Tuesday, August 25, 2015

CSA Week 13 and Beet Carrot Burgers

Always good to have a little help
It is a time of plenty.
The gardens are in full swing, and tomatoes and beans are plentiful indeed.

This year I have a few very interesting tomatoes that I am trying for the first time.
The tomato pictured below is a stunner. I sure wish I knew what it is.  I think when I was hoeing around the plants I must have buried the tags, and despite a bit of digging around the plant, I haven't unearthed the tags. My winter job is to figure it out. No matter, I am saving seeds.

Blue Green Zebra is another very pretty tomato.

Zebra Rita too. This gal seeded herself this year and is producing very well, pretty much at the same time as the others started in March.

It surprises me really the number of things that I direct seeded and how strongly they came on. I did some peppers, tomatoes, litchi tomatoes and eggplants and they are pretty much where the earlier seeded crops are. To me this seems to be a change. The world is changing, that is for sure, and if you tune into your backyard garden you will feel it too.
Other changes in my area are very evident.
When we moved here 20 years ago, I couldn't imagine this being anything but a quiet little hamlet.
It sure has changed, and this summer working in the garden, there are times that the noise has been deafening.
Next to me now is a Retreat Centre, and it required a vey large septic bed, with tandem trucks bring in soil, day after day. Now the trucks rumble down the road because of the wind turbine being installed.
On a whim, I went to look at a hobby farm for sale last weekend in an area a bit more remote and a wee bit quieter.
Doing something like that is good, because it helps me put it all in perspective.
I have it pretty good here. It would be hard to leave the river, hard to leave the trees from my parents farm, hard to leave my apple trees...the list goes on.
I am pretty settled here for now. It is pretty good.

Today's baskets were brimming with food. Lots of tomatoes, beans, sweet and hot peppers, carrots, beets, basil, leaf celery, dahlias and maybe something else too.
Perhaps something a little bit different to do with the carrots and beets?
This recipe is adapted from "Farmer John's Cookbook".

Baked Beet and Carrot Burgers

oil for baking sheet
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups peeled grated beets
2 cups grated carrots
2 eggs or substitute
1 cup brown rice
1 cup grated vegan or cheddar cheese
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
hot pepper to taste

Preheat oven, grease baking sheet.
Toast sesame seeds in a hot skillet, transfer to a dish to cool
Repeat the process with the sunflower seeds.
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Shape them into patties, and bake at 350 for 20 or so minutes.

There-you got your veggies!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

CSA Week 12 and Pictures

The heat, the torrential rain-today we had it all.
Sadly I didn't get all the baskets done before the rain and I think trying to rush it along messed me up.
I left the house without some of the Bamboo Natural Food store order, figuring that out about 20 minutes away from home. So I came back, only to end up in St Catharines without one of the shares.
Thanks to Linda (so much!) for helping out with that.
But it all landed where it needed to. The shares, the store orders and the rain. Again, we needed it.
The garden is producing a whole lot right now and there is lots of food in the shares at this time of year. I put all the ingredients in for fresh salsa...loads of tomatoes, peppers hot and sweet, onions and garlic. Shares also included summer squash, a mix of heirloom beans, beets, mixed  cut lettuce and other items as well.
Now...pictures. I hope you enjoy looking at them!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Around the Farm and CSA Week 11

The nights are getting cooler. Could it be that fall is on the way?
There are a few things that I still want to plant outside as the empty spaces from onions and garlic now harvested are tilled up.
Late August is the ideal time to sow a few of my favourite things. I may put in a few more beets, although there are quite a few in already. If I do it will be the nice long Cylindra, which are perfect for pickled beets.
Definitely going in will be assorted turnips, but definitely Red Round, Watermelon radishes and more kohlrabi. These are all cool weather crops and they should thrive doing most of their growing in the month of September.
It seems crazy to me to be thinking about fall....but that is what I am thinking of. Time to get the wood ordered and stacked, get as many things canned and in the freezer as I can and plant crops for the fall.
As I get older, the summer and the years seem to fly by even more quickly. This summer has been going by at record speed and the CSA season is more than half over now.
It has been a reasonable growing season...not horrible, but not superb.
There are signs of blight on the tomatoes, some of the greens have slowed down with the last very dry spell we have had, and yes, the insect pests are out there. I have been picking Colorado Potato Beetle larvae, squishing squash bug nymphs, and feeding the occasional tomato hornworm to my chickens. They are delighted.
Now...pictures. This weeks baskets contained the following:

These carrots are grown from seed that an acquaintance brought back from a trip to India. They are Indian Red, but some are mottled with purple, most are rooty and gnarled, but they taste very good.

