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When it’s over…over…over

norwichgarden-end Well, with night-time frosts banging on the door, we harvested everything harvestable in the big garden (the test garden, which, if you’ve been following had four beds with different soil treatments: buckwheat, mustard, black plastic and nothing). And in the interest of completing as ‘scientific’ an analysis, the DH and I hauled out big cardboard boxes which I dutifully labeled and set them at the ends of the appropriate rows. Everything that got taken from the buckwheat row ended up in the buckwheat boxes and so on. When we got everything home, we washed it all carefully, counted items, weighed them and tabulated the results. (more…)

If you have garlic.. like I have garlic…oh…oh…

garlic1Well, it’s that time of the year again. Or actually, it would be that time of the year in several weeks except that with the hot and extremely dry weather we had this summer, the garlic (as you can see from the photo) basically gave up the ghost and went ‘toes up’ (as we say here in the country) about 2-3 weeks early. We were trialing the two ‘winners’ from last year (Susanville and Vietnamese Red) against three ‘new’ varieties, Music (which actually we’ve grown before), Premium Northern White (which around here is the standard garlic grown by market gardeners) and Early Italian Red. Well, the growing season threw us and the garlic bulbs a complete fluke — hot and incredibly dry from the spring through frankly this weekend, when we finally got some concentrated rainfall for two days. (more…)

Olla! Olla!

waterdivitYour Dear Old Aunty is getting mighty tired of reading headlines saying “Hottest (pick your month) Ever!”

Well, of course it IS. This is what climate change is all about. (more…)

Better Late Than Never

wateringAs I discussed last time, we’re late, late, late in getting the experimental garden in. Actually, looking around at what’s happening to the corn fields in our area, we’re not the only ones who got ‘the garden’ in late.

Timing, is everything, but again, as discussed, the weather this spring (thank you El Nino) was horrific. Too cold and wet at all the wrong times. The farmers are feeling it too. I have seen very few corn fields out there where the growth is uniform and uniformly bright green. I’m seeing lots of stress. (more…)

Can out in the field can be put to use in the garden?

mustard1The DH and I went to a conference run by NOFA, the Northeast Organic Farmers Association. Are we Farmers? Not yet – but working on it. If you have the chance to go to a conference like this, I encourage it – it’s the fastest way for you to get immersed in information that might take you years to winkle out. We took workshops on growing grains, beekeeping, mushroom growing (yes!!), growing organic oats, organic orcharding, marketing and I’m sure I’ve forgotten the rest. One class I took which was completely fascinating was using mustard as a biofumigant for soils.
(more…)

Seeds, glorious seeds

appleseed2The simple act of pushing a seed into some dirt, watering it and having it come up is still pretty much magic to me. Whether it’s from a plant where the seeds are so small that basically, you water the dirt first and then scatter them on top and hope for the best, or plain old bean seeds, the whole act of burying them in the dirt and then their coming up is really an unceasing source of rather childlike joy to me. (more…)

Why bother growing your own?

onionseedsIn the grand scheme of things (to flog a oft-used phrase, along with ‘at the end of the day’ and so on), why bother to grow your own vegetables. Or, for that matter, flowering plants?

Well, I’m not going to even discuss the issue of ‘cheap food’. I still think we can produce garden vegetables at a lower cost (again, we are not charging our own time) than we can buy them in the grocery store. But that is not the issue here. (more…)

Nuts to you!

chestnut1So, for those readers breathlessly waiting on tenterhooks to find out exactly what these seeds are, the answer is: (more…)

Rescuing an apple tree

appletree7Now, dear reader, you may never, ever be in a situation where you find a wild apple tree.

But then again, you might – or you might buy some property or a house that has an old neglected apple tree on the property and you’d like to rescue it and see if it will come into bearing fruit.

This post, dear friend, is for you. (more…)

Beans again

cannelliniburgers1 I’m sure there are readers out there who feel that either our diet here at Chez Siberia is horrifically limited or that I’m on the payroll for the American Dried Bean Congress or some other PR group. ‘

Today’s post is not going to change your minds in that regard.

In our ever-growing efforts to eat more vegetarian/vegan meals, tonight, I made bean burgers and cole slaw – my attempt at a summery picnic meal (no, your Auntie’s knees do not allow her to kneel down on picnic blankets on the floor. I do draw the line someplace). Bean burgers are generally made with black beans – probably because when they cook, they are very dark and if you squint your eyes extremely small, you might fool yourself into thinking that they are rather well-cooked beef burgers. There is no way these burgers can be mistaken for beef or anything else, really because they start out light colored and end up…slightly toasted light colored burgers. We shall have to just throw in the towel, close our eyes (and no, not think of England..) and…chew gratefully.

Cannellini Bean Burgers
2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed really well, mashed rather thoroughly.
Veggies to mix in:
– one sweet pepper, chopped extremely fine
– 2 cloves of garlic, ditto
– Finely chopped mushrooms. If you are using canned, then one small can will do. If you are working with fresh mushrooms, then chop up 6 mushrooms that are about 1-1.5″ across the tops.
– 1/2 onion (about as large as a good-sized fist), chopped finely
Saute in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very limp

– 1/2 c. of flavored bread crumbs – if you are not eating any wheat products, you can replace with the same amount of cooked quinoa or cooked brown rice, barley, buckwheat (yay!) and so on.

– A good grating of black pepper, 1/4 tsp. of smoked paprika

Put the beans, the bread crumbs (or other grains) and the veggies into a big bowl (as the above photo indicates) and mix thoroughly. Take large spoonfuls (a spoon the size of the sort of thing you’d use to drain veggies in a pot – several inches across), form into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Then flatten with your hand or a fork. You’ll end up with something that looks like this – this recipe makes 8 burgers.cannelliniburgers2

Bake in an oven set at 375 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Then carefully, with a spatula, flip them over and bake again for another 10-12 minutes. This, frankly is just to give the outside a bit of crispness. If you’d rather fry them in a bit of hot oil, then bless you – go for it. Just cover the bottom of a fry pan with oil and heat until bubbling – carefully slip the burgers off a spatula into the oil and fry one side until crispy; then flip and fry again on the other side.

I served these with cole slaw (mine is grated carrots and cabbage with a mayo/vinegar dressing), on whole grain buns that I’d toasted a bit, but again, this was just to give the meal a bit of the ‘summer picnic’ feel. If I was not going to do that, I’d serve them with whole grain pasta or, for people who don’t do grains, I’d do a quinoa salad or potato salad or something like that.

Bon Appetit!!cannelliniburgers3

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