Fairtrade, 100% Organic, All Natural, Salmon Safe, CSA Sustainable Forest Management. All of those sound great and are the sort of labels that many of us look for on the food and other products we buy. But, what do all of those labels REALLY mean? Food labeled USDA Organic is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. On the other hand, a, 'All Natural' label doesn't mean much at all.
Can you believe summer is half over? I know this not only from the calendar but the contents of our Beneficial Farms CSA box. Apparently, the recent heat spell signalled the end of the flood of greens (kale, collards, chard, etc.) or at least a pause until cooler weather this fall. I can't tell you how happy the sight of summer squash made me when it showed up this past week.
Oh I felt so clever last night. I had radishes and pearly barley to use and, strangely enough, I found a recipe that used both. Thumbs up! But it involved turning on the oven to roasted some very pretty cubes and slices of vegetables. Thumbs down! It was hot yesterday evening and the house had not cooled off yet. But when I get an idea in my head...
Few things stand out more than Garlic Scapes in the garden. They have a curly, serpentine look that even got the neighbors asking about them. But even better than their look is their taste. We harvested (a little late, but just barely) garlic scapes from our hard-neck garlic this weekend. They became part of a White Bean and Garlic Scapes Dip. We had friends over for dinner and the four of us nearly inhaled the dip.
Hey kids! It's been an exciting couple weeks as spring has finally arrived and that means, um, lots of things! It means I'm still getting greens fast and furious from the Beneficial Farms CSA. It means that the garden looks more alive and plants are in the ground with all their promise of delicious things. It means that our newly acquired BEES have several flowered things to investigate. It means that we turned on the grill this weekend and could stand around poking our grilling food and not wear a jacket. Oh the promise of spring and early summer.
What holds more promise (for a gardener, anyway) than a tray full of seedlings? Our average last frost-free date is 9 days away and I am getting ready to harden off a tray full of seedlings that we started about 3 weeks ago. We are trying everything from arugula to kale, broccoli to tomatillos, and basil to fennel. This tray full of bright green baby plants reminds me of grade school science classes and egg cartons sprouting bean plants. What are you planting in your garden this season?
I can't stand it. I'm looking out my window and the snow is piling up. Okay, what's going on here. We turned in our taxes, we have skiied our last slope, my first proud tulip bulb was seconds away from blooming when a weird storm decided to pass over. I ask you, where was this snow the past few months.
Not since WWII has the White House had a vegetable garden. Once again, a Victory Garden will grow at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For those of us who love fresh, organic, home-grown fruits and veggies it is great to see a kindred spirit in the President of the United States. Today, the First Lady, Michelle Obama and students from Washington's Bancroft Elementary School broke ground on the South Lawn for a new White House garden.
No, this has nothing to do with sub-prime mortgages or the bank meltdown. This is about some very surly 'social' insects. I discovered wasps in our compost bin this summer. Or, more accurately, the wasps notified us that they had moved in. After my wife and I were each stung in two days I found a wasp nest in the compost bin. Given their anti-social nature and their new residence in the compost bin I couldn't use toxic insecticides. So I did some research.
The first signs of spring are popping up across town. Irises are sprouting in the front yard and garlic is appearing in the backyard. We're still two months away from the last average frost date, but many of the hardier plants are showing new growth, swelling buds and sprouting leaves. I expect we'll still see some snow, even well past the Spring Solstice. But, that's life in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.