Monday, August 27, 2012

No better time

As my husband and I harvested the rest of our corn this weekend, and -- GULP! -- canned for the first time (nobody was injured : ), we talked about how glad we were to finally be trying this, which we'd talked about for more than a year.

We also talked about how there's no better time for us to figure it out, and to try to pass it along to our kids. Food prices are going to get higher, especially this year, as a result of the severe drought most of the country has been feeling -- here's just one article about it. There's no better time to be growing your own, and learning to store some of it.

Happy day!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Companion gardening at Bays Mountain

A quick PSA and then I must be off to tend my sheepies. I was at Bays Mountain last weekend and picked up a flyer about a companion gardening seminar they're hosting next Saturday, August 25. Sounds like what Sue Cadwallader talked to us about earlier in the summer, but maybe more in-depth. Here are the details:

Companion gardening with fall vegetables and herbs
presented by Grassy Creek Wildlife Foundation

10 a.m. till 1 p.m. Saturday, August 25, 2012 at
the Farmstead Museum at Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport

$15 at the door, $5 for children 14 and under
Call 423-272-5535 for more information

Learn what vegetables and herbs benefit each other,
tips on intercropping, succession planting and how to control pests naturally

free herb plants, take-home literature, light refreshments, door prizes

Sponsored by Ward's Feed Store and Silver Lake Garden Center and Landscaping
Proceeds to benefit Grassy Creek Wildlife Foundation in Rogersville

Happy day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A tale of two recipes

I have now made this tomato recipe twice, and it's so delicious, I am going to post it again -- not in a link, but as a full-text recipe, lest you think you don't have time to click the link I gave you last time. They're SO good.

For attribution's sake, here again is the link. This recipe is Molly Wizenberg's. I like her blog, and I have her book, and if you like to read and to cook, I'd venture to say you'd like her a lot, too.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Ripe tomatoes, preferably Roma
Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground coriander
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you're feeling impatient, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.)
2. Wash the tomatoes, cut off the stem end, and halve them lengthwise. Pour a bit of olive oil into a small bowl, dip a pastry brush into it, and brush the tomato halves lightly with oil. Place them, skin side down, on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle them with sea salt and ground coriander—about a pinch of each for every four to six tomato halves.
3. Bake the tomatoes until they shrink to about 1/3 of their original size but are still soft and juicy, 4 to 6 hours (at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, these are ready after 2 hours). Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container, and store them in the refrigerator.

The other recipe I'll share is a new favorite from Cooking Light's newest issue. The farmer's market will probably have to help you with this one, but if you're like me, you might have bought a bunch of peaches at their prime to freeze, so you can keep this smoothie going for a while. It's grand:

Peaches 'n' Cream Smoothie
1 1/2 cup peaches, sliced (I used one peach)
1/2 banana
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup ice
2 tsp honey
Blend and serve. Yum!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday morning at HoH

My best girl and I stopped by the garden this morning to do a little weeding and picking. We ran into Jim, who was there working in his bed. He was adding worm food to his soil, per our education session in June with Phil Ramey. Note to other gardeners: you might want to plant near Jim next time around -- maybe some of his worms will slink over to your bed and do their magic there, too!

My sweetie wanted to check on the carrots, and there were some in a bed that need to be pulled now or very soon, so we got a few to take with us to Hunger First.

There are lots of weeds in some of the beds, and many of our tomato plants need to be pulled up. Please visit and get ready for a fall crop if you're planning to do one. I hope you are!

Thanks again for all you do.

Happy day.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What to do with tomatoes

Tis the season of tomato bounty, and I find myself looking at the half of my kitchen island that is covered with them, wondering what recipe I should try next (short of canning, which seems to me overwhelming at the moment, though I've dabbled and would like to do more one day).

My friend Amber reminded me about roasting, so yesterday I "roasted" a batch in my slow cooker -- drizzled with olive oil and with a tea towel over the top and the lid slightly ajar -- on low -- all day. Didn't try them yet, but I froze two pints that way. (See link for where I got this idea.)

