Okay, I know….kale sounds gross, right? That’s what I thought when I started growing it. It’s supposed to be good for you, how can it also taste good? Then I started to actually eat it – raw in smoothies, cooked with eggs, quiche, salad…yum! This salad is super easy and delicious and nutritious. You can’t go wrong.
1 bunch kale
salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Chop kale. Mix olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper garlic and pour over kale. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves. Let set for 20 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and enjoy.
It’s November 11th and we are yet to have a hard frost, but it’s definitely on its way. Got the garlic planted a couple weeks ago, mulched and tucked in for the cold winter. After attending an awesome workshop by Dan Kittredge of the Bionutrient Food Association, we also applied chopped up leaves and grass to many beds that had nothing covering them. This will help keep the living biological system going and feed the microorganisms in the soil so it will be super ready for growing delicious and nutritious crops in the spring! We also managed to get our soil samples done before the ground is covered in snow, which sure makes for easier sampling. The quality of the soil at the plot is amazing. It’s night and day from our first soil sample. The soil is now black, crumbly and really easy to sample. During our first few attempts four years ago, we could barely get the soil probe to go down 6″ without hitting rocks and clay. So excited to see the results.
Fall is such a beautiful time of year. The leaves all change color and slowly fall to the ground and the air turns crisp and cold. It’s sad to think it will be at least 4 months before we are getting our hands back in the soil, though we have a beautiful bed of parsnips that we hope to continue to harvest and butternut squash, onions, garlic and potatoes saved for fall/winter soups. Plus all the yummies that we canned, dehydrated, and froze for winter eating to remind us of the bounty of the season.
Last weekend we decided it was time to harvest some honey. We donned our bee outfits (headgear and lots of light colored clothing), lit up the smoker and went to work. The top box was mighty heavy when we finally got it unstuck using the hive tool. The smoke confused the bees and also seemed to tick them off, but we finally managed to get the box disconnected and put the hive back together. We have a Warre hive and do not have frames within supers, so getting all the bees out was a bit tricky. Once we had the box off, we cut the comb from the box and dropped it into a 5-gallon bucket, brushing away as many bees as possible in the process. Then we used the crush and stain method to harvest the honey. Finally, we melted down the wax, which we plan to give to Stem Soaps, which just opened a store front right around the corner! Here are a few pictures of the process. Approximate haul is 8 quarts.
I’ve been a bit negligent in posting pictures of everything growing at the plot, so here are a few taken the first weekend in August. Lots of vertical growing going on!
In early July we plowed a portion of our back lawn and planted a cover crop of buckwheat. It grew magnificently, making a nice canopy over the ground crowding out most of the weeds (with the exception of persistent purslane…argh). Last weekend it started to flower, so we tilled it under. In another week we will plant another stand of buckwheat. Learn more about the benefits of this cover crop here.
If you’ve been reading along, you have noticed that our backyard is a giant lawn. Well, no longer…at least one portion of grass (~2000 sq ft) will not need to be mowed any more. Phase 1 of our backyard transformation is underway as Spink spent the weekend doing some primary tillage, putting Bertha back to work. Below are some pictures of the process. Our plan is to plant a cover crop of buckwheat based on a recent article in Growing for Market outlining the merits of this cover crop.
Purslane has taken over many of our SPIN beds. The weather has been incredible, bouts of rain mixed with warm, sunny days. Of course, we love this combination and so do the plants. Plus, we do not have to irrigate. Unfortunately, the weeds love it too and they are growing like mad in a few of our beds. Purslane is actually an edible weed. You can buy seeds and grow it! We do not try to grow it. In fact, we do our best to avoid it, but it is relentless. If you do not pull it out fully, it regrows with vigor. If you leave a piece of it in the bed, that piece will spring to life on it’s own. Thankfully, we no longer till because that just chops up little bits of it and then you have a whole bed of the stuff. We have not embraced it, but looking at the picture below, I’m wondering if I should just start eating it. I tried it last year and it wasn’t too bad. It’s certainly prolific, so maybe this is the year of purslane?
If you have this growing in your yard or garden and want to learn more about how to use it, this site offers some great recipe ideas.