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Showing posts from October, 2010

Book Review (A Celebration of Heirloom Vegetables by Roger Yepsen)

I was recently at the local library with my family and was digging around in the gardening section, no pun intended. My two year old son pulled a book off of the shelf called A Celebration of Heirloom Vegetables (Growing and Cooking Old-Time Varieties) by Roger Yepsen. I took a quick look at it and asked him if he would like me to get it and he replied that he would.

When I finally made it home and started thumbing briefly through the trio of books I had gotten I have to say that it really did not catch my eye. But let me tell you when I finally sat down to read the book from cover to cover I was really impressed. This is an absolutely fantastic book.

To begin with he gives a brief overview of heirlooms and their benefits. He then presents specific vegetables and how to grow, harvest and save seed from each variety. Yepsen is also an extremely talented artist and his watercolors are available throughout the book. As he list each veggie he then presents some interesting and easy recipes…

Samhain Snack

Here are a couple of ideas for your pumpkin seeds that I came across on the net after carving the kids squash.

To begin with if you prefer a salty taste boil the seeds with salt and then let simmer for 10 minutes.

You can get creative with flavors instead of the same old thing why not try some garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Another couple of ideas include flavoring your seeds with honey, Cinnamon or maple syrup.

You want to pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and then toss seeds in a bowl with two melted tablespoons of butter (or olive oil). Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes stirring the seeds every 10 minutes or so.

You may be surprised to know that pumpkin seeds help promote overall prostrate health and are naturally effective against depression.They also help prevent kidney stones and are a natural anti-inflammatory.

Enjoy and happy Samhain!

Garlic

We recently had our first frost of the year and knew it was time to plant our garlic. We had received a few cloves from some friends that had a very successful planting last year. We also purchased a few cloves on the side to round out our new stock. In the past we had planted our cloves around our rose bushes because we had heard it would help to cut down on pest. After two years I’m not sure exactly how much of that is true but one thing is for sure the garlic itself was not looking too healthy so we decided to go another route.

My two year old son and I had recently cleaned out our raised bed and worked the soil over in preparation of the new planting. The trick is to take each clove, with the skin still on, and plant it pointy side up about 2 inches deep and 5 inches apart. We also used our old corn stalks as recycled mulch for the raised bed. Early next spring we will hit the soil with a fresh batch of compost as well.

I’m sure everyone is aware of the health benefits of garlic.…

Long Island Cheese Squash

The Long Island Cheese Squash, a moschata, is one of the oldest squashes to be selected and bred for the consumption of humans and their live stock. Moschata squash in general are favored for pumpkin pie because they tend to be a bit less "stringy" than other varities.

Originally we ran into a bit of difficulty with all of our squash because the mounds that they were planted in were not allowing the proper drainage. The majority of the original plants developed rot but a small handful of the cheese squash and a few butternuts survived and eventually thrived.

Our cheese squash used a choke berry bush as a trelisse this year which helped keep the 10 lbs. veggies off of the wet autumn grass. We harvested our first just a couple of days ago.

Winter squash is packed with helpful nutrients, one of the most predominate being beta-carotene.

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his pos…

Dragon Carrot

Late last winter on a Saturday morning I was going through my morning ritual which basically consist of drinking coffee, thumbing through seed catalogs and watching numerous gardening shows on PBS. The Victory Garden was on and one of the members of the cast was interviewing a chef from NYC. She walked over to a tray and removed a glass lid to expose multi-colored carrots individually set on the platter as if they were crown jewels. She then went into a long explanation of how expensive the particular carrots were and how they were the rage in the gourmet restaurants. At that point I began thumbing through my Seed Savers Exchange seed catalog and found the purple carrot known as the Dragon Carrot. The entire packet of carrot seed was cheaper than the individual carrots on the show and I thought that it was slightly humorous and kind of sad that people think something anyone can grow in their own back lawn is "exotic".

They really are an interesting carrot in appearance. The …