Friday, January 24, 2020

Garden Friday

bluebird house

 It's been a while since we've posted for 
Garden Friday.
Winter has hit us hard,
and there's not much to report.
Here's what's growing going into
the last week of January.

 The cover crops have all but filled the two new raised beds
they were planted in November.
You can read about that here.
They are one of the few green things out there.

 Of course, the garlic needs no attention.
It seems oblivious to our colder-than-usual temperatures
and the abundant rainstorms we've had.
We posted about planting garlic here.

 Surprisingly, the strawberries in the straw bales are faring well.
As I've never grown these before,
some research will need to be done.
Fortunately, the Cooperative Extension website 
offers plenty of information.

 These walking onions were gifted to me by a friend
and I have no idea how to grow them.
So far, they seem to be fairly independent.
Onions are one crop that I want to get really good at growing,
as we use them nearly every day.

 All I can say is bless the rosemary.
It grows in our area, regardless of the weather.
These are currently in the butterfly bed,
a space that they will probably outgrow this season.
One will be moved closer to the veggie garden,
and the other will be given to a dear friend.
Rosemary is a versatile herb,
making itself at home in soups, stews, main dishes and veggie sides.
Potatoes and rosemary are a match made in heaven!

The lavender is still smelling amazing!
This will get severely pruned back come springtime.
I recently used the leaves to make a homemade salve.
The hope is that it can be used in many more applications.

 The poor, pitiful parsley is struggling to grow.
This is one herb that I like to chop up and keep in the freezer
to be added to so many recipes.
The other main reason I grow it is because it is the host plant
for the black swallowtail caterpillar.
We do what we can to support pollinators,
even in the veggie garden.

 I had transplanted a few hearty lettuce plants
into containers several weeks back.
Someone decided that they were perfect winter fare.

 Even those transplanted into the hugelkultur bed
were discovered and thoroughly devoured.
So much for any winter greens this year.

 We've had SO much rain this winter
that all of the straw bales remaining in the garden
will definitely need to be replaced.
They've just been hammered.
They will be used for compost or placed in areas 
around our house that have no grass growing.

One bright spot was that I recently discovered these sweet leek seedlings
that had all but been forgotten.
They will get planted into a large container when the time is right.
It seems like a good idea to wait and see 
what the rest of the winter is going to do.
With everything so unpredictable,
it's difficult for a gardener to plan anything with confidence.
We are happy for any goodness that comes our way.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Not Chicken Noodle Soup-(gf,df,sf,ef)

The beginning of the year has been a challenge,
with a severe cold (sinusitis?) hitting me hard.
Down for over a week,
the best thing I could do was rest, eat right and rest some more.

This is one of the newest soup recipes in my repertoire.
It's hearty, comforting and really hits the spot
whether or not you are feeling your best.
It's a snap to put together and will keep in the fridge for a good week,
if it lasts that long.
It reminds me of pot pie, but it has the addition of pasta.
The bonus is that it can be made gluten-free 
by subbing out gf flour and gf pasta for those listed
in the original recipe.
I also omitted a couple of the herbs,
as I didn't have them on hand.
If you're under the weather,
it'll make you feel a whole lot better.

Creamy Vegetable Noodle Soup

2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled/diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 T parsley
1 t dried basil
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried dill
1 1/4 t salt
1/4 C flour
2 C unsweetened almond milk
4 C vegetable broth
2 T nutritional yeast
1 C pasta 

Saute veggies in olive oil 3-5 minutes.
Add herbs and flour and stir.
Add 1/2 C milk and whisk until flour is incorporated.
Add remaining milk, broth and nutritional yeast and stir.
Bring to the boil, add pasta, 
then reduce to medium-low and simmer 10-15 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Welcome 2020!

May your steps find you
right where you want to be
in 2020!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Garden Friday

What better use for a coffee can?

Welcome to Garden Friday!
It's officially winter here in the Piedmont,
although chilly temperatures have been a constant for the last few weeks.
It's been a challenge to get anything done out in the garden
(except for decorating with holiday lights),
but slowly, a few projects are coming along.

last year's daffs

I managed to get a few types of spring bulbs planted,
but not as many as I had hoped.
Ah well, there's always next season, right?
Adding a few more each spring and fall
will eventually have our garden stocked with blooms.

While it's not entirely impossible to have success planting this late in the season,
NC State Extension recommends doing so by mid-December.
Of course, the bulbs are better off planted than stuck in your fridge,
waiting for next autumn, so it's worth a shot if the ground hasn't yet frozen.

 Some of the lettuces that managed to survive my neglect
were transplanted into containers,

 while several were planted directly into the hugelkultur bed.
With a heavy blanket of mulched leaves,
I'm hoping they will be well insulated and cozy.

 This has been the perpetual scene at our place.
We work on raking the leaves,
but we have miles to go to corral them all.
Maybe we'll finally catch up,
now that most of the leaves have completed their exodus from branches.

To aid in this endeavor,
Big K found this leaf mulcher on a local online marketplace.
I'm stoked, I tell ya!
It makes it so easy to just wander around the property
and suck up every last leaf I can find.

It grinds them into just the right sized mulch
that I've been adding to flower beds, veggie beds and containers.
What a blessing.
No doubt we'll get plenty of use out of it every fall.
The bonus is that we were able to buy used,
our preferred method of staying green 
and saving money to boot.

Enjoy a wonderful weekend!