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Getting Close

January 16th, 2017

Those spicy microgreens I seeded last week are just about to the stage where I can start harvesting them. I think I can seed them a little more thickly next time. The seeds are supposed to be around 1/4″ apart in the flat. They are quite spicy, I plucked one little seedling from the flat as I watered them and it provided a nice punch of flavor!
spicy microgreens 1
spicy microgreens 2
You’re supposed to harvest them when they get their first set of true leaves, mine are just getting their first true leaf. Technically they are ready to harvest today through Thursday, which is the 10-15 days stated that it takes. I’m going to wait until Thurs, if my office was warmer, they would probably be larger now. I’ll let them get about twice this big, which will provide us with 4-6 meals from my two flats of greens. I’ll definitely be getting a few more flats going this week.

Is anything in season in your area?

And They’re Off…

January 9th, 2017

The spicy microgreens I seeded under the grow light are growing. Obviously the flat I put on the heating mat germinated quicker, but the second try caught up quickly and they’re pretty much the same now. Which shows that with these the heat mat isn’t worth using.
spicy-microgreens-under-the-grow-light
These are supposed to be ready to harvest in 10 days to 2 weeks, as soon as the first set of true leaves appears. I’m anxiously watching and waiting to see how long it takes and what they taste like. While I’d never grow enough greens for an entire salad like this, they will be nice to add a bit of green to certain dishes, like fajitas, soups, or omelets. I’m thinking of seeding a tray of cilantro microgreens for enjoying on fajitas in a few weeks.

What’s growing in your house this winter?

Friday Favorite: Brussels Sprouts

December 9th, 2016

I’ve been trying to grow brussels sprouts for year, they always seem to get eaten by something. This year, I planted them in the front corner of the main edible garden by Tara (our Anatolian Shepherd garden and livestock protector). That seems to have done the trick and my sprouts finally reached maturity.
brussels-sprouts-in-the-garden-1
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Brussels sprouts are a favorite vegetable in the winter months and we are happy to have a very large harvest of them to enjoy for the next month or two.
brussels-sprout-harvest-2
brussels-sprout-harvest-1
This year I grew two different varieties of sprouts, ‘Diablo’ from Johnny’s Seeds and ‘Long Island Improved’ from Baker Creek. Both varieties did well, the ‘Diablo’ produced taller stalks with larger sprouts, but the sprouts weren’t as tight at the others. I will continue to grow a few varieties, next year I’d like to add a purple for a little variety. Stay tuned, next week I’ll share a favorite recipe for sprouts.

Do you like Brussels Sprouts?

Homegrown Figs

October 3rd, 2016

Many years ago I purchased a ‘Hardy Chicago’ fig, since then I’ve been enjoying homegrown figs every fall. These figs live in pots in the basement during the winter and spend their summers outside. This year I planted a few in the ground to see if they’d survive the winter in our zone. I plan on mulching them heavily. Just in case they don’t survive, I have one that I will be overwintering in the basement.  Last year, I added a new fig plant to my collection, a Fig ‘Petite Negra’ (Ficus carica). I was amazed when it produced around 10 figs this year, it stands only 20 inches tall or so.
homegrown-figs
This plant lives in my basement during the winter and on the back porch in the summer. The back porch gets the afternoon sun and gets pretty hot, the average temperature out there on a summer day is 95. This seems to be the perfect place for this little fig. The fruit is sweet and delicious, just like a fig should be. Now that I have found the perfect place for figs, I think I’ll be getting some ‘Black Mission’ figs to add to my collection. There’s nothing better than homegrown figs.

Do you like fresh figs?

Stocking the Pantry

September 29th, 2016

This time of year the pantry, root cellar, and freezer start to fill up once again. I always am amazed by how full the freezer gets, I think I’ll never be able to eat all the vegetables tucked away inside. Then, come March, I’m thankful that I spent the effort to freeze all the garden bounty. For the most part, the vegetables I freeze last us until spring greens are available from the garden once again. While I do buy a few vegetables here and there throughout the winter months, the majority of it comes from the freezer.
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One of the things I’m most thankful for in the winter: onions. I grow loads of alliums: leeks, onions, shallots, potato onions, and scallions. Having a full year’s supply of onions in the pantry is a wonderful feeling. Most of them get put into baskets and are stored in an unheated bedroom upstairs, but I can’t resist making a few braids to hang in the pantry off the kitchen. Every time I come and go they bring a smile to my face.

What’s your favorite item to grow for storing?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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