Friday, June 24, 2016

Harty food farm.

Roselle and papaya were transplanted Friday the 17th of June. Amaranth, seminole pumpkin, and Egyptian spinach were sown the same day as weed blocks in the tree rows.

The final two rows of landscape fabric have been laid. Extra pins have been placed to prevent the fabric from lifting in the wind.

One hundred Sissoo/Brazilian spinach cuttings transplanted.

We thought the old bananas were completely dug out but they kept growing back!

Ten varieties of bananas were planted in the new lot.

Steamed Sissoo spinach.

Definitely beautiful cooked up and the flavor is definitely spinach-like. It might be too strong flavored for some. But like most things, it just takes a little getting used to.

Leftovers were used to make spinach dip.

Spinach dip recipe:
Chop cooked spinach. Squeeze out all liquid from cooking. Add mayo and Parmesan to your liking. Serve on other veggies or crackers.

Recipe: salt-free taco powder.

4 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika powder
4 teaspoon dried onion powder
4 teaspoon dried garlic powder
2 teaspoon dried cumin powder
2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

I usually quadruple this recipe, store in a canning jar, then use it for chili, tacos, or anything that needs some zing.

Recipe: pumpkin chili.

This turned out very nicely.

I started with the last of Sakata's tomatoes, a few seeded jalepenos, some scallions, and a chili pepper. These were put into the blender.

Two frozen packages of homemade salsa were added to the blender and "whirled".

In a pot, if you so choose, brown about a pound of ground beef with a diced onion.

Add blender ingredients to pot.

Add fresh and/or dried beans or lima beans and whatever.

I added Madagascar lima beans, butter beans, yard long bean seeds, and eggplant.

Add raw/frozen pumpkin. (This bag was marked for something else but never used. I can't throw stuff away just for that.)

Add a hefty amount of salt-free taco seasoning. See below for my recipe.

Cook on super low until all is tender. On my stovetop this is just above warm setting. Adjust with tomato paste, salt and sweetener. I added to my bowl my favorite hot sauce and REAL grated cheddar.

UMMMMM. This is a keeper use for pumpkin.

Composting in the new lot.

After a bit of contemplation on lazy composting, we have decided on the "food digester" method of composting in the new lot. This is very similar to the "worm tower" that Brad Ward of ECHO talked so highly of at a previous meeting. Brad mentioned that worms increased in a large area around their worm tower, not just inside and close to the tower.

Instead of using one or two large galvanized trash cans, we plan on using smaller ones placed between our fruit trees. We do NOT plan on adding worms as in Brad's version and will allow mother nature to do as she sees fit with our kitchen scraps.

Read more about the DIY food digester that we chose here:

VegHeads 2015-2016.

Back left to right: David, Mr. John, Ms. Karen, Jonathan, Ms. Ceil.
Front left to right: Bronwyn, Olivia, Nathan, and Braden.
Our President, Shelby, moved before we could get her into the picture.
A family with three members dropped out mid-year.

All six youth here will receive BRONZE awards at the 4-H awards ceremony next month. Nathan might be going for silver.

We are already full for 2016-2017! Everyone in the picture is returning plus we have 4 new members joining us.

Better than words.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Recipe: SALSA.

Must needed to start this recipe: tomatoes that you don't know what to do with, at least one onion, and at least one hot pepper. That is it!

Add whatever the garden gives you: sweet bell peppers, tomatillos, citrus juice, cilantro/parsley/moringa, cumin, more jalapenos, or whatever! --Remove hot pepper seeds to reduce HEAT.--

Slice, or dice, or squish it all together, add salt to taste, and you are done.

My body can no longer do raw bell peppers or onion without everyone evacuating the building so I cook the onion and pepper until they are translucent then just tossed everything into the pot at the end of cooking and allowed the tomatoes to "melt". Even the warm, leftover liquid tasted better than any V-8 I have ever had.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Shade gardening in the summer.

Bridget and I met up with Astrid and Tim of Greenview Aquaponics at the Sarasota Extension Office for their SHADE GARDENING presentation. We are going to do one row of this during the summer and see how well it works. Tim and Astrid are advising me on their experiences using shade fabric at their farm.

Highlights of what I learned so far:
  • Use gray, UV plastic conduit instead of non-UV PVC
  • Secure ends of conduit with rebar (if no concrete is used, it is not a permanent structure and no problems with code enforcement)
  • Black UV SHADE fabric reduces the temperature under the "tent" more than other colors
  • There are UV zip ties!
  • 40% shade works well in our area for plants
  • My rows run East to West and face South so I only need to cover the front and top which allows me access to the plants on the back side (using a 10' conduit, a 6' wide fabric will work perfectly)

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Chili peppers drying.