Picked and Planted – August 5th-29th

These past weeks we picked:

A whole lot of everything!!  We have had a constant supply of everything from the past month, including a reintroduction of radish from the second planting, some random lettuces and especially exciting was the addition of tomatoes and tomatillos! I love tomatoes so much, I did a special post just on them…yup, love ’em!

August was a big month – we picked a lot, we saved a lot, we jammed and baked a lot while on vacation and since being home, we have frozen a lot.  My hubby is thoroughly enjoying the quote ” We are putting up some big numbers, big numbers…” I can’t argue!

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Onions

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Herbs and garlic

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All sorts of colourful carrots – no better way to get little ones to eat veggies than to let them pick out their favourite colours and plant them!

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Carrots are not the only the only veggies that come in multi-colour!  We have been picking green, yellow, pink, purple and speckled beans in all shapes and sizes.

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Magically, rhubarb has continued to produce in the shade.  We froze 16 cups so far for the winter.

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Apples are almost ripe – we picked 5 pounds in advance of the deer, hopefully we didn’t pick them too early…

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Our favourite root veggie – beets!  So delicious steamed or roasted.

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And what good are tomatoes and basil without cucumbers for greek salad?

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And not to be forgotten…TOMATOES!!!!

WOW!  What a month!!!

Approx savings compared to local market: 495.89!!

Total since May 26th – $1118.46

Total weight picked this period: 103.31 pounds!!  That is more than my 12 year old – our minds are blown!

Total to date: 232.59 pounds

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This was our first massive picking before we left on vacation – the picking buckets get loaded into the truck with everything else so we don’t have to go to the store during our holidays.

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This was our second big picking after holidays for the freezer and storage!

A few notes – 1. Prices are calculated by comparing to the price of non-organic, (local when possible) produce at the local grocery store that we stop at the most.  We usually buy our produce (when our hand is forced) at a local veggie market that is mostly organic and spray free, but tends to be more expensive and has less selection.  We chose to compare to the supermarket as it was more reflective of what most people would buy and what I could quickly take a picture of with my camera when grabbing the weekly essentials without an extra trip. If I cannot find what we grew (market turnip, tomatillos etc.), I will call the specialty market in Halifax for their prices. These costs do not factor in the price of what the produce becomes (jams, pies, baking, salsa, pickles etc.), simply the raw food we pick. I suspect our savings would be almost double if we compared to organic or final products!

2. Since May 26th, we have purchased 2 pounds of tomatoes, 6 cucumbers, 1 bag of potatoes, 8 bunches of bananas, 3 watermelons and 1 pineapple. Everything else has come from our garden or our weekly fruit share from Tap Root/Noggins CSA.  Not bad, if I do say so myself!!!

3. We record everything by hand after weighing our picking buckets with a digital fish scale.  The kids are getting to be very good little book keepers!  We are not separating by variety of tomato, bean, kale etc. but we are separating by type of veggie.  Maybe next year…

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My wee book keeper.

These past weeks we planted:

Zippo.  Vacation and work got the best of us!  That said, we finally pulled out the peas today and made space for all the fall greens we hope to plant tomorrow and later this week. Stay tuned!

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(Taken right after we got home – in desperate need of a mow and a lot of weeding!)

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Everything is coming up Rhubarb!! Family favourite recipes from Nova Scotia and “From away”

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This year’s rhubarb harvest has been simply awesome!  The colder, wetter weather has really helped prolong the productivity of our little patch that was transplanted from Papa’s garden in Cape Breton and Grandma’s garden in Antigonish County. The kitchen smells like fresh rhubarb cake, crisp and pie almost every other day!  The only problem is that it all disappears so quickly I can barely get pictures of the yummy-ness to share! Since it looks like we may get to enjoy rhubarb delights for a few more weeks, it only seems right to share some of our family’s favourite recipes (maybe someone will post one of theirs in the comments for us to try too!!)

2-Grandma’s Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie

East Coasters are not the only ones who love Rhubarb – my husband is “from away” and his favourite spring dessert growing up was Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie – it was years before 2-Grandma would share it with me!

4 Cups fresh chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup sour cream

Combine and pour into your favourite pie shell, then top with:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp cinnamon

Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until cooked through and brown on top!

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Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This is my all time favourite cake – I eat it for breakfast every chance I get (if I eat it before 8am I am sure to burn it all off throughout the day, right?!)

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups fresh chopped rhubarb

Cream the sugar, butter and egg together.  Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream to creamed mixture. Fold in rhubarb.   Place in a greased 9×13 pan and top with:

1/4 cup each white and brown sugar

1-2 tsp cinnamon

Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, don’t share – they won’t like it…as you can tell from the photo below.

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Apple Rhubarb Caramel Crisp

This recipe has no special origins or source – it just simply happened one day when we were playing in the kitchen trying to find the world’s most amazing Crisp recipe EVER!!  This is definitely a keeper!

4 cups-ish peeled and sliced apples (we used Macs because we had them from our CSA box)

3-4 cups fresh chopped rhubarb

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Place together in a 9×13 pan, mix them up well, then pour over:

1/2 cup melted butter mixed with 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon

Top with combined:

1/2 – 3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup melted butter (this keeps it crispy!!)

