overcast but in the 50s next Wednesday so that is when I am hoping to get them in the ground. For cold-protection for the little guys I plan to have some hoops put up over the raised beds. I found some tubing at our local construction-goods-recycling center/store that I am going to cover with a row cover. The row cover I purchased through Johnny Selected Seeds is AG-19, which will hopefully offer 4 degrees of protection from frosts. More on that once I get the hoops up. Here are some photos of the happy seedlings. They are still in the original size pots I seeded them in. The pots are various sizes and materials, but none smaller than 2" across and deep. The pots contain a soil-less mix of coir:vermiculite:perlite (2:1:1) and I fertilized them with foliar sprays of seaweed (for nitrogen and trace minerals) and fish emulsion (smells great! for root-building phosphorous) once their true leaves appeared.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Seedlings Project Underway!

The seeds I planted on February 27 are all growing and ready to sprout their first true leaves. The window has been warming up a bit too much in the sun, reaching temperatures around 80 degrees at times, so I am using a fan and trying to decide if I should relocate the light setup or just see how they do in the warm window. So far, they like it just fine. Pictured below is a kale seedling, a Red Rubin basil seedling, more kale and the leeks in their newspaper pots. Leeks have a very high germination rate come to find out so no need to plant more than 1 or 2 per pot.