Tag Archives: Broccoli

The Raw ingredients

July 29, 2016 (2)Spring planting season was simply a blur. Maybe I am starting to feel my age, or maybe it really was that busy at school. I hardly got anything planted. My potted plants all died of neglect. Ray kept the puppies, the nuggets and fish healthy, but my pots! me oh my oh! Deer took out nearly all the leaves and fruit from the trees in the front garden, and some kind of bug ate the salad out front. Those are what I see everyday. Yesterday, I ventured out a little farther.

In the midst of all the schoolwork I had to bring home to score, I vaguely remember popping a few seeds into the soil on the occasional Sunday night. I am overwhelmed with Joy!

July 29, 2016 (6)Green rows of lush Swiss, Peppermint and Rhubarb ChardThis is Peppermint Chard

July 29, 2016 (9)Volunteer Broccoli. No Idea what kind it is. We grow open-pollinated Thompson’s, Solstice and Umpqua.

July 29, 2016 (11)Joy! I had forgotten that I put in a few rows of snap beans! This is the blossom of a pink podded snap bean, simply called, “Pink” I also see evidence of yellow French beans, Jade, Purple and I think there might be a few Dragon Beans. We like a pretty plate of tender raw beans with a ranch dip.

July 29, 2016 (15)I love seeds! This is a thick row of lush summer lettuce. Most of it is different kinds of Roman (Green, Red and one of our favorites, Flashy Trout’s Back) I’m also seeing Grandpa Admire’s and a butterhead called Divina. They are growing in a bed with some randy snap beans and the peppers that I didn’t think would get so crowded… but I always think that in spring.

July 7, 2016 (24)I also found potatoes ready to harvest, loads of apples, herbs, sweet peas, tomatoes (wow do they need some attention!) garlic and shallots, even a very few summer onions. I just had to get myself past the disaster that is my back porch. Maybe it is time to clean off the porch so that I feel more like a farmer and less like a failure.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV

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The First Half of April in the Garden

April 2, 2016 (2)
April at The Toy Box. I cannot say that I have been working hard to get where we are this month, I like to putter about for a couple of hours after school every day. Maybe it would be better to proclaim, I have been diligent. Yep, that’s it, I am going with diligent. We have been checking off the jobs that need to be done in the days working up to where we are. Getting trees planted or trimmed, adding wood chips, running flats of seedlings in and out of the weather, protecting them from frost and floods of rain. April is when the “diligence” comes together. We are already eating some of this years salad with the last of last years herbs, leeks and kale.

April 1, 2016 (7)

Morning Prayer

Just when it seems like Ray can sit back and enjoy the beauty of our Suburban Farm, I come up with another major, pain in his back, plan. This season it involves moving two established SFG’s (square foot gardens) to make room for more BTE (back to Eden) growing areas. As subsistence farmers we want to get as much food from our little bit of land as we are able. I (Debs) started out as a foodie/hobby farmer. Best use of space was not part of my plan.

April 1, 2016 (2)

Winter Sown Artichokes (up-potted)

Seedlings: We have soil blocks of tomatoes waiting to be potted up. I have been saving that job for a rainy day. As of today (April 2, 2016) I am on the last weekend of Spring Break from school. The weather has been beautiful so I keep putting that job off. I am reading that rain is coming. The job will get done. The salad greens (romain and mixed reds) have been planted in the front yard SFG, one of the pots of sweet-pea starts were planted in the front garden. Our broccoli and cauliflower are huge and ready for planting out. (suddenly I am feeling just a little bit overwhelmed).

April 2, 2016 (8)

Swiss Chard makes a comeback

Everett, Washington had a very mild winter. We are not quite safe from a “last frost date” yet so I am still holding my breath. We garden just north of “don’t worry about killing frosts in spring” land. I stand amazed watching winter food become beautiful plants. The Swiss Chard in this picture is one example. Light frosts and heavy rain reduced is to an unappetizing mess that I was sure I would be digging out; but look at it. Instead of digging it out I need to dig out my recipes! We have grown the white stem type of chard ever since we have grown it. I have not learned to enjoy it raw yet so the beautiful colors available have not found a place in my chard patch… until this year. I am looking forward to a new variety labeled “Peppermint Chard”. It looks like it has a red-pink base and white upper stem and veins. Am I the only goofy ol’ woman who gets excited about a different color of chard?

