Friday, July 10, 2009

Updates from my Kitchen Garden

My garden is in full bloom now. We're eating lots of different vegetables now - peas, beans, zucchini, kale, lettuce, and raspberries.

I've got lots of green heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes growing right now. I noticed today that three big tomatoes on the largest heirloom plant in the garden are finally turning red. I can hardly wait to break into those.

Thanks to Radhi, I'm taking a class on Sunday at Seattle Tilth called Winter Gardening. I got a jump start on those plans yesterday when I started planting seeds for my fall and winter harvest. I planted red kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, carrots, onions, and peas. The picture above shows the new trellis I built for my peas. I have seen this type of trellis in other people's yards around town and have always wanted to build one for my garden. I'm not sure why I like them so much. Maybe because it is so simple and provides the peas with exactly what they need to climb. Stay tuned for pictures of their ascent.

I finally got up the nerve to harvest and cook squash blossoms. It's not that I was scared really, but intimidated for sure. I knew that they are typically filled with cheese and deep fried and that alone seemed like more hassle than it would be worth. In fact, when Radhi was here, we bought a couple from the farmer's market to try. We never did get around to figuring out what to do with them. So, two nights ago, when I was harvesting a zucchini for dinner, I saw all of the beautiful blossoms and was inspired to give it a try...for real, this time. I made a simple batter that consisted of 1 cup of spelt flour, 1 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and some dried oregano (which I grew, harvested, and dried a few days ago). After carefully rinsing the blossoms, I dredged them in some batter and fried them in some olive oil (not deep fried, just sauteed with a generous amount of olive oil in the pan). They turned out amazing. I didn't actually stuff them with anything, but it tasted like I did. As it turns out, it's not that hard to make them after all.

Finally, my class worm bin and the worms came home for the summer. It was good timing, actually, since it was about time to harvest the compost they have been creating since January. To begin the harvesting process, I put another bin, with holes in the bottom, right on top of the old worm bin bedding. Then, I put new bedding in the top bin and had the kids start putting new food up top to entice the worms upward.The top picture shows the top worm bin with new bedding. When most of the worms had made their journey to the new bin, I lifted the bin off of the bottom bin and took the bin full of compost out to my garden (see bottom worm bin picture). Before I started to use the new worm compost, I mixed a third of it back in with the new bedding. After all, I don't want to lose too many worms. Then, I shoveled out bits of compost, worms and all, and mixed it in with the soil around different plants in the yard. Now, I'll just keep feeding the worms (with used tea bags and fruit and vegetable scraps) until I can have my students contribute to my compost again in the fall. It doesn't get any better than that.


Bette said...

Wow! WOW! It's soooo beautiful!

radhi said...

oh stack, your garden looks so amazing and lovely. i want to eat it all. and the pea ladders are so freaking cute. d's dad built some, and i love their climbing ways. and next time i head to the farmer's market, i think i'm going to pick up some squash blossoms too! xo.

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Kitchen Garden