The Taste of Summer-Kale

Kale!-Yet another fantastic leafy green we have coming out of our ears!!IMG_2536In fact we have so much Kale we give it away to our friends and family, share it with our chickens, bunny and even worms…But what I really like to do is throw it in the food processor with a little water and then put it in ice cube trays.  IMG_8804This provides us with perfect little Kale Cubes for counting into smoothies whenever we wish.IMG_2579I don’t think my kids know you can actually make a smoothie without Kale… so don’t tell them!IMG_2587They drink it right up!

My favorite mix these days I stole from the Whole Foods Drink bar…One especially self indulgent day I threw down a whopping $8 for a cup of this stuff and was hooked.

Luckily I can make my own and so can you!

The Green Goddess Drink

Mix

Kale( frozen or fresh)

Apple Juice

Lemon Juice

and Ginger ( small amounts, for kids detect it quickly!!)

Ice Cubes on a hot summers day!!

Blend and drink.

It is excellent and the kids can’t get enough!

 

 

The Taste of Summer- Swiss Chard

IMG_2548This summer we harvest Swiss Chard every day…or at least we should!  I looked and looked for recipes that were tasty and used A LOT of Swiss Chard.. this one adapted from Farm Girl Fare won the prize!

Swiss Chard DipIMG_2559

Get the biggest baking dish you have

IMG_2547Get as much Swiss Chard as you have—up to 5 lbs or so

IMG_2558Chop stems and leaves separately

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Toss stems with olive oil and roast for 20 mins at 350

Add leaves gradually in handfuls and stir every 7 mins (approximately).

Everything will shrink down considerably.  Once everything looks pretty well roasted take out of the oven and cool.

Meanwhile chop a bunch of onions and garlic and saute them in butter in a skillet.

Once you have all your things sautéed put half of everything in the food processor.  This makes a nice creamy effect.

I then add Sour cream, parmesan and some yogurt.

Now add the rest of your sautéed onions, garlic and chard and just pulse quickly to mix everything together.

Now transfer to a baking dish and put in the oven at 350 for about 10 min or until warm.

Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

It is not pretty (so there is no picture!) but once you taste it, you will appreciate it’s beauty.  Great for a potluck because you simply must share or you will regret it later!

 

 

 

The Taste of Summer- Rosemary Lemonade

This summer we have been eating well!! Mostly because other people have been cooking for us, but also because we are blessed with bountiful harvests.  Here are just a few of the recipes we have been enjoying this summer- dedicated to those we have shared them with… and asked for the recipes!

IMG_2602Grandma Tutu’s Rosemary Lemonade

First you make the

Simple Syrup

1cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves ( striped from the stem)

1 Cup Water

1 Cup Organic Sugar

(You can multiply this recipe and the syrup will keep in the fridge for months.)

Bring all ingredients to a boil and them turn down to a simmer for at least 1/2 hour. Turn off heat and let cool then strain out leaves.

IMG_2609Rosemary Lemonade

1 Cup Organic Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed or bottled)

1 Cup Simple Syrup

6 Cups Water

Mix, stir and serve

*You can replace Rosemary for Basil, Lavender, or other herbs that strike your fancy

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Cucumbers on the clothesline

Just as simple as that … Out trellising cucumbers this evening and I was looking for what I had in the yard to get them up off the ground.  I found an old plastic coated wire clothesline lying around and of course, clothespins.  It turned out to be the perfect materials for cucumbers to latch onto and climb.  IMG_2540

I hate to buy stuff I really can’t use for a million different things and re-use a million times, so there is no guilt when I buy even more clothesline and clothes pins to finish the job.  I mean really can you have too many clothes pins? Never!IMG_2538So there is my clever garden invention for the day and with the evening backlight on my little cucs, I couldn’t help but share!

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So up and away the garden grows!!

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Garden Transitions- The Fall Flip

I plan my garden very strategically so that there isn’t much work to do in June and July… For many reasons… Maybe first because I was a garden teacher for so many years that I planned spring and fall gardens with very little summer maintenance.  Even though I am not running a school garden this year, I now have a tiny baby and can’t really garden much at all…so it is convenient that I don’t have much to do but harvest in the high heat.  It is also convenient for leaving town during the hottest, driest time of year which we all want to do.

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Yeah for harvest help from our good friends from Ampersand, love you guys!!

And probably the biggest reason I plan so much for spring and fall gardening is that is when gardening in the high desert is at it’s best!  There is cool air, cooler soils and real water falling from the sky!  I start things outside as early as February (my pea crop was started then and yielded my best crop yet!)  and am eating out of the garden till Christmas eve.  Summer is for being lazy anyways right!?

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So though I am still being very lazy, I am starting to think about the transitions about to happen out there, the good old ‘fall flip’.  This is when I pull out all the lettuce and peas that have stopped yielding and bolted into pure bitterness that may still remain and I plant a whole new slew of cool season crops.  IMG_0273

Because it is only the 9th  of  July I can still plant a nice beet & carrot crop.  Later in the month I will plant more lettuce, spinach, cilantro, and whatever other cool season greens I wish.  I also have started planting big beautiful marigolds this time of year to have for autumn garlands.  IMG_9387

High summer I hear a lot of people say, ‘oh I am too late to have a garden this year’…but you are not!  Autumn harvest is within reach.  Plant now and you will abundance you will reap!!

