Monday, May 23, 2011

Awww, Dry Up!

I just checked this morning, and I think I might be starting to grow webs between my toes. It's been a wet, wild, and occasionally woolly late spring -- the last couple of weeks have had rain (often thunderstorms) predicted for nearly every day.

Many farmers and gardeners have been discouraged at how the weather has kept them from getting seeds and seedlings planted. Me, well, I've been lazy anyway, so it hasn't really slowed me down any further. And last Sunday I even got out to the garden (new plot, #3) in a fine mist to put in the first round of plantings.

Still, all this rain has brought on spring with a vengeance, and we've enjoyed lush colors (especially rich, deep greens) against those gray skies. The perennial herbs have put on an impressive growth spurt in recent weeks, so I've already started harvesting and drying them for herbal tisanes and for baking.

Since I'm not farming this year, I don't plan to keep up the separate farm blog and will instead post garden updates here. Again this year I have three garden plots, all shared with others:

#1 -- with the Renaissance Man, a small plot with room for ready-to-eat items and lots of herbs
#2 -- with the Southern Belle and My Adorable Nephews -- year 4!
#3 -- a new space tucked into the Contradance Callers' big fenced garden

And while I slacked off on the Independence Days challenge over the winter, I think it might be time to revive it again to get me back on track for this year. Here's the update for the past couple of weeks:

1. Plant something:
--Cascadia snap peas, Pirat lettuce, Five-Color Silverbeet chard, Prize Choy pac choi, Cherry Belle radishes, Tender and True parsnips, Maxibel Bush beans, Scarlet Nantes carrots at the Southern Belle's
--Chioggia and Golden Detroit beets, Soldier and Jacob's Cattle dry beans, Nectar carrots, Red Choi pac choi, Golden chard, Uncle David's Dakota Dessert squash, Alaska nasturtiums, Thompson and Romanesco broccoli, Roodnerf Brussels sprouts, Frigga savoy cabbage, broccoli raab, Harris Model parsnips, chamomile at the Contradance Callers'
--Peacevine cherry tomato seedlings, Alma Paprika pepper seedlings, broccoli, basil, cilantro, anise, chamomile at the Renaissance Man's

2. Harvest something: lemon balm, spearmint from the Renaissance Man's garden; rhubarb from the Contradance Callers' garden

3. Preserve something: dried lemon balm, spearmint, nettles, bronze fennel, parsley; froze rhubarb; started chive-parsley and thyme vinegars (from Herb Day at Local Roots); made parsley salt

4. Reduce waste (Waste not): Reusing leftover bread bags for my own storage; froze leftover buns from the market to go with frozen "burgers"; composting weekly

5. Preparation and storage (Want not): Restocked on flours and other grains, cheeses, almond paste (for croissants); cleaned up and stored glass jars for dried goods as well as for canning; started list of pantry items to restock; saved glass milk jugs for water storage

6. Build local food systems: Cooked in the demo kitchen at Local Roots for Herb Day, shared recipes; weekly barter of leftover bread for greens and herbs with a fellow producer; worked on June Local Roots newsletter; signed up to do a cooking demo at Today's Kitchen Store in July; shared leftover bread at a potluck and sent the remains home with other people

7. Eat the food: Lots of delicious asparagus! especially steamed and wrapped in homemade tortillas with cashew butter and cilantro; eggs with chard and Swiss cheese; French toast; leftover veg rolls; pizza with arugula

Not a bad start for late spring -- but there's more to do in coming months! Once it dries up, of course...

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