I also did a batch in the oven like this recipe -- again didn't try yet, but they're much reduced and in the Fridge, and will freeze, too.

Amber sent this link, which gives a recipe and some ideas about how you might use tomatoes you've roasted. Get ready for your mouth to water!

Happy day.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Home carrots

It's definitely tomato season at Harvest of Hope -- weekly I'm getting multiple emails from you guys telling me you're taking tomatoes to the hungry -- it's great to hear!

Here at home I'm raking them in, too, and making efforts to preserve as many as I can for winter and spring. It's a lot to handle right as school is starting (and with it extracurriculars), so I'm feeling overwhelmed!

It's the little (or big) things, though, that cause a pause -- check this carrot that grew in one of my raised beds at home. I mainly tried carrots as an experiment, thinking the soil wouldn't be deep enough for them to do much. This guy had other ideas. You can see where he grew below the compost and into the hardpack underneath the bed -- the "bad" soil didn't stop him!

Happy day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Today's garden

It's been a while since I've been to the garden -- two weeks' away and then a week to try catching up (I'm not sure I'm there yet). Finally, I stopped by today. Wow what a difference three weeks (and a lot of good rain) will make! There's a lot growing on, and a lot of ripe tomatoes, but I can see where it'd be hard to keep up with them at the rate they're ripening now.

I ran into Karen, who was there to harvest, and pointed out a few extras for her to deliver to Kitchen of Hope along with her own harvest.

Things are looking great, gardeners! Thank you!

Happy day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tomato time and fall info

Here are Nicole's tomatoes, which she shared this week with Meals on Wheels. Kathie writes this morning that another 16 pounds of theirs went to Kitchen of Hope this week. Jim took lots of stuff to Hunger First this week, too. Fabulous!

I sent an email yesterday to all of the gardeners giving info on fall planting and the date for our fall celebration and garden clean-up. I'll copy and paste some of that here:

If you're looking at having a fall garden at Harvest of Hope, it's time to plan. If what you've got in your raised bed(s) is still thriving and producing, don't pull it up, but as the summer crops start to wind down, it'll soon be time to pull things up and replant. Some master gardeners I know have suggested that August 15 is a good date to think about getting fall crops in the ground. Some good ones are:

spinach (which overwinters well -- you can leave it in the ground and it will come back in early spring)
Swiss chard
other lettuces and greens
green beans
If planted soon, squashes and zucchinis can produce another round, too.

October 20 is good date to estimate as first frost, so use that as a guide when planting fall crops.

As your tomatoes, in particular, begin to slow down, think about pulling them up. If withering tomato plants stay in the beds too long, they can contract diseases that will stay in the soil.

Because it's been hard to get all of us together at the garden and because fall looks so busy for most of our planning crew, we decided to let you do fall planting yourselves without a specific planting day. If you have questions, please let me know and we can try to get them answered, but otherwise, go forth and plant for fall by the end of August! Seeds and seedlings should be fairly inexpensive and available in town, especially at garden centers like Ward's.

Second, we set a date for our fall festival and garden clean-up day. At the festival, we'll gather to celebrate our great success this year, to thank you gardeners, to thank our sponsoring partners, and to get the garden in winter mode, and maybe order some pizza and have drinks and desserts together. The date is October 27. We'll probably gather in the morning, as we've done in the past. First Presbyterian is very generous to let us use their property for the garden; one of their only stipulations to our using it is that we tidy up at the end of each season -- so we all need to chip in to make sure our beds are "bedded down" for the winter and all messes straight. I'll give you more specifics about this day as it gets closer, but please pencil it in on your calendar right now so you'll be able to join us to clean up and to celebrate.

In the meantime, if you have any stories to share about the garden, or news to tell about how and where you've shared your harvest, please email me.

Happy day!