Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Movie Time!

This is a cheater way to update my blog, I know. Kind of like a teacher showing movies on days when she didn't plan a lesson. Which of course I would *neeever* do. Anyway, you can lay on the bean bags and I'll turn off the lights as long as you're quiet. Keep your hands to yourself or we're doing worksheets. Enjoy!

Windy Hill Farms Presents: Double Digging

This is a lovely way to prep your in-ground garden beds. Many plants benefit from being closer to the Earth than what a raised bed allows. Experiment with both and see what works best in your area. If you are not excited about the amount of work involved in double digging, this method presents an excellent opportunity to put a little cash in the hands of a neighborhood kid or local garden center employee.

My boss!

I work for The Natural Gardener, and the owner/originator of our company has a gardening show on KLRU here in Austin. Scroll through the youtubes. He has a LOT of helpful videos.

Carol Ann knows Emeril! Emeril goes green! The things Google can teach you about your own community...

Carol Ann Sayle of Boggy Creek Farm speaking for a chicken meetup group at her farm in Austin, Texas.

Nice John Dromgoole video on seed saving. Tomatoes are particularly interesting. You have to rot them. I love all the weird discoveries that organic gardening offers on a daily basis.

Another fun thing about gardening in general, is misfit vegetables. See my other blog for the amazing screwtop carrot.

And finally, I love Finca Pura Vida, but I can't find a video on/from them, so here is a video on soil improvement, because according to Gayla Lyons, that is the secret to the incredible produce at this uber-organic farm.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bug Season in Texas


Conditions have been ideal here in Central Texas this Spring for all kinds of bugs. Some of the most popular critters coming into the nursery in plastic bags are salt marsh caterpillars, various leaf and flower beetles, spider mites, scale, and these guys. I wrongly identified them last week when a customer brought them in as Paranapiacaba tricincta, or Desert Leaf Beetle. Today, I got a chance to look at them more carefully when a co-worker brought some in. Still, even with a few other critter-enthusiasts at the info desk helping me search, I couldn't find an exact match. We are fortunate to have a microscope that takes pictures though, something that makes the bug-lover in me absolutely rejoice, so I snapped a pic of ours and sent it to www.whatsthatbug.com. I LOVE this site, and have probably mentioned it before over at Junebug Soup. I spent my first year of gardening glued to it. Every time I noticed a new bug in the garden, I tossed it in a jar, and it sat next to my computer until I could find it on WTB. Today, I also utilize www.bugguide.net, a more organized but slightly less personalized site. Both are wonderful sites and together provide a powerhouse of information.

WTB answered me by the time I got home from work, so I can bring the info back in tomorrow for the next person that brings in a baggy of these Opulent Lema Leaf Beetles. Thanks WTB!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Austin Zen Center Gardens










So far we just have the weeds cleared and a few veggies planted. We will be putting more stuff in Sunday and watching and waiting.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gallettes from Tassajara Dinners and Desserts





I used the dough from TD&D, and the idea for mushrooms, but didn't use their recipe for filling. Galletes are one of those nice things were you can just wing it. I had some feta, some apples, and some mushrooms to use, so I made two little gallettes, one with mushroom and feta, and the other with apple and feta. I applied a liberal egg wash to the top of each, and baked them at 425 for 15 minutes. The book says to turn down your oven and bake them another 15-30, but mine were done after the 1st fifteen minutes at 425, perhaps because I made two small tarts rather than one large one. Regardless, they were really very easy, and one of the prettiest things I've ever made. These, a nice salad, and a bottle of wine will impress just about anyone. Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

My First Attempt at a Tomato Rose

Well, my second. The one I flash right at the beginning was my first. A sharp knife is imperative, and I mean SHARP, and as such you probably shouldn't cut towards your thumb like I'm doing. Have fun!


video

A Few Notes From the Fall Garden






This lovely debutante is an okra flower, probably one of the most beautiful flowers I know of, a delicate beauty which gives way to the one of the most under-appreciated vegetables I know of.
The whole garden is renewed and loving the wet weather, and today was the first truly cool weather day so far. It was fantastic. I have several little eggplant coming in, and a bounty of microgreens (marketing-speak for thinned seedlings) which provide a tart/bitter/hot/sweet delight as well as tons of nutrients when added to a salad. It also somewhat eases the pain of pulling those little babies you have spent the last few weeks caring for and willing to grow, a task I always find especially heart breaking.

What is the highlight of your Fall garden? Are you looking forward to pickling beets? Having greens all winter? Adding fresh kale to your morning smoothie?

This Sunday I will be overhauling the Austin Zen Center's garden, along with a few other members. Stay tuned for pictures, and enjoy the soup and sweater weather.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cheftalk.com Photo Contest!


Hey foodies!

I haven't really gotten around to it yet, but I intend to post some good food stuff on this blog as well, as it relates loosely to gardening and organics, because it's my blog and I can. That being the case, my first food-related post is to encourage you, my lovely readers, to enter your favorite food photos in Cheftalk.com's food photography contest. Prizes include a FusionWood Petty Knife by New West Knife Works, a Mini Espresso Grinder, $50 Amazon gift certificates, and James Paterson cookbooks. I have spent hours looking at the photos on their site (seriously) and there's some stiff competition. So show 'em what you got! Oh yeah and vote for me! My handle is BamBam7.

Cheftalk.com Food Photography Contest