Growing Your Own – Easier Said Than Done

6

May 4, 2011 by Leah

I’ll start us off with some prettiness… more squash blossoms!

Squash blossoms May 2nd

The potatoes are imperiled and I have no idea why. Aaron hopes it isn’t “what the Irish had.”

Happy potatoes, April 26th

Potatoes in peril, May 2nd.

I finally harvested a double armful of collards because they were crushing the poppies and overshadowing the watermelons.

After the collard harvest. Hello, watermelon plants!

Collards in the kitchen

The collard harvest did NOT end well. I wanted to make truly Southern-style greens, and while I initially could not believe anyone would BOIL greens for 45 minutes to an HOUR, there was enough corroborating evidence that I eventually did this. I even included salt, pepper, ham, and butter. They were a disaster. We choked some down but I had to throw out like a third of the collards I’d grown so far (after washing, chopping, and cooking them). So frustrating, but a good reminder to trust my kitchen instincts. If I’d done that, I would have washed, stemmed, chopped, blanched, and frozen the majority of them for later use instead of deciding to freeze the “finished product” of my recipe experimentation.

Bed 1, May 2nd

We hadn’t seen Bed 1 for a while, so I thought I’d show off the beans (royal burgundy) and garlic. There is also spinach, cabbage, an okra plant, a tomato plant, and three remnants from last winter: a carrot, a green onion, and a beet or something similar.

Beds 2 & 3

The sheer amount of greenness in these beds makes me happy, as do the pretty beginnings of flowers on the squash, tomatoes, peppers, and marigolds. I think the beans (which I think are blue lakes) are next, and I can’t wait.

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6 thoughts on “Growing Your Own – Easier Said Than Done

  1. David G says:

    Looks like your squash already has some fruit on it. When you grow tired of squash, it will happen, start picking them 2-4 inches long. That makes them easier to keep up with. Also you can pick them with the bloom still on them and stuff the bloom then fry them in tempura batter. Yum!

  2. David G says:

    For the collards still wash, stem, and chop them when you make southern collards. Also instead of ham add a fattier cut of pork like salt pork, bacon, ham hock, or fat back. Fat is flavor and it is a must for collards. Also get some pepper sauce, mostly hot peppers in vinegar, to add to your collards. It gives them lots of flavor and a little heat. I also like a side of cornbread with mine.

    Collards do well blanched and frozen. They can also be sauteed but may not be as tender as other greens that way.

    • leahkathlyn says:

      I don’t have a source for pastured pork, so I don’t buy it – a friend sent me a ham so I used some of that instead. I still maintain boiling all the color out of the damn things is the problem. I’m kind of anti-boiled veggies anyway.

  3. David G says:

    If you are anti boiling then try them steamed then tossed into a sauté pan with garlic, onions, and ham already going. Then top with salt, pepper, and pepper sauce. It should make a tastier final product. Good luck.

    For the pastured pork, have you considered wild pork? There is a feral pig problem in california. Do you know any hunters? Often hunters are able to kill more than they can eat. If they know someone can use the meat they will give it to them. Check some hunting forums to see if they have a hog/meat donation section or thread. Of course that would require a deep freezer and some home butchering.

    • leahkathlyn says:

      Great idea re: wild pork. I don’t know any hunters as my social network here isn’t very large. We’re probably moving to the Northwest this fall, though, after which Aaron is talking about getting back to hunting and fishing and I will be procuring a chest freezer.

      • David G says:

        There are wild hogs as far north as Oregon, and usually they have liberal seasons and bag limits. They are a feral non native invasive species through out the country. When I moved to GA, I joined a local hunting forum and asked to join a hunt when someone posted about getting 9 hogs in 1 day. They said yes and I put 150# of wild pork into the freezer for the cost of a tank of gas and several hours walking and cleaning.

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