Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Peppers are Done

I cleaned the peppers out of the high tunnel last night. The plants have all been bit by the cold and were pretty wilty.

Looks like I need to make some jalepeno pepper jelly. I think fajitas will also be on our dinner menu this week (and next).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spring Greens

This kale got planted too late in the season to be havestable yet this fall. Pretty soon the high tunnel won't get enough good light to foster growth, and the plants will go dormat over the winter. But when the spring sunlight comes back we'll have an amazing kick-start on the season.

The plan is to plant a few more salad greens yet...and then maybe we'll be eating out of the high tunnel come March.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Tomatoes

The high tunnel is still going. Going crazy with cherry tomatoes in fact. Picked these today. As in - picked in NOVEMBER!
The plants are getting a little wilty on top, so it's time to get the row covers out and give a little added protection from the cold.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peppers on My Pizza

You're looking at one frozen pizza covered in cubanelle peppers. They were fabulous!

I am not, I repeat NOT, a green-pepper-on-my-pizza kind of gal. But these were good.

I wanted to pick these peppers weeks ago when they were light green. But Bill at the Extension told me to wait. He said they were a sweet frying pepper and "really good when allowed to turn red."

And right he was. Imagine that.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today's Harvest

Well pardon the poor rotation on this photo.

This morning's harvest: lots and lots of green pepers, loads of onions (but I only picked one), and a few cherry tomatoes.

Made the sausage suate again this morning in an attempt to burn through some of those peppers.

Everything from the cold frames is pretty well done. The kale is finally starting to look unappealing and the peppers in the cold frames aren't faring nearly as well as the ones in the high tunnel.

Must go clean all that out. Ugh.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pepper & Sausage Saute

Here's an old family favorite. Mom used to make this for breakfast or dinner. Goes very well with cornbread on the side.

1 lb smoked sausage
1 large green pepper cut into strips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T soy sauce

Cut sausages into chunks and brown in skillet. Pour off fat. Remove sausage. Put remaining ingredients in pan and cook until peppers begin to wilt. Add sausages and cook at low temp until syrup thickens, stirring often.

*I like this with way more peppers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pickled Peppers

Oh my goodness...I can't believe I've been gone from the blog for a whole month! We had a health thing pop up in my family, so I've been spending a lot of time away at the hospital. Looks like all is well now. I am so thankful to everyone who kept my loved one in their prayers.
I've still been managing to water the garden this past month, but harvesting and cooking and preserving have been a whole other thing altogether.
Photo above is from the beginning stages of some pickled peppers. I know...far more green peppers than I would have liked...but that's what I had. That and lots of jalepenos and a few banana peppers.
I thinking the men folk in the family will enjoy them chopped up on brats and such. Me...I'm not so good with hot! My husband, on the other hand, will go to an Indian restaurant and request the highest heat (and then ask them to bump it up a little). Ugh.

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's A Sign!

Put up in time for the garden walk, I presume.

In case you can't read it from the picture...

High Tunnel
High tunnels are unheated, plastic covered structures that provide an intermediate level of environmental protection and control. They can provide year-round production for some cool season crops.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jenny's Boots

This is a picture from when our grad student was visiting. I loved the way she stored her rubber boots.

Now does that say farm girl or what?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kale Crisps

Tear kale into pieces. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Crispy, salty and satisfying.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Garden Walk, Recap

Everytime I go to the garden walk, I end up wishing my husband was with he could see the cool projects and really get behind revamping our yard. He would get just as jazzed about some of the gardens as me, I think.
I'm dreaming of hauling in soil and putting a shade garden in our front yard. I'm also dreaming about planting up our parkway--the part that won't grow any grass anyway. I'd kinda thought that was verboten until I saw this:
A few more pics from the garden walk this past weekend...

There was so much more to see, but I wasn't thinking about the blog when I was taking pictures. Sorry!

Friday, July 9, 2010

We're On the Garden Walk!

Okay so first about the picture -- I yanked the last of the lettuce this week. It lasted a really long time....and might have even gone longer if I was harvesting more regularly. (But seriously, we had a ton of lettuce). Anyway, it was all either gone to seed, or slimy underneath, or just kinda big.

So two of the paths in the high tunnel will remain bare now until August, I think, when we start the fall planting. (The other two rows have onions, tomatoes, basil and peppers.)

But now for the garden walk news--we're on it! Well the whole Extension garden complex is on it. Truth be told, I've never bothered to walk around the perennial or rose gardens before, so I'll be doing that on Sunday.

