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Quote of the Day: Jerry Traunfeld

November 10th, 2013

“Fresh herbs offer an astounding palette of vibrant and glorious tastes, but their delights go beyond the flavors they lend to food. For a cook, there is joy in simply handling fresh herbs in the kitchen. Who can resist stroking the proud sticky needles of rosemary, rubbing a plush sage leaf, or crushing a crinkled leaf of verdant mint between their fingers? When yous trip the fragrant leaves off sweet marjoram or tuck a few sprigs of shrubby thyme in a simmering stew, you feel connected to the soil and the season, no matter where you kitchen is.”

Jerry Traunfeld from The Herbfarm Cookbook
thyme on roast
This time of year I’m always sad that cilantro and basil are gone, but thyme and rosemary will take their place. I have potted herbs in the house for winter eating, always thyme, and almost always rosemary.
lemon_thyme
I find thyme to be very easy to grow indoors, there are always a few different varieties. Lemon thyme is my favorite one, I use it almost daily. Rosemary can be hard to maintain as a houseplant, I have trouble with it dying on me. Recently, I read that if you plant it in the soil during the summer and dig it up for winter it will survive the winter much more easily. I’ll definitely be trying that method next year.

Do you have any potted herbs in the house?

Why Not?

October 31st, 2013

I was out working in the garden yesterday and noticed my Johnny Jump Ups are still blooming like mad, their last hurrah before the snow starts to fly. While harvesting greens for our salad, I decided to pick some lovely blooms as well. Why not? Salads should be beautiful and tasty.
Johnny jump up salad 1
Johnny jump up salad 2
Johnny jump up salad 3
I also think that the flowers are healthy and add their own vitamins and minerals. I know violet are high in vitamin C. I love adding flowers to my salad, I think the splash of color really adds a lot.

Do you ever add edible flowers to salads? Which is your favorite?

Friday Favorite: Strawberries in October

October 25th, 2013

This spring I planted 25 ‘Seascape’ strawberry plants in my garden. They took their time getting settled in and finally started producing a few berries last month. They’re really in the swing of things right now. I’m not the only one growing these beauties, there’s a stand at the farmers market that has had them for the last month as well.
strawberries
It’s kind of crazy to be harvesting fresh strawberries from my own garden at the end of October. I’m not complaining, a handful of fresh strawberries is just as good in October as it is in June. It’s kind of like the last hurrah of summer before the snow flies!

Do you have any ever bearing strawberries in your garden?

Hello Squash

October 24th, 2013

I’ve never had much space in the garden for growing winter squash.  Their vines sprawl far and wide, much farther than I ever had the space to give them in my tiny space.  Now that I have a large garden, squash finally made the cut.
squash harvest 3
Frost was predicted for the night before last, so I decided it was time to harvest all the winter squash. This year I grew ‘Sweet Meat’ and ‘Waltham Butternut” from Baker Creek,  along with ‘Burgess Buttercup Squash’ and ‘Delicata’ from High Mowing Seeds.
squash harvest 5
squash harvest 4
There were loads of beautiful delicata squash in the garden as well, but the voles and porcupines have been going crazy eating them. I managed to harvest four for us to eat. You can see here they were starting in on the pumpkins as well. At least they almost always came back to this pumpkin instead of gnawing on every single one.
squash harvest 2
Now all the squash are sitting in an upstairs window where they’ll stay warm. Squash don’t like cool storage like other vegetables, it’s best to keep them in the same conditions you like to live in. I’ll probably pile them in a corner of the living room after a few weeks.
squash harvest 1
In mid summer I planted a second crop of zucchini, mostly for feeding the chickens, ducks and pigs. They’re still going very strong. In fact I harvested about twice this many zucchini. They’ll be slowly eaten by the animals and us over the nest few weeks. The smaller ones are dried into zucchini noodles for us to eat on this winter.
zucchini harvest
Next year I’m planting about half of my big main garden in squash. I plan on growing a good amount for animal feed in a well mulched area of the garden since I won’t have time to grow crops that need more attention. I’m thinking however that an electric fence around the garden is going to be a good idea.

Do you grow winter squash in your garden?

Garlic Giveaway

October 17th, 2013

It’s that time of year to start thinking about planting garlic. Mine is going to be planted where the sweet potatoes were this summer. I plan on planting a lot of garlic, loads and loads of it. I never seem to have enough and I like giving it away as well. We eat a lot ourselves and I feed it to the chickens and the dogs every now and again.
garlic harvest 2012 2
Last year I did a giveaway thanks to Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (also known as GrowOrganic.com), a company that my parents have been purchasing from since I was a kid. I’m more than happy to get a great prize for one of you while helping spread the word about this great company!  Peaceful Valley also has a in depth weekly newsletter with loads of how-to videos and lots of useful information.  They’re also on facebook if you want to keep up with their sales.
garlic combo Giveaway 3
The garlic giveaway special will feature: a Garlic Combo collection, a quart of liquid kelp and plant labels. The garlic combo pack contains: 1 head of Elephant (conventional), 3 heads of California Early White (organic softneck), 3 heads of Music (organic hardneck), 3 heads of Russian Red (organic hardneck), 3 sets of French Red Shallots (organic).
garlic combo Giveaway 1
So why the liquid kelp?  Garlic bulbs do better when soaked in liquid kelp before planting.  It gives them the boost they need to get a strong root system going before winter arrives in earnest.  The plant labels were included because I have a very bad habit of never labeling my garden plants, particularly the garlic.  As a result I have different kinds of homegrown garlic in my pantry but I don’t know which is which.  The labels should help you keep things organized!
garlic combo Giveaway 2
If you’ve never grown garlic before, don’t worry. I’ll have a garlic growing guide up on the blog next week.  Deadline to enter is Wednesday, October 23 at midnight. Winner has been chosen via random.org – #72 – Matt who said, “I’ve loved garlic all my life.. Now I’m starting my own Back to Eden style garden and of course plan garlic to be part of it.”

How do you enter this giveaway?  Tell me what’s your favorite way to use garlic in the kitchen?

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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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