Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
A few teams of volunteers had already harvested yesterday and this morning, but a couple of us needed a break over lunch today so we walked down to the garden.
Most of the produce had been picked but we found a few veggies ready to go. Actually it ended up being a full bag weighing over 20 pounds because Susan really wanted to pick a cabbage.
From the veggies we found Susan composed a beautiful harvest still life pictured above.
In an article written by individuals leading up the Forgotten Pollinators Campaign, I read that "there are fewer beehives today in the U.S. than at any time in the past 50 years." I also read that there are over 40,000 species of bees in the world. Pretty amazing, and sad at the same time. It reminds you how the smallest change in our eco-system can have a major impact.
Tamara, one of our squash crop gardeners was talking to her dad - a long-time farmer - about the lack of squash, and he recommended helping the pollination process along by gently twiddling a small paint brush around inside the head of each flower.
For squash, you start with the male blossom (a flower with no swelling or bump where the stem attaches to the plant) - gently touch the center of each flower with the brush. Then move to the female blossoms (the flowers are attached to the end of a small ovule that will grow into a full sized fruit) and dab the paint brush inside the flower. Voila pollination is complete!
Another option - if you are not into painting - that will help draw the bees to your garden is to plant white clover.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Even if you aren't privvy to a huge lot of land to develop a caring garden, you can still grow and provide fresh food for others in need. Take my neighbor. When she bought her house, she inherited multiple raspberry and blue berry bushes, grape vines, 4 plum trees, 3 pear trees, an apricot tree, 4 cherry bushes.....and that's when I stopped counting. And believe it or not, she lives on a city lot that's no more than about 50 x 110.
Her plants produce so much more fruit than she can use, her choices are to either give it away to neighbors, donate or let it go to waste (which could also be considered a donation to the local urban wildlife).
She mainly does the latter two.
You don't have to go that crazy. But imagine what we could do together if each person took on the goal to add just one plant to their garden or home with the sole purpose of donating the produce. There are tons of local shelters, food banks, and other community groups that would appreciate donations of fresh and HEALTHY local food.
Imagine how THAT could be a change to the overall health and care of this country.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
A quick Google search netted a couple possible homemade solutions:
1/4 of an ounce of baking soda mixed with 1 gallon of water and sprayed on the leaves
50/50 solution of milk and water also sprayed on the leaves
We're trying the baking soda solution and Liz, our master gardener, started the treatment today.
Crossing our fingers that it at least slows the spread of mildew long enough to harvest some pumpkins.
If anyone else has had success with another remedy, we'd love to hear it.
Friday, August 14, 2009
We challenge you Minnesota to become the land of 10,000 giving gardens!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
It has been a lot of fun to watch, and the onions are very tasty, too! The cool part is you can eat either end of the plant and they re-seed themselves so you don't have to save the bulbs. Deadead if you don't want volunteer seedlings next year.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Of course one of the best and simplest ways to eat these fruits are to pick and pop directly in the mouth. But sometimes it's nice to "switch things up" particularly if an abundance of fruit has ripened at the same time. And using the fruits in recipes provides another vehicle by which to share the goodness of both fruit and other healthy ingredients with others.
One recipe that I've been experimenting with lately is crisp or crumble. There are tons of good recipes for this but one additional challenge that I've been working with is gluten-free. Below is my version of fruit crumble -- please feel free to enjoy and share.
- 6 cups of fruit -- either use on fruit, or try mixing them up: rhubarb and cherry, rhubarb and raspberry, rhubarb and apple, or triple berry (blue berry, strawberry and raspberry)
- About 4 Tablespoons of sugar -- more or less depending on the fruit.
- About 2 Tablespoons of lemon -- more or less depending on the moisture content of the fruit
- 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
- Cinnamon, vanilla or other baking spices you enjoy to taste
Preparing the filling:
Mix the fruit together in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice to cover. Add the cornstarch, sugar and spices and mix together thoroughly. Put the mixture in a baking pan (any size that is appropriate for the mixture) that is large enough to allow for about an inch clearance. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 375 for about 30 minutes (or until bubbly).
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup oatmeal flour
- 1/4 cup white rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking power
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- Cinnamon to taste
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)
Note 1: If you can't find the flours listed about try others. As I'm learning, the key with gluten-free baking is that you typically can't use just 1 of any type of flour -- because no one flour "fits the bill" like white/wheat flour. If you go in with the attitude that the worst that can happen is that the crumble won't quite meet your expectations -- but the results of the dessert will still be tasty -- what's the worst that could happen?!
Note 2: The above portions can be increased or decreased depending on the amount of filling you have and the amount of topping you enjoy on your treat. OR you can also make extra and freeze for another day!
Preparing the topping:
While the filling is baking and the butter melting on a burner set to low, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly pour in the melted butter into the dry mixture and combine completely. The mixture will look a little like a moiste cookie dough. When the fruit is done baking, add the topping, spreading out evenly across the top of the fruit. Return to the oven and heat for another 15 minutes (or until the topping takes on a nice golden brown color). When you take it out of the oven, you can also add a little demerara sugar (i.e., raw sugar) on top for a nice little added touch. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes. (Personally, I think it tastes even BETTER the next day.)
ENJOY! Eat well and live beyond yourself.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Just got word this evening that the Tomato Team found over 7 pounds of cucumbers ready for this week's deliveries. Our first big cucumber harvest!
* 1 medium tomato, diced
* 1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
* 1 scallion, finely chopped
* 1 t fresh mint, finely chopped
* 1/4 t toasted cumin seeds
* 1 1/2 c firm plain yogurt
* salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
From: Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant by The Moosewood Collective
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
One of our gardeners donated her entire CSA box this week for us to deliver to Lewis House, so most of our Thursday harvest went to the food shelf. Thank you, Pat!
Our peas and lettuce have been producing in abundance! Lettuce has been replanted twice already - so we won't complain about the cool summer. How about lettuce and pea salad? Saute fresh peas in some olive oil, stir in baby lettuce long enough to wilt, add your favorite fresh herbs (we're growing thyme, oregano, dill, chives - but herbs are a matter of taste, aren't they?) and throw a little salt and pepper on.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Too many beans, tomatoes, or zucchini? Donate to a local shelter or food shelf.
Apples, plums, or cherries just falling to the ground and rotting in your yard? Join the Fruits of the City - Fruit Gleaning project or again donate to a local shelter or food shelf. The best part about the Fruit Gleaning project is that they coordinate volunteers to harvest the fruit and get the fruit to those in need.
So do you have a tree that needs picking? Sign up a tree
Would you like to volunteer as a gleaner? Sign yourself up