The Green Bay garden walk runs Saturday and Sunday. Info at the Green Bay Botanical Garden website.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hearty Veggie Chili

Okay, sorry folks, I can't get my picture to load decently for this you get text alone.

This is a recipe for the Hearty Veggie Chili my darling husband whipped up yesterday. He cooked sans directions (cause he can fly blind like that), so this recipe is his best approximation, after the fact.

2 cloves garlic
1/2 Vidalia onion
1/4- 1/2 red pepper
15 oz tomato sauce
15 oz diced tomatoes
15 oz red kidney beans (drained)
2-3 T ground cumin
2-3 T chili powder
1 tsp corriander
2-3 T grapeseed oil (substitute your preferred oil)

Prep: chop garlin, onion, red pepper

Using a 3qt saucepan over medium heat, add grapeseed oil, onion, garlic, and red peper. Sautee 3-5 minutes. Add kidney beans, stire and continue to heat 2-3 minutes.

Add cumin, chili powder and corriander. Stir and heat 2-3 minutes.

Finish by adding diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir and allow to simmer about 15 minutes. Add more or less spices to taste.

It was fabulous! Nice and chucky, so you didn't even miss the meat!

Thanks hon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Currant Jam

Picked a nice bowlful of currants and made currant jelly over the weekend. Did you know currants are naturally high in pectin? I just read that in one of my newer jamming books (The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich). That means I can skip the commercial pectin and just jell away!

Following Ziedrich's I used equal parts currant juice and sugar (3 to 3) instead of the 5 cups to juice to 7 cups sugar recipe that comes with commercial pectin. I am really working on using less sugar in my jams.

I also added a tablespoon of rosewater to the batch. Can't say that I really tasted it though--which is a bummer.

My favorite local cafe serves a rosewater lemonade that is just heavenly. Ah well, will just have to get a little more heavy handed with the next batch. It's a dangerous game playing with rosewater though--just a little bit too much and the flavor is too overpowering.

If you know of any jam recipes that call for rosewater let me know--I looking for a guide to quantity!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Neighbors

The 1 reason I would want to move: To get a large, sunny yard so I could have my own garden.
The 1 reason I won't: Our neighbors.

We KNOW our neighbors. We wave at each other, have afternoon chats, and swap keys when we leave for vacation. We borrow things, trade books, and share our garden harvest.

Which brings me to the above. That dish of black raspberries was left on our deck this morning. Our neighbor can't eat the seeds in her raspberries--yet she took the effort to pick them for us!

And do you see the note? She apologizes for not having time to wash them!

It's an amazing thing living in a real neighborhood. I hope you live in one too.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quinoa & Currants

Quinoa & Currants. Doesn't that sound fancy? Like it should be the name of some gourmet food blog or something.

Anyway, this was my breakfast. Drizzled in raw honey from a friend, but you can't see that in the picture. Currants came from the Extension gardens. I know my folks have currants too, so between the two bushes, I should have plenty for jam and for eating.

If you're not familiar with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) it is a high protein grain. The back of my quinoa box informs me it is "one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom." Also it is the only grain that is a "complete protein," whatever that means.

I hadn't used quinoa before, but so far so good. I actually enjoyed this way more than oatmeal. It's light and has a very subtle nutty flavor.

I know you can find quinoa in bulk food stores, including the bulk foods section at Copps. But I prefer starting out with the prewashed stuff that comes in a box, with all the nice handy cooking instructions for now.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Beet Affect

Six pints of pickled beets finished last night. Plus more just for eating right away. And some to take to a neighbor.

And that takes care of about half of one half of a cold frame.

Did you know that eating beets will make your pee pink? I had a few moments of alarm during last year's beet season, but this year I knew enough not to worry.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kale Shortage?

Is there some sort of kale shortage?? Two weeks in a row I've overhead someone at the farmer's market asking a vendor for kale. "It's coming," or "not yet," was the answer.

Not yet? I've had kale coming out of my ears for a solid month already.

Made that kale-laden Portuguese Potato Soup again today. Yummers. Ain't it purty?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tight Quarters

Okay, for educational purposes...for those of you who come out to view the high tunnel in person...let me just say the space is a little tight.

This is not the first scrape I've walked away with. Would love a few more inches between the piping sytems we use to hold row covers and the outside wall. If I'm not scraping myself on the pipes, then I'm getting scratched by bolts in the walls.

Since I also ripped a pair of jeans on a cold frame this spring--something which has nothing but wide open air around it--my husband would probably argue my injuries have a lot more to do with the person, than the structure she's working in.