April 2, 2016 (5)

Spring Artichoke

One Artichoke survived winter 2015-16 in our Everett, WA garden. In truth we have had roots survive to send up fresh growth but we have never had a whole plant survive the winter. One hard frost could bring it down so I am trying to not get too attached. But I cannot help thinking how totally kewl to have 2nd season artichokes this summer! I also have a beautiful, thick stand of delicious red celery growing in the same garden. It smells awesome! I have not read any good reviews about red celery yet…. here is mine. YUM.

April 2, 2016 (10)

Leeks and (umm) chicken food

The last of our leeks and celeriac have been lovely! This year the guys did not get out to gather fallen leaves so I never did get leaf mulch piled around my root crops, they were fine. There was only one day that I went out to harvest for a winter dinner that turned into a fail because of frozen ground. The last few leeks I have harvested have had woody centers, a sigh that they are getting ready to bolt so I need to use them as quickly as possible. The garlic I planted last October is beautiful. I made such a dumb mistake.

April 2, 2016 (9)

Green Roman and Valentine Mix Lettuce

I remember Paul Gautschi of the BTE film saying that I should put my very best potatoes right back into the ground for the next harvest; which I did. What I missed is that they will come up the following March, which they have. Mean while I thought the replant of potatoes was a total fail and planted my garlic over the former potato bed. While the potato sprouts are still fairly small, both are doing fine. Last year all of my garlic was volunteer. The garlic I planted was from the best of those cloves. This season I found dozens of new garlic volunteers while cleaning up a bed for early pea plants. I should have plenty of garlic this season (assuming everything goes well in my garden world). We have made so many soups and put up so much stock that we are plum outta garlic already! Lately we have been clipping green garlic with our parsley (another winter survivor) when we make a dish that needs a spicy boost.

April 2, 2016 (11)

Climbing pea and bean frame

For the first time since moving to Everett, I will not be planting my main crop of peas in a SFG. We have a whole system of support to attach to the SFG beds. Back when I planted tall peas in Robe Valley (east of Granite Falls, WA) I quit planting tall peas because they were too difficult to keep upright when the vines were heavy with our famous rain combined with the occasional wind storm. Ray has built a frame for the BTE garden that we have high hopes for. The legs of the frame go a little more then a foot into the ground. I have planted peas on the port side of the frame and plan to plant green beans on the starboard side in late May. There will be a short season when both are growing on the frame, but the peas should be done by mid July when the beans are just taking off. We are hoping for a fantastic harvest (knees bent, fingers laced!)

April 2, 2016 (12)

Fava Bean sprouts

Strawberries are coming up through the wood chips, raspberries are making buds, the logan and marian berry vines are already looking lush. Still no sigh of Asparagus, but I guess it is a little early. I have spotted early leaves of Rhubarb and it is beautiful. The comfrey is fixen to take over the berry beds. I’ve also seen early signs of deer damage. Gurrrr! The fava beans (also known as broad beans) we planted in February are looking great, except for one little problem. The garden looks so empty in February that I tend to plant far too many of , well, everything that gets planted early. Good thing we love Fava beans! (they are not really a reason to drink Italian wine… or so the  theory goes).

April 2, 2016 (13)

A living grid in the SFG

A living grid of carrots, radishes, spinach, mixed greens, fennel, scallions, bok choi, and I forget what else; was the plan for one of the tomato beds. Somewhere in the planting, I forgot that I was making a grid and started squeezing in as much as I could. Looking at the bed now, if everything grows, it will be a tight fit but I am sure I can still get those tomato plants growing and keep them happy. Some mistakes are happy accidents. That is what I am hoping for this one.

April 1, 2016 (5)

First, a cuppa jo, then we work

We have entered a time of year when there is a new check list every two weeks instead of every month. We are still looking for a multi-espaliered sweet cherry tree. Does anyone even make those? Beds need to be moved, seedlings planted out, framework put up for the tomatoes, maybe a new tomato tent if we have a sudden cold snap. The pepper bed needs more soil mix and the kitty kover should go over that bed. I really need to get busy on the new herb garden since Ray has terraced the hill side with the stones his mother chose for her porch so many years ago. It just needs a good weeding and the plants I’ve been growing for it. Beet seeds need to go in…. somewhere. So many happy puzzles to figure out.

April 1, 2016 (1) For as long as this post is, this is the short version of how my garden grows. How about you? Be sure to include where you garden and let me know how you are feeding your self (or making the world a beautiful place with your flowers!) where you live. I hear that the strawberry harvest is already over in Texas.

Debs… who only has time to sit because it is Sabbath. Tomorrow we will be getting out and getting dirty, with joy!

