TinaMarie

The kids approve of the new garden plan! –I think it was the tepee style trellis for the peas that sealed the deal.

The Holly bushes, perennial Iris, lilies and roses remain in their current location, we are just reshaping their beds.

I think these few beds are manageable.
If all goes as planned, we will be harvesting:
tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, peppers, carrots, peas, stawberries and raspberries. (though I’m fairly certain our raspberry plants will not produce many berries this season.)
I know the amount that we can produce is small. We’re not planting our vegetable beds to live off our land. We are growing for the pleasure and satisfaction of watching and nurturing our own plants. The kids will love picking pea pods, snapping them open and eating the sweet peas. In past seasons, they’ve tried to guess how many peas would be inside the pods; delighted when the are right. And equally delighted when they have severely underestimated.

 

What can we plant early in the Spring?
The new lettuce bed has was created almost a week ago. Spinach seeds can go in the ground earlier [How to Grow Spinach]. We’re anxious to get growing, so we’re turning our “Lettuce bed” into a “Spinach bed”.

I enriched the soil with a little fish emulsion for added nitrogen. The kids poked the tiny seeds into the soil. And now, we wait. In about 10 days, we should see our first little plants!

All vegetables need good soil conditions to support a good crop and discourage decease. Test kits are inexpensive and soil testing is simple.

 

Two sources for the “super cool” tepee trellis;
Willow-Trellis
Bamboo-TeePee-Trellis

We have a good Farmers Market in our town. Farmers from the green hills of Michigan bring fresh local produce into our city life. They bring fruits and vegetables, and they bring their stories. My kids love to talk to the growers, especially the Beekeeper. He and his wife produce honey, they also educate and inspire the kids. As much as we appreciate and look forward to visits to our Farmers Market, we find that we need to supplement what we are able to purchase with produce from other sources.

photo: www.twofatbellies.com

Buying local seasonal produce is a style of eating that has deep roots, but is largely uncommon today. During the growing season we prepare and eat fruits and vegetables when they’ve ripened. We don’t eat tomato gazpacho in June. Likewise, there will be no strawberry desserts in August. But for people who are food adventurers, eating from local offerings is The Best.

Through LocalHarvest.org I was able to find two growers in my area who participate in Community Supported Agriculture. The idea is simple: member consumers pay a seasonal fee to the CSA farm. In return the grower provides each CSA member with choice in-season produce. Customarily, the grower prepares boxes of produce for pick-up. But the arrangements vary according to the capabilities of the farm.

It may seem as though the benefits of the arrangement favor the grower, unless you consider sustainable agriculture a necessity we can’t afford to lose. Programs like CSA are one way we can work to improve the way Americans eat and support growers in their efforts.

Here’s my case for changing the current food culture; I grew up in the 1970′s, when little was known about the effects of processed and ready-to-serve foods. Promotion of fast food products generally included a promise that labor-saving foods would improve your life. Well, here we are nearly forty years later – I’m confident that fast food has not improved our lives, certainly not our health.

You may like this video, Ryan and Sara explain the CSA program very well. And their farm is spectacular!

You can also watch the video on their website at: redfirefarm.com

I’ve purchase three Sunbeam Food Mills. The first for myself, the other two as baby shower gifts.

When I was a new mom, I received a mill designed for baby food. I liked the idea of giving my son food that I had prepared in lieu of jar baby food, but the tiny food mill was a disappointment. The manner in which it tried to extrude food required that the food be cooked so soft that the back of a spoon did the job as well.

A kitchen food mill is different than a “baby food maker.” Sunbeam Food Mill can process many foods without cooking. Others, such as squash, potatoes and apples require only gentle steaming.

My son’s favorite food prepared in the mill was peas. Peas have a beautiful bright color and they’re sweet.…what’s not to like. Fresh peas were not in season when Jack began to eat solid foods, so his first peas were frozen/defrosted peas.

I liked to mill the peas as needed and discovered that I could process a small amount easily.


Single Serving Peas

  • Put 3/4 cup frozen peas in a food mill fitted with a fine sieve
  • Run peas under cool water to defrost
  • Set mill over a bowl or plate and turn handle both clockwise and counter-clockwise until much of what remains visible is the skins of the peas (over milling will break down the skins and push them through the sieve).

The flesh of the peas will collect on the under-side of the mill.
The resulting “pea paste” retains the color and nutrition of the peas and tastes wonderful.

 

Other foods I process for baby in a food mill :

Steamed carrots, winter squash, potatoes, and sliced apples,
also cooked pasta with sauce


Sliced Strawberries, Zucchini, ripe Peaches and Plums can be milled raw.

 

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