Friday, 30 July 2021

Garden haul & update



Today’s garden haul. Next to the tiny cabbages are wood sorrel and chives with the roots still on to plant indoors. The potatoes weigh in at 13.5 lbs (approx. 6kg). 

I also have a cup or two of micro potatoes.

Might put them in soup whole. :-)

The garden got away from me this year… and yet we’ve had so many radishes we had to give them away, and we’ve got garlic for the whole year, and we’ve got a really good amount of potatoes based on how many I planted. 

This year I learned how important weed suppression is in the fall, and how little it matters to some plants. I think I’m not going to sign up for the community garden next year. I’d rather focus on what needs to be done before we move. 

Oh! News on that front! Our saving plan has gone well and we’re planning to start looking for our forever home in 2022! 🥳

Friday, 18 June 2021

Sweet Pickled Radishes

Panoramic view of two community garden plots. the left plot has clear rows and the right has more weeds and less clear pathways.

 

Mrs and I have the house to ourselves again and we also have two community garden plots to grow in!


So far this year, there have been a few small harvests. Due to distance and illness and such the garden has not received as much care as I'd like, but we are enjoying what IS coming out of it. 

11 lbs 8 oz of washed and trimmed radishes

On top of the chive flowers, we had two small and one HUGE haul of radishes. The large haul was sorted and the larger ones(some as big as our budgie) were sliced for pickles and the rest were blanched and frozen for future roast-root side dishes.

The picked radishes are a favourite here. The process steals almost all the heat and leaves behind a nice crunchy sweet and sour pickle.

These are the ingredients PER 500mL JAR so you can easily whip some up from grocery radishes to give them a try. These are the instructions as I found them. I'll put my changes at the bottom:



Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch radishes about a 1/2 pound, stem and root ends removed and cut into 1/8 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar 5% acidity
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper optional

Instructions:

Place radishes in a hot, sterilised 1-pint jar. Bring vinegar, sugar, water, salt, spices and bay leaf to a boil in an enamelled saucepan

Ladle hot pickling liquid over radishes. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Let cool on a wire rack ( about 1 hour). Chill 6 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator up to 4 months.



I followed these directions the first time, but I've found that a week in the fridge is required for the full flavour to develop. 

Also, if you're doing multiple jars, it's much easier and more reliable flavour-wise if you place the dry seasonings in the bottom of the jar, then the radishes, topping it off with the hot sugar/vinegar/water mix. This ensures every jar gets the same amount of each seasoning and you don't wind up with some that are more mustardy or peppery.

We also water-bath can most of the pickles so they can be shelf stable through the winter. There would be no room for milk if all the pickles had to live in the fridge.



So after all that work we now have radishes out the wazzoo and won't need to buy any at the grocer store right?....... right?

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

January Update

The garden is still tucked in nicely. In a month or two there will likely be a flood and we'll see how well my tarping holds up to that. :-)


#5#4

Wolfie is still staying with us and the three of us have decided to get back in to RPGs. I'm running a D&D 4e campaign for them and Hugslut is running a SavageWorlds campaign for Wolfie and me. Here's what they faced in my campaign last week:


It was actually a fledgeling white dragon in a cave full of kobolds but I didn't have all the right figs so we used our imagination. :-)

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Planning for 2021

While I was pulling weeds, I was planning seeds.
Like last year I used GrowVeg.com to plan it out.
Both Plots for the Whole YearFull planting list

I clearly have high hopes but those pics are a bit blurry so here's some zoomed in versions.

1st half Planting List


2nd half Planting List


Plot #4


Plot #5


Even with GrowVeg, I did not have a detailed enough list for me(they separate by month, not by week) so I started building a spreadsheet and I'm glad I did. Some of the DTM showed me I should move some things earlier. I plan to experiment with planting dates and trying to get as much food as possible out of these plots. 


Detailed Planting Spreadsheet

This is the first year I'm going to be keeping detailed notes on yield and such. I know it won't be of use after we move to a different climate, but hopefully this experience will teach me not only how to keep notes efficiently, but also what level of detail I'm interested in keeping. I do know that if going to sell in the future, I'll need to be able to know when things will be ready and about how much per sq.ft. of bedspace.

Some of the "extra" food we don't have space/storage/use for will be going to friends but I plan on taking quite a bit of it to the FoodBank. I know if I went the UrbanFarmer route I could produce a ridiculous amount of salad greens, radishes, and baby turnips to donate(no selling allowed from the community gardens).... but salad greens don't really keep well unrefrigerated and I'm growing first and foremost for my family so I'm growing what we like to eat.

I'll probably fiddle with the layout over winter but this is what I want to grow and I have all the seeds. (I do still need to get potatoes in spring and garlic in fall.)

Are you growing food next year?

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

I was done for the season....

But then I talked myself into a lot more work. I had Plot #5 at our garden and after cleaning up I tarped it and thought I was done..... But then I kept looking at Plot #4 right next door to me that had been abandoned mid-summer and dreading poor neighbours next season..... 

SO, now Plot #4 officially belongs to my mrs. 

A large square black tarp anchored to the ground in front of a fenced-in area full of 2ft-4ft tall weeds.
Plot #5 closed, Plot #4 in background


Knowing there wasn't much time before the snow, and knowing I did NOT want to let those weeds overwinter, I got to work. The first day I went out there and pulled up every big weed. Anything I could reach from standing was removed, some cut with pruners at ground level, others hauled out with whatever roots would come. The fencing was removed by me and the rolls were either stolen, or retrieved by the previous owners overnight. I like to think it was the latter.


EOD Plot #4 Oct 11
EOD both Oct 11
EOD pano Oct 11

Next pass and with the help of a garden fork I managed to uproot about a third of the weeds. The pile of refuse on the tarp was growing surprisingly quickly. I had no clue the MASS of bio mass you really can get of such a small area. I was quickly learning however, the muscle mass I really didn't have anymore.


EOD Oct 16


A few days later I managed to get a LOT of the weeding done. At this point I had pulled out about a gazillion lil white rootlets that I knew were gonna cause trouble. There will be more; I don't doubt that... But I've done my best to give us the best start for next season.

Weeds all gone!Leaves down
EOD pano Oct 20


Today I spent all day at the garden and not only did I finish the weeding. I laid out the leaf mulch, I used the finished compost in Plot #4's bin to sprinkle over them so they wouldn't blow away, I moved the now empty bin next to the other one, and I dug under the old bin for the milkweed root that had spawned the plant that managed to grow all the way up through the compost. The knot was about a foot below ground level, it was the size of my fist, and the runners went about 3 feet in each direction!

My feet are sore and my back is aching but so happy that I could get the weeding done before the snow. There's still some weed refuse to get into a compost bin and once the tarp I ordered gets to the store I'll come back out and pin it down...

but for now, I think I'll just enjoy the view. :-)

Both plots as I left them today

Saturday, 17 October 2020

6 months gone

 I've been:

  • hiding from COVID
  • seasonal summit with Hugslut
  • housing Wolfie in our spare room
  • learning to program in Ruby
  • went back to work
  • listening to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts
  • gardening
  • learning new plant based meals
  • hiding from COVID again
  • canning
  • writing penpal snail-mail with my niece
  • signing up for a second garden plot
  • thinking toward the future farm plans