Cooking from the Garden

June 29th, 2016   Our previous posts touched on the health benefits associated with planting and caring for a garden, but the benefits of gardening are far reaching, extending into your kitchen and beyond. Cooking with what you grow in your garden is one of the best things you can do for you and your children’s health. Not only does adding homegrown fruit and vegetables into your meals improve the taste, but a study by the Journal of American Dietetic Association found that children are more than twice as likely to eat the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies when they are homegrown. Bringing children into the process of growing and cooking their food has been shown to improve healthy eating patterns later in life. When so much of processed and fast food advertisement is directed towards children it is vitally important guide and inform kids on where their food comes from. Being an active participant in the creation and cultivation of your own food can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride, as well as giving you the exercise and nutrition you need. The act of gardening can provide mental and physical health benefits, and taking your homegrown produce into the kitchen can provide even more!   Annamarie Hufford-Bucklin Triskeles Intern   http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1275&page=2...

Cabbage Moth Destruction

  Cabbage Moth Destruction: By now, you have all experienced the sometimes very severe damage that the cabbage worm causes to your plants.  The cabbage worm is a caterpillar that is part of the life cycle of the white cabbage moth.  The moth lays its eggs on the leaves and out come the little caterpillars who munch away and make holes in your leaves, sometimes completely defoliating the plants to the skeleton. This cabbage worm/caterpillar then turns into the pretty white moth you see floating around your garden, and the cycle starts all over again. All members of the Cole family/Brassica family are affected, and the only way to control the cabbage worm is to spray BT. This natural basilis comes in two forms that are commercially available. One is called Dipel Dust and the other is in a liquid form, simply called BT. The liquid form of the BT is diluted with water at 4 tablespoons per gallon, which will treat up to 8 beds of brassica plants; a 1/2 pound bag of Dipel dust will do the same, simply dust it over the plants. You apply both products when the plants are dry and you are not watering, at any time of day,  which allows the substance to be ingested by the caterpillars. At this point, you need to apply BT about twice a week and remember any rain or watering will wash away both dust and liquid. Members of the Brassica family that are affected by the cabbage worm include: cabbage, Chinese cabbage (Napa), tatsoi, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. This autumn the cabbage worm damage seems to have gotten...

Summer’s Bounty

    During this transition time, when spring crops are on their way out and summer crops have established, make sure that your last beet roots will be harvested by July 10 or and your cabbages should all be harvested by now or no later than the last day of June. If you have carrots they may still take until July 15.   Kale, chard and collards will keep going until Christmas if you look after them. Chard will enjoy the summer months and will continue happily, whereas kale and collards do not like the summer very much and you will have to pamper them a bit in order for them to stay alive in a wholesome manner. You will find continued attacks by the cabbage moth which you should treat with BT every two weeks. Japanese beetles which are very hard to control; hand picking Japanese Beetles will be your only choice of managing those populations. The Japanese Beetle will also visit your basil plants. The Japanese Beetle is recognized by its shiny colorful coat. The beetle is about ¼ inch in size.   Keep cultivating your soil because that will make your summer crops grow faster. Remember it is the air that is needed in organic soils to help mineralize the organic matter.   Your sprinkler systems will soon have a hard time shooting water droplets past the growing tomato plants if you have garden beds behind the tall towering plants. In this case, you may need to supplement water by hand in those areas.   The tomato shooting techniques are found on You Tube at https://plus.google.com/u/0/114507279752212831629/videos.  ...

Summer Plant Care

  Now that all of the summer crops are planted let’s talk about the ongoing plant care, and management of a select few vegetables that will be taking off in the summer heat. Tomatoes:  require staking and training.   Tomato stakes have to be installed about 2 inches away from each tomato plant.  The tomato plants have to be tied against the stakes every 6 inches of their vertical growth.  It is essential that you remove all the side shoots in the leaf axis except for the top growth point.  This is the only way you can feasibly train your tomatoes along the stake, on a central leader.       Multiple shoots need to be removed otherwise each one of them would have to be tied to the same stake; this creates a thicket of vegetative growth impairing proper ventilation, and producing small tomatoes.  Every week you should remove the little suckers in the leaf axes, which are the “armpits” between the main stem and each leaf.  Tie the main stem to the stake using horticultural tape, zip ties or any other type of soft twine.       Zucchini:  is a difficult crop to grow because of the powdery mildew pressure that can prematurely kill the plant.  An easy way to control this fungal disease is to spray the plant with a mild hydrogen peroxide solution once a week.  Purchase a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from the pharmacy and mix it with the same amount of water.  Pour the mixture into a handheld or garden sprayer and sterilize the leaf surfaces by spraying the mixture onto the leaves; this will eradicate...

Kale Salad with Apple, Cranberries and Pecans

Compliments of Cookie and Kate How To Make the Best Kale Salad Remove the ribs: Regardless of which variety of kale you choose (I love them all), you’ll first want to remove the tough ribs from the leaves. Use a chef’s knife to slice out the stems or just pull the leaves from the ribs with my fingers. The ribs are too chewy and distracting to include in the salad, but you can chop them and sauté them later (or feed them to your dog, if your dog will eat anything like Cookie!). Chop the kale: Then, you’ll want to chop the kale into pretty small, bite-sized pieces. Eating kale salads made with pieces of giant kale is mighty awkward. Sprinkle with salt: Next, transfer the kale to a serving bowl and sprinkle it lightly with sea salt (salt helps cut the bitter flavor of kale). Massage the kale: Yes, this step sounds ridiculous, but it makes all the difference. Reach into the bowl with (clean) hands and start grabbing handfuls of kale. Scrunch, release, scrunch, release. Repeat until the kale is fragrant and dark green. This makes the kale less poky and more palatable. Kale is tough, so don’t worry about damaging the leaves! This step should take 30 seconds or less. Dress the kale: Drizzle in a bold dressing and massage that into the leaves so the kale is lightly and evenly coated with dressing (this is important!). Kale does particularly well with zippy dressings. If you’ve always followed the standard vinaigrette formula (one part vinegar to three parts oil), you’ll probably want to up the ratio of vinegar for kale salads. I tend to add...

Garden Pests: Deer, Groundhogs, Geese and Insects

  Greetings Gardeners: Today we will talk about Pest Deterrent measures that you can employ in your gardens.               Humane Groundhog Trap                                           Groundhog                                                               Deer Fence There are different kinds of pests, from insects to birds to mammals. Each group needs its own solution. The most common mammal pests are the groundhog and the deer. The only way to effectively keep them out of your garden, if you happen to be in a high traffic zone, would be to erect a 6’ tall sturdy deer fence with added groundhog protection; an additional more tightly woven wire mesh that is buried into the ground and reaches 2’ up against the deer fence. For groundhogs you can also put out humane traps baited with peanut butter and think about where you will deliver the groundhog once it is caught. Products such as deer guard or any other garlic-based sprays lose their effectiveness after the first rain. Myths like human hair or leftover hotel soaps, etc. are just that-myths, they don’t work. Urinating around your garden may in fact be the most effective measure from nature’s pharmacy. GEESE Geese can be a real problem and you may try to install an inflatable balloon with the countenance of a bird of prey. This reminds me of an...

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