Showing posts with label Kale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kale. Show all posts

Friday, January 11, 2013

Waiting for Spring

I feel I did a pretty good job accepting the coming of winter, but my longing for spring has taken over the last few days.  Winter has been pretty mild, but we have had some cold days.  The Dec. snow is almost all melted.  Today's high was unseasonal, in the 50s, so Heidi and I went out and took some photos.  The cold is expected to come back tomorrow.


Over the last few years, I've decided that I like plants in the winter, even if they are dormant.  Can you see the hellebore that is not?


Here's a closer view.  I'm pleased that the snow did not damage the flower buds that were already forming.



I hope we get some more snow before spring gets here.  Even with the little bit of rain we had yesterday, the soil still needs more moisture after the dry summer we had.


I am excited about seeing whether my newly planted seeds come up in this and other areas this spring.


The switchgrass bunches were pretty bent over with the snow, but are recovering nicely.


I didn't take as many photos along the east side of the house as I had planned, so I am showing the wide views.


I did get a couple close shots of the hellebore that is near the barbed wire that is on the left side of the area above.  It is amazing to me that a clump of ice is near the plant, but it is still holding on to its blooms.



It looks like some new ones are also forming.


I plan on making some changes in this area, taking the quaking grass out, and moving some plants from down the way, to tie the areas together more.


Heading back to the vegetable garden, there is still a bit of snow for Heidi to run through.


 I didn't get the soaker hoses removed from the vegetable garden.  I wonder if they will be OK.  Can you see the kale down the way?


Today, we made kale chips in a domestics special education class I am a para educator in.  I didn't think any of my kale would have survived the cold temps and snow, and some didn't, but the newer growth looked good enough to pick, so I did.  I got them washed and in the refrigerator.  Hopefully, I will get some chips made tomorrow.  Most of the students thought they were pretty good, as did the teacher and I.


I had hoped to get some blogs visited this evening, but it's getting late.  Hopefully, I'll find time this weekend.  I hope all is well with you.  I know spring is in the air for some of you, and I am looking forward to experiencing it with you, as I wait for ours.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kale Bud Salad

Normally, we are in the full swing of picking lettuce by now, but so far, I've just had a few thinnings.  It was a bit wet to thin today, so I picked some kale leaves and flower buds, which I discovered taste good while grazing in the garden.  My eyes landed on some violet leaves and blooms, and I thought they would go well with the kale.  Then, when I glanced into my herb garden, I saw the salad burnett, which I frequently forget to use in the spring, when it's at its best.  I added some of those leaves to my harvest, and had myself a yummy nutritious salad, with Brianna's Home Style blue cheese dressing.  I splurge on that brand because it has healthy oils in it, and no soy, which our daughter is allergic to.  I also thinned some dill that is coming up quite thick, to put on our fish.

Of course, I had to take some photos.  It's exciting to be eating from the garden!




I hope you are getting some outside time in!   I am hoping for some warmer temps soon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Last Harvest of the Season

There was an article in the paper today about November being a bit warmer than October this year. Our fall has been quite mild. Well, colder weather has come, and the weather forecasters say we will most likely have to wait until spring before seeing the 50 and 60 degree days we'd been having. That's OK with me. In about 2 1/2 weeks, the days will start to get longer. That's when I normally start relaxing a bit, knowing that spring is on its way.

I got off of work an hour early yesterday, knowing the cold was coming, so I could harvest greens, kale, and what was left of the lettuce, and take care of some pots and things. I was disappointed at the amount of lettuce rabbits had eaten. I can't complain too much, though, because I don't believe I have ever had lettuce to harvest the first day of December.


There is still lots of kale in the garden. It will take colder temps than the lettuce, but lows in the teens are predicted for later in the week, so I picked lots. It stores well in the refrigerator, too. (I just remembered I forgot to harvest some of my Nero Toscana kale. I'll have to see if it's survived the cold so I can pick some tomorrow.)



I've been enjoying the greens from across the street that I mentioned self sowed themselves from the spring planted ones.


The onions across the street were trampled, clawed, or something, and died back before onions could form. I noticed they were growing again this fall. I thought I better pull them and use them as green onions, and then found that they had formed small bulbs. I also harvested as much plain and curly leafed parsley as I thought would get used before it turned bad. I have been enjoying adding some plain leaf parsley to my salads.



I decided to cut back the Queen Anne's lace so that there wouldn't be too many seedlings coming up in the spring. I didn't get an "after" photo taken.


We put Larry's strawberry bag, the lavenders and a few other pots in the egress window well.


Guess what plant is in front of the egress window well, and appears to be behaving fairly well?


