Raised Bed Gardening Blog

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Tomatoes!

3 best reasons to eat tomatoes!
1) Low in calories
2) Excellent source of Vitamin C, and provides vitamins A & K, as well as potassium, manganese, and fiber
3) Source of lycopene, which is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their color. Researchers have linked lycopene with a lowered risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as lowering high cholesterol.
To get the full benefits of tomatoes, including their anti-cancer potential, carotenoids are better absorbed when lightly cooked and paired with olive oil. 
I guess the fourth best reason is that they're FREE when you grow them yourselves in your own garden or Grow Y'own bed, and the most life force you get out of them is when you pick them and eat them within the first 30 minutes!

Springtime in New Mexico!

Springtime is around the corner! Even though those March winds are about to start blowin' on a daily basis, they just can't keep those warm days from comin' on! Its time to start clearing out your Grow Y'own beds of all the old or withered plants, trim back the ones that are growing of any dead leaves or long and straggly runners, boost the soil with a little Yum Yum mix, Earth Magic, Protein crumblies, Age Old Growth, worm castings, or compost, and get ready to start your early peas, (St. Patty's Day), and new lettuces, chards, kales, sorrel, herbs, radishes, and leeks. You can get a 2-1/2 month jump on the season with Grow Y'own covered beds, and be eating baby greens salads in March instead of May! Today, with the chill winds blowin outside and temps in the 30's, we just had to throw a French cassoulet together in the slow cooker, pull out a frozen tupperware container of last Fall's Asian pear harvest, and start rolling out the pastry crust for a pear and walnut galette, for dinner tonight with a couple of close friends. So nice to have a larder of fruits and vegetables that we put away in the Fall from our own property, and can enjoy them now in these late Winter times!

Garlic!

Garlic! An impressive seasoning as well as a delicious vegetable. And, it has amazing health benefits! It reduces cholesterol, its an antibiotic and an antioxidant, and by increasing circulation it is reputed to be an aphrodisiac! We make a simple pasta with olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper called Pasta Aglio e Olio (eye-o-oo-lee-o). Very quick to prep, and OH so healthy! 

 

 

Mushrooms in the Forest

Many years ago, I would make an annual pilgrimage to Breitenbush Hot Springs, south of Portland, Oregon, for the annual Mycology Conference. For 4 wonderful days in the woods, about 150-200 of us would gather, listen to lectures, watch slide shows, and...eat!! Paul Stamets and Dr. Andrew Weil were there every year, as well as other select teachers. On the last night, armed with pointed bamboo chopsticks, we would take turns spearing shiitakes, matsutakes, and many other delicious species off the grills, and feast! The memories have stayed with me all these years, although some of the mycological details have slipped through the cerebral cracks. However, I have retained enough to enjoy foraging for chanterelles and porcinis here in the mountains of New Mexico. One of my favorite recipes that remains is Fettucine in a Porcini Mushroom Cream Sauce....

Put 1/2 cup dried porcinis in a bowl, and cover with 1 cup hot water. (For the addicted mycrophiles, you can put more, as long as its in a 2 to 1 ration with the water.) Let soak for about 15 minutes, and then drain, reserving the liquid for later. Roughly chop the mushrooms, and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a bowl, and cook the fettuccine until al dente- about 7-8 minutes.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil, and 2 tbsps of butter in a skillet. Add 1/4c minced shallots, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add 2 tsps minced garlic (we put more!), and cook for about 1 minute. Add the chopped mushrooms, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the reserved mushroom liquid, bring to a boil, and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated- about 2 minutes. Add 1-1/2c heavy cream, 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, and simmer 4-5 minutes, till the cream is thick and reduced. Add 2 tbsps chopped fresh parsley, and stir all.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sauce, tossing well to coat. Add 2 tbsps grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, toss, and remove from heat.

Divide the pasta between 2 bowls, garnish each with 2 tbsps PG cheese, and serve.

Yowza's!! 

Early Spring Planting

Spring is almost springing! Get started in March for a 2-3 month jump on the season. Even though those Winter storms keep rolling in, intermittently, you can start planting loads of veggies and herbs that will not only make it, but be going great guns when other folks are just starting to get in the ground. For those people who's beds have been growing all Winter, the beginning of March is when everything in them will start to take off. You can even put in your squash, eggplant, cukes, melons, and other vining plants, if you've got a heat setup, and then transplant them to the outside after May 15th. Its never too early or too late with a Grow Y'own double cover system. And, you can start watching your food bills go down!

School Gardening Programs

Its only the beginning of February, but elementary schools in Santa Fe are lining up and starting their own sustainable gardening programs. Four more, plus the dozen or so other schools, will be growing and learning about sustainability, horticulture, math, science, and more. I am trying to complete a Kickstarter project, which will be a documentary film, and a step-by step primer on how to do such projects at institutions around the country. I have 10 days left to meet my goal. So please go to:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1384247339/santa-fe-community-college-sustainable-garden-docu?ref=live

pledge your support, and then watch students lead the way in this educational agricultural revolution!

And, network this to all you know who would like to see this happen, nationwide!

Thank you!

Community Farms

Community Farms. If you don't have one in your community, why
don't you try to start one? Its a wonderful way to come together and produce healthy food for everyone, whether they participate or not. Check out:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1384247339/santa-fe-community-college-sustainable-garden-docu?ref=live

This is the way to find out about HOW to start a sustainable gardening project in your community, or at your educational institutions. 11 days to go to make this a reality. Surely SOMEBODY you know would like to back a film like this, and spread the wealth around all schools and colleges in the country? Email everyone, and in the meantime, start thinking how you can communally grow food!

Carrots!

Carrots! Went out to one of our beds this weekend and picked a bunch of carrots. Came in, cleaned them, and juiced them right up. Wow! Sweet and so full of life force! Rich in beta carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in the liver, carrots have many healthy effects on the body. To name a few qualities...
Improves vision, skin, teeth and gums
Antioxidant
Lowers risk of heart disease
Cancer preventative
Plus, you can just leave them in the ground through the Winter, and pick them when you need 'em. They just get sweeter!

February Seasonal Foods

February Seasonal Foods. No matter where you are in the US, SOMETHING is growing seasonally that is less expensive, fresher, and more nutritious. You'll also be reducing the carbon footprint, creating less pollution, and sparing the energy it takes to transport these foods thousands of miles. Here in Santa Fe, we can pick arugula, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, lettuces, carrots, onions, shallots, leeks, beets, parsnips, cilantro and most herbs besides basil, celery, brussels sprouts, kales, chards, and bok choi. So buy and grow local, and put the brakes on things that can wait till Summer!

Waiting out the Storms

Yes, I know, its a wicked emotional gardening rollercoaster! First freezing temps for a month, then a break with beautiful warm weather, and now a snowstorm again. Well, the good thing is that the freezing temps are a thing of the past, and its just going to get warmer! You can still get a jump on planting by taking advantage of the NEXT warm break in weather! We're getting lots of orders, and just need a bit of warmth, and melted snow, to get in there and get you set up. Call today to set up a free site visit and chat! As for today, stay inside and eat that delicious fresh soup that you made, 
and daydream about filling your next one with veggies out of your own garden bed!