Gardening

Winter Garden Update and Maverick Meat Grinder Giveaway Winner

January 24, 2011
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I’ve never planted vegetables in the winter before. Most of my gardening has been limited to the summer vegetables which splash out and are “easy” to grow; tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, etc. In addition, I’m not a fan of the traditional winter vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. This year however, I thought I would allocate one of my garden beds to a tiny winter garden and see what would happen if I threw some seeds in the dirt.

Way back in November, I took the protective cages off all my beds, shoveled some of the composted fill (a mix of compost, straw and alfalfa from the no dig method) from one box to another to fill one of the small beds and went off to the nursery to buy some seeds. I ended up with packets of carrots, mesclun lettuce mix, beets, multi colored chard, and broccoli rapini (yes, I …

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Final Update for Summer Garden 2010 & Giveaway Winner

November 6, 2010
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In Southern California our gardening season begins early and contrary to popular thought, ends early too, or at least it did for me. Despite my best efforts at staggering the planting, most of my garden was finished by early September when others were in the full flush of their tomato days.

Many of you have been following along with the saga of my garden this past summer be it the battle with my digging monsters or the desire to answer the question of  “what price gardening?” Below are photos of the devastation I found when I came home from 2 weeks in Cambodia. Even though there was nothing growing in the beds, and nothing covering them or preventing the animals from climbing inside to dig to their little heart’s content, they persisted in digging under and ruining my nice pathways. All those boards and bricks were tossed asunder …

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Garden Update; Checking the Yields

August 16, 2010
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It’s nearing the end of the summer and I’m wondering just how much has my garden produced after all the blood, sweat & tears (and water and money) I’ve poured into it. So far, the results have been pretty good (see below). It’s not done producing yet, though it does appear that some of the plants are nearing their end already.

 Below are my harvest totals as of 8/15/2010. I tried my best to keep track (even made a spreadsheet) but I’m sure I missed some of the pickings so it’s safe to assume the actual harvest is slightly larger.

I’m going to do some research as to actual cost of these items if I were to buy them in a store or at the farmer’s market and in a future post will total and compare with what we spent on building and planting the garden with the yields and …

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Midsummer’s Garden Vegetable Ratatouille

July 28, 2010
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Is there such a thing as too much zucchini?
Oh yes, there is.
We went away for a week and our garden went crazy. It was scorching hot at home while we were in Panama and the garden responded as if breathing its last breath; it pumped out extra vegetables in a last ditch effort to get all its children off a sinking ship.

So what to do with all this bounty? Well, besides cooking up many of the other garden inspired recipes I have, I like to make a simple and fresh ratatouille. This dish is not only versatile, but freezes well for later when all the fresh vegetables are gone. See the end of the post for some ideas on what to do with extra ratatouille.

The vegetables are cooked in stages in this recipe. I did it this way for two reasons; first because I could not …

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Garden Update; Preserving the Harvest

June 24, 2010
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In a perfect would garden harvest would come in easy amounts, just as you would buy the same food at the grocery store; a few tomatoes every couple of days, one zucchini a week, one eggplant, etc. Real life is not so simple and gardens are not so easy. Instead, I’ve had a surplus of zucchini and yellow squash and little else. In a couple of weeks, my tomatoes should come in and given that I have six eggplants, I’m expecting quite a few from there all at once too. I tried to stagger my planting, but I’m not sure how successful that will be.

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Zucchini and Arugula Salad with Lemon-Anchovy Dressing

June 21, 2010
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The last couple of times I’ve been to Rome I’ve had a wonderful salad made of a bitter green I’ve only seen there called puntarelle. You can see photos of it on my Favorite Rome Markets post. Typically this green is trimmed, pushed through a wire slicer, and then plunged into cold water so the leaves curl and crisp up. It’s then dressed with lemon juice and anchovies. Simple yet fantastic, like most food in Rome.

Here at home, I don’t have puntarelle, but I do have a surplus of zucchini and yellow squash in my garden (yes, already) and I’m always trying to figure out new things to try with it. I thought it would pair well with this dressing and liven up an otherwise sometimes bland vegetable. I’ve added the arugula to give it a slightly bitter, peppery kick like the puntarelle. This salad is light and …

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