Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Depressed Gardener

 Healthy Soils for Sustainable Gardens (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide)
My backyard garden looks sad. The only thing growing are the seeds I threw into the garden several months ago. The rest of the garden, the part I put an effort into looks miserable and the soil.... looks like concrete. Right now I'm out of compost and I can't afford to go buy healthier soil to mix in at the moment so I'm afraid we wont get much this season. I will also need to read up on how to make my soil healthier and if I ever remember I need to take a sample of my soil to a garden center. Maybe next season....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Got a Rain Barrel

This week's Tuesday CSA pick up came with a rain barrel. There it was with a piece of paper, with my last name on it, taped to it. Had I not glanced to some of the plants to my left I would have missed it. It isn't 55 gallons, 30 instead, but I'll take what I can get for the price, $20. Now all I need to do is fix it so that I can attach a hose. I'll have to ask my husband and neighbor to help. I will also be receiving another one soon.  Now all I need is some more rain!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Caterpillar Hunt

Giant Caterpillar

Yesterday, taking advantage of the fresh breeze, the darker rain clouds and the fact that my husband could watch the baby I took a step outside to work in my front garden. As I pulled out weeds I reached towards a dead leaf on my bolted lettuce plants and pulled my hand away as quickly as I realized it wasn't a leaf at all but a huge fuzzy caterpillar. Not long after I found a pretty green and white caterpillar on my parsley. Then I found the tiniest caterpillar I have ever seen on another lettuce plant. I collected them all and put them in a jar. I hated to kill them knowing they would turn into butterflies, but I hated to let them loose knowing they were already devouring my plants. If only my plants were stronger. I left them in the glass over night, the temperatures stayed cool especially in the shade thanks to yesterday's heavy rains. I checked in on them this morning. They ate half the leaves I left in the jar for them and the giant caterpillar left huge droppings in the jar. The same dropping I found near the lettuce leaf the day before. It's cruel to leave them in the jar, but I really don't want to kill future butterflies. I also want my plants to survive. This is something I will have to think about, but I don't have long to do so.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CSA and Soups Equal Good Food

On my stove right now is dinner. Its a healthy soup filled with vegetables and ground beef. A few spices and herbs. The recipe with amount of your choice:

large pot
csa ground beef
corn cobs split in half bought from store
organic carrots bought from the store
csa super small potatoes (perfect for this soup) from the first CSA pick up of this season
csa green beans of a new variety also from today's CSA pick up
left over purple cabbage from the store
left over white onion from the store
very little from the fajita spice mix
celery salt- just a dash to make up for the lack of celery in the soup (I ran out)
cilantro from my garden (which was doing very well up until the heat of this week)
tap water
large soup bowls (smaller for the kids)
spoons unless your willing to go without
empty stomachs
clear nostrils - smells so good while it boils
a smile

I cut up all the veggies into big chunks. Add the meat. Put it all in the water. Add the the spices and herbs. Cover the large pot and let it boil for an hour or until done. Done means vegetables are soft. How soft depends on you. I like them almost falling apart soft.

I've made this dish before with different veggies, different spices. It always has a lot of veggies and ground beef and of course water. It is always very good.

When done serve in large bowl. You can add lime or lemon to the soup. You can eat with crackers or my favorite, tortillas, which I roll and dip in the soup and then bite along with a spoon full of food. My husband like to add pico de gallo. Too bad. We don't have any to make today. Eat and enjoy!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Greenbeans and Soybeans in my garden!

For the past week I have worried the lack of rain would kill my plants too soon or leave them too weak to fruit. I know this is terrible, but I only water them when I know rain wont be coming. Today I watered them and transplanted a few more seedling into the back yard garden. As I messed in my garden I noticed that the soybeans had several small soy pods hanging from the stems and that the green beans had 2 pods. These are plants I grew from seed in toilet paper rolls so I was very proud to see them begin to fruit especially when they haven't received the amount of water they deserve. I also transplanted the store bought tomato seedlings (right in the cinder block holes) into the garden in the back and each plant has a small tomato growing on it.

Next next growing period I plan to start some plants indoors. My only concern is that I have no shelving units to put the pots on. I will need to find a solution. As of now I start them and leave them on my patio bench, but I often run out of space or some of the plants don't get the same amount of sunlight. I would love one of those rolling shelving units I saw a gardener use on YouTube. It was perfect for growing seedlings.

I would love a rain barrel too, but so far the three people that have let me know they could give me a plastic barrel or two for free or at a discount haven't come through. Oh well! I will have to keep trying.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What is happening to the trees?

Yesterday, while driving on our street my husband and I noticed that many of our neighbors across the street have cut down the trees in their front yard in the past month or two. We cant understand why. These trees were mature, tall and beautiful. There was nothing wrong with the them. They were not dieing. They were not endangering the houses for the exception of one tree who's roots were damaging the underground pipes of a the house.

It makes me sad to think about it. Anyone can just chop a tree down just like that. No remorse. They just do it so they wont have to rake leaves, or pick up pine cones or deal with pollen. What is this hatred for trees that people have? What is this overall idea that we can just destroy something at the snap of our fingers just because we're human...just because it bothers make space for other have a better make life easier for ourselves. That's the thing with us. We would rather destroy something despite its importance just so we can sit back and relax and not have to deal with it. Maybe this is why we are such a fat society. We take the easy way out. We do what is easiest because that is all we have time for we tell ourselves. Yet, we find ourselves making time for frivolous things that do not benefit it us in anyway.

What would happen to us as a society if we didn't take the easy way out? What would happen if we shifted our priorities about what to work hard for? What if we worked harder for our health and happiness rather than for money? What if we took the time to slow down and breath in some fresh air? Would we notice the trees? Would we notice their beauty? Would we notice the benefit their existence brings to our lives?