Category Archives: Crops

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SPROUTS – Tiny Explosions of Taste and Nutrition

SPROUTS – Tiny Explosions of Taste and Nutrition

I have loved sprouts since the first time I scooped them off the salad bar into my plate. later enjoying them in stir fry and other meals.

Then I read about sprouting seeds in a jar and eating the young sprouts, seeds and roots. At that time I learned that there are dozens of seeds and plants available for sprouting and eating- all are economical sources of nutrient rich food.  

Many of the “sprouts” have a greater nutritional impact- bang for the buck- many have a different impact. All are fun because you can grow and watch them form AND then eat them.

Many can be used in smoothies or juice(especially wheatgrass/barley grass) and they have a great nutrient impact. 

Add a few baskets and trays and jars for a full rotating crop of greens and beans and other young veggies to keep you well fed and entertained.

# # http://alliemoonraw.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/20121004-190935.jpg 

Some information on choosing seeds and growing sprouts for food.

*                       http://www.efoodsdirect.com/blog/sprouting-how-to-choose-seeds/

You can save money om food by growing inexpensive sprouts – You can even make money sharing or selling sprouts and microgreens-

 

**             http://hubpages.com/hub/Growing-and-selling-Microgreens-An-example-of-a-commercial-urban-agriculture-operation

 

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Summer Ideas as Garden Grows (7 Layer fun in Future)

Last year I made bunch of hummus for an event and had a lot left over. I love it on crackers, bread and as veggie dip.

It is also a good creamy dressing but I wanted to play so I got a tall clear container and started a 7 layer ….dip/salad/snack- Not sure what it was as I set it up.
– pinto beans ( sprouts would be great too)
– hummus ( garlicky and good)
-diced red onion ( fresh from garden)
-sliced cucumbers( fresh picked) {will dice next time}
-thin layer hummus
– diced tomato( garden fresh)
-onions plus chopped herbs

Cover and put in fridge for 2-3 hours and serve as a salad or a dip.

Other options/ideas:
– mix some chia/flax for a gelatin consistency

put tortillas or chips on a baking tray and top with scoops of the dip/ salad put in broiler ( bottom shelf) for 7-10 minutes , until a light browning/ crust forms- this can be topped with chopped chili peppers and a nice vegan cheez.

Potato Towers are coming Along Nicely for 2014

After the Potato Tower has been set up with soil/compost and Straw- seed potatoes set in the soil and topped with soil/compost-

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Potato Towers with soil/compost and straw- ready for seeds.

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Allow for the plants to get started and as the leaves spread and vines grow to about 3-5 inches add a mix of compost and soft-sandy soil as well as a ring or straw around the framework-Up to the bottom of the leaves.
Water well again and **

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Potatoes planted-March 2014- leaves poking out

-Allow to grow 3-5 more inches and repeat the process 1 or 2 more times and then let the tower and all of the plants to grow and spread out the top and sides of the tower.

Keep it well watered BUT not too wet. Fertilize with aged manure / compost and an organic fetilizer. Fertilizer should have good mix of Potassium and Phosporous and lower Nitrogen . Too much Nitrogen and you will have a great collection of green and leggy plants but lower output of potatoes. Using any fertilizer with high phosphorus-potassium to nitrogen content will do them well. N-P-K – 5-10-10 or 8-24-24 are good mixes.

If adding fertilizer- make sure to scratch it into the soil and not in contact with the plants growing in the tower.

Option 2 ( add more seedling potatoes)

After the Potato Tower has been set up with soil/compost and Straw- seed potatoes set in the soil and topped with soil/compost-

Allow for the plants to get started and as the leaves spread and vines grow to about 3-5 inches add a mix of compost and soft-sandy soil as well as a ring or straw around the framework-Up to the bottom of the leaves.
Water well again and **

-Allow to grow 3-5 more inches and repeat the process of adding soil/compost and straw and add more seed potatoes and cover with 2 inches of soft sandy soil up to the bottom of the established leaves. you will now have 2 sets of plants growing .
***repeat the fill and cover process 1 or 2 more times to the top of the tower and allow the plants to grow and spread out the top and sides of the tower.

Water and fertilize as before.

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ASPARAGUS – The great skinny spears. Still buying mine.

One week until the Charlottesville farmers Market kicks off an 8+ month
run downtown . See https://www.facebook.com/CharlottesvilleCityMarket .
One of the things I look forward to in the first few weeks of the market
is spring asparagus ( beets too) . My current garden doesn’t work for
growing my own asparagus (though I may do this with some friends in their
garden.    

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Young asparagus spears – READY !

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that pops up every spring , but
unlike much of the rest of the KITCHEN GARDEN it takes a few years to
enjoy the benefits of these delicious spears.

Root crowns are planted in spring or fall and prepared to grow BUT can
not be harvested until the 3rd ( maybe some 2nd ) year. So we must learn
some patience and remember that THIS SPACE IS TAKEN.

So we care for “nothing” while harvesting beans and cukes and tomatoes
throughout the garden. BUT on the plus side- Well planted and cared for
plants can be productive for up to 20 years.

Aparagus is planted as “crowns” (year old plants) in a clean garden bed
in trenches 6″-12″ deep and separated 18″-24″ . The soil should be well
drained as the plants don’t like to have WET-FEET. Dig the trench and
work in 3-6″ of compost, manure and/or soil mix. Spread the soil in a
ridge in the trench. Place the “crowns” on this ridge spreading the roots
over mounded soil.        Cover with enough well composted soil and mulch 4-6″
and water well.

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Asparagus crowns ready to be set.

YEAR 1

Do not harvest the spears in the first year, allow them to grow and cut
down dead foliage in the fall. At cutting top dress with compost.

During this year letting the asparagus go to seed will give the crown a
chance to establish and get strong. This will set it ( and you) for long
time supply of spears.