Finding the New Normal

It has been over a month since Oakley was born, my third baby, that makes 3 under 5 years old.  I gotta tell you, this isn’t parenting thing isn’t for the faint of heart.  It is taking everything I have got…and I am getting a huge amount of help from my family and have been feed almost every day by friends, bless them all!!  Sometimes I do lay awake in bed sweating and think “what am I going to do when the meal train stops, Joel goes back to work and mom goes home!!”  …..But I will cross that bridge when I come to it.  For now it is time for me and the family to find the new normal.  What is the flow of our days when mommy has to tend to baby’s need before breakfast? IMG_2295How do we navigate one small lap when all three kids MUST be held at the same moment, or worse need a diaper change at the same moment?  I admit it, sometimes one, or two does cry a bit while they learn to wait for mommies free hand and I must learn to spread my heart so wide to hold them all with it when my hands can’t reach.  It is stressful and I am tired, it is true, but I am finding new tricks, like singing more, as they can all hear my song equally.  I am holding them more and being even less ambitious than ever though that does kill me cause often all I want to do is get SOMETHING, ANYTHING done from start to finish without interuption…But it is getting easier everyday and we are all finding our way together.  I am getting many moments witnessing the beauty of my children while sitting breastfeeding and watching them play, something I honestly rarely do ( sit that is!)

Life is slow, but steadying and summer is the perfect time to let things unfurl and find their own equilibrium.  So I guess all this to say, no news is good news here from the nest.

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Baby #3

A month before schedule, our brave baby #3 has joined our clan!  It took us by surprise, but the little guy made it to the other side beautifully and in perfect petite form.  IMG_2001

Oakley Isaac Glanzberg , our third baby blessing, welcome to this beautiful world.IMG_1984

We are all still in the dreamy postpartum haze

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But never a dull moment, that I can surely say!

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Humbled and grateful for this great mysterious life, greeting to all from babyland!!

Hardening off & planting out

I am sure many of you spent Mother’s Day weekend filling shopping baskets with new baby plants to bring home and fill your garden with, it is a Mother’s Day tradition,  (and it may be the only day of the year you can get the whole family to help you in the garden without complaint).  I received the wonderful gift of my son and mother planting a brand new climbing rose for me while I took a nap!! Heaven!!

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However around these parts Mother’s Day week and weekend is also famous for snow storms, which is why the last frost date is in fact May 15th- not May 5th!  Transitioning things outside and toughening them up enough to go from lush nursery conditions to exposed windy high desert gardens is an important step to protecting your investments.

IMG_3382Here is a post from years back that talks about the hardening off process and why it is important.

IMG_3379Here is another on with ten transplanting tips.

IMG_1946And lastly one about transplanting tomatoes, which is what I will be doing this weekend… and for many days to come until these babies are tucked cozy in the ground!  If you are planting according to the Bio-dynamic Calendar, Friday and Saturday are not only fruit days but (specially good!!) So hope you are hardened off and ready to go!

 

 

Spring Greens

IMG_1658What a spring we have had! Erratic whether, moisture, crisp cool air, and really spring greens like nothing better!  I have begun harvesting multiple pounds of Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Chard and Chinese Cabbage every week and just wish I had more garden space to plant more.

IMG_1666If you are doing succession planting in your garden planning, timing and leaving space for the future is everything!!  You have to think about how long it will take for a head of lettuce to produce,(about 60 days in the spring) and then plan what you will pop in its place once harvested.  In these pictures above and below you can see I planted Cabbage babies among the cut and come again Lettuce, so that by the time the Lettuce is bitter the Cabbage will take over.

IMG_1799I usually plant a lot of cut and come again varieties of Lettuce, Spinach and Kale and Chard so I don’t have to keep planting…but this year I knew I could sneak in a bunch of head Lettuce before the warm season crops needed the square footage, so now the garden is full of butterhead and romaine varieties so I can remove the whole plant and put in warm season crops the same day…..lots of salad ahead for Mama’s Mini Farm CSA!

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The next three days are leaf days, so in go the last of my greenhouse Romaine starts and I will be sowing directly more Cilantro, Spinach, Arugula and Lettuce.  Possibly for the last time till mid July, as once my attention and garden space goes towards the warm season crops I simply don’t have enough room or time for greens…not to mention when the weather heats up many of these spring babies go bitter or bolt quickly.  Luckily my Chard and Kale keep pumping through the heat and I may not even need to replant them if I care for them right…

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Which is to say I have found that if you shade cool season greens in the high summer they really like it and last longer.  As you already know I am a huge fan of row cover for a long list of reasons… but when it gets too hot and plants don’t get enough fresh air they can get very flimsy and over succulent.  So much so that they couldn’t survive one day in full exposure and they will just turn to mush before your eyes, so I try to gradually remove the row covers for more and more hours at a time to toughen them up to the real world.

IMG_1810I often raise the row cover so wind and beneficial insects can find their way in on the ends, because another set back of having your crops under constant cover is pests, namely good old aphids can take over while you aren’t watching.

At some point when cool spring breezy days shift to hot summer days, Often around June 1st.  I take the row cover off all together and replace it with shade screen.  This lets light, water, and beneficials in, but it takes the edge off those sweltering afternoons that will cause a cilantro to bolt in one day!

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I have found in full sun gardens these shades are very helpful for almost all crops even warm season crops, throughout the whole summer. I have learned my lesson with more than one June hail storm destroying my precious babes!  More info on what to use is in  this previous post.

So if you aren’t out there already….get sowing!! You can plant pretty much any cool season crops, flowers and roots right now and in a few short weeks it will be tomato time!! Hooray! IMG_1670