Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fresh tomato marinara

Here's an easy recipe for putting good use to "too many" tomatoes, and other stuff from the garden. You can use this as a base, and add to it (mine has been known to secretly harbor zucchini, squash, eggplant and probably other stuff). I cook many batches of this these summers lately, and freeze it in pint-sized containers. I haven't bought tomato sauce in a long time! This is good with fresh herbs, too, if you have them. I don't usually add the fennel. Also, I don't ever peel the tomatoes -- too much work! I have a wand-style immersion blender, and I puree this after its mostly cooled -- that way the kiddos don't know all the veggies they're eating (and would otherwise likely refuse). 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup chopped green pepper 2 garlic cloves, chopped 3 cups (about 3 large) peeled, chopped tomatoes 1 can(6 oz.)no-salt-added tomato paste 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon basil 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed Directions: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Cook, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tomatoes are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes; stir occasionally. Cool 5 minutes. Place cooled tomato mixture in blender jar 1 or more cups at a time. Cover and blend at stir about 30 seconds after each addition. Blend at puree about 30 seconds. Return mixture to saucepan. Simmer over low heat about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over fresh pasta. Happy day!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meals on Wheels

Yesterday I dropped several heads of cabbage, a couple of squash, and a multitude of cucumbers (mostly from my neighbors' home garden) for Liza to use with her Meals on Wheels meal prep today. Harvest of Hope is helping to give these shut-ins fresh slaw today. Yay!

Thanks to Liza and our gardeners, and happy day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gathering at the garden

Last night a group of us gathered at 6 p.m. at Harvest of Hope to hear one of our local garden "Ph.D."s. Phil Ramey isn't really a Ph.D., but he might as well be one -- this guy knows SO much about gardening and is excited about sharing it! Big thanks to Phil, and to the gardeners who came to hear him.

Phil was kind enough to give me his notes from the talk, so that in days forward I can try to type up some notes here for everyone. There was a lot to learn, so I want to remember as much as I can.

Some of the things he emphasized most were creating healthy, living soil (there are some free helpers you can involve -- and Phil had tricks for getting them into your beds); preventing and coping with weeds without using chemicals; how to build a cucumber tree; and how to feed your raised beds simply, organically and continuously.

After hearing from Phil, a few of us worked in the garden for a bit. With the hot, dry weather we're having, the garden needs your attention more frequently for watering. Please try to stop by two or three times a week to water if possible.

Also make sure to harvest your veggies when they're ready. I had to compost some baseball-bat sized zucchini last night because they'd grown too big to be good.

We'll come up with a July speaker for our next gathering, and I'll post info for that here. If you have suggestions for topics you'd like to hear about, please let me know.

Happy day!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sunday gathering

Don't forget to join us if you can this Sunday at 6 p.m. In the garden - Master Gardener Phil Ramey will be talking to us! Happy day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Students Helping Others Understand Tomorrow (SHOUT) was at the garden this morning, and its members did a tremendous job getting new beds in at the front gate, watering, weeding, and moving compost for us. Many thanks to all of them, and to their leaders, most notably our friend Jill. Margot and Larry were front and center to lead and direct. I was only there for a bit, but I could tell that this was a good group and today a good day. Again, we are blessed.

Here are Hope and Emily:

The "men at work" with Margot, planting the new flower beds at the front gate:

And the whole group of happy helpers lending us a hand:

Thanks to all involved! Happy day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

SHOUT in the garden

I'm still catching up on emails I missed while I was out of town ignoring them. Add that to the lovely, slightly slower pace of summer and the need to keep my kiddos mostly entertained for long swaths of the day and you'll see the result of a few less blog posts than I'd like to accomplish!

A few things I wanted to say here today, though -- first, happy Sunday! Maybe a little rain is headed our way, and sadly it seems the cool morning temps and the moderate days might be inching toward true summer temps. What a gift that cool spell has been, eh?

I stopped by the garden last week and noted a couple of items that need attention -- number one being broccoli. I saw some beautiful broccoli in a bed that was starting to go to flower -- so if you are a broccoli farmer at Harvest of Hope, please make sure you harvest ASAP so that the veggies get eaten instead of going to seed. There are also some big cabbages, and it's perhaps becoming time to harvest potatoes, too. Make sure you keep an eye on your plot and harvest what needs to be harvested. If you need me to email you the list of pantries and kitchens who would love to receive our veggies, please let me know. I'll likely post the list here this week, too (but won't do so now since that would make a really long post). 

Also: weeds. I posted a picture last week of spiny amaranth, and I'll post it again here. This booger is nasty -- so wear gloves -- and it's best if it's pulled before it has gotten too big (and definitely before it has gone to seed). If you see this in your garden bed, get rid of it! This rode in with our first batch of compost last year -- we're taking efforts to make sure we don't bring it back again.

Finally (and much more fun than talk of spiny weeds), upcoming events:

This Tuesday, June 12, a group called SHOUT! (Students Helping Others Understand Tomorrow), led by Jill Salyers, will be in the garden doing service learning. Larry and Margot will be there to help them, and the students will be prettying up the two flower beds that sit on each side of Harvest of Hope's front gate. 

We're so glad the group will be there, and thank them in advance for their efforts to help us in the garden. Thanks, too, to Margot and Larry for shepherding them!

And, more on this upcoming, but don't forget Sunday, June 24 at 6 p.m. Please try to join us in the garden to hear Master Gardener Phil Ramey give a talk and answer any questions you might have. Plan to arrive early or stay late if you have any work to do on your bed, and we can spend time together. Invite your friends! Bring your family!

Oh -- one more item I forgot -- we could still use a small wheelbarrow, if anyone has one they'd like to part with, or knows of a group looking to help the garden financially. The old wheelbarrow Larry graciously donated has just about wheeled its last load.

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Big time

Growth, that is. I've been on the road for a couple of weeks, and after arriving back, stopped in at the garden on Monday. Wow. Things are getting big, and looking fabulous! Thank you!

There are a few things that need to be gathered and distributed before it's too late -- some broccoli in bed 14S, and most lettuces/greens, and cabbage. There may be more I didn't notice or don't know about. Please be sure to check your plot and harvest anything that's ready.

Next week on Tuesday the 12th, a group of teens will be helping in the garden as part of a SHOUT! program encouraging youth leadership and citizenship. And please plan to join us in the garden on June 24 (Sunday) at 6 p.m. to hear from Master Gardener Phil Ramey, and to hang out with your fellow gardeners.

Here are some pics I snapped on Monday. Take note of the fifth one -- this is a WEED called spiny amaranth. Wear your gloves and get it out of your bed(s) before it goes to seed -- it's a nasty one.

This guy is the enemy. Wear gloves to get it out of your bed before it gets too big and goes to seed.

Happy day!