I get no sympathy.

(And yes mom, I disinfected this.)

Monday, June 14, 2010


Frightened this little guy as I entered the high tunnel on Sunday. He froze, in one of those misguided--if I don't move, maybe she won't see me--moments. I snapped a few pics and then quietly left to work in another area of the garden so he could get over his panic attack and leave in peace.

Saw him run out the door a few moments later. That said, there is definetely a hole in a corner of the high tunnel. Multiple exits--this guy's no dummy.

It was 98 degrees in the high tunnel yesterday and the lettuce is starting to look a little done-in. Not sure how much longer we'll get out of the greens.

Planted basil and several kinds of pepers in the high tunnel last week, so they should be happy with the heat at least.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Jam of the Year

Oh that photo is not the best. I should have taken one when the berries were all pretty and sliced and waiting to go into the pot.

And actually, I should clarify, it's not 'jam' but 'preserves.' The difference? Preserves aren't meant to fully set up like jam. They're meant to be a little runny and good for pouring over pancakes, poundcake, ice cream, or yoghurt.

I got the recipe from Saving the Season--my new uber-favorite canning blog discovered late last season. My jam books might just now be tragically obsolete. (Nah....just supplemented.)

The recipe is for Strawberry Perserves with Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper. Sadly, I think my palate is weak. I doubled the black pepper and used 25-year-old-imported-direct-from-Italy balsamic vinegar and I still don't taste it. It was my very last tablespoon of good balsamic or I might have been tempted to double that too.

(That gets me in trouble in the kitchen. If something is good, more is better, right? Um, yeah....not always.)

Still I have to say that the preserves ARE heavenly. Really. Way better than jam.

I spent $18 to get three quarts of organic berries at the farmer's market. (All you folks back home with large wonderful gardens will be shaking your heads in amazement, but that's only $1.50 more per quart than regular berries at our city-folk prices.) What can I say? Berries are on the dirty dozen list. Pesticides cling to these beauties like stink on a goat. It's worth the added expense.

I had enough for the jam and loads to eat fresh on the side. And I just might do it all over again this Saturday.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Arugula Pesto

We have a houseguest right now. She's a grad student from Iowa State here to study the Oneida sustainabile farming methods at Tsyunhehkwa. It's been great fun not only having a student in the house, but having another veggie lover around.

Here is the argula pesto she made a few night back, and her recipe:

Arugula Pesto!
4 c packed arugula leaves (approximately 6 oz)
¼ c pine nuts or sunflower seeds, toasted*
¼ c packed freshly grated Parmesan
1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
¼ c olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor or blender, blend the arugula, nuts or seeds, parmesan and garlic until smooth. Scrape down the sides. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until well blended. Scoop it all out into a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Its best if chilled for a few hours, but serve it at room temperature.

This recipe is great for arugula that’s “on the edge” of being too bitter—just blanch the leaves first. Add the leaves to boiling water for about 15 seconds, stirring the whole time. Remove and place in a bowl with ice water and you should be good to go. For more detailed instructions, this website is useful: Food Network arugula pesto

*These can be raw as well, whatever you prefer. Walnuts are also a good substitute.

Thanks Jenny!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Too Little, Too Late

These are the turnips before thinning:
And these are the turnips after:

Clearly, I'm not expecting much of a harvest. And no...I did not eat the greens. With all the lettuce I've got coming out of my ears, I didn't see any reason to bother with random turnip greens.

Unfortunately, it looks like I probably won't be 'bothering' with any turnips either.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Roasted Radishes

So I was complaining to a friend about how I didn't really even like radishes. I only grow them because it's kind of expected. It's something you can get in the ground right away in the spring when you're all anxious and energetic to get things going...even things with a strong, nasty bite like radishes.

Well, my friend started waxing poetic over how wonderful radishes are when they're roasted--warm and a wee bit carmalized.

I found this roasted radish recipe on a food blog and gave it a shot. And oh yeah. Warm and mellow. That's the way to eat radishes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Greens

Believe it or not, with all this heat the greens still look pretty good. The doors are open on the high tunnel and the sides loosened, so we can get some good ventilation.

Here's some more of what we're harvesting....

Red Summer Crisp:

Green Grand Rapids Black Simpson:

Green Grand Rapids Simpson Elite:

Green Grand Rapids Tropicana:

Red Grand Rapids Red Vulcan:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SunChips Bag Day 26

On Day 26 of the SunChips compostable bag experiment. Dug this thing up and found no discernible difference. As I feared, my compost bin is probably not very hot, or active. Ah well, I buried it back down again. The bin has some fresh grass clippings and lots of new kitchen waste, so hopefully things will get moving.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Garden Chat

We moved the book discussion out into the garden Wednesday night. Mostly we chatted about our memories of food.