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Late March at the Toy Box

March 6 2016 (1)
March is stressful. I am anxious to get my garden growing but at school, children are starting to realize that if they want to avoid summer school, they better get cracking! Somehow I have managed to get most of my chores done.

The early peas are in, so are the carrots and greens. Fava beans are showing but there is still so much to do.

March 2, 2016 (3) I love my greenhouse. It lets me go out no matter what the weather is. By doing just a little each day I feel OK about being ready to plant. Those onions are a little disappointing this year. I usually have water from an aquaponics tank to water the greenhouse. Fish tank water is powerful and makes onions fatten up fast! Not so much this year.

March 20, 2016 (5)

Broccoli and Cauliflower hardening off before going into the ground.

March 20, 2016 (2)

Winter-sown artichokes up-potted. I have no idea where I will put them all, but I am confident that I will find a place.

March 20, 2016 (4)

If only I could find a day to plant the sweet peas out.

March 8, 2016 (3)

This little bed is doing well. Early in March I put in mixed greens, peas and lots of volunteer garlic. Every thing is growing well. We have actually been harvesting small salads from the greens.

March 18, 2016 (1)

Sunrise at The Toy Box Suburban Farm. We are still here and trying to share what is going on in Everett, Washington. Sometimes we just keep up with the work and do not have time to write. Never mind, only nine weeks of school left. We will be back soon enough!

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Make soil blocks and plant some seeds

I meant to start my February seeds on Valentines Day, but as much as I like to get my hands dirty, I do not like squishing around in soil block mud without gloves. Went shopping, came home, made dinner, kissed my Valentine and BAM it was too dark to work outside. Lucky me, we had Presidents Day off from school too, so out in the rain I went to plant seeds into soil blocks.

Not long enough for popcorn, so grab a licorice or a chocolate and enjoy.

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Root Division of Tarragon

Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm means dividing Tarragon.

So many tarragon lovers take cuttings of mature stems. Honestly I’ve never tried that because early in February, when there isn’t much to do on a NorthWestern urban farm, dividing up a pot of Tarragon is a pleasant way to count down the days until Spring. It is a simple, no fuss way to spend a chilly day in an (almost) warm greenhouse.

The video starts with the onions getting their first hair cut… hang in there for the Tarragon.

February 6, 2016 Weather February Garden To-Do’s

  • Make a tray of “soil-blocks”
  • Start blocks of broccoli, cauliflower and peas
  • Plant Fava Beans
  • Start a mini tray of lettuces
  • Finish (or start) garden plan

In Everett, Washington we are less then 15 minutes shy of the “ten hours of daylight” time. Assuming the weather co-operates, things start growing in ten hours of daylight! Whoot!

Debs…. off to make a Leek Tart with a few of those fat leeks standing proud in the garden and the eggs the chickens are still laying (Thanks Foodie Laura).

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Broccoli seed (How to?)

January 18, 2016 (1) broccoli seed

What a slow job! This is the first time I have ever tried to save seed from broccoli… and there is a lot of pods that need to be emptied. So far I am opening each pod and trying to empty them like little mini pea pods. If there is an easier way I would sure like to know!

These are OP Thompson’s. I got 7 to 9-inch heads from this type. That size of head makes a bigger meal then all four of us could eat at one sitting. And we love broccoli!

Last year I was down to two seeds and no money. So I planted those two seeds and let them go to seed. I have an amazing amount of pods from those two plants. But surely there must be an easier way to get the seed out of those little pods?

January 11, 2016 (2) - Copy

January 18, 2016

This took me all morning, mostly because the weather font I wanted would not down load. I forgot to date the picture

Happy birthday to my nephew Ben!

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Morning Devotions: Psalm 4

Hear me when I call, O God of my right! Thou hast given me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1 rsv+

Front Garden tomatoes. October 2 and we are still getting tomatoes from the neglected front garden.

Front Garden tomatoes. October 2 and we are still getting tomatoes from this neglected front garden. Our main garden on the south-east side of the house was done a month ago.

This week’s Psalm is Psalm 4. It is a song about the connection of prayer and peace.

Psalm 4 begins with restlessness. Whatever it is that David is facing at this time in his life has him in distress. He reminds the Almighty that he (David) is righteous because of his relationship and obedience to God. He remembers that in the past the Almighty has given him relief from the circumstances that cause him distress. I personally think that David wants a sign that he is not just saying words but that God hears him and is answering. I can almost hear David begging the LORD to show him something, let him see that his words have been heard. I bet you know how that feels.

