Sunday, March 7, 2010

Garden Plans 2010

(My garden at the beginning of last spring)

Another glorious day here in the East. Started the morning with three cups of coffee today, which was tasty but not as delicious as usual. I decided to switch to fat free half and half instead of light cream in my coffee. My question is this: if half and half is equal parts cream and milk, and you take out the fat from the cream and milk, aren’t you left with skim milk? I need to be sure on this point because I don’t want to be paying $2 bucks for one quart of fat free half and half when I could be using the skim milk I already have in my fridge. If any of you happen to work for Garelick Farms, could you let me know exactly what the difference is?

Back to my day. Enjoyed my coffee while listening to the bird chirp this morning, a sound that has been missing for quite some months now. You don’t realize how quiet winter gets until the birds show up again, reveling you with their melodious tunes. Suddenly you are acutely aware that something was missing and you never noticed it’s disappearance. Until it’s back.

Put a pork roast in the crock pot, got dressed and was outside by 10 a.m. ready to work in the yard. Today’s focus continued to be the garden, as I try and get it ready for the early spring plantings. We have lived in this house for three years and this may be the first that I will be able to plant in the entire garden space. It’s taken me that long to reclaim the soil that was overtaken by one million weeds. Last year I came pretty close: with a new garden fence I utilized over half of it. The other half I left in squalor and eventually those weeds got so tall I quit trying to even cut them back and just let them do their thing. Today I spent most of my day clearing out the forsaken half of my garden which consisted of digging up about 300 blackberry, raspberry, and black raspberry bushes (I’ve affectionately named these “devil weeds.”)

 Before I went outside this morning, I made a map of the garden and where I’m going to plant all the veggies this year. You’re supposed to rotate your crops every three years, but this is when you plant equal amounts of root veggies, brassicas (cauliflower, cabbage and such), and “other” veggies, to include peas, tomatoes, beans, etc. I don’t plant equal parts of each, so rotating them consists of just making sure they are in a different location than last year.

 Here’s a list of what I’m planting this year:
  • Italian beans
  • Dragon carrots (purple/red)
  • Yellowstone carrots (yellow)
  • Romanescoe cauliflower
  • Sweet corn
  • Slicing cucumber
  • Pickling cucumber
  • Leeks (I am so in love with leeks)
  • Watermelon
  • Onions
  • Shelling peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Big Jim chile peppers
  • Red bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Gold currant tomato (cherry variety)
  • Genovese tomato (slicing, red)
  • Peron tomato (slicing, orange)
  • Ropreco tomato (drying)
  • Basil, chives, oregano, thyme
I’m thinking that I’ll either have a fabulous crop and plenty to eat and give away, or all these organic seeds won’t come up, the windy, rainy season will wash them away, and I’ll have donated $100 bucks to Seeds of Change so they can publish their colorful catalogs again in 2011. We’ll have to wait and see.

Hopefully my seeds will arrive this week so I can get the indoor seed started in my little peat pots (David gave me a set of 72 for Valentines Day. Now that’s true love..) and sow the peas directly outside. I can’t wait for the peas. If you think you hate peas, then you’ve obviously never tried them freshly shelled from the garden. Nothing in the world is like them. My kids suck them down like pixie sticks.

Rhubarb should be starting it’s upward climb soon too, although it won’t be large enough to harvest for a couple months. I inherited the rhubarb plants with the garden. While I never thought I’d use much of it, last year I made strawberry rhubarb jam that was fabulous. You also can’t kill those suckers. My father-in-law accidentally tilled over two of my plants, and you know what I ended up with? Six smaller plants. Thanks Dad.

I also cleared some rocks today—we’re disassembling some rock planting beds and moving the boulders to form a rock wall border between our yard and the neighbors. I think I moved a total of 9 or 10 boulders with the help of a dolly, although it seemed like I was doing plenty of work trying to pull that damned thing through 4 inches of fallen leaves. I’m hesitant to say that I’m more sore than when I do the P90X (seeing as how I’m supposed to start Phase II tomorrow) but right now all I need is three ibuprofen and a bed.

Monday's weather prediction is another sunny day in the 50’s. We’ll see how much gets done in the yard tomorrow, if I can move at all.


Fred A. said...

Great article! Thanks for not printing the story of your grandma making a rhubarb pie when she was first married, then finding out it is really a lot better if it is cooked first.....
No wonder I don't like celery!

Megan said...

According to another blogger,
who wrote a blog on fat free half and half- she writes:
"ccording to the US Food and Drug Administration, "Half-and-half is the food consisting of a mixture of milk and cream which contains not less than 10.5 percent but less than 18 percent milkfat. It is pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, and may be homogenized."

Legally, companies are allowed to use the "half and half" name, because they are clearly labeling it as "fat free." Chemically, fat free half and half is skim milk with a ton of thickeners to provide that creamy weight and texture which buyers expect from half and half. Corn syrup and carrageenan, mostly."

Yum, thickeners.

Rachel said...

You are a wealth of knowledge Megan. I'm so glad I posted that because now I can safely dump the fat free half and half without guilt. I think I'll try whole milk. Maybe that would be thick enough with less fat.
Bad thickeners, bad.

Fred A. said...

This is important to me too since a number of recipes in the Southbeach Diet call for fat free 1/2 and 1/2. Good to know. Always can depend on one of our daughters to get the info on the real deal before anyone else!