Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hip High Before 4th of July

The onions in the high tunnel are still doing quite well as you can see. Bulbs are popping up out of the ground and the shoots are hip high.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

All Hail Kale

We still have kale coming out of our ears here at the high tunnel. But that's cool, 'cause it's soo yummy and good for you.

A month ago I used it in a potato soup. After that, I sauteed it down with some garlic and chicken stock a la Emeril. (Thanks to 13-year-old nephew Alek for cluing me in to the recipe.) And this past weekend, I wilted it with some chorizo and eggs for a family breakfast with my folks and sibs.

So here's what ya do: Saute chorizo in pan, then toss in kale, torn into medium size pieces. Let that cook down for a few minutes then season with some salt and a tablespoon or two of lemon juice. The push kale and chorizo to the side of the pan and crack 4 to 6 eggs (one at a time) in the center of the pan.

It was perfect. I was able to cut this in wedges and serve each person an egg with kale and chorizo on the side. Got rave reviews.

For more kale recipes (and other good veggies) visit I Heart Kale.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Will Bark for Peas

Peas were ready to pick yesterday. These were planted outside the high tunnel after we scalded the first row. during a particularly warm weekend in early April. Remember, we were using an interior plastic row cover and we overheated.

Shared a bit of my harvest with our pup, who adores peas, green beans and carrots. He's also a big, big fan of watermelon. But, 'Is that an apple (sniff, sniff, sniff)? No, thank you."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sun 'Sposure

Here's a better image of the tool we use to roll up and prop the sides. Again, it's just basic pipe.

This is also a good shot showing the high tunnel orientation. The doors are on the north and south end, to maximize sun exposure as it travels over from east to west.

This picture was taken about seven a.m. this morning.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Roll Up Sides

Here's a close up view of the rolled up sides, looking in on the potatoes and tomatoes. Bill says the sides will pretty much stay up through August, now that the weather is consistently warm. Obviously, this set up prevents the high tunnel from overheating. It also provides access for naturally beneficial insects.

Our roll up system is pretty simple. The plastic is just wrapped around one long pole. The pole has a t-joint at one end with another pole inside. That side pole is resting on the ground, so we can pick it up, use it to rotate the roller-pole, and then stick it back in the ground to hold the roller up.

The sides are up pretty high right now, but we could further regulate the temperature by raising or lowering the sides throughout the season (over even the day).

Check out these roll up photos from Rutgers

Friday, June 19, 2009

High Tunnel Resources

Find out everything you need to know about high tunnels by talking with your local extension office. Come on out and visit our display garden or check out this high tunnel resource, compiled from national extension offices. Includes just about everything you need to get started--construction, materials, costs, and a basic intro.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chair Dancing

OMG! Here are my Harvard beets. This is one of those dishes that literally makes me dance. It’s like pickled beets, only hot and creamy. (Have I mentioned that I love pickled beets?) So incredibly good I’m bouncing in my chair.

You can see me do the same little chair dance at Taste of India where I ALWAYS order the vegetarian thali and then eat until my tummy hurts. It’s a good kind of pain.

And while not all out chair-dance-inducing, the root soup at St. Brendan’s is definitely good for some happy pre-meal applause.

What foodie treat gets you moving?

(Note: Recipe below has been updated to read 1/3 cup reserved cooking liquid. Also, I saved a whole lotta energy and nuked my beats instead of roasting them in my 80s era oven. Joy of Cooking said I could.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Check these beauties out! I mean seriously, are these not gorgeous or what?? Literally popping out of the ground in the high tunnel today.

These gals are getting roasted in the oven and then turned into some Harvard Beets. Combine 1/3 cooking liquid, 2T sugar, 1 T cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 2 T butter. Cook until thick and bubbly. Add beets and bliss out.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reusable Produce Bags

Hit the Broadway district's farmer's market tonight and picked up these hydroponic tomatoes. (I ate a couple of the cherries on the way home. Absolutely perfect.)

This was the first time I've used my reusable produce bags, and not surprisingly, they drew some interest. One of the vendors even plucked one out of my hand and put it on the scale to see what it weighed -- nothing registered.

Of course, these bags aren't really meant for the farmer's market where I could just as easily reuse any plastic bag for my purchase. Really, the bags are designed for the grocery store. The mesh is clear enough that a checker would still be able to read the code off a sticker. And as we already know, they're just as light as filmy plastic.

Best thing about these bags--they're the brainchild of a new local company called EarthSAKS. Love to support the local economy.