Monday, May 18, 2009

Independence Days Challenge

I'm participating in Sharon's Independence Days Challenge this year. Reports are "due" on Mondays, so here's mine. We've done well this past week, probably our best so far this year.

Planted: Popcorn, soup beans, potatoes, mixed lettuces, salad burnett, and a few sunflowers both planted and transplanted. Some few of the late season potatoes I planted in buckets to test out how well they produce in containers, which will allow for easy mounding and harvest. More kale. My early kale transplants are being ravaged by slugs, which I haven't previously had much trouble with. Diatomaceous earth is now on my shopping list. Started pre-sprouting melon and squash seeds last night. All my heat loving seedlings are begging to be in the ground already, but we have overnight temperatures in the 30s F (!) predicted for the next few nights. This is when my June 1st planting date for tomatoes makes sense to me.

Harvested: Lettuce, lettuce, and more lettuce, arugula, various herbs, and volunteer greens (dandelion, fat hen, prickly lettuce, and mustard greens) for the girls. The girls have been steady with the eggs. That's about all we've got right now.

Preserved: Nothing last week. Not much yet available for preserving.

Waste reduction: I've begun "saving" tin cans for a self-watering container project. They're actually from relatives, as we just aren't eating much from cans these days. Still, they're out of the waste stream. We'll need quite a few of them. They're intended for large containers to hold fig trees and a lemon tree next year. (More on this when the project is underway.)

I'm also seeing more need to provide my worm bin with regular feedings of kitchen scraps and newspaper (we get a free weekly delivered to us whether we want it or not). I guess either they're more active as the temperature increases, or their population is growing, or both.

The girls are getting some of my failed baking projects that I salvaged in the freezer as their daily treats. They don't seem to care when breads or English muffins don't rise properly. (The hazards of only baking when it's really, really cold.)

Took a large load of corrugated cardboard to the recycling center.

Build Community Food Systems: I took the first contribution from my Plant A Row project to the food bank last week on a rainy day. Three heads of lettuce and a yogurt container full of herbs. The relatives of mine who had agreed to Plant their own Rows didn't have anything ready to contribute, but we've agreed to twice-a-month delivery dates for our garden produce. I also roped in a friend of the family with a large garden to participate in our next drop off. This is the first time I've had anything to report in this category so far. But for the next few months it should be fairly regular.

Preparation and Storage: Bought some extra beans, soy sauce, baking powder, and coconut milk at the store this week. Oh! and I ordered some extra elderberry zinc lozenges for colds and sore throats. The spousal unit liked them so much he was eating them like candy. This stash is getting hidden. Froze two of the Lemon-Coconut breads I made last week. Looked for extra large canning jars this week without any luck. I should do something about preserving some of the herbs this week.

Eat the food: Made a nice pair of bean dips to use up some dried beans. Found and used a surprise bag of frozen kale from last year's garden. We're eating lettuce just as fast as we can. Used up some frozen lemon juice, fresh eggs, and a lot of unsweetened coconut flake in those lovely Lemon-Coconut breads.

All in all, it was a pretty good week.


Roxanne said...

I'm curious as to what types of soup beans you plant, as I've never heard of someone having those in their garden before.

Kate said...

Roxanne, I planted two different kinds this year. Cherokee Trail of Tears was what I planted last year. I planted those this year too, and also added the Hutterite soup bean. They're both heirloom beans and specially designated for the Ark of Taste by Slow Food International. Both are available through Seed Savers Exchange.

We're not big on green beans, but we love dried beans. I found them surprisingly easy to grow, and I love the added benefit of them adding nitrogen to my garden soils.

Anonymous said...

Yes, lettuce seems to be the order of the day over here too. But with all the flavors, varieties.... it is like a different meal depending on the handfuls that I happened to pick that day. I've never heard of the kitchen scraps/newspaper delivery before, is that a program like a CSA that you sign up for?

Kate said...

Livinginalocalzone, I can't tell whether you're pulling my leg or not, but your comment gave me a chuckle. It's just the newspaper that shows up each week. It's a free weekly paper, only a few pages thick. The kitchen scraps are what we generate ourselves. But I LOVE the concept of a "kitchen scrap" delivery or CSA. What a hoot that would be!

I know what you mean about the lettuce varieties too. We have four or five kinds right now, and I haven't even planted all the types of seed I ordered yet this year.

pelenaka said...

"This is when my June 1st planting date for tomatoes makes sense to me", True that Kate. As hard as it is not to plant those toms patience has it's just rewards.
Just wish it wasn't in July!

Kate said...

pelenaka, yes, this is much on my mind this morning as we had a frost last night. It was only supposed to get down to 35, but the grass was frosted in spots. I'm glad I covered the lettuce last night too.