2 shakes of cinnamon, 1 shake of nutmeg

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Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until it is bubbly and brown on top.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream sweetened with 3 tbsp of real maple syrup.

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Mmmmmm, just writing this made me hungry – I am off to bake again!!  Would it be mean to send the girls out in the rain to pick more rhubarb?!

“Diet tip: Your pants will never get tight if you don’t wear any!” ~ Unknown

Picked and Planted (and poking up!) -June 2nd to June 8th

This week we picked:

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Pak Choi and Market Express Turnips and greens -planted 26 April

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Easter Egg radish (aren’t they pretty?) The Cherry Belles are getting really big…

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Mesclun, Buttercrunch lettuce, Red Oak lettuce, Arugula and Spinach

Peppermint Swiss chard – We ate it before we took a picture…ooops…

Ragged Jack and Dinosaur Kale

Rhubarb, Rhubarb and more Rhubarb!

Cilantro, Chives, Green Onion and Sweet Basil

Approx savings compared to local market: $50.12

Total weight picked this week: 12.64 pounds

This week we planted :

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These are the “Salsa bed” and the “Italian bed” – I love the flowering Kale that overwintered under the tunnels.

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Big Beef, Lemon Boy, Black Plum, Menonnite and Sungold Indeterminant tomatoes

Alaska, Subarctic Plenty, Gold Dust and Scotia determinant tomatoes

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The tomatoes were getting “leggy” from the cold weather while they patiently waited on he deck to harden off – we plucked the lower leaves off and buried them deeply in the raised beds and sideways in the rows.  We are trying planters, black film, red film and straw mulch this year, it will be interesting to see which way works best…

Elsewhere in the raised beds and rows…

Jalapeno, King Arthur, Big Bell and a few mystery peppers (my wee one ate a pepper from the market, saved seeds, planted them and stuffed them in the garden!)

Sweet and Opal Basil

Cilantro

Utah celery

Packman and Munchkin broccoli seedlings

Flowers: Galdiolis, Nasturtuim, Calendulas and Sunflowers

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Boyne Raspberries and Galdiolis together in a newly redone bed

Poking up:

My wee girl’s garden is popping up all over the place! The squash have also poked out from the black plastic but no signs of the cucumbers yet….

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“If you are what you eat don’t be fast, cheap and easy” ~ No idea who said this, but it made me bust out laughing when I saw it on a mug! 

Picked and Planted – May 26th – June 1st

This week we picked…

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Cherry Belle and Easter Egg Radishes

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Ragged Jack, Dinosaur and Scotch Blue Curled Kale, chives, chives and more chives! And some cilantro…

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Buttercrunch lettuce, Spicy Mesclun, Arugula and Tyee Spinach and…

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Rhubarb and a lemon!!

Approximate savings compared to the local market: $44.64

Total weight picked this week : 12 lbs

This week we planted:

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Sunstripe, Black Beauty and Butterfish Summer Squash

Mouse Melons, Marketmore 76, String Burpless and Calypso Cucumbers

Scarlett Runner, Tanya’s Pink Pod, Purple Pole Beans

Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Ragged Jack and Redbor Kale

Purple Cauliflower

Purple Sun Carrots

Many, many tomatoes into pots…and a salad bowl!

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“Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people.” ~Elizabeth Berry

First to pop and planting the first main crop

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The first to POP award is a tie between my Grandma’s transplanted daffodils from Cape Breton and our beautiful harbinger of Spring, the Forsythia named Georgette/Steve (depending on her/his state of blooming!). Today, Georgette is putting on the first show for the rest of the flowering shrubs!

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In the garden, the hoop tunnels and frost blankets have been very busy protecting some lovely veggie babies who continue to grow wonderfully.

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As my workout today, I got up early and tuned up the tiller (in cultivation mode so as to not hurt my worm friends…). I dug and tilled in the composted stuffs from our pile as well as the straw from last year’s rows into 3 of the rows. It was a back, chest and squat day to say the least.

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I still have a long way to go. Sigh.

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Since I am a month behind, I planted the whole pea bed after securing my bio mulch weed guard that I had left over from last year. I planted Veseys Sugar Sprint Snap and Oregon Giant Snow Peas. Yummy!

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The bunny ravaged our baby peas last year so I covered them in a new frost blanket to protect them a bit. I will put the trellis up when they are bigger.  The other rows also got tucked in to keep the weeds down until I can dig on more compost and have the time to plant them.

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Elsewhere in the garden, the rhubarb I stuck in the corner in a compost pile is coming up beautifully with some garlic and strawberries nearby.  I also transplanted the Rhubarb from my Grandma’s garden in Antigonish County and my Papa’s garden in Cape Breton. They are not with us anymore; it makes it even more special when I look at it growing and makes me smile to remember them.

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Lots of work to do still, but for now, I need to get back to my real work and stretch my deconditionned back!!

“What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it.” ~ Charles Dudley Warner 1871