Tennesseetransitions


What’s For Supper?
July 2, 2015, 2:11 PM
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: ,

This is finally the time of year when all of our gardening efforts pay off-woo hoo! Surely this month we can drop below the $150 grocery spending level that we’ve been stuck at for some time now. Even if we don’t manage that, we are eating healthy and delicious meals every day, with the satisfaction of knowing that much of it was grown organically on just a small amount of ground, by two old hippies that are still learning.

The earlier spring greens, lettuces and cole crops (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages) have all been either eaten or stored in a little produce frig that we keep running just for them during this time of year. These are just some of the beauties I have stored away…

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My experience tells me that if I don’t dampen or wet them before storing them in special ‘produce bags’, cabbages will last for 3 months or more, and everything else at least 2 months. By continually replanting as room opens up in the garden beds, we eat fresh food like this about 9 months out of the year. This year we planted six Swiss Chard plants, since they tend to produce reliably right on through hot weather, and though not as prolific as say, fall kale, it’s nice to have some kind of fresh greens all year long…

20150630_171931[1]A couple of nights ago our supper was simply new red potatoes with their skins on, cooked in a bit of veggie broth with fresh-cut rosemary, then topped with melted butter, a skillet full of ribbon-cut chard sauteed with chopped onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil and two tiny little pieces of fish we cooked on the grill. Tuesday night we put all the ripe tomatoes we had on hand in a pasta dish that uses basil, white wine and lemon juice, topped with Parmesan cheese. Served with steamed broccoli on the side and hot garlic bread, our ‘company’ enjoyed it too, and there was enough left for our lunch the next day. Last night we had a red lentil Indian dal that made good use of some of that cabbage, onion and garlic, along with my red lentils bought at the discount grocery for 50 cents a lb and brown basmati rice purchased for 60 cents a pound. Tonight my brother’s coming for dinner and a Netflix movie, so we’ll have BBQ chicken thighs, red potato salad, fresh broccoli and maybe some more fresh green beans too! Eating whatever’s ‘ready’ in the garden will dictate our meals until cold weather finally sets in again.

The new-to-us Roma Italian green beans are more flavorful and productive than the tried and true Blue Lake that we’d planted for over 10 years. So far, I’ve harvested 17 pounds, from only 32 square feet, with more still coming every day! They are coming to the end of their life cycle though and will be soon pulled out to make room for other things we love. I canned 14 quarts last week, but would like to end the season with 30 or 40 quarts in the pantry, but that would require us to stop eating them by the bowlful every night for supper, and that’s not gonna happen, so I may just plant some more of these quick producers after we return from a mini vacay to Ohio over the holiday weekend.

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We had our best onion crop ever this year! After the summer solstice has been reached, the bulbs won’t ever get any larger since onions are completely daylight dependent, so we harvested them this week in order to ‘cure’ them for a few days before storing them in the root cellar. The red ones are curing in the greenhouse…

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…while the yellow storage onions (Copra variety) are curing on the front porch.

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Nothing says “Welcome” quite like 20 lbs of onions on the front porch, right?

It seems that most of our meals begin with onions and garlic, and this year we finally planted a few soft neck garlic bulbs since they store better than hard necks that we normally grow. It will be an interesting experiment to see how they compare. Fresh garlic not only adds wonderful flavor to many of our meals, it’s known for having some serious health benefits, and it serves to keep vampires away too, giving us one less thing to worry about…

Oh, and the carrots! They’ve outdone themselves this year: we harvested twelve pounds of them from just two four-foot rows!  We eat them fixed every way possible and marvel at how much better they taste than ‘store bought’. This dependable root crop will be replanted as a fall crop, along with beets, but those will be a variety especially for storage. Let’s hope I don’t lose the whole lot like I did last year!

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So, let the stock market slide and Greece default on their debts. Let the coal mines close and water rationing continue. Here in rainy NE Tennessee, we’ll eat well, stay healthy and spend the Fourth of July having fun with family and friends. If you’re local, come see us tomorrow in front of the International Storytelling Center at 11:15 as we play some Celtic tunes with our friends from the “Thistle Dew” trio.  You’re all invited to supper afterwards.

thistle dew

 

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6 Comments so far
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Wow, your garden is a wonderful place! I’m still envious of your growing season, but I pack all the growing I can into our short one. If I was local, I’d be there to hear your great music! Have a fun holiday weekend and a good and safe trip/mini vacation.

Comment by sarasinart

Thanks Nancy. I hope you and yours have a safe and happy weekend too. Maybe someday I’ll get to Shippensburg, unless of course, you get to Johnson City first 😉

Comment by simpleintn

I seriously would like to come and visit/meet you and Michael, and feel and soak in some of the culture you have there, that spirit of cooperation and community that you always describe and I find so lacking here. Plus hear you guys play music!

Comment by sarasinart

Well just come!!! BEFORE Aug. 3rd!

Comment by simpleintn

Describe your “special” produce bags, please.

Comment by Andrea

Andrea, they are simply bags made with a special coating that helps keep produce fresh longer. You can check them out here: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Meyer-GreenBags-Freshness-Preserving-Storage/dp/B00I4V1U06/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1436440761&sr=1-2&keywords=produce+bags

Comment by simpleintn




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