"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Friday, March 26, 2010

Potting Tomatoes and Three Courses of Kale

We started potting our tomatoes and little tomatillos in 4" pots the other day, my wife's an old pro at this, me, I'm very slow. She roughly packs them into the pots with assembly line quickness while I want each one to be just perfect and am so gentle and careful that I am best left to deal with other tasks like making sure she has all the supplies needed for the operation and telling her to be careful with the plants. She assures me that tomatoes are tough and can handle it. She is right, but still...

The root cellar is still full of everything and the garden of greens.

We celebrated kale last night with a veritable kale salad extravaganza. A kale and potato salad, a kale/chicory/celery/root veggie salad, and a warm kale and squash salad. Mmm...Mikey likes kale.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Little Green in Amongst the Brown

While most of the garden is still covered in a veil of drab brown a few things have started to put forth new and most welcomed green growth. The chives have awoken from a long winter's nap and are now poking up through the remnants of their past, straining upwards as the afternoon sun beats down upon them. It has taken us a few years but we finally have enough of these tasty little alliums growing in various plots that they are for more than just looking at but eating as well.

French sorrel is popping up everywhere. It has the same tang as wild sorrel but the leaves get much larger. This is one of the grandson's favorite greens, I caught him sitting in a patch sharing it with the puppy the other day and had to pull him away before he turned green from eating too much of it.

Parsley, ever faithful to us, has managed the winter quite well and is now springing forth with vibrant new growth. It is so much more than just a garnish to us and one of the few foods that seems to be part of almost every single meal that we partake in.

Chicory with all of it's brilliantly colored florets has also held steadfast all year around. It has always been a treat that we are forced to share with the voles who love to pull it into their subterranean tunnels and have a little winter feast of their own. This year, however, they never showed up for the party.

Spinach that was planted late last fall is slowly but surely starting to put out a bit of new growth under our row covers. I planted some more yesterday in another row to follow this crop. Not much though as come June it will all bolt to seed anyway.

The source of nutrition we depend on the most during the winter months is kale and along with parsley and turnip greens makes up the majority of the numerous salad ingredients we attempt to grow outside 365 days each year. We froze many gallons of fresh kale last spring before the aphids showed up and have been enjoying it all winter in soups, potato salads, and it even makes a great pizza topping. I just planted a whole covered row of it for an early June harvest as the over wintered kale will quickly bolt to seed once the weather warms. I even started a small flat of it in the greenhouse just to test the germination on some of my older seed.

For a few recipes on what to do with all that kale check out this great blog I ran across today -365 Days of Kale.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Where the Wild Things Grow

My wife and I took the puppy for a long walk along the river awhile back and saw that buttercups were coming up everywhere, so very early, and me with no camera. So we went back the other day and took a few pictures and noticed that even the honey bees were out and about. Last year I didn't see any bees until June and this year they are out in early March. It must certainly be a sign of good things to come.:)

We found our first wild edibles of the season as well, a type of wild onion was growing everywhere. I brought some home to plant in the garden, my goal being to let them go to seed. We were talking about how fun it would be if I could cross them with our Red of Florence scallions. I held some of the little scallion bulbs over from last season so perhaps if they bloom at the same time? I wonder if wild onions flower annually or biannually, guess I will find out soon enough.

I also gathered a few cuttings off a willow type tree that grows along the river banks as they would seem to be a most excellent source of basket making materials. I soaked them overnight then stuck them in the garden's soil to hopefully root up and grow, we shall see.

During our wanderings we came across this little plant just emerging, it has a flavor similar to celery or lovage. Can anyone help me to identify it? Perhaps a type of wild parsley?

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