We have been passing around and ogling a copy of Roots: The Definitive Compendium with More than 225 Recipes, by Diane Morgan. It is a beautifully photographed and delicious-sounding book with recipes for many roots that we grow–turnips, beets, potatoes, radishes, carrots, etc., as well as some more exotic ones, like taro, lotus, wasabi, and salsify. As soon as our little hakurei turnips are ready, I plan to try her Kashmiri Style Turnips, which includes the greens as well as the root. Continue reading
There was a party, in honor of the speakers at a Cary Institute event. Our friend and onetime guest blogger Akiko Bush has just published An Incidental Steward: Reflections on Citizen Science. She spoke and read from the book, in a literary evening that also featured remarks by scientist Stuart Findlay and citizen scientist Doug Reed. It was wonderful and intense, and afterwards, it was time to cut loose.
Marsha offered to bring some sort of dip involving our greenhouse kale to the party. What she brought was pretty amazing. Continue reading
Our greenhouse group is favoring salads and simple, improvisational ways of using greens these days–like adding them to pastas or stir-fries. So I’ve gone online to find some new recipes to feature in the blog, including one rather unusual dessert featuring spinach.
We’ve joked for a couple of years now about making a dessert with our winter spinach, because it is so darned sweet. We discovered this phenomenon during our first winter, which was by far our coldest winter; we learned then that plants use carbohydrates as a sort of antifreeze, making them sweeter in cold weather. Continue reading
Ladybugs are our most viable tool in the war against aphids until we can harvest some tomato leaves this summer and use them to make a tea/repellant. As I mentioned in an earlier post, several members of our group have been bringing in ladybugs that they captured in their homes or workshops.
But we weren’t convinced that these importations were more than a symbolic act of protest until about ten days ago, when we discovered lots of ladybugs in a patch of tender young kale. Were our ladybugs reproducing, or was it just that all of our imports were having a convention in one tasty corner of the greenhouse? Continue reading
One of the goals of the Winter Bounty Project has been to show others what can be done with an unheated greenhouse in a cold climate. So we’re happy when we hear that others have followed our lead.
For example: Reedsbrook Middle School in Hampden, Maine, has a greenhouse that is part of its garden and orchard project. But it wasn’t being used during the winter. A parent (who happens to be the sister of one of our Winter Bounty members) asked if she could try a winter crop. Here’s what happened.
We’ve gone from bitter cold to spring warmth in a matter of days, and it appears that we may be headed back to the chilly side of things.
No matter. We have a kale recipe for every weather mood, and we have lotsa kale, because the seedlings we nursed all winter are getting robust. In addition to the lacinato (also called dinosaur or toscano) pictured here, we have red russian, a beautiful blue-ish kale with plum-colored veins, and a few different curly varieties including a gorgeous purple variety called redbor. Continue reading
The other day, I found a ladybug at the base of a kale plant, and Marsha said, “I hope it has a napkin around its neck!” That’s because ladybugs are one of the two currently available weapons in our continuing war with aphids. They reportedly eat their weight in aphids daily.
The other weapon is a bottle of water that we squirt onto leaves where we find the critters. The stream of water washes them off and separates them from their food source.
We’ve tried other natural controls, including insecticidal soap, and don’t have anything positive to report. And it appears that a lot of pesticides–organically approved or not–are detrimental to other insects, including our allies, the ladybugs. Continue reading