Gardening in the Blind


Snow is here
November 2, 2011, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, Herbs, local eating, Uncategorized

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It has been trying to get all the fall chores done.  I have found it to be overly challenging this year.  So when word came of a bad storm to hit, I panicked.  I knew the rain would start in the afternoon, then changing to snow.  So in true Robin fashion, I waited until that day, woke up early, skipped my boot camp and frantically started dumping out all the containers, cleaning the beds, and most importantly – harvesting everything I could salvage before the snow hit.  It was cold and wet, but with the help from my husband in the morning, we were able to get it all done with only a little of “playing” in the snow to get the garden hoses in the garage as well as patio furniture.  But at lass, I was not completely done.  I had to deal with all I harvested when the outside was done.

I first started with the 45 leeks that I pulled from the dirt.  I cut the excess leaves off, cleaned them up and packaged them in groups, freezing for future use.  I kept a few out to roast sometime during the week as they are one of my favorite.  Next I moved on to the carrots.  I didn’t have many left and I divided them up between dogs and chickens.  The animals were overly excited about it.  Then came the loads of herbs I pulled.  I knew that the parsley and lovage would not last that long, so I started with them in the dehydrator.  I figured it would be good as it generates heat for the downstairs as well.  Great idea, except we loss power around 4 am.  It was enough to dry the herbs, but not heat any downstairs. 

I have never fully understood my dependency on electricity, until it was gone.  I started to panic thinking about the thousands of dollars of beef and chicken in the freezers downstairs.  I had just got off the phone with my mother in law a couple of days before when she mentioned that I needed to look into insuring the meat through my home owners insurance.  Her timing could not have been better.  Mine was not as I didn’t even look into it yet.  But as the time progressed, my husband was getting more irritable and I realized that I needed to do something.  I went with my neighbor to a different town and found a dollar store to purchase a sponge for dishes and some candles.  Wouldn’t you know just as I was paying for the items, my husband called to say the power was back on.  The meat was safe for this time at least.

So, I was able to continue with the dehydration of herbs, make kale stir-fry and kale chips, and use some hot peppers in dinner.  Everything has a happy ending, except the tree branches that didn’t make it…But then again what is a little more clean-up??



Corn dreams
August 2, 2011, 10:01 pm
Filed under: local eating, Uncategorized

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Food, Inc., King Korn and many other must watch movies crossed my mind on a recent trip to Lancaster, PA.  It is stated over and over again, corn production has gone wrong.  The end product is for the most part inedible and heavily sprayed with insecticides
I saw corn growing everywhere, even surrounding strip malls.  I could not help but wonder about the use. 
Would it be possible to grow usable corn on a mass scale organically?  Would there be a need for it?  Could the soil handle it?
But the most important thing to cross my mind….what am I breathing?
This is what I ponder while stuck at the airport waiting for an extremely late flight to take me home.  There is nothing quite like leaving my home at 3:30 AM and getting home after 1 AM.  I am delirious and tired.
Maybe that is why I am dreaming of organic corn- even with the ugly worm!
Here is to sweet corn dreams,  sometime soon!



Tomato count 2011
June 3, 2011, 7:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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It hasn’t been a record year, I decided to cut back a bit after my husband last year asked me to do less.  Then, the season started, and he wanted more tomatoes then last year.  Go figure.
I think so far on the posts, I have covered two beds, four pots and seven in the Victory garden.  So let’s continue from there.
I planted a third bed of tomatoes, planting less beans.  That brings the number up to 41.  I really just wanted to make it a nice round number, so 9 pots later I find I have 50.  I’m still not done planting, I know atleast three more will be planted.  I don’t even have much duplication in the plants.  That is the sad part.
As the tomatoes ripen, I will talk about each type.  They promise to be so different!



Changes
May 25, 2011, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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Today was an early day for me, not expected though.  After 11 years at my firm, I was laid off.  I feel so honored to have worked with some of the most talented people in the business in my opinion.  But I now join the ranks of unemployment.
But let us not fret.  It is prime planting time, and I have plenty of time to plant now.  Not to mention plenty of frustrations to take out on the dirt.  So, stay tuned for more as I blog about the exciting changes to my front “victory” garden.



My seedlings
April 5, 2011, 8:38 pm
Filed under: Indoor Gardening, Seedlings, Uncategorized

Today is April 5.  The day before my father’s birthday.  So dad, if you read this, “Happy Birthday”.  I hope I beat Wendy in saying it first!

Veggies starting to grow

So I have all tomatoes planted as of last weekend.  It is too early to have it germinate yet, so I have an update as to what has germinated in my basement.  

The furthest away in the picture is shallots.  I am trying shallot seeds to see what will come of them.  I also have a six-pack of Radiator Charlie tomatoes I started before the rest of my tomatoes.  In the front which you can just see the seedlings emerge from the soil is Apple Bell Peppers.  My hot peppers are coming up, but it is taking a long time.  My basement is running cooler than last year and the hotter it is for them, the better!

To say I am ready to get outside and have another successful (hopefully) year is a understatment!  I even started celery to try to plant this year.  Mustard seeds are going into the ground this weekend along with a few others I think.  I will let you know what I end up planting in the dirt outside after I do it this weekend!

I hope you enjoy the little breath of life in the picture.  And again, Dad if you are reading, Happy Birthday!



My new toy
March 20, 2011, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, local eating, Uncategorized

Dried Citrus for work!!

So this isn’t about what I planted, it will come this week.  This is about my new toy for continuation of food preservation.  I have been saving up for this for a long time.  I think it will help me a lot when it comes time to harvest.  It is a food dehydrator.  Not just any dehydrator, it is the excalibur 9 tray dehydrator.  In my yahoo groups I belong to, this is the top of the line for dehydrators and even better it is made in America.  I decided I would save now for the best so I can have it for many years to come. 

What was the first thing I used it for you ask….Well I just so happened to have some organic japanese yams that I needed to use up.  So I made chips.  Then the next day I made dried organic citrus fruits for my hot waters at work.  I feel like I hit the jackpot!  More to come I am sure over my additional method of preserving my food from the garden!



Chickens and more
March 18, 2011, 11:23 am
Filed under: chickens, Uncategorized

It has been one of those weeks.  You know the type that makes you want to purchase a lotto ticket on the off-chance that you could quit and just be a farmer?  The type of week that makes you start looking at land for sale and daydreaming about it, yah, that was the week I had this week.  But it is getting better as it is Friday and I don’t work on Friday’s and not only that, it is beautiful outside!

I went out front and raked a bit of the lawn showing.  It felt good!  I can guantee that I will be doing more of it this weekend.  Not to mention planting more downstairs.  Look for another post this weekend showing you my little shallots and thyme growing up and telling you about what I am planting this weekend.  But enough about that, let’s talk chicken!

Fighting for rights to the dust bath

My girls are producing a lot of eggs these days.  I have about 4 days a week of 5 eggs.  That is an egg from each chicken, it amazes me.  I was worried that I didn’t know what to do with all the eggs, then I started bringing them to work with me.  I’m making a bit of money, explaining a lot about eggs and chickens and meeting new people who I work with.  It is really cool! 

 I am preparing in the next few weeks to empty the coop and lime it.  Adding mineral oil to the nest boxes and perch.  This keeps down mites.  I am also going to drag my dear husband outside to finish the coop.  That way, the perch will be longer, the nest boxes more proportional with the chickens and all should be happy!  The picture I posted is of both Allie and Henrietta fighting for a dust bath.  I think I am going to get more sand and rake it in for the run to allow for more dust bathing!  My make shift livestock pan filled with dirt I have had for them this winter is just a little too small for all of them to get dusty in!