Sunday, October 31, 2010

10/31/10: Decorating the Kitchen Garden for Halloween

Decorating the kitchen garden for Halloween

Is your garden still giving you treats?

Want to see more spooky stuff?
10/31/06: Boo!
10/31/07: Scare Cat
10/31/10: Happy Halloween!

10/19/06: High Wire Act
4/27/08: A Sunday Feast & a Mysterious Owl (more owl photos here)

© 2010, the frightening foodie farm blog where a couple of very blustery days ago, this piece of floating row cover actually flew up into that tree and the garden decorated itself. I thought it was perfect—until I realized I was probably going to tear the row cover into pieces while wrestling it back to the ground (it was really tangled up in the branches!). Fortunately my hunky farmguy rescued it while I wasn't looking—or maybe it was the goblins. Do you have goblins living in your garden?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Garden Journal 10-22-10: It's Time to Plant Garlic!

Planting Garlic with Marta and Bear 2-10-09
Planting garlic with Marta and Lucky Buddy Bear on 2-10-09

Realization of the Day:
I can't believe I might actually get my garlic planted on time this year.

When is the best time to plant garlic? There's no one right answer to that question, but in many areas it's October. If you live somewhere that has a real winter (as opposed to places like California and Texas and Florida), this gives the cloves enough time to sprout and get a good head start growing before the ground freezes and they go into hibernation mode. If you live where the winters are mild, you can get away with planting your garlic later. 

If you're minding the moonsigns (you can read more about how that works here), you'll want to plant your garlic on a fertile day in the third quarter, which promotes underground growth, because the waning moon is pulling things 'down.' This is also a good time to plant other root vegetables, like potatoes, turnips, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, and beets, though not onions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How To Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors the Really Easy Way

Green Tomato Harvest 10-17-09
Green Tomatoes Harvested on 10-17-09

While you're waiting for your green tomatoes to ripen—or if you have a lot of immature ones, which probably won't ripen—you could turn some of them into my no sugar, so easy, salsa-like green tomato relish, which is one of my most popular recipes.

Will green tomatoes get ripe and turn red after picking them (or yellow or orange, depending on the variety)? Yes.

Is it difficult to get tomatoes to ripen off the vine? No.

Do you have to pull up the whole tomato plant and bring it inside? No.

Do you have to do anything special to get green tomatoes to ripen? No.

Do they have to be kept at a specific and/or steady temperature? No.

Will tomatoes ripened indoors taste as good as vine-ripened garden tomatoes? Probably not, but any homegrown tomatoes are going to taste better than no homegrown tomatoes—especially if you're enjoying them on Thanksgiving or Christmas. And they'll still probably taste better than storebought tomatoes, especially if you're buying them at Christmas.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Is a Digital Kitchen Scale an Essential Garden Tool? I Think So - Plus Five More Worthwhile Kitchen Investments for Gardeners

I've raved about my Oxo 11-pound digital kitchen scale before and no doubt will again. It's worth every penny of the $49.99 I paid for mine three years ago from, but now they often have it for even less. (April 2011 update: it's currently just $42.34.)

Garden Basil on Kitchen Scale
Basil from the kitchen garden on 9/4/10

Realization of the day:
I literally cannot remember life before my kitchen scale. I often use it several times a day.

If you read the question in this post and your immediate answer was no, I kindly suggest you do these two things and then come back:

1. Go to three different places and buy a bunch of Swiss chard or kale—or even parsley or cilantro—at each one. Are they anywhere near the same size? Didn't think so.

2. Ask three people to measure out two cups of basil leaves for you, then lay the piles side by side and compare them.

Another interesting experiment, though it isn't relevant to my yes, you really do need a kitchen scale argument, is to buy a lemon at three different places and compare the sizes. Zest and juice them if you want, too. Yeah, whoa. Huge difference probably, huh? And how many recipes simply call for 'the zest of one lemon,' or 'the juice of one lemon?' That kind of drives me nuts.

But back to the scale. Once you have one in your kitchen, it's amazing how many things you'll probably find yourself weighing while cooking and baking. They're also are great for weighing postage, especially since you need to know the weight of a package if you want to print out a mailing label online and avoid waiting in line at the post office.