Sunday, February 19, 2012

Feb harvest

Who would have thought that we'd be harvesting salad greens here in February?  To be honest, I've been trying to work out the conditions to achieve this for several years.
This arugula has been growing under a cover of row cover only that is propped up with some wire fencing.  Its gorgeous and nice and peppery.
These lettuces which include Nevada, Frisee, and Merlot are very protected under row cover with a plastic hoop structure 2 feet above.  If balmy in here.
These plants are Lacinato Kale, which I thought were petering out, but which are now growing a new generation of baby leaves below the upper leaves.  The baby leaves taste mild and a little broccoli like.  I'll probably let these continue to do their thing until I get a new crop of Kale started.

Since its going to snow almost all week here, not much else to do outside in the garden.  So, we'll do a little more of this...
However we will be supplementing our itching for the spring garden by eating some of this ...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Vegetable Stock

Early February represents a waiting game this year.  I had already started some seedlings last year by this time, which turned out to have been a bit of jumping the gun.  So this year, I'm exercising patience and will wait a few more weeks before starting some early seedlings in flats.  In the meantime, I'm spending a pretty good amount of time cooking warm winter fare, which today means vegetable stock.  This might be one of the easiest multi-use recipes I've ever come across.  During the summer almost all of the ingredients for this come from the garden.  At this point in the year, we harvest our goods from the grocery aisles.

The vegetables which include 5 carrots, 5 ribs celery, 2 leeks (halved and rinsed for grit), 4 onions, 2 Roma tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, a handful of parsley with stems are coarsely chopped and then placed into a stock pot.  2 bay leaves and some fresh oregano and thyme are added along with 4 quarts of water poured on top. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, the cover and cook for about 45 minutes.  Allow stock to cool, then strain.  That's it.  Pretty simple, right?
This week, the stock will be a base for vegetarian black bean chili, but the potential uses are broad and this stock gets used up very quickly around our house.  So while its winter outside, it smelled a bit like a vegetable garden inside.  Cooking tends to make us smile around here, see?
Lets start seedlings in a week or 2 shall we?

Winter, finally (and seriously)

I planned to start this blog last spring as my garden flew into action, but then got into the actual work of gardening and abandoned the task. However, today its winter, really winter. I'm wearing long underwear and sitting under a blanket and I'm still cold.
Today is the shortest day of the year so from here on in it gets better. I look forward to longer days, that's for sure. But I'll also tuck in and enjoy winter's freeze and snow, it does mean skiing after all. Maybe more importantly is the snow pack - without snow there isn't water for the West.
The end of the year and the solstice are a good time to think back on the last 365. I have no reason to complain and feel really lucky about the last year and really hopeful about the year to come.