Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back to-it, after a LONNNG Hiatus!

Greetings, Gardening Peeps!
With yet another turn of the calender, the blog pulls at me to proceed. Hopefully, more sharing of options for sustainability in our homeplaces will commence over this next growing season.

New areas of volunteerism in gardening locally seem on the horizon. I've had time to learn so very much more, and have seen so many wonders from inspiring kitchen gardeners and ornamental garden artists. Time to grow, time to learn, time to share seed and wisdom. The time is RIPE!

Our nest is empty, and garden needs change, although we still have mouths to feed well and friends to share with. I am working toward my Master Gardener certification/credibility, tho taking longer than expected! Will be done soon with it, and really enjoying new areas of horticultural interest :)

It's almost time for starting the first seed of 2012, and wish all of you Gladness and Good Growth in the new seasons ahead.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It all begins with the magic of seed!

Two days of the old year left, snow melting outdoors into MUD (oh, yay!) and it is time to turn to the wonders of seed. When i see our seed library, i get a sense of security like no insurances could provide. I see that with Mother Nature's cooperation, we will be well fed, some others will have greater variety in their home gardens, and the circle of life will be so evident around the beauty of this small farm!

In this first blog, we'll begin with our seed storage ways, and ponder what we all need from this garden time, and list what's needed to steward the kitchen garden and ornamental beds. We cannot be just takers, but givers to our soil....feeding it as any family member, in a way.

Again, this blog is meant to emphasize what we gardeners can do to raise the quality of our lives, and feed those we care for in a better way. In an area such as ours, with few market farmers, and less choice or diversity of produce available than in so many other locales in the USA, we need to grow our own, or do without. The garden feeds us -body and soul, allows some friends to have more choices in eating, and sure is necessary for getting me back in shape!!

With so many choices these days, we do not have to eat the same few things our Kentucky ancestors had ALL the time. The common few : 'Taters, 'Maters, Cabbage, beans, onions, corn. We can eat now in a riot of colors, tastes, and with exotic menus - which help us to eat cuisines we are accustomed to in the old life out west. We can cook Thai, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, French, Japanese, and good ol' California Cuisine....ALL because we can grow ingredients that cannot be procured without an hour and a half drive each direction- IF one wanted to pay the price for non-local vegetables and ingredients that were jetted to Kentucky from faroff lands. We are able to live in exotic deliciousness - mostly without buying into a big carbon footprint getting them here, or by buying ingredients questionably grown in less than healthy ways. It is a win/win situation!

Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you know is interested. My goal is to see us all living better, in times that may be an affront to such expectations :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stinkin' Roses and Other Allium Delights

Even more than beloved Tomatoes, we sure enjoy our Lilly Family members, and grow many types each year. For our own consumption, for my adventure, for giving, for seed-saving, and processing in many ways - the Alliums are near and dear to this gardener each season/

They are so time consuming to process in the many ways we enjoy them, but SO worth the effort in our pantry. Some things we make are: Sweet and Sour Pickled Pearls ( Rakkyo or tiny multi-shaded onions), Pickled small boilers, dried 'Tater or Multiplying Onion bits, Onion Powder, Carmelized Onions in a Vinegar Sauce for the distinctive Carolina BBQ Sauce, Pickled Garlics - Balsamic~ Habanero Garlic, Dilly Cloves of Garlic, Asian Pickled Garlics, Garlic Salt and THE BEST Awesome Garlic Powder with 5 to 15 varieties each year, and more onions pickled into many more products.
Thus far, no dear friends have dropped hints of our being too fragrant, so i will persist in the delights of the edible Lilly Family in our kitchen garden.

Here are the varieties slated fro planting as seed this week:
(YAY for my Fedco order arriving, and the power back on for germination mat's bottom heat and the light banks in the basement window areas!
Shallot, Prisma Red
Copra OnionRed Cipollini
Ailsa Crag (OP) Onion
Red Bull Onion
Evergreen Hardy White Scallions
Red Scallions (a treat from my Scotland trip!)
'Tater Onions, mixed ( garden plot lost a few years ago)
various garlics, hard and soft-necked
Elephant Garlics ( leek family)
King Seig Leek ( surely mispelled, as list not nearby and i am weary!)
maybe a few Rakkyo Onions ( Japanese pearl onion type that may be just tooo small to keep up)
and the usual chives and garlic chives i the herb garden by the house.

I start our onions earliest of all crops, usually before this time, but now is fine. They are the easiest and most productive things in the garden, once in, and the deer do not fancy them at all, thus far! Hallelujah for that :)
Do let us know if we wreak, will ya?!

Monday, February 9, 2009

THE TOMATO LIST.....and more!

Well, my 'Mater-addicted Garden Pals, the time has finally come to commit to the Tomato Choices for 09......... NOT an easy accomplishment when one has such a wealth of seed varieties to dream about for too long during the Great Cold Season.

Without much more ado, here are the choices - narrowed down to a mere 40-some types.
This is just crazy, and i sure could use another 40 concrete remesh cages each year.

