March Harvest

wpid-20140310_100612.jpgMarch 10th, 2014.  These are carrots I planted last spring (2013).  I had to chip away 5 inches of ice, sleet, and snow to pull these from the ground. But the ground wasn’t a block of frozen dirt- it was quite workable, though cold on the fingers.  I pulled out these three beautiful carrots and found one that has turned to mush.  It’s just good to know that you can harvest fresh food throughout the year- even in CT through a polar vortex.

2014 Garden Plan

Even though I’ve had the 2014 garden planned and purchased for months, there’s still slight tweaks. A Twin Hills plan wouldn’t be a plan without unexpected changes. GrowOrganic/Peaceful Valley was  kind enough to send me some organic Beefsteak seeds in a recent catalog.

If you know me, you know I’ll eat pretty much any food except raw tomatoes. But who am I to pass up such a kind gift? I am, of course, already growing a lot of sauce tomatoes and even some cherries toms. I’m sure I can pawn off the eating tah’maters on someone!

I’ve already been called crazy for the amount of crops I’m going to attempt this year. There’s a fine line between insanity and genius; so we’ll just see which side I happen to end up on.

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Soil Nutrient Deficiencies

Soil improvement is a never ending job for the organic gardener.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

As they grow, plants use up nutrients in the soil and it is the gardener’s job to replace them in order to maintain the overall health of the soil. It is important to replenish the soil by digging in lots of organic matter and compost, practicing crop rotations, and by carefully observing what nutrients the soil is lacking.

What do you do when your beautiful plants start to go down hill? What does it mean when your tomato plant’s leaves turn yellow or don’t produce any flowers or fruits? What does it mean when your corn stalks take on a purplish color? What does it mean when ripening fruits drop too early? Below is a simple chart to help you diagnose some of the most common and most important soil nutrient deficiencies and how to fix them so that you can have a bigger, better harvest!

If you would like to have a printable PDF of this chart you can find it here: Soil Nutrient Deficiencies



Miso soup from scratch

Let’s make some Miso Soup.  It’s easy and inexpensive.

misoshiru is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a stock called “dashi” into which softened miso paste is mixed.

So, let’s make some Dashi.

The most common form of dashi is a simple broth or fish stock made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of kwpid-20140104_112222.jpgatsuobushi – preserved, fermented bonito) to near-boiling, then straining the resultant liquid. The element of umami, considered one of the five basic tastes in Japan, is introduced into dashi from the use of katsuobushi. Katsuobushi is especially high in sodium inosinate, which is identified as one source of umami. Continue reading