My friend, the Short Toothed mountain mint had thrown a runner down into the window, but after taking photos, it got pulled out.



I didn't measure it, but it's over 2 feet down to the bench from the dirt. I forgot to take photos of the pots in here, but we got the space filled up.



Larry brought most of the bags of leaves from a neighbor's yard to the compost at my garden across the street, and I got them dumped as the cooler temps were making their way into town.



My next project is to get some horse manure from a friend, and either put it on the compost, or right into this bed that I plan to plant asparagus in when spring gets here. Maybe I'll get some bags of composted manure, as well. Seeing that bare dirt really makes my green thumb itch to get dirty.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring Planting Time, Sort of


I got my "gamble garden" in today.  I like to plant a few things in late February or early March, partly to feel good that I've started gardening for the season, but also in case it snows a lot and the ground stays too wet to plant for awhile. The plants won't come up until the soil is warm enough, and I'll most likely need to cover them with my green cloth once they are up, and the temps are below freezing. (I'm still hoping to get a cold frame or figure out a hoop house type of thing.) There is a chance they could get killed by the weather, but I've rarely had that happen. I lose more late summer planted crops due to the heat, and not enough moisture.  

These seeds are from 2008. I purchased some on sale at the end of the season, and others were already opened and not full. The spinach is Hybrid Olympia. The name of the radish was torn off last year, but it may be a Cherry Bell. (The writing on the packets was legible in iphoto, but not here. After the spinach is mesclun, Gourmet Greens Mixture, Lolla Rosa lettuce, Nero Toscana kale, and the last lettuce is Black Seeded Simpson.) 


Here's the area before I started working. The soil was loose enough that I didn't have to turn it over. I applied compost in the fall, and it's in a sunnier spot than most of the garden, so it was ready to go.



I have tried different types of rows, and broadcasting, but this year, I saw something similar to this "circle" in a magazine, and decided to try it. I have radishes in some of the rows, and they will come out earlier than the other plants, making more room for them, and for me to pick the greens.

I used to measure planting depth and space between rows in order to follow the directions on the seed packets, but now I eyeball it, and figure I'll thin enough to give everything room to grow.  




Since the seeds are from last year, I planted them closer together than what the package says, as the germination rate may be lower. Plus, I like to eat the thinnings.



I am a pretty laid back gardener. I don't aim for perfection. It's OK if some of the seeds don't stay in their rows as I put the dirt over the seeds.



I have used other things, such as boards, but these days, since I am already using my hoe when I plant, I just use it to tamp down the soil to get a connection between the soil and the seeds. If it was later in the season, I would water the seeds in, but I don't this time of year.



I decided to loosen the soil in the next section, in hopes that the neighborhood cats and squirrels will dig there instead of the newly planted area. I have had to replant due to critters. We'll see. They'll probably just have fun in both sections. I am persistent enough to get a crop, though.

Please bear with me if this was way too detailed. I am realizing there are some beginning gardeners who can benefit from seeing how an old gardener does things, even if they are a bit unconventional. I just hope no one follows my way of doing it, with bad results.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kale Update and Link to a blog in Scotland

I picked too much kale for the soup I posted about in November, and had planned to put it on the compost pile, as I still have fresh I can pick, but I'm glad I didn't, because I needed a little something more for my lunch today.  As it was too cold and dark to go out and pick some, I took out the bag of kale and was pleased it was still good.  I tore some up into a container, and put poppy seed dressing on it.  It was great with some raw carrots, crackers, cheese, and a bowl of the kale soup I thawed from the freezer.  

I resisted the urge to go out in the cold to take pics, but the kale looks pretty much like it did last time I took pics. 

Lindab has two well written blogs, both with great photography.  She liked my series on kale, and said she'd been thinking about writing a post about kale in her blog.  (She grows a different kind.)  She asked if she could put a link to my blog, and I told her I'd put a link to hers as well, so here you go!  Enjoy!  Slow Growing in Scotland

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kale Pt. 3, The Soup, Garlic, and a Few Fresh Herbs in Zone 5b

I want to start out with onions and garlic from my garden, harvested in August or September.  The garlic is hard neck, and is easy to peel.  The onions and garlic may not be lasting much longer.  I'll have to watch the garlic for drying out, and the onions for spoilage.  My in-laws grew the garlic, and there is always plenty, even though I just figured out last year that you are supposed to replant it.  I didn't get that done this year, and may not get a chance now.  I know I have some younger plants that weren't ready for harvest this year, so it will be OK.  


