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Amparo Bertram

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05:23 am: Garden talk
A one-day weekend just isn't long enough to get everything done. <sigh>

I made some progress weeding the front yard and clearing out the foundation bed. I still have a long time before I need to plant anything there, though, so I'm not in too much of a hurry. I'm debating planting my potted kumquat trees in the front yard. I've had them in pots for two years, and they haven't produced any fruit, though I know they're old enough for it. (One had lots of fruit already on it when I bought it.) Either they don't like the pots, or they don't like the climate...the only one I can do anything about is the pots.

I trimmed some of the weedy grass in the backyard. As long as I can keep it from producing more seeds, I'm not too concerned about it. I can always get it later, after the perennial weeds have been cleared out.

I harvested my one sugar beet. It's not as large as sugar beets can get, but it was growing in freshly broken ground with no fertilizer, so I'd say it did well enough. It certainly produced lots of huge leaves, which are reportedly edible, though I haven't tasted them to see if they are any good. As soon as I get a chance, I'm going to attempt making sugar beet syrup, which is apparently popular in Germany. I probably won't get a lot from just one beet, but it should be enough to decide whether I want to try growing more next year.

I've already started planning out my spring garden. It's nice living in a place where I can begin planting in February. In fact, I need to start the leek seeds this month so they'll be ready to transplant outside by February. I've never grown leeks before, but I've been fascinated by them ever since I read a children's book in which they were a dragon's preferred food. I got some in my CSA box last month, and megory made a lovely leek/kale stir fry for our Thanksgiving meal. I also made a leek/potato quiche, which turned out decent. I just have to decide how many to grow.

Other vegetables I intend to experiment with next year are parsnips and turnips, both of which reportedly do well here. I also ordered some oca tubers to try. Considering that it's a relative of oxalis, and the weedy oxalis is already taking over half my yard, I expect it should grow well. I ordered one yacon crown...boy, I'm all about the root crops. This one is a relative of the dahlia (which also has edible tubers, though they are much smaller). It will be interesting to see what my harvest will be like next year.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:signeh
Date:December 11th, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
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Not on topic, but thanks for your warning about the spam. I tried to private message you about it, but my mail server kicked the message back. Don't know what's up with that! Thanks again.
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From:collarnojutsu
Date:December 11th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
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I use leeks in my potato soup; sometimes it seems like I use more leeks than potatoes! I would use them for other things but I don't cook enough "dishes" to bother with the expense and effort of cleaning them, when I could use some other form of onion instead. (Though if I had a bed full of leeks at my disposal I might be more inclined.)

I'm a little amazed by your ambition for the garden so regularly. If I ever had a place to grow a garden of my own, I would keep it pretty simple, I think - herbs and a couple fruits. Gardening is a good activity, and it's rewarding to harvest what you worked for, but I don't think I could keep it up all year round for a few random items. Good for you!
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 11th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
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Gardening is really exciting to me, but then I grew up on a farm. I just wish I had more spare time to devote to it.
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From:sara_tanaquil
Date:December 11th, 2011 05:07 pm (UTC)
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Leeks! I actually don't like them that much because of the onion flavor, but they always make me think of the time I spent in England -- leeks are hugely popular in British dishes. I'll have to see if I have any good recipes in my stash of English cookbooks.
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 11th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
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I'll have to see if I have any good recipes in my stash of English cookbooks.

If you do find anything, please let me know!
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From:mvrdrk
Date:December 11th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
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Start saving paper towel cardboard rolls or something. They're excellent for blanching leeks.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 11th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
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That's a really good suggestion, thank you.
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From:mangaroo
Date:December 11th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
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Okay, s_vamp clearly gets this. I don't. I thought blanching was a method of boiling something briefly then cooling it quickly to preserve its nutritional value. How do empty cardboard rolls help here?
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 12th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
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I thought blanching was a method of boiling something briefly then cooling it quickly to preserve its nutritional value. How do empty cardboard rolls help here?

Blanching also means "making something white." For vegetables, this means blocking the sunlight so they don't turn green. This is done for things like white asparagus and sometimes the white part of cauliflower as well as the white leek stems.
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:December 12th, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
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LOL, I'm glad you asked! I was picturing cardboard rolls turning to mush in water, and for some reason this didn't seem at all strange to me. No wonder I can't cook.
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From:wednesday_10_00
Date:December 12th, 2011 01:12 pm (UTC)
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I am also glad you asked, because not only is that the only definition of "blanch" I know, I expected the advice for cardboard tubes to be for starting seeds (cut a small piece of the tube, fill with soil, plant seed, then when seed has sprouted and grown big enough, plant in ground, tube and all), so I was like, "how are these things connected...?"
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