Tag Archives: organic gardening

Garden Tour: Late July part II

13 Aug
Photo of the grapevineby Francine

Part of this blogging adventure is about keeping in touch since I’m in England, and it’s great fun to share this blogging project.  Last week I was so excited to see the photos of the Solar’s garden in MN that I pushed publish to share it with all the virtual world, only to find out my mom was left wondering…how did it go live…I was going to add more photos??

Opps.  That was me.  We can blame it on transatlantic mis-communication and the fact that I’m working, job searching and trying to stay on top of household duties, which include wholesome home cooked meals.  (I don’t know how moms do it!!!  Much respect mommies of the world!)

Anyway, here’s the rest of the garden tour…live from MN!

See what the garden looked like in May and June.  It’s amazing to see all the growth!

The grapevines are starting to crawl up the pole of the patio!

They didn’t expect to see any berries this year so were very excited to discover raspberries. Photo of rasberries

The roma tomatoes are thriving.  Who knew tomatoes could be so shiny!?

photo of a tomato

How’s your garden looking this August?


Yikes! We Have Thrips!

18 Jun
by Deanne

Before my Saturday morning cup of tea this conversation happened between Steve and I.

Steve:  We have thrips.

Me:  That sounds bad, really bad.  What are thrips?

When we set out to grow a few crops in our raised bed gardens, we knew that there was a strong possibility of bugs and other pests finding a home among our plants. But Steve didn’t want to rely on chemicals for pest control. He wanted to take a more organic approach and see how the plants grew and what issues came up before attacking the vegetable patch.

Now we know that thrips like our bean plants.  Like all things in life, the good (fresh vegetables for our FarmerChef creations) sometimes comes with the bad (pests that want a bite of our crop too!) but luckily we’re able learn and A photo of thripsadapt as we go…figuring out a way to turn bad to good.

During this chapter of our journey, we are learning that tiny thrips survive by puncturing a plant and sucking up the contents.  These hungry guys are known by some other names, some of which are bit more poetic…corn lice, thunderbugs, thunderblights and my favorite, thunderflies—not to be confused with thunder thighs, a different kind of pest…caused by not enough exercise for my flabby legs. ;)

Our first plan of attack is to spray a homemade insecticidal soap. Steve sprayed it on this morning.  From everything we are reading, we’ll have to apply it more than once.  And so our battle with thrips commences.

Francine, beware, according to this BBC article they are found in the UK too.

Have you ever had thrips?  Do you have any tips for getting rid of them?

A Windy November Harvest

18 Nov

On Wednesday we harvested all of our spring onions and cut back a lot of our lettuce. The lettuce had grown thick because of the nice weather we had last week. 

On Wednesday a chilly wind blew through, and we knew that we needed to get our lettuce onto our plates (or at least stored in the fridge). 

A photo of Deanne digging up the onions

A photo of the onions

A photo of Francine cutting back the lettuce

A photo of the lettuce on Nov 16

Food Day 2011

24 Oct
by Deanne

Food Day 2011Today we celebrated Food Day. According the information on their website, Food Day “seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life—parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes—to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.”  The goal is to “create thousands of events in homes, schools, churches, farmers markets, city halls, and state capitals.”

Our restaurant was closed today, but Francine and I ate at a locally sourced coffee house for lunch, shopped at a local food co-op and then came home to harvest some lettuce from the raised beds for dinner. We were inspired by this Chopped Salad recipe by Jaime Oliver. He invited us to get creative. We did! We chopped up some green tomatoes from our two bucketfuls as well as a green pepper that another gardening customer gave us and a few Roma tomatoes from another gardener.  (We’re thankful that we know so many gardeners!)

How about you, did you do anything to celebrate Food Day?

Two Bucketfuls

20 Oct

Look what we got…A photo of Green Tomatoes

One of our customers dropped them off this afternoon.  Any ideas about what we should do with them?

In college I made a sweet green tomato bread and of course, there’s always Fried Green Tomatoes.

Wash Before Eating

16 Oct

A vegetable patch has always been a romantic notion for us. The loveliness of brushing the dirt off vegetables, bushels of red apples, sunshine, blue skies and smiles…all of these things wrapped up and neatly deposited on our clean white plates.

A few months ago, my dad constructed raised beds behind our family restaurant and carefully planted lettuce, radish, spinach and scallion seeds.  He chose to use no pest control of any kind, chemical or holistic…just let the vegetables do what they do.  We’ve been eagerly waiting for the day we could have garden fresh salads.

Finally, fresh cut garden salad days have arrived! Armed with scissors and a bowl, we snip off the bright green leaves. And while we expected to wash the vegetables before eating them on our white plates, we didn’t expect how carefully we’d have to wash them.

It turns out that (obviously!) puffy green caterpillars love our lettuce too. There are also small black eggs and some little green bugs that call the creases of our spinach leaves their home. Washing the greens takes a bit of time and allows for some thinking…

Of course, there are bugs on this food, it’s grown in dirt and nourished by nature. When I buy green stuff from the store, it’s so clean! How does it get so clean? And just because there are no crawly things on it, doesn’t mean there’s nothing on it. How, oh how, as a human have I become so disconnected from the thing that keeps me alive? Of course, we could concoct a pest control plan that doesn’t harm the environment. But that’s not really the point. The point is there’s so much to learn about eating from our backyard.

Lettuce washing and pondering has helped us decide to put on our thinking caps together–as a mother and daughter team–and learn about food…how do it locally, healthily, with some spice and with some adventure.  This blog will be a place where we dig in and explore sustainability, recipes, restaurants and learn from the world around us.A photo of us in our garden

So grab your most colorful scarf, let your hair blow in the breeze and let’s learn about real food, local food and cooking food together! (I’m sure we’ll find some hungry caterpillars along the way.)