Olivia remembered getting 'grounded from raspberries' for a week after she brought a handful inside and smeared berry juice on her bed. (Truth be told, she snuck out to the garden and ate them anyway.)

Steve remembered climbing pear trees in the backyard. He liked them hard and green and not-quite-ripe.

Jenny talked about her grandmother's Cuban soup recipe that called for fermented pig something (I forget what exactly) that an uncle ships from Miami.

I mentioned my grandmother's caramel recipe which calls for cream. Not finding anything in the grocery store labeled simply 'cream' I had asked my mother...whipping cream? heavy cream? She wasn't sure, she told me--mum just went out to barn.

Speaking of going out to the barn...we talked about modern, policitical issues too, like whether the govorner would sign the raw milk bill (he didn't). Also--the complexities of getting fresh foods into the school lunches, and the societal benefits of buying locally produced food.

All in all it was a good night. Good conversation and good people. And everyone who wanted it went home with some lettuce!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Seeing Red

Merville des Quatre Saisons:

Red Grand Rapids - Red Sail:


Really Red Deer Tongue:
Red Salad Bowl:

Thursday, May 13, 2010


And this:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Join Us on May 19th!

Planting the Seeds of Conversation: A World Cafe Discussion of Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
Wednesday, May 19th from 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: Brown County UW-Extension Office, 1150 Bellevue St. in Green Bay
Registration: $12 per person, due by May 17th

Okay, so I'm going to be leading a table discussion at an upcoming World Cafe event. If you've never been to a World Cafe, they're pretty cool. You get a bunch of smart, community-engaged people in a room and you talk!

You move from table to table to meet new people and address different topics at each. In the end, hopefully we all walk away with ideas and energy to either improve ourselves or our community. Or at the very least we all walk away with a good meal in our bellies and good information in our heads.

We're using this year's One Book One Community selection as our jumping off point: Seedfolks.

It's a super slim little book. Won't take you more than one sitting to read. But if you can't read it before the event, come anyway!

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman is the story of a community garden that evolves in a vacant lot, located in a neighborhood where no one seems to care. Thirteen very different voices tell one amazing story about a garden that transforms a neighborhood.

Here's just some of what we'll talk about:
What foods at your dinner table did your grandparents eat when they were your age? Describe a family recipe. Describe the very first time you tasted something that you picked off a tree, vine, stem or pulled out of the ground. How did it taste?In your day to do life where do you interact with nature?

Join Us to discuss these questions and more over a warm meal.

Sponsored by One Book, One Community. For more information about this event, Seedfolks and the organization please visit

Friday, May 7, 2010

Beet Sprouts

So I finally did that thinning at the garden. Came home with this big plate of beet greens. (Yes, really, my seeding technique is THAT bad.)

I had some pancetta, so I sauted that with some onions and then I threw the greens in. I did trim off most of the heavier stems and roots before I threw them in the pan. Shortly after adding the greens, I poured in a mixture of sugar and cider apple vinegar--less than a 1/4 cup.

All in all, I'd It's definitely an earthy flavor. Maybe I would have liked it more with bacon and less vinegar.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Time to Thin

Ugh. Clearly I have seeding issues. See all those CLUMPS of plants. Double ugh.

That's waaaaaay too many little beet plants coming up all in one spot.

(View inside a cold frame.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SunChips Compostable Bag: Day 1

Package says: World's First 100% Compostable Chip Package.

From the SunChips website: Every 10 1/2 ounce SunChips package is designed to fully break down in just 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin or pile.

I'm not sure my compost bin is 'hot' or 'active' enough, but the people at SunChips aren't worried. They write, If it takes a little longer, don't worry about it. Mother Nature will get to it soon enough.

So we're going to see how long it takes. That bin has good compost starting at the bottom and lots of last fall's dead leaves and this spring's kitchen waste on top. I turned it some (I'm horrible about actually turning my bins), so the chip bag is probably just above middle now.

Will try to get some grass clippings in there soon to heat things up.

If you don't want to wait for my results, watch the SunChips video.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Second Planting

Visited the garden on Saturday and did a 2nd planting of greens in all the beds. As you can see, I have few things coming up. I'm about 85% sure that's the arugula in the photo. Most of the other sprouts are far less dramatic.

