Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sweet Geniuses and Home Farmers

Ain't nothin' in the world that I like better,
than bacon & lettuce & homegrown tomatoes.
Up in the mornin' out in the garden,
Get you a ripe one, don't get a hard one.

Plant `em in the spring, eat `em in the summer.
All winter with out `em's a culinary bummer.
I forget all about the sweatin' & diggin'
everytime I go out & pick me a big’n.

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes,
what'd life be without homegrown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can't buy-
that's true love & homegrown tomatoes.”

Ahhhh, nothing like the genius of Guy Clark and a 75-degree March day to get you planting up a storm.

Even though some of you may be out there saying “Who’s Guy Clark?” or “Why are you planting warm weather veggies so early in March?” I am okay with my day’s work. To be honest, I don’t think we are going to get a late freeze this year. It has been so warm already that I am being lulled into a hopeful/delusional gardening bliss. Maybe we’ll actually get tomatoes before the blistering heat kills the blossoms! A girl can dream.

I do have low tunnel frames over a majority of the garden so we could stretch a plastic-sheeting cocoon over it all to protect it if we did get a freeze. So if it does freeze, we’ve literally got it covered!

As often occurs in the garden, I had intrepid assistants. The middle and youngest children (oldest is still on a dirt-free mandate due to the cast) came out to help get the garden finished. They helped plant tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, and dug trenches for black-eyed pea and pea seeds.

The middle child was digging near the edge of the garden and made a disgusted sound. “Uh, this is clay soil!” she said. “Clay in the garden is bad news!” Ah! She had been paying attention.

We mixed in some of the fantastic “brown gold” from the base of our compost pile and tossed any grubs or roly polys out before putting it in the garden.

The youngest child threw down a “Whew! Gardening is hard work!” I would hate to see her on a farm in the 1800’s. She’s never seen hard work!

"Hard Work!"
She also requested her "own" patch of sweet peas. I said sure!

In between bouts of planting, they were also running their own episode of Sweet Genius from Food Network.

With liberal amounts of sand, grass, phlox flowers and sticks, the middle child constructed two dishes, while the youngest played the “Sweet Genius” and critiqued. The inspiration for the dishes was a coral reef, and candied flowers were the twist ingredients.

The winning dessert was, and I quote, “It is titled ‘Under the Sea’ and is a chocolate cookie dough ice cream with caramelized kale on top. I made a blue lemonade with candied flowers to complement the dessert.”

I am not even kidding. Here’s a photo:

You are a Sweet Genius

If you are not familiar with Sweet Genius it is a show similar to Chopped where the contestants have to make dishes from a list of weird ingredients. On Sweet Genius they add in the caveats of all dishes being desserts, there being an inspiration that must be clearly exhibited and in the middle of their time there is another “twist” ingredient thrown in the mix that must be used.

Here are a few pics of our finished garden:

Our list of veggies is pretty intensive. We have broccoli, two kinds of lettuce, four kinds of tomatoes, three kinds of eggplants, five kinds of peppers, kale, okra, black-eyed peas, two kinds of potatoes and green beans. We also have seven different herbs. The broccoli is wrapping up, so there are a few tomato plants that I did not have them put in the ground yet. We will put those in where the broccoli live now.

What are you planting this year?
What has worked for you?
We would love to know what you love to grow and eat at your house. Maybe if we are successful we could get some veggie swapping going! 

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