As believers, we try to live our lives in The Way that we believe is pleasing to YHVH (the LORD). Sometimes we have an attitude that living according to what we understand the Bible to say about The Way is some kind of currency we can spend when life gets hard. “I’ve been careful to tithe, I do not swear, I hang with people who love Jesus, I try to be kind… “ but our prayer does not seem to be answered. We know why those who do not believe in Jesus are having distress, but why are we?

The Cucumbers are nearly finished. Nights are down to the high forties. A long summer of drought was hard on all of the vine crops. We still have just enough pickle and lemon cucumbers to keep fresh, crisp veggies in my bentos.

The Cucumbers are nearly finished. Nights are down to the high forties. A long summer of drought was hard on all of the vine crops. We still have just enough pickle and lemon cucumbers to keep fresh, crisp veggies in my bentos.

Psalm 4 lets us in on one of the Almighty’s secrets! We have nothing to offer to YHVH but listening ears and a heart that will do exactly what He tells us to do. Psalm 4 is telling us to sit still and listen to the Almighty. Verse 3; the LORD has set apart believers for himself and hears our prayers. Maybe we need to stop talking when we are distressed and start listening from our heart.

Verses 4 and 5 remind me of Proverbs 3:5 and 6.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. nkj

During your most distressful time the Almighty will give you supernatural peace even while you sleep. He has heard you pray. If you feel as if things are not going your way and you are still feeling restless with worry, you do not need to repeat your prayer, you need to listen.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 nkj

No more big central heads. In point of fact, there are no more large side shoots. I still have broccoli daily in my bentos. This late in the year the plants are getting desperate to produce seed and it is difficult to stay ahead of the flowers. But I love the flowers in my lunch and in my salads. Nothing goes to waste.

No more big central heads. In point of fact, there are no more large side shoots. I still have broccoli daily in my bentos. This late in the year the plants are getting desperate to produce seed and it is difficult to stay ahead of the flowers. But I love the flowers in my lunch and in my salads. Nothing goes to waste.

With each prayer YHVH answers, you will grow in confidence that you are precious to Him. He protects you with his mighty hand. Do you think that the last thing he will ever do for you was done at the cross? Or in the upper room (Acts chapter 2). I’m telling you, the life you live as a believer is dynamic, up-to-date, in the moment.  (Galatians 2:19-20) Keep walking The Way, keep your eyes on Jesus. You will grow in your trust in the LORD and the sweet rest of Psalm 4 comes when we are able to stop being frantic about what we want God to hear and start to listen to the Almighty. Remember Peter in Acts chapter 12? Go read it if you don’t remember. Peter was about to be killed for political gain. The church prayed through the night. Peter was in prison, chained between two government thugs, men who were accustom to keeping the public safe from murderous criminals. What did Peter do? He slept soundly, just as Psalm 4 says. (really, go look at Acts 12 and see for yourself just how soundly Peter slept on what could have been the last hours of his life on earth).

That is a lemon cucumber, but the orange tomato and the broccoli are from the plants pictured above. The tiny egg came from one of this years hens.  There are even a few ground cherries from the Toy Box in this Bento. Underneath the steak and tomatoes there is a layer of spicey greens that we grow for fresh winter food. The watermelon and blackberries come from TJ's but we save so much by growing our own food, expensive store fruit does not break us.

That is a lemon cucumber, but the orange tomato and the broccoli are from the plants pictured above. The tiny egg came from one of this years hens. There are even a few ground cherries from the Toy Box in this Bento. Underneath the steak and tomatoes there is a layer of spicey greens that we grow for fresh winter food. The watermelon and blackberries come from TJ’s but we save so much by growing our own food, expensive store fruit does not break us.

Is something bothering you today? Is your stress level making you feel as if your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Remember what God has already done for you, starting at the cross. Remember the day you were born-again (and if you do not remember, then please, take care of that right now!). Go to your favorite Psalm or passage of scripture. Look for what God says about himself and praise him for it. It can be as simple as, “Abba (Father) I praise you (or love you) because you are my righteousness” Ps 4:1 Or, “I Love you because you hear prayer” Ps 4:3. Or maybe, “I praise you because you are trustworthy” Ps 4:5. Or even,” I love you because you are my safe place” Ps 4:8. You get the idea.

It used to bug me when my mother-in-law would tell me that reading scripture and praying would put her to sleep when she was restless. I wondered if it didn’t bother the Almighty that someone would fall asleep while He was talking to them. I am pretty sure that Psalm 4 answers that question. He is the one who gives us peaceful sleep when our mind is on him. Give it a try.
Mrs. Hagerty; September 29, 2015

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