J.D.'s TX Special
Paul Robeson
Black Prince
Purple Calabash

Striped Roman Oxheart
Marvel Stripe
Yellow 1884 Pink Heart
Elberta Peach

Hawaiian Pineapple
Kellogg's Breakfast
KY Yellow Beefsteak

Henderson's Winsall
Depp's Pink Firefly
Granny Cantrells German Pink
Tappy's Heritage
Hegi German Pink
Prudens Purple

Rutgers Select
J.D.'s TX Special
Break o' Day
Franks Large Red
Hazelfield Red
Large Red (Shaker variety)
Livingston's Maincrop ( late, for storage)
Sunset's Red Horizen
Dwarf Champion

Banana Legs
Golden Jubilee

Jaune Coeur de Pigeon (Yell-Orange)
Haley's Purple Comet (Blk)
Orange Cherry
Winter Grape (Red)

Cherokee Green
Aunt Ruby's German Green

Roughwood Golden Plum
San Marzano

Great White

Tomatillos (green), Indian Raspberry (husk, yellow-orange), Husk Cherry, and lastly- Sunberry/Wonderberry (Solanum Burbankii) - a great and tiny pie 'Mater Cousin!

Ice Storm Kentucky 2009

Here it is, Day 14 after the power outage since the Ice Storm, and it's time to revel in being able to blog again (on this warm 65 degree) day! What a time Ol' Jack Frost has given to Kentucky and other states this past month!

We have been surprised to find ourselves fairly prepared for emergency out here on this remote little farm. We again were glad of fantastic neighbors and friends, who pulled together waaaay more than
one could have dreamed, chainsawing and clearing several miles of road to get us out of our slice of paradise earlier than one could ever expect. These neighbors are our true riches in life :)

Our new, BIG chest freezer (full of the Bounty of 2008), saw us eating meals such as true gourmands may boast of, our time spent reading by kerosene and LED Light, drinking plenty of delicious water from our British Berkfeld Water System, flushing provided by pond water. and scenic wonder in views from the out house (placed in a fantastic spot, by caring previous tenants on this land :). The wood stove kept us toasty-warm, and gave us something to do. 4 Dogs, 3 Cats, and 2 college students added to the interior warmth of this past week.

Night One had the forest crashing down across phone and power lines, the yard littered with Sliver Maple and Tulip Poplar branches exploding all around - making the yard a war zone. None fell on us, or our home.....prayers truly answered on a sleepless, loud, and too-exciting winter's night.

So i ask that you forgive this Blogger her time off........i missed you all so much, and will now move on with planning our 2009 Gardens and sharing all the upcoming activities.

Thanks be to Wonderful Neighbors and Friends, who went above and beyond the call of duty in such cheerful manners..... and to the Supreme Gardener who watched over us all.......and to all those who helped and are still helping so many people 24 hours a day.
Country People are THE Best!

On with the Blog, Precious Bleaders~~~~~~~~!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tomato Dreams on a Winter's Night~

To those of us who dream of our crops to come, this time of year allows dedicated time for pondering which of the zillion varieties of delicious Heirloom Tomatoes will be in our gardens come the warm spring days. With far too many choices available, it is a fun game each year! I try to plant ONLY between 25-35 varieties - a hard task when many of these become our standard favorites along the way!

I go for great variety in color and always those that folks have found to be of fantastic taste.
Also, i prefer to plant open-pollinated varieties, and save seed from each type. Open pollinated or OP plants are varieties that grow true from seed. This means they are capable of producing seeds from this seasons plants, which will produce seedlings that will be just like the parent plant. Each season, one will find many containers of fermenting seed and pulp in my home, followed by carefully marked paper plates on which the pre-fermented seeds are drying. These plates, marked with the name of the fruit, are carefully placed all over two rooms - in areas where kitty-cats will not explore!

Last year, i grew out some 20 flats of plants for gifting and to try out selling mature, healthy young plants for local variety. I concentrated on Kentucky Heirlooms, generously shared by a gentleman that is beloved by many of us, Gary Millwood. He is a true garden pal, and has passionately saved and shared seed from many, many varieties that could easily disappear into 'Mater Extinction. Bless Gary, known by some as Papa Gary! He has made seed saving and sharing great fun for we gardeners and foodies (and does he ever have great recipes, too!). Thank you, Friend :) These Kentucky heirlooms were received with great enthusiasm, and regularly people tell me how wonderful these plants were in their gardens.

I grow paste tomatoes, beefsteak types, oxhearts, cherry (fondly called
TommyToes, where i live), grape tomatoes, stuffing tomatoes, and tomatoes wild with color : Black (mahogany in reality), green ripes, yellows, oranges, pinks, reds, and wild bi-colors.We love a riot of color on the serving plate!

This year, i hope to go into the tomato plant business in a bigger way, as last year's experiment went so very well! While it is very difficult to sell produce in our neck of the woods, plants were well-received......and it is fun to do! Stay tuned for this year's choices - soon to be announced and shared around :)