I started out by cutting up all my veggies.  Usually, though, I cut the first ones to go in the pan, and cut the rest as the first are starting to cook.  To cut kale, take the stems out, either by cutting along the edge, or just tearing the leaves off of the stems.  If the weather permits, put the stems on your compost pile.


As always, I looked at recipes, then made something up.  I normally don't measure, but did, sort of, for this soup.  Rather than trying to measure 8 cups of chopped kale in a dry measuring cup, I just put it in an 8 cup liquid measuring cup to get an idea of how much kale to use.  I don't like it when recipes give you a number of a kind of vegetable to use, because they come in different sizes, but I did that so I wouldn't have to measure.

I went ahead and tore up the rest of the kale off of the stems rather than cutting it, as it was just as easy.



So, for this soup, I used what you see in the next photo.  I'll give an approximate recipe at the end of the post.  :o)  Originally, I was not going to use meat, but decided to because Larry is not a big soup fan, and he is really disappointed if there is no meat in it.  After making it, though, I think I used too much meat  for the amount of veggies.





Let's take a little side trip to see what fresh herbs I put in the soup.  I cut some sprigs off this Arp rosemary, but ended up not using them, because I used a larger sprig from the Madeline Hill outside.


I just took this next pic to show the other rosemary plants that haven't dried out so far!  I used a couple leaves I'd dried previously from the bay plant on the lower left.  You can use fresh bay  leaves, too, but the flavor is not quite the same, and I wanted to use up the dry ones.  (I should have posted the lavender flower for GBBD!)


These next pics were taken just before using the herbs for the soup, after it turned dark.  Here's the thyme that is still  hanging on in a pot, next to some sage.


It's either oregano or oregano thyme in the pot with the handle, that I used for the soup.  Two kind of chives are in the middle, upper and lower.  I used some of them the other day for my herb cream cheese spread.  Salad burnett is on the right, and I haven't used it lately.



The Italian parsley has been nipped by cold weather, but is still edible.


In the back, is the Madeline Hill rosemary that is supposed to survive zone 5 outdoors.  It's looking good so far.  There is tarragon to the right back, sage on the lower right, and thyme on the lower left.


I ended up not using the Arp rosemary on the left, but used most of the rest of these herbs, and put the rest on a plate on a shelf to use later.  It may or may not be dry yet when I decide to use it.  It doesn't matter.


I love snipping fresh herbs like parsley right into the pan with the kitchen scissors I only use for  herbs.  You can see the kale has cooked down.  At first, I thought I  had forgotten to include a pic of the kale in the pan, and had to scroll up and look.


For rosemary, I snip the top leaves off, then turn the side ones, so they all face the same direction, then snip them off. 


I love the kind of thyme that has the leaves going up and down the stem, and just run my fingers down the stem to get the leaves.



After I put the soup in a bowl, I thought it might be good with shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Larry picked up some bread that needed to be baked.  It was pretty good with the soup and the leftover herb cream cheese spreads I had made for Friday get togethers.  



I'll call it Sunday Kale Soup, because if I made it again, there would be something different about it.  Feel free to tweak it however you want, and post a comment to say what you did.  When I asked Larry if he liked it, he said he did, but he didn't like the kale in it.  LOL  For me, kale was an acquired taste, but I may not eat as much of it if I didn't know how good it is for me.  I have some seeds for the fancy narrower leaved kind, but didn't plant them, because the kale I already have is doing so well, so I hope to plant it in the spring, maybe in a flower bed.

Sunday Kale Soup:
1 T. olive oil
2 medium/small onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, diced
4 carrots, cut into thin circles, or chopped
4 medium sized potatoes, chopped, peeling is only if those eating the soup won't eat the peelings, but I bet if they don't eat potato peelings, they probably don't eat kale  ;o)
1-2 cups turkey ham, chopped
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 can each, northern and pinto beans, or any other beans you like
1 can diced tomatoes
8 cups chopped or torn fresh kale
to taste: fresh or dried herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, oregano, and thyme
About 2 T. shredded mozzarella cheese per bowl of soup, optional

1. Heat oil, then add the next 5 ingredients, (through the turkey ham) in the order listed, stirring with each addition, giving the onions time to get tender by the time the turkey ham is added.  

2.  Add the water, bay leaves, beans, and tomatoes.  Cook until the veggies are tender, and almost done, about 10-15 minutes.

3.  Add the kale and herbs, and cook until the kale is tender, another 10 to 15 minutes.

We  had lots of leftovers.  I forgot to measure the number of servings, but there were at least 8 cups there.  I plan to put some in smaller containers to freeze to take for lunches.

By the way, there are a lot of good kale recipes out there you can find using a search engine.  I even found some kale information on some blogs.