Less Noise, More Green

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer harvesting and menu planning

Ready to harvest in July, urban farmingSummer meals have a rhythm all of their own. I usually like to have all my meals planned for the week ahead but this just doesn't work over the summer months when fresh produce is coming into the kitchen every day and our schedules are constantly changing. Add preserving to the mix in July and August and  meals become more free flowing and are reaching the table later in the day!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Busy Bees

Honey Bee on Batchelor's Button, pollinators,urban farming
Since taking both Beginner and Intermediate Beekeeping Classes and helping to take care of a hive of bees that are part of a URI Master Gardener project, I have become much more aware of pollinators in my own garden. As I do my tasks in the beds, I'm noticing which plants are attracting pollinating insects and admiring their amazing work ethic. I have at least three kinds of bees in my garden: bumble; honey and a tiny bee that is unknown to me, as well as other pollinating insects. I even saw a humming bird checking out my edible flowers. The highlight of my week, for sure!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Preserving like a Shaker

Sauerkraut, preserving, fermentation, urban farming
This spoon is so mighty, it needs a name, like the swords of old.

Each year I try to preserve more of our summer abundance for the coming winter. With the addition of my new front yard edible garden, I'm hopeful we will be eating homegrown food well into the new year.   I love cooking almost as much as gardening and I get a real sense of accomplishment when I put food up, either in the pantry or in the freezer. Finding their way into the kitchen for preserving right now is Swiss chard, cabbage, rhubarb,  basil and other assorted fresh herbs.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Curing Garlic

Curing Garlic, urban farming
Since returning from my trip to The Berkshires, my focus in the garden has been on preserving. This part of the growing/harvesting/preserving cycle is a lot of work but I get so much enjoyment from preserving what I grow.  Before I left, I knew harvesting the garlic was going to be on the 'to do' list when I got back. With the bottom few leaves already dry and the tops still green, the garlic was ready.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Zealand Spinach Recipe: A succesful spinach replacement?

New Zealand Spinach recipe, urban farming
Last winter I wrote several posts about my failed attempts to grow spinach both in the garden and under grow lights. The soil in Rhode Island is too acidic and the summers too hot resulting in weak plants and early bolting. We eat a lot of spinach and I was quite frustrated by my lack of home grown greens! Enter New Zealand Spinach.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Local Writing and Radio Master Gardener Projects!

RI Local Magazine
I am proud to be a URI Master Gardener. I have shared with you some of community projects I am involved with and the wonderful people I have met and continue to learn from. I am also helping to fulfill the most important mission of the Association which is public education. Here are two media projects I am currently doing!

Monday, July 14, 2014

My gardens didn't get the "on vacation" memo...can I get paid overtime?

Batchelor's Buttons, edible flowers
I came home from my trip to my edible Batchelor's Buttons in bloom. The bees love them!

I had such a great time on my trip to The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts with my BFF Roda. We did a wide variety of activities and they were done at "Mom" speed not "kid" speed. If you are a parent, you know what I mean! I have lots to share from the trip but first I have to deal with gardening reality. I think I forgot to tell my gardens to take the week off. I cannot believe how much has changed in just a week! My son did a fabulous job watering everything and 95% of the plants look great. The day after I got back, pad and pen in hand, I walked the beds and made a list of everything to be done. Welcome home.