YEAR 2
During the second year, keep the bed thickly mulched, side-dress with
compost/manure in spring and early fall, and cut down dead foliage in
late fall. You may be able to harvest and enjoy a meal of two of spears.

                                                                                      

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Asparagus plants- fueling and replenishing the crowns.

YEAR 3
YUMMMMMMMM!
The asparagus can be harvested for a relativley short period (2-3 weeks)as soon as the spears start to show. You will want to keep a close eye on the bed, Clean it after winter so mulch and debris are not too deep. After harvest allow the “ferns” to grow- these plants feed the crowns/roots for future spear production.

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

Found a few blogs with similar info. ENJOY !!

http://tendingmygarden.com/growing-asparagus/

 

http://www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/asparagus/

Beautiful Deer -Unwelcome Visitors in The Garden

Deer are beautiful creatures and they roam freely throughout the USA and they can be challenging co-habitants of our gardens. They love to eat our greenery and fruits and generally wreak havoc in gardens and landscapes. BUT the buffet can be limited. 

FIRST THINGS FIRST-Unless you plan on building a FORTRESS of Solitude, Accept some losses and share with our fuzzy friends.

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Young deer- looking for food?

Now that you accepted that premise what can you do to the  limit losses?

There are 3 basics- Barriers, Repellents,  and Scare tactics.

1. One option is to use less “tasty” plants in the garden BUT since many of the deer faves are also ours we need to plant to block their lunch.  

Barriers –   A.  Plant large, sprawling deer repellent varieties such as thick hedges of boxwoods or short needle spruces around the borders of your garden.

B. Plant hairy or thorny plants on the perimeter and near crops you want to protect. Plants like fuzzy lamb’s ear, barberries, and cleome are a good place to start. One perimeter location to focus on is any entrance spot. Though roses are a favored snack- some roses are particularly thorny, built for self-defense and are an attractive fence.

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Jumping a Low fence

C. The obvious barrier option is to install a fence at least 6 feet high but since deer are capable jumpers a fence of 7-9 feet would be useful.

Repellents – 1. The first step is to plant strongly scented herbs—garlic, chives, mint and lavender (left)—can mask the appealing aroma of nearby snacks.  Many of these are also useful in the garden to prevent many insects. AND they are delicious and useful crops.

 2. There are some specific repellents to make and use that include

*fabric softener strips and/or wrapped bars of soap from trees

*hot pepper sprays 

*garlic and rotten egg mixtures

*ammonia soaked rags

*bags of hair ( or spread on the ground)  {call your barber/hairdresser} 

*blood meal
Most these are applied as a spray and should be covered from the ground and up the plants and around the perimeter. Most of these are water soluble and should be reapplied after rainfall. It may also be a good idea to rotate the sprays so the deer don’t develop a tolerance to the irritants.  Many of these are available in commercially packaged formulas. 

Most of these are water soluble and should be reapplied after rainfall. It may also be a good idea to rotate the sprays so the deer don’t develop a tolerance to the irritants.

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Still healthy without Your smorgasbord.

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

LEEKS – Growing Leeks for a Delicious addition to the Garden and Kitchen

Planning on adding Leeks to the garden to share the space with onions and garlic( as well as the tomatoes/basil and other delicious goodies)

Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum) are fun plant and beautiful plant in the garden and a delicious addition to the kitchen- they can also be stored over the winter for some delicious garden freshness during the snowy season.

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Leek Seedlings for Transplant

 

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Trench for row of Leeks

Leeks are easily started in soil-less mix. When they reach the thickness of a pencil, they can be transplanted outdoors(they can also be purchased in pots with several seedlings per pot).

Grow them in soil that has plenty of compost and nitrogen.Add manure throughout the growing seaqson to feed and grow.
• Water and weekly
• As they grow add some material around the stem every 2 weeks or so to blanch the plant. Add about 1 inch every time. The mix can be soil.mulch,compost,manure (make a mix)

Space leeks 6 inches apart.

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Leeks growing to maturity

To produce a tasty white stem, leeks must be blanched—in.This is done by protecting them from the sun- To do this, plant leeks into deep holes 6-7 inches deep. This can be in a trench or individual holes. Plant to the depth of the first GREEN leaf

Let a few leeks in the garden go ahead to set seed. They grow a good looking starburst of tiny whitish flowers on a long stem. When the flower opens it will take a few weeks until the tiny black seeds are mature.

 

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Mature and going/Growing to seed

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Plan and Plant Your Garden for Non-Stop Veggies- Like a Tasty Buffet

Plan and Plant Your Garden for Non-Stop Veggies- Like a Tasty Buffet

I have been gardening for a number of years and have been reading about it, watching TV / now online videos about it. It is a lot of fun and interesting AND OF COURSE DELICIOUS- but I am learning to make the most of all my efforts and fill the fridge and {now learning to make fermented veggies- KIMCHi/ kraut etc}

I recently read an article about SUCCESSION PLANTING  and was intrigued- I  realized i read about it before but never “caught” it before. Now I am making a plan to try it this year and season.  

Onions, greens, cabbage family plants will be my first trial partners.

* I like this article about Doubling the harvest. I am also adding some of the books mentioned( that I don;t have now)

http://www.gardeners.com/Succession-Planting/5016,default,pg.html 

** I have been experimenting with Square Foot gardening and some of the ideas in Mel Bartholomew books and website, but not the succession planting ideas( I reread a few pages just a few minutes ago.

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/growing-vegetables-by-succession-planting-and-squa.html

^***And one more i found that has a lot of great info- i will download and use for my plans and hopefully for my kitchen ( even share/barter with friends)

http://www.growingformarket.com/articles/Try-Succession-Planting

 

 

Flooding June 7 2013 B