Also did second seedings in the beets--where my seed scattering was definitely spotty and in the cold frame that was SUPPOSED to have spinach in it. But nary a spout to be seen.

Radishes and turnips are also making an appearance.

We're on our way!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Garden Tilling Service (& way more)

So I went to the panel on community gardens at the library last night. Lots of good information shared and discussion afterwards.

The most exciting (to me anyway) was the information from Tsunhehkwa. (Sounds like June-hink-kwa.) It's the Oneida agriculatural center's not just for Oneidas.

We heard from Jeff Metoxen about all the amazing offerings they have. The COOLEST thing though is that they'll come till up a garden for you. Just $20 for up to a 1/4 of an acre!! (Can you even rent a tiller and do it yourself for that???) Plus, PLUS if you're 55 or older the price drops to just $10. Even if you're not Oneida.

Also, on May 8th, at 10 a.m. you can come be a part of their seed and plant distribution. For just $5 you'll recieve seeds and plants, including onion sets and potatoes. Enough to grow a 40x40 garden. Yes, even if you're not Oneida.

They also have a store where you can get organic certified grass-fed beef, free range chicken, turkeys and eggs and other organic food.

Plus they have a community cannery where you can take classes or even have your own produce canned for you.

We actually went in with my brother's family on part of a cow from Tsunhehkwa last year. It's good!

They also do lots of other cool stuff like run some community gardens and host a farmers' market on Thursday nights. (Near the Oneida One Stop, he said, but you might want to call for better directions.)

And again, everyone is welcome!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Nipped in the Bud

I hates rabbits. I hates them, I tell you! I mean seriously! What could be more fiendish than a creature that snips the buds off tulips? What?

Argh! I had the hot pepper wax sitting out on the cupboard because I knew the tulips were overdue for a coating of 'ick.' I knew I was taking a chance when I went to bed last night without spraying them. I knew it, but I skipped the job anyway. So sorry little guys.

Here's the rest of the group, reaching....reaching for the sun:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Community Gardens panel

A panel discussion on "Community Gardens in Brown County: Past, Present, and Future Generations" will be held on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Brown County Central Library Auditorium, 515 Pine Street, downtown Green Bay.

The panelists include Karen Early from UW Brown County Extension; Jeff Metoxen from Tsyunhehkwa and the Oneida Community Integrated Food System; Yia Thao from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College; and Kay Huxford, a teacher at West High School.

They will talk about why they got involved in community gardens, how gardens connect people across the generations, and what young people are learning from school projects on community gardens.

This event is in support of the
One Book One Community reading selection of Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, a young adult novel about the creation of a community garden on a vacant lot in a low-income neighborhood in Cleveland.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Okay people. I gardened in the snow last night. The snow!

Well actually most of my gardening was inside the high tunnel, but it was surrounded by snow. And I had to trudge through the snow to water my poor cold frames. (Which I shut by the way.)

So the big high tunnel focus is gonna be greens this year. Greens I tell ya. I planted 20 different varieties last night -- mostly lettuce, but also some kale and argula and such.

It's amazing the things that come to you first thing in the morning, when one of my first waking thoughts of clarity was....'No spinach?!'

Yeah, so that's a problem we're going to have to rectify. Some of the space I left for second seedings will have to go to spinach. Because, I mean, lettuce is great and all, but it doesn't really saute.

Oooo...and speaking of sauted greens....guess what I just had for breakfast. Chorizo and kale. (See my recipe here.) I pulled all the winter greens out before planting last night. Had a nice good bunch of kale.

(The argula had all gone to seed and the lettuce was a bit big too. Also harvested: salad onions, mustard greens and some carrots.)

Planted last night:
  • Asian Greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Arugula
  • Kale - Winterbor
  • Kale - Tuscan Lacinato
  • Salad Greens - Orach Mixture
    Salad Greens - Mache VerteLettuce - romaine
  • Lettuce - 'Merveille Des Quatre Saisons'
  • Lettuce - Really Red Deer-Tongue
  • Lettuce - Red Salad Bowl Looseleaf
  • Lettuce - Lolla Rossa Looseleaf
  • Lettuce - Butterhead
  • Lettuce - Red Summer Crisp
  • Lettuce - Green Grand Rapids Black Seeded Simpson
  • Lettuce - Green Grand Rapids Simpson Elite
  • Lettuce - Green Grand Rapids Tropicana Pelleted
  • Lettuce - Red Grand Rapids Vulcan
  • Lettuce - Red Grand Rapids Red Sails