Thanks to Mary for this zucchini in your basket. She had told me about this cool striped zucchini at a Seedy Saturday event last winter, then this spring, brought me a package. Gardening friends are pretty great. It has done well.

Yes, the black radishes have appeared. You may grate them finely and eat raw, but they cook up very well too and taste more than vaguely reminiscent of rutabaga.  Tomatoes of course figure prominently in the baskets too.

The beans are mostly two very rare varieties, on the left Blue Ribbon, a thicker, meatier bean and on the right, Bobis D'Albenga. A few yellows and purples may have made their way into your baskets too.
Rounding out the baskets were hot and sweet peppers, cut lettuce mix, chard/kale and herbs.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Around the Farm and CSA Week 10

Organic Gardening, the magazine, ceased to exist this year. A trusted and reliable source for information over the years, I guess it was no longer relevant, although that is a matter of opinion. Perhaps more likely, sales were down and it needed to relate to a wider audience to pull in readers, not just the hippie-folk who practised organic gardening.
For me, it was a tense time. I had been a test gardener for Organic Gardening for 8 or so years, along with a cast of folks from Las Vegas (Leslie), to California (Nan), to Washington State, North Carolina and all points in between.
If you are a gardener, you would understand how wonderful it is to get a big parcel of free seeds to trial in the mail every year. Most years it is upward of 40 different items, including veggies, herbs and flowers.
Many of these would be things I wouldn't likely have tried otherwise, although as the years go by the parcel includes more heirlooms as they increase in popularity.
It's wonderful too, to have a long standing connection with amazing gardeners and people across the US who are growing and testing the same seeds as you are, many times under very, very different conditions. The communications have been terrific. They are a great group of people, whom I have known for 9 years now, but never met.
It was great to get the word that the trial garden program would continue with the birth of the new "Organic Life" magazine, although how exactly the results will show up in the magazine, I am not sure.
No matter though.
There are definitely some real winners this year, and if you are in my CSA, you may have eaten some of them.

My first favourite in the test garden is the "Roxanne" radishes (F1). These radishes were an AAS winner for 2015, and definitely live up to the hype. They grow large and uniform, with a pure white flesh and are never pithy. I liked them so much, that I purchased another large pack for fall growing.
Another standout is the "Korist" kohlrabi, again a hybrid. This is a quick growing, smooth skinned premium kohlrabi. I received the seeds quite late in the season, so direct seeded, not sure what to expect. But the kohlrabi grew quickly and well. I was impressed.
"Purple Tee Pee" beans were also on the list to try. This is a nice purple bean that I am quite familiar with. It did well, as it always does, but I remain partial to "Velour", a slimmer, longer and more prolific bean.
I am still waiting for a few more things which I hope will stand out, squashes, tomatoes and carrots.
The lettuces, dandelion and basil were fine, but perhaps not any more special or as good as some I already grow.

Harvesting in the garden today was ideal. I wrapped it all up, delivered everything, returned to work a bit more in the garden and then the rains came. Nice. It doesn't always work like that so I choose to see it as a good omen.
The baskets today were full and heavy. It was lots of food.

Most baskets had a few different things in them than others, but there were some basic items that everyone received. These were onions, garlic, summer squash, a quart of tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, chard, apples, kale, and basil. Beyond that you will have received some of the following: beans, eggplant, potatoes, kohlrabi, beets and likely some other things too.
The summer squash is coming on strong right now.
One good idea to use it up and enjoy it at the same time is to roast it.
Cut it up into chunks, chop up some garlic and add, coat it lightly with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and pop it in a roasting pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Sometimes I'll add some herbs to this too...basils is always nice.
Our new friend at Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen