This is what we call the "Big Garden". I guess we will have to call it something else next year when "the the "Little Garden" is complete and becomes the new big garden. It is amazing how well it recovered from the hail damage. We are so grateful! I can only imagine how it would have been right now if we hadn't got the quarter size hail. I'm sure those cucumbers (middle left) would be to the top of the trellis but you would never know that the tomatillos were down to stems after the hail. They are to the top of the trellis and as bushy as can be. In the distance you can see the strawberry garden. The strawberries that made it are doing great! They are sending out runners like crazy! I think we are going to recover some of our losses there after all. The sunflowers are about 10 feet tall now. The cardoon was another thing that came right back like nothing ever happened. The cardoon is on the middle right. It is the spiky, silvery leaves with the pink zinnias poking out from in-between.
In the middle is a second round of carrots, spinach, kohlrabi, and Lollo Rossa lettuce. We already harvested one round of carrot and lettuce here, prepared the soil again and replanted it. In the bottom right corner you can see the German Foxtail millet that I planted after harvesting the multiplier onions. It is happy.
Butternut and Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash taking over in the back garden. Persienne carrots in lower right corner. We like to pickle these little round carrots whole.
A row of grapes in the vineyard and a row of Yellow Pear tomatoes in the green house garden. Below, inside the green house, King of the North peppers and Costoluto tomatoes.
Last, but not least, basil. So yummy in so many things.
This is not all the gardens and everything in them. Just a quick update. So much I couldn't fit it all in at once!
I hope you enjoyed your mini garden tour.
Here we are at the final week of our regular CSA season. This weeks baskets included: cabbage, peppers (3 types), tomatillos, onions (2 types), garlic, green and purple beans, zucchini, beets with greens, eggplant, spinach, celery, tomatoes (3 types), basil, sage, tarragon, chives, carrots (red, purple, and round), cucumbers, Swiss chard, and a bouquet of zinnias and sunflowers. Above is the contents of a large share basket and below are some close-ups.
As of now the gardens are very happy. It is supposed to get down to 38 degrees on Monday. That would make a lot of them not very happy. The green house plastic is out and were are covering the eggplant and peppers when it gets too cold. They become unhappy even before freezing temp so we keep them warm with their very own little blanket. Come Monday we will be covering many more things. Usually it freezes once or twice then we have another stretch of time before it freezes again. We just have to get through that first frost. Below left is covered
Poblano peppers, ans below right is covered eggplant.
The green house looks pretty much like a tomato jungle! We also have English cucumbers and bell peppers growing in the green house. Soon I will be transplanting basil. I'm also going to transplant some of the eggplants into the green house and see how they do.
Inside the house I have starts of cabbage broccoli and cauliflower that I started in early August. They will be planted in the new low tunnels that should be here any day. They prefer the cooler weather. When the temps get colder than they like we will roll the plastic down a give them their own mini greenhouse. We also have another round of lettuce that is coming up. The kale is leafing out in the center again as well. The flea beetles are shrinking in population and I think we are going to be able to have kale again. They too prefer the cooler temps.
Our goal is to have a fall and spring season to go with our summer season. We do have some customers that are going to keep getting baskets even though the summer season is over and pay for them individually (an unofficial fall season). We can't put a set amount of weeks on it because it is our first time growing with a green house and low tunnels in the fall.. Next year we should have it all figured out for an official fall and spring season. If you are interested in participating in our 'unofficial" fall season then contact me here. The produce is very much "official". The only thing that makes it "unofficial" is that you would be paying weekly instead of for the entire season at once because of the stated reason above. We don't want to charge for a eight week season to find out we can't go that long. So we are doing it week by week.
We want the green house to go through the entire winter. We are insulating the tin. We used double wall poly ( this is the clear part if the green house) so that is already insulated and we will be adding a thermal mass to collect and store the heat during the day to be released at night. We also built it short. The peak of the roof is only 10 feet high. This means a lot less space to heat. As we watch how all these measures affect the temps in the green house we will determine what other measures we need to take to keep it heated through the winter. So excited about this!
Thank you to all our CSA members for your support and involvement in our first CSA season!
We had a run of a few cool days and it put me in the mood for soup. I've always been a fan of soup. Anything that goes well with fresh bread slabbed with fresh butter is going to be a winner in my book. I don't know if I like the bread and butter or the soup better. Maybe that's why they go so well together- no need to choose!
