Tag Archives: cauliflower

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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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Fresh from the garden, Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm

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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Morning Devotions: Joshua 4:19–5:12

Circumcision. An uncomfortable word that simply means to cut off or to be cut off. Originally only done to men in the flesh, it is currently for all Galatians 3:28(1) because the Almighty has taken away the division. Now it is done to the heart by faith.

Note; before you read the devotion, I encourage you to read today’s passage. If you happen to not have your Bible with you then you can read the passage with many of my personal study notes here-Joshua 4:19 – 5:12

Why did the children of Israel submit to circumcision after 40 years of not practicing it? The Almighty had just shown them who He is by drying the Jordan at flood stage so that they could cross on dry land. The enemies of the people heard of this and were terrified, unwilling to attack Israel after hearing what their God did for them. At the same time the children of Israel were encouraged in the Almighty and ready to renew the covenant their parents had with Him.

If there is one consistent thing Christian preachers say about “the law” it is that no one can keep it. It’s true, you cannot keep the law. The next most common comment about the law is that it doesn’t save anyone. Again, that is true. So why did the Almighty ask the children of Israel to enter this covenant of Torah with Him?

The Torah is not to be “kept” the way we understand this verb in English. It is not something we “do” in exchange for salvation. It is to be guarded. Does guarding the Torah mean we are exempt from submitting to what it says? I do not believe that is correct. Israel literally circumcised every man and boy who entered the promised land after crossing the Jordan on dry land in primary obedience to Torah. Next, they kept the Passover.

Were they “saved” by keeping Torah? No, they kept Torah because they were in covenant relationship with the Almighty. He brought them to the land he promised their Fathers and he did it by his supernatural power. THEN he asked them to do that most difficult act of obedience, circumcision of the flesh. First great grace was shown (the waters of the Jordan were “held back”), then obedience was required. They did not cross into the land of promise because of their obedience. They were obedient because they had crossed the Jordan into the land of Promise.

Why don’t we become circumcised when we enter a covenant relationship with the Almighty? Actually, we do, but it is not in the flesh of our men but in the heart of each believer. We are “cut off” from the world. Heaven is our home but we are still here on earth as ambassadors, missionaries. We are in this world but we are cut off or circumcised from the way of the world.

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. John 17:14-19 nkj

The English word sanctify means to make holy, to be officially approved by something. It comes from the Hebrew, Qodesh meaning, for the LORD’s use. We are for the LORD’s use, He has shown us how to live, what is good and what He requires of us.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does YHVH require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

That is why we circumcise our heart. The world tries to tell us what is good and just, but the Almighty is the one we look to for what is truly good and just. To keep HIS Way is to walk humbly with Him.

Romans 10:5-13 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on Torah shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith (a’men) speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”  But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.  For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;  for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” nasu

Mrs. Hagerty, November 2, 2015

November 15, 2015 (4)

Fresh Cauliflower in November at The Toy Box Suburban Farm in Everett, Wa.

(1) Galatians 3: 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Y’shua  haMashiach.

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Morning Devotions: Psalm 5

Surprise! I am so unsuccessful at growing cauliflower, but I keep trying. Found one today! It is small, but this small cauliflower is the biggest cali I've ever grown. Gonna do something with it tomorrow!

Surprise! I am so unsuccessful at growing cauliflower, but I keep trying. Found one today! It is small, but this small cauliflower is the biggest cali I’ve ever grown. Gonna do something with it tomorrow!

Take time to pray.
Direct your eyes
Make God your Refuge

Yesterday, in Junior High Ladies Devotions, we saw Rahab make an amazing confession of faith.

… for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Joshua 2:11b nasu

Rahab was raised in a pagan culture. She only knew the false gods of Jericho, but when the Almighty parted the Red Sea to allow Israel to cross from Egypt to The Land that He promised to them, and when the giants Sihon and Og were defeated, whose armies were probably why Jericho had such an impressive wall, she knew that the God of Israel was the king of kings, and Lord of lords. The God in heaven above and on earth beneath. We finished our lesson with Rahab living in an apartment in the wall of Jericho. We know that wall is about to come crashing down, yet Rahab and her family will be safe there. How can that be?

October 18th and we are still picking red, vine-ripe tomatoes. They are from our unheated green house, but still, VINE RIPE TOMATOES! I also  picked basil, spinach, parsley and french parsley for sandwiches I made for Sunday afternoon lunch. Sometimes I actually eat something that isn't from a bento box.

October 18th and we are still picking red, vine-ripe tomatoes. They are from our unheated green house, but still, VINE RIPE TOMATOES! I also picked basil, spinach, parsley and french parsley for sandwiches I made for Sunday afternoon lunch. Sometimes I actually eat something that isn’t from a bento box.

