Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Garlic Planting

Whew.  Garlic got planted last week - just before the snow fell!

I'm about six weeks behind my usual garlic planting schedule, which is normally around Columbus Day.   The garlic guru from Wooleylot Farm said that garlic can be planted as long as the ground is workable.  The unseasonably warm weather we've had has made the ground easily worked until just a few days ago.

This is the third year I've planted this garlic that I originally bought from Wooleylot Farm.  Each year I plant the cloves from the biggest and best bulbs.  Because of this, each early summer I've been rewarded with bigger and more lovely garlic bulbs.  It would have been a shame to not get in this year's planting!

Its easy to plant garlic.  Make a shallow trench about 3 inches deep and place the cloves in it, six inches apart. Be sure to plant the cloves pointed end up. If you plant them upside down, they will grow but will be misshapen and smaller than they should be. You'll see the top of the clove makes a u-turn to reach the sky!  Rake soil back over the cloves, so that they are covered by 2 inches of soil.

Finally, mulch with 3-4 inches of organic material such as straw, alfalfa hay, or grass clippings.  My garlic is well mulched so hopefully it will get a chance to develop a bit of a root system before the ground gets too hard.   

Once you've tasted and cooked with freshly grown  garlic you become spoiled and don't want to use any other.  Plus, I plant a hardneck variety of garlic and it would be a shame not to have those wonderfully tasty spring scapes!

Garlic scapes and venison steaks...mmmm.

“My final, considered judgment is that the hardy bulb [garlic] blesses and ennobles everything it touches - with the possible exception of ice cream and pie.”
Angelo Pellegrini, 'The Unprejudiced Palate' (1948)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Important Late-November Winter Gear

Today is the first day of deer hunting.

I can tell because: 

 The deer aren't following their usual paths through our area.
The dogs are skittish, jumpy, and hiding under my feet.
In northern Pennsylvania the kids have this day off from school for "Deer Day."
And I hear occasional gunshots in the distance.

This is when I pull out my most important part of my late-November winter gear.

Its not pretty - but this bright orange hat may literally be a lifesaver as I go about my outside chores!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Try Organic Food...

Source: Food Inc.

Although, maybe it should read great grandparents..because after the Second World War...that's when more pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and plastics were introduced....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Celery As A House Plant?

To my surprise the celery plants that I started from seed did beautifully in the garden this year and I dehydrated a bunch for winter soups.  The flavor is so very much better than store bought celery.  The texture is tougher so I like to use it in recipes more than I like eating it raw.

 Quite often though, recipes call for fresh chopped celery.  Celery almost tops the Dirty Dozen list for the most pesticide-ridden crop and organic celery is crazy expensive.  Then I read a blog about a woman who started growing celery plants from the bottoms of old celery and I figured that since my celery already has a great root system, why don't I try repotting it and growing it indoors?  

Yesterday I dug up four celery plants (I had to clean off a bunch of outer stalks as the frost had got to them) and planted it in a pretty pot.  

Oops, ignore the ugly price sticker!

I think it makes a pretty nice looking "house plant."  We'll see if it grows!

I have more celery plants in the garden. Give me a call if you would like to come and dig up a plant to pot (hurry though, the frost/snow may kill it pretty fast).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween (a day late!)

Rat Meat Loaf

Shape the meatloaf

Add carrot ears, caper eyes, uncooked spaghetti whiskers and cooked spaghetti tail.  

Finish with lots of hilarious comments and jokes!