Monday, November 10, 2008

Local diet update - November 10, 2008

With the Impact Animal Foundation Charity Walk this weekend, I had to miss this week's farmers market. But since I knew in advance I'd need to stock up, I prepared for plenty of goodies to get me through the extra week. For instance, I made a nice big pot of soup last week that I'm still nibbling on, I have lots of local rice on hand, I have plenty of onion and greens for sandwich fixings, lots of local Texas grapefruits, a drawer of local sweet potatoes, jar after jar of homemade jams and soups in the pantry, and then there's my homemade bread (not local, but made from scratch with organic ingredients by little ole me). 

With nothing to report on the farmers market, I thought this might be a good opportunity to update everyone on my most local of supplies, the Square Foot Garden in my backyard. Seriously, if you've thought about doing this, go for it. It sounded way to easy to be true, but in reality, a raised bed garden is incredibly easy to maintain. Within a couple weeks, I was ready to add a second bed and we fully plan on having that second one in for double the harvest next spring. 

In the meantime, here's what our first bed looks like. Are you seeing the size of those cabbage plants! I'm amazed at how much everything has grown in just a few short weeks (the bed went in Oct 7). The original plan has change just a bit according how well the seeds took, so here's what you're looking at (starting at the far back):
  • Row 1  - 4 squares of cabbage (1 plant per square)
  • Row 2 - 1 square of cabbage and 3 squares of green onions (16 plants per square)
  • Row 3 - 1 square of spinach (9 plants per square), 1 square of broccoli (1 plant per square), and 2 squares of sugar snap peas (15 plants per square)
  • Row 4 - 4 squares of broccoli (1 plant per square)
The cabbage were planted as small plants, the onions started from bulbs, but the rest have grown (amazingly enough) from seed. Of course, I'm a long way from harvesting any of this, but how amazing to watch it grow over the weeks knowing that some day soon, dishes will grace our table with food direct from our back yard. Talk about local!

I'm really proud of my little square foot garden. I visit twice a day and believe it or not, I can see small changes each time I visit. It's truly amazing to see the garden grow and blossom, knowing that I have nurtured it each step of the way. So far in my gardening attempts, I've harvested herbs from my container garden on the back porch, but I have a feeling that making cabbage soup, steaming broccoli, and nibbling on sugar snap peas from my very own garden will be a whole new awakening, a whole new connection to food for me. I'm looking forward to every single bite!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week and, as always...

Happy (and mindful) eating!

15 comments:

Jen G said...

Your garden looks great! No cherry tomatoes?
I'm impresed that you have done so well eating locally. Did this start as a 1yr challenge for you two? Just curious.
Have a great day :)

Michelle said...

That is beautiful!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Your garden is moving along beautifully. Isn't it amazing how quickly they grow? I've been gardening for a couple of years now, but my favorite part of the day is going and checking on the plants. Do they need water, do they need to be turned, are there any new blooms or growth, any bug problems? Gardens are so fun.

ilex said...

Ohh sister, just you wait. Next year you'll want to tear up as much of your lawn as possible. It all begins with one little raised bed...

And you should know that fresh homegrown cabbages make the best sauerkraut ever!

Heather @ SGF said...

jen g - Nope, no cherry tomatoes in a winter garden - not even in Texas, unfortunately. We'll definitely be planting tomatoes come spring though!

michelle - Thanks!

jennifer - I agree. I'm having a blast with it!

Heather @ SGF said...

ilex - :) We must have been typing at the same time. Actually, I already have plans to put a second bed in for spring planting and possibly a third for herbs. It's just so easy to take care of. My dad mentioned sauerkraut today too. I told him I'd give him cabbage if he wanted to make some, but I can't even be in the same house with that stuff. That's just about the only food that makes me gag at the mere smell of it. Ik. But there'll be tons of cabbage soup instead!

Jen said...

Lucky you to be able to be gardening now in November! Sadly, we up north will have to wait until spring before we can plant the next harvest.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Texas--in Arlington, and you can indeed grow cherry tomatoes at this time of year. I planted them in August, and they are still producing to this day. And grape tomatoes. They are small enough ripen before it freezes. Try it next year--The cherries are a more compact plant for me than the sprawling mess of the the grapes. And I'm a novice.

Heather @ SGF said...

Anonymous - sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you can't grow tomatoes this time of year, but they would be for a fall garden, not a winter garden and yeah, you would have to plant in August. I didn't start until October. Thanks for clarifying that!

ttammylynn said...

I picked up a frost blanket to try to keep some tomato plants alive for a freeze or two...a really hard freeze would do them in regardless, but we'll see what happens. I've determined that cucumbers and eggplants can die on the first freeze if they want, but I'm going to keep those tomatoes as protected as possible. Arlington may even get snow this year(it snows in Dallas fairly often, pretty much every year), we however, probably won't get snow because even though we have had pretty wintery winters(for us, past few years), it rarely ever happens...in a way it is a shame, melted snow is wonderful for gardens, it is one of nature's catalysts for life and part of the reason that short seasons still produce for northern gardens.
You must live somewhere and I am very tied to this place--two businesses, house, family and now, my in-laws have decided they will likely not be moving to Austin. One of their other sons was laid-off and may have to move to Houston or Dallas(from Austin) to get another job and to think, he has a Master's degree in mathematics, the ecomony is difficult these days. We are just working people and I sometimes wonder if we deserve to have my husband's parents so close to us(here in town--esp since their other boys have young children who are growing up--grandbabies and even a great-grandbaby on the way), but I told her last night, anything she needs, we will try to help her as she deals with some alzheimer's issues with her husband, my father-in-law. Suffice it to say, I really hope we can take Thanksgiving dinner over to their house again this year, it is a highlight of the whole year, truly, and the only holiday that has so much meaning in my family. And I will employ my daughter to bake desserts and my son to make the side dishes while my husband puts together the big stuff and I'll get stuck doing prep work(but I really don't mind).

Heather @ SGF said...

ttammylynn - speaking of thanksgiving. Are you going to do anything local this year? A special dish or anything? Do you go to the same house every year or do you rotate?

ttammylynn said...

Why yes...there will likely be a few local dishes. I am thinking that sweet potatoes(I may put butter and honey, but no marshmallows, ick)and broccoli could easily be local this year...of course the pecans in the bourbon chocolate pecan pies will be local...the onions, peppers and maybe even carrots in the dressing will be local...I neglected to order a turkey from the Cranks this year, so I will have to look around and see what I can find preferring local and organic, of course...I guess I haven't had much time to think about it...I have some local chickens in the freezer that can go in the stuffing and gravy. I bet I could make the dinner rolls at home and I wonder how butternut squash would do as a pie, hmmm...local coffee, local milk, local oranges in my homemade cranberry sauce We are going over to my in-laws, they have some relatives coming in and we will take the big stuff over to their house and share whatever everyone makes.

Heather @ SGF said...

Mmm. That all sounds great and it's wonderful that "local" will take so much a part in your Thanksgiving dinner. I remember ours as kids and it was all homemade, but nothing was local. Good for you!

kale for sale said...

Those cabbage are gorgeous! I'm amazed at how quickly everything is growing. Thanks for posting the photos and updates.

Heather @ SGF said...

kale for sale - I swear those cabbage are bigger each time I go out and visit. When I look down though the middle, I can see the actual cabbage is starting to form. Yipee!