Nearly a thousand years later, King David, ruling the land of promise, still acknowledges that the Almighty is LORD of both heaven and earth in Psalm 5. David writes about God who hears our prayer and takes action. God expects us to be different then the world around us. In fact He expects us to live lives that are radically different then those around us. But he is not tyrant, He is the God of lovingkindness. The Hebrew word for lovingkindness is the same as our word for grace. God asks us to live by grace. He asks us to live a righteous life by grace. His lovingkindness makes The Way of grace clear to us. In return, He is our refuge, our hiding place in troubling times. He is our shelter, our shield.

I'm growing these dwarf peas for their greens, but I might just get peas! Peas or not, they are delicious and pretty..... and they do not taste like so many of the cole crops we grow for winter food, another plus!

I’m growing these dwarf peas for their greens, but I might just get peas! Peas or not, they are delicious and pretty….. and they do not taste like so many of the cole crops we grow for winter food, another plus!

You may ask, is an invisible God strong enough here on earth, to protect me from harm? Sure he will bring me to heaven someday if I am good enough, but what can he do for me on earth?

Know first of all that it is not your goodness that will get you to heaven, it is the blood of Jesus that will qualify you for heaven. As for how strong God is on earth, Rahab lived in the wall. By faith in the God of heaven, she and her family were safe in that wall. They would not have been safe anywhere else. Common sense would say that the safe place would have been far away from that wall but faith is being obedient to God, putting your trust in his hands. Sometimes it takes courage to trust in the LORD with your whole heart and to not depend on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) God kept his word to Rahab. He was a refuge, a shelter and a shield to David. What is he to you? What kind of a risk are you willing to take to test Him?

Ps 118:5-9 nasu
5 From my  distress I called upon the LORD;  The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
6 The LORD is for me; I will not fear;  What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in princes.

Mrs. Hagerty, October 6, 2015

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Season 5 Begins

Season 5 begins.

Season 5 begins.

2014 at the Toy Box Sub-Urban Farm began with a whisper of snow. Creation is encouraging me to rest a while longer. The Snow Moon has faded into darkness, the Worm Moon is a waxing crescent glow somewhere beyond the clouds. No one told the storm that the time for snow was gone. Even so, the clock in my heart is ready to experience the scent of dirt, the kiss of the breeze and fresh green seedlings.

Greens, parsley and onions

Greens, parsley and onions

While the days were still short I started vegetables on a heat mat in the kitchen before moving them to our little greenhouse. Onions and leeks, artichokes and salad greens are all defying the winter chill. Broccolis, cauliflowers (the season 5 challenge) and more salad greens were started in soil blocks. Each of them have their 2nd sets of leaves. I worried that they were in the kitchen too long. Each variety has different sprout times. Since they were all in one flat, some became “leggy” in the kitchen window while waiting for their cousins to wake up. I am happy to report that after a month in the green house I have not lost any to weak stems (so far). I do not use grow lights, a luxury I have in the Pacific North West. We are famous for our rain but those clouds keep our winter nights mild.

Have you ever scene a rhubarb root?

Have you ever seen a rhubarb root?

There is more to season 5 then green house plants. One of the SFG (Square Foot Garden) has fragrant garlic and shallots coming up under a poly cover. A brand new rhubarb is sending up the first amber leaves in the front SFG. Peas and fava beans have already been pressed into the ground in other gardens. Because I am a belt and suspender gal, there is a back-up tray of peas planted in soil cubes in the green house, just in case some critter feasts on fresh pea sprouts growing unprotected outside. My fear of critter feasts are not strictly imaginary. All our kale and over winter broccoli have been eaten down to stumps. I suspect raccoons.

Herbs in the green house; Tarragon make a comeback.

Herbs in the green house; Tarragon make a comeback.

The fruit trees and blueberries are being moved to the front garden. Inspired by Back to Eden, Ray has built a boarder and is filling it with chipped wood for a perma-culture food forest (forest may be a stretch, it is more of an alley). My plan is to put the artichokes in this garden while the fruit trees, a multi-cherry, a multi-pear and an Orcus Pear, are still small. I am hopeful that there will be room for the pie cherries I would like to add to my dream of an orchard-forest.

The Pantry and Freezer are still comfortably full but I sure am looking forward to the first salad of baby greens.

Bomber and nuggets, Lil'bit, Stella and Birtha

Bomber and nuggets, Lil’bit, Stella and Bertha

March 6, 2014, Everett, Washington Showers turning to rain (do they say that anywhere else?) We are under a flood watch. The Toy Box Suburban Farm sits high on a bluff far from the river, even so, the ground is a squishy sponge.  A high of 56 F and a comfortable low of 47 F. Steady SSE wind of 10 mph gusting to 20 mph. More of the same for the rest of the week. 11 hours, 18 minutes of daylight (rise 6:41 AM, set 5:59 PM)

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