Friday, June 21, 2013

Water Conservation

Look what showed up today!

She's bigger than I thought she'd be! So what's the story behind this, you ask. 

Well, a few months ago, Albany County ran a special on rain barrels.  It was like 20% off if you ordered through the County. So I ordered one knowing that we'd be in a house at some point this summer. And isn't she a beaut!?

Morgan picked her up and apparently these barrels are re-purposed pickling barrels from Greece. Even better!

As soon as we move into the house we'll set her up and see how she does!

One step greener!


Look what we grew! I can't wait to make another turnip greens soup!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A good sign...


On a few tomato plants

And on a banana pepper

These flowers make me the happiest because they're plants I started from seed. I expect the few I bought from the store to flower, but it always surprises me when my own plants flower and produce fruit!

Hot Pepper Redo

I repotted 2 more habaneros and they seem to doing fine 2 weeks later. The first pair died within days. These lost a few leaves initially, but now I can see new growth starting on the stems. A little sunshine today will do them well!

It actually rained again today, but just for a little bit. But they still got outside for some sunshine most of the day. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What about those turnips?

What do I do with turnips, you might be wondering. Actually, even Morgan has expressed his reservations over the turnips. It seems he's completely forgotten about the things we made last year - sautéed greens with white beans, roasted turnips, mashed turnips...

Last night, we (mostly I) made turnip greens potato soup! It was great (if I don't say so myself). And we (mostly Morgan) love any recipe that let's us use our Cuisinart hand blender that emulsifies food into soups (seriously, Morgan loves this thing). 

I started by sautéing onions in the Dutch oven (my favorite "tool") and then adding the potatoes and chicken broth. I also added 3 very small turnips that came with the bunch of greens, but we had more greens by far. I let this simmer for about 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, I sautéed the turnip greens in some oil and garlic. 

Eventually, I added the greens to the potato mixture. I can't say I added them with any rhyme or reason. Just at some point, I decided to add them.

I let that simmer a little more, until the potatoes seemed soft enough to blend. Another 10 minutes or so. I just kept squeezing individual potatoes with the tongs to see how easily they smooshed. Very scientific. Eventually it seemed they all were very smooshable. 

Then it was ready to blend! I added a small amount of skim milk, but I've done similar recipes and added no milk. It just depends what we have in the house. The potatoes give it the creamy texture regardless of if you use milk. Some might use heavy cream, but I like to keep the recipe light. 

And voila!

I topped off each serving with some cheddar cheese just because we had some and everything's better with cheese. 

It made enough for 4 bowls - dinner for two and lunch for two!

Basically this recipe works with anything in substitute for the turnip greens - spinach, radish greens, squash, leeks. We use this "recipe" almost all year long, but my favorite is with leeks for potato-leek soup, but we'll have to wait for the fall for that!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

So far...

It's been raining for what seems like an eternity here. Yesterday, I announced, "The sun is out. Finally!" But actually the sun wasn't really even out. It just wasn't raining. It was still cloudy. Today, it's raining again. Usually I'm a firm believer in "Yay rain! It's good for the plants!" But this has me wondering if maybe a plant can have too much water. I know potted plants that don't drain well can be over watered. (I think this was my habanero problem. I changed to a soil-less mixture, recommended for container vegetables and repotted 2 more. They seem to be doing fine, so far.). I also know that sometimes seeds that are over-saturated rot and don't germinate.  I've heard of this specifically with bean seeds.  But I'm not sure if vegetable plants in the ground can be over-watered. I imagine they'd be better off with some sunshine every once in awhile, but I once read that plants get a lot more sun through overcast skies than we realize. I assume it also depends on how well the soil is able to drain. It seems to be draining alright since I haven't seen any pooling or puddling in the garden. 

Anyway, all that's to say, here's the garden so far! 

My plot is the first one closest to the camera with the eye sore of a trellis! On the far left we have loads of tomato and pepper plants. Then we have loads of green beans - most of which are bush plants and won't vine up that trellis, but at least a few should vine.  I hope. Then I have a row of turnips followed by a row of lettuce with zucchini starting to pop through in between the turnip and lettuce rows. The reason I did this was because: 1) I realized I didn't have any room for zucchini and I adore zucchini (see earlier post about my adoration for zucchini and all things zucchini-related); 2) the zucchini plant will create shade for the cool weather loving lettuce and turnips; and 3) the turnips and lettuce should be "ripe" and able to be picked long before the zucchini starts really taking off and taking up  room. It's a little bit of a gamble, but I think it'll be ok. 

"Do you even like turnips?" You might be wondering. Yes. I do. Last year's CSA had me wishing we had more. I really liked sautéing the greens as a substitute for chard and roasting the turnips as an alternative to potatoes. 

I'm hoping to plant more turnips in the fall garden. I'm just not sure when the turnips are ready because they're growing underground, but garden advice columns seem to indicate that I'll see them poking through the dirt about when they're ready. I hope the wildlife doesn't get to them first. I also made sure to plant the turnips a few weeks apart so we'll have 2 "harvests."

Another mistake I noticed is that the trellis will probably cast a shadow on my sun-loving tomato and pepper plants, which isn't ideal. I hope they get enough sun that a little late day shade won't hurt them too much. Besides, there probably won't be that much vining up the trellis anyway, but we'll see.