You could just throw them into your broth but the browning adds so much flavor that you don't want to miss out on. The great thing about soup is that it is versatile. You don't have to be exact, throw in what ever you have. I don't think I've ever made any two pots the same and yet they are all delicious.
A little tip for quickly peeling larger quantities of garlic cloves- put your cloves in a quart jar or similar container with a lid and shake the dickens out of it. A little arm and core exercise built right into dinner prep, You didn't know you were going to get a work out too did you? But really, this is way better/easier than peeling them by hand. Yes, I just called it an exercise and said it was easier. It is. When the garlic cloves hit against the jar it release some of their oils and this helps the skin to peel off. Most off them peel of in the jar and any that are left peel off super easy. If you only have a few to peel then just lay the blade of a butcher knife flat on the garlic clove and press down firmly. This will loosen the skin and allow you to easily peel them.
Ahhhh, now the purple carrots. The contrast of the purple flesh and orange centers of these carrots are so striking. I love it. Not only beautiful but the carrots are also very sweet. You want to eat one don't you. I knew it. Just looking at the picture makes me want one too.
This is the rest of the veggies I used for the soup: Swiss chard, several kinds of carrots, basil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, Purple Podded Pole beans, and Blue Lake bush beans. Chop them all up and throw them in the pot. I was making a big batch and used every bit of these veggies plus a bag of frozen yellow pear tomatoes from a previous year that needed to get used up. I put them in the crock pot frozen and let them cook with everything else.
One thing you might want to consider is peeling the tomatoes. I don't. I think it takes to much time that I'd rather use doing something else. Plus there are a lot of good nutrients in the skins, I don't peel carrots either for the same reasons. I just thought I would bring it up because the skin does separate from the rest of the tomato and curl up. Some people may not like the texture. I haven't had any complaints at my house but everyone is different. I don't think anyone at my house knows any other way to compare it too.
When the chicken is done I take it out of the pressure cooker to cool so that I can pick everything off the bone. I pour all the broth into the soup. For this soup I used several chickens that I had already cut the breast and legs from and used in another meal. We raise all our own meat so no packages of chicken breast here. If I want chicken breast or thigh, drumstick, whatever, it comes from a whole chicken. I put the rest in a bag in the freezer for latter use like this, enchiladas, casserole........
The seasonings I use are, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, celery seed, and a little thyme and a couple tbsp of butter. We like to say butter makes everything better. And it does. Now let me add here that we are all healthy and active, none of us are over weight, We eat lots and lots of fruits and veggies and no processed food. Fat is good. Fat from processed food is bad. We eat whole foods that our bodies can digest not genetically modified food that has been regurgitated from the giant food companies' processing lines. Thus we can eat butter and cream from our cows, olive and coconut oil and lots and lots of eggs and live happy healthy lives. Nothing processed, just clean food the way God intended it. So in goes the butter!
I added black beans and some small white beans as well. Beans are great in veggie soup. They fill it out. Does that make sense? I didn't add a lot of chicken compared to all the veggie so the extra protein was good. The last thing I did was add rice flour to thicken it up. Using rice flour works well for this. I mix the flour in a cup with some water then pour it into the soup and stir until it is all mixed in. We like thick soups so I almost always thicken them. We don't use corn starch- to high of risk for GMOs and we are gluten free so no wheat flour. Rice flour thickens it nicely and makes it heartier at the same time just like whole rice would. .
I like making soup in the morning or at lunch so I don't have to worry about dinner. I can usually get everything going and in the crock pot while everyone finishes eating and the kitchen is getting cleaned up. After we're done with school I can make some bread or biscuits to go with it and if need be, a fresh batch of butter to smear on top.
Sorry, I didn't get a picture of the finished product. by the time we ate it was almost Sabbath and so no more blog pictures. Instead we sat down around the dinning table and enjoyed our yummy chicken and garden veggie soup!
What is your favorite kind of soup? Must you eat it with bread and butter like us? Leave a comment below and let me know.. Maybe we'll find a new idea to try.
Happy healthy eating!
Hello, I'm Jaci. I love wandering around in my gardens admiring God's creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming and homestead adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!