Monday, July 21, 2014

Herb Butter

My family loves to use herb butter in place of butter for some cooking and eating. A favorite is for radish sandwiches. Simply butter rye bread with herb butter and pile on thick slices of radishes to form a sandwich.
We also like herb butter on toast, when frying eggs, and to use when making grilled cheese sandwiches.

It's so simple to do:
Gather a nice sized bunch of culinary herbs. I use what is on hand. A favorite combination includes french tarragon, common sage, rosemary, basil, dill, thyme, lavender, parsley, lemon balm, garlic chives, and chives. But you can use whatever herbs you enjoy.

Remove unwanted debris including stems

Chop fine

Mix with room temperature butter. Real butter. Made from local, grass fed animals is best.

Enjoy!
Mary

Bee Swell - Free Bee Poster


We need bees to pollinate the food plants we grow. Without pollinators we lose a lot of food choice. Did you know that 53% of plants sold at major retailers tested positive for bee-killing neonicotinoids? Ask before you buy! Learn more and download a beautiful bee poster for free! Another reason to buy plants from small, local greenhouses and farms.

http://beeswell.org/posters/

Sunday, July 20, 2014

First Thinning of Carrots


We wait for and enjoy the first carrots of the season. I postpone my thinning so that first thinning can be eaten. While I like to harvest carrots after a good frost (because I think they taste sweeter), these first carrots are so good. They are warm like the earth and mild, delicious.

One easy way to eat carrots is the classic carrot salad. I admit I like the simple, traditional grated carrots, raisins, and a dash of mayo with some allspice and sugar added for flavor. But I love David Lebovitz's recipes so here's his not so classic French carrot salad:
http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/07/carottes-rapee/
If you are like my daughter you just park yourself in the carrot patch, pull and eat. That's how she likes her carrots. And no matter where she lives, she calls or texts me about this time each year to ask if the carrots are ready. I tell her they are and there is a bowl of water next to them waiting for her. She always tells me she'll skip the water.

So it's that time of year. Whether you like them cooked, raw, grated, mixed with other ingredients, or plain and soil coated right from the garden; I hope you enjoy your carrots!
Mary

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Probiotics for your Plants? It's the Fungus Among Us


Fungal mycorrhizae, the life force behind a healthy garden. In a previous post I was trying to capture the role soil plays in a healthy garden and found myself rambling about compost and worms which are very important but I couldn't quite capture the intricate and wonderful world of the soil. The mycorrhizae, or fungus roots (really hairs not roots) called hyphae or mycelium, are what has a fantastic relationship with the roots of your plants. That relationship is called a symbiotic relationship. A give and take. Some of the sugars the plant roots obtain via photosynthesis get transferred to the mycelium of the fungus and in return the mycelium of the fungus transfer hard to obtain nutrients to the plant roots. Perfect! This symbiotic relationship was the much needed missing piece. Below is a link to an article that does a fabulous job explaining this and is so worth the read. When you get a chance, go out into your garden and do some digging and look for mycorrhizae in your garden soil. And if you can get a hand lens use that to look at these lovely hair structures hiding in your soil a bit more closely and enjoy!
On a little side note I must say that I love how the article starts with the invention of the microscope. Always a wonderful science story.

Article link here: (you'll have to copy and past; sorry the live link option isn't working) http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/mycorrhizal-fungi-zm0z14aszkin.aspx#axzz37xFxH0hA

May your mycorrhizae be there and be strong!
Mary

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Garden Helpers


We all need a little help from our friends and our gardens are no different. Here are a few things I have that help with making the garden a better place. Those of you who know Bill and Rachel of Zone 4 Perennials recognize this turtle garden mascot. Very cute little fellow and he does a great job watching over the garden.

So important are the bees

A leaf cutter bee box to attract leaf cutter wild bees

Now for friends of the soil we have compost builders such as the girls.
And for great compost, their bedding

And then there is vermiculture aka the worms and their worm castings

Compost tea

Yes we get by with a little help from our friends and I hope you and your garden do too,
Mary

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beets!

First thinning of beets!

Before thinning

After thinning

Now to steam them and serve them with a little herb butter. I steam the roots separately from the greens since they take longer. But serve them both together. Delicious!

I'll post a great way to make and use herb butter soon.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pictures of a Maine Garden in July

Slowly the gardens make the gentle transition into summer and the variety of colors, shapes, and sizes become more and more apparent. Here are a few photos showing some of this transition. You can click on them to enlarge them. Enjoy!
The garden near my house:
Astilbe
Common Sage
Japanese Indigo
Butterfly Weed
Dill
Basil
Milkweed - heavenly scent!

From my lower garden:
Self sown "wild" garlic with scapes
Winter Squash, Delicata or Acorn....I forget but will know soon enough!
1 of several beds of onions
Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Borage
Flowering Cilantro
Lettuce, having been cut once
A Sour Cherry Tree outside my lower garden
From the middle garden:
Scarlet Runner Beans and Morning Glories
Pumpkin
Raspberries
Potatoes (potato bug free!)
Onions
Garlic
Corn
The upper garden has my tomatoes and some...
Red onions and beans
Perennials such as strawberries in front of asparagus
Rhubarb
Horseradish

Where the garden was years ago. I moved it because even after several years of soil building there was never a worm to be found. I suspect the previous owner enjoyed his chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.

Kyle's hops

Hop leaves

Around the yard
Plum tree
Blueberries
Black Cohash
May Apple (I think)
And...the girls