Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Local Booty and Garden Update - 2/19-2/28/09

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Local Booty and Garden Update - 2/19-2/28/09

It is hard to believe that it is already the last day of February, but here it is, time sure seems to fly as you get older. Anyways, after doing something I rarely forget to do - go to the Root Cellar when we need something - I remembered to stop by yesterday after work and was able to score some good finds. A lot of the produce isn't local, but it is winter in Missouri, what are you going to do?

Since not a whole lot is happening on the garden front, until things pick up, I will be doing joint local booty/garden updates.

Let's start with the local booty. This is our week's haul from the Root Cellar, I don't remember what this ran, this has been a bad memory week for me - meaning, I forget things a lot in general, but this week was particularly bad I suppose. Thank goodness for lists and notes! But anywho...

Starting from the bottom right: eggroll wrappers (not local), red and yellow onions (not local), ginger root (I'm pretty sure this isn't local), avocados (not local), oyster mushrooms (local), red cabbage (not sure), Uprise Bakery's Columbia Sourdough (local), red potatoes (not sure), organic white flour (not local), active dry yeast (not local - these last two items are for a "sponge" for a ciabatta I plan on making), peach butter (local), and Country Goodies hot pepper relish (local).

And now onto the garden update. A few of our seeds have germinated! I was planning on making newspaper pots this weekend and starting more seed since I ran out of pots last weekend, but - big surprise here - I forgot to bring home the newspaper I had been collecting from work. Sigh.

First, I will show you our revolutionary and high-tech seed starting operation.

I know, I know, very complicated and sophisticated right? We use these plastic bins to store our seed starts in. We've had most of these containers for awhile; we were using them as "storage solutions" for things we were never going to use. So, as we have slowly "pawned off" the stored items on people who wanted/needed them, we have gained "hot houses". We like starting our seeds in bins like this for a number of reasons: it saves space - these are stackable, it keeps the cats out of them, it helps the soil maintain moisture longer, and it provides heat and humidity. I use the spray bottle you see to water the plants. I use the "mist setting" and saturate the soil, I don't uproot plants that way and there isn't a whole lot of soil disturbance either. And of course, you see my handy-dandy gardening journal. If it wasn't right there with the starts, I would forget to document their progress. I've learned over the years many ways to compensate for my horrible memory.

Here is a Sheepnose Pimento pepper sprout - it germinated on Wednesday (2/25).

These are Winterbor Kale seedlings, we noticed they had sprouted yesterday (Friday, 2/27).

These are Renegade Spinach seedlings; they also sprouted yesterday (2/27).

These are Bright Lights Chard seedlings; we also noticed they had sprouted yesterday (2/27). I don't know if you can see it or not, but there are a couple more seedlings in one of the slots in the back.

Not much else to report on the garden front - we have been making sure that we keep the soil for the starts moist, and we are still battling the aphids, we want to get rid of them before we take the plants outside, and before we start anymore indoor things in the AeroGarden or otherwise. We do seem to be making good progress with the aphids, but I think this is also going to involve some sort of "starving out period" as well. Our "plant room" may have to be plant free for a little while. We have our seed starts in a different room, we don't want to deal with aphids on them unless they are an issue once they are outside - not that we want to deal with that either, but it would be better than them starting out with them from the beginning.

So, in other errant parts of J&B's strange world, I have "re-discovered" my camera, so to speak. Seeing that it is winter, and thus there isn't much in the way of good nature photo opportunities (not even snow dammit, you can't take pictures of the wind and that is what our winter seems to have been comprised of for the most part), and I don't like taking pictures of random people, or even really people I know for that matter, so what follows are some of the highlights from my novice photography stint this week in my free time.

Meet the other love of Brett's life: Ms. PS3. Isn't she lovely, what with all her cords coming out the back and her spaceship like functionalities?. I hate to admit it, but I am actually a bit scared of the thing, it can connect and communicate information with his PSP. What the hell? Am I the only one who is uncomfortable with that? Where will it end?


This is yet more of the competition I face: Head Coach 2009. You know I willingly purchased this for him as a surprise? No, I joke, he is really nerdy about the football like I am about books so we understand each other, even though our particular focus is different. And what's more, we are both comfortable enough to get lost for hours in our respective forms of entertainment, it is very nice.

And yes, those are "rabbit ears" atop the telly. We don't have cable and honestly don't watch TV unless it is football season (we did watch Obama's speech the other night). I know there is that whole "digital switch" thing on the horizon, but Brett's mom got us the converter box you need for Christmas, though we didn't get to go up there, so it is still in Illinois, but we aren't concerned about it, we won't need it until football season starts again.

Whew, am I long-winded or what?

Here are a few cat pictures because, well, when you don't take pictures of people, and also don't like going places you have to use whatever inspiration you have at your disposal. So I torment the cats by taking their pictures.

Both the cats really like having their heads rubbed. Nermal also likes you to rub behind her ears (she has some ear problems), she is like a dog, she'll even get a leg going from time to time.

Doesn't it look like she is smiling? Maybe I am just anthropomorphizing the cat.

Gabby looking like she would like me to stop taking her picture (which I obliged - I loathe having my picture taken, so I understand).

Well anyways, I am off to make a sponge for a ciabatta, enjoy some reading, some music, you know, all those things that boring (young) curmudgeons like me enjoy.

I'll leave you with my Song of the Day:

"Blues in A Minor" - Modern Jazz Quartet

Have a great weekend!

'Til next time.


selina said...

hey. i learned a new word from this post! wanna take a guess at which word that was?

yay for sprouting seeds. i like your hot houses. i have mine starts in a cooler right now. i might have to seal your hot house idea. :)

Anonymous said...

I hear you on the lack of local produce in the Midwest in Feb! Hopefully spring will arrive soon...despite the 6 inches of snow we got dumped on us on Thursday :o) The peach butter sounds delicious, by the way!

Haha--one of my kitties used to LOVE having his ears scratched and his belly rubbed! I used to joke that he was a dog in a cats body--he would get the leg action going sometimes too! Your cats are adorable :o)

PS Good luck with the bread baking!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I like your idea about how to keep seed starts. Especially the stackable factor, something I've been mulling over. Are you using all egg carton cups?
How