Saturday, January 30, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want...

Actually, I've *never* ordered early enough from Moose Tubers to get what I want.  I guess you order as soon as you get the catalog. I'll try again next year.

Potato Update:

In April, I'm crossing my fingers that these seed potato varieties will be delivered to my tiny front-room:

1. Dark Red Norland: early variety, high scab resistance, dark red skin, high yield, good new potatoes
(Caribes were out of stock)

2. Rose Finn Apple fingerling:  late summer variety, high scab resistance, "winged tubers" when planted too close? (I need to find out exactly what that means.)

3.  Elba:  late potate, resistant to most everything, excellent yields (my husband just said, "Able was I ere I saw Elba." It's a palindrome; he's a nut.)

*By the way, the Purple Vikings I wanted were not fingerlings. I like the idea of them as fingerlings. I will have no purple potatoes this year. This hasn't quite set in yet.

Friday, January 29, 2010

No More Scabs

On my lunch break, while subbing in the Montessori middle school, I picked out my 2010 potato varieties:

I only want potatoes that are rated "highly resistant" to scab. I had wicked scabs last year. It's probably the llama manure I added in the spring. It's probably the higher pH soils here in the midwest.

Caribe:  I chose it for its earliness, its purple skin, and its waxy texture.

Purple Viking fingerling:  fingerlings are reputed with disease resistance and I've never grown them before (!) These have skins that are purple with pink splashes, they are ready mid-season, and did I mention that they're purple?

Elba: These are buff (boring?) in color, but these potates are supposed to be resistant to just about everything and yield like heroes. They are ready late and get an "E" for excellent when it comes to storage. 

I'm still a gypsy and don't know where I'll be next fall or winter, so I'm not planting any more than that. (Yeah, we'll see about that.) 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sheep-ish January

   Not my sheep, someone else's. I'm heading north for a couple of weeks to care-take. I'll be sheep-whispering and frolicking in the snow with a pack of domesticated dogs. As I pack up, the "south" is shoveling out from 5 inches of snow. All the kids have a snow day. (I'm still shaking off the shock that 4 or 5 inches shuts this place down.)  However, it makes for a beautiful scene. 

   I'm taking my cross-country skiis, lots of books, 4 or 5 knitting projects, and of course, my Fedco seed catalog.

   I'm going to start with Fedco, make a list, and try to get plenty of overlapping veggies for the year. My goal is to get as close as I can to growing all of my own produce this year. Fedco is in Maine, so I'm on the lookout for a more Mid-westerly seed source. I do love Fedco and their excellent catalog, so it should get me off to an inspired start.

   Oh, and I'm taking Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan for more gardening inspiration. Time to pack!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wild New Year

Eight in the morning on New Year's Day in the rainy wilderness of Big South Fork National Recreation Area in Tennessee was very quiet. My New Year's resolution is to ring in every new year in the wild.

We admired the diverse flora of the southern Appalachians, along with the grand production that erosion puts on here in BSF.

one of the "Twin Arches"

rhododendron and hemlock dripping outside a small cave

bigleaf magnolia (yeah, that's a macrophylla)

lichen wilderness

Food Rules

Just in time for New Year's resolutions, Michael Pollan has another book out. Click on the image for a small sample from the book. I particularly like #39. I find it holds true for my cookie habit.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Freeze Your Peppers!

   Somebody told me to freeze my peppers. "Just freeze 'em. Slice 'em up and freeze 'em." Everything else I've frozen has had to have the enzymes cooked to a halt through blanching first.

   Here's what I did: I took my bountiful harvest of red bell peppers and ate as much as I wanted for a couple of weeks. Then, I set aside several for my winter time-travel project back to the heart of summer. I sliced them long for burritos and fajitas. I diced them in bits for pizza. I dumped them right into the quart-sized freezer bag and tried to forget about them in the freezer. About a week ago I pulled out a bag and dumped them right into a very hot frying pan and roasted them. They were fantastic. They are not the same as the barely-cooked and crispy fresh red peppers of summer, but they are worth preserving this way. I've also sprinkled the frozen peppers on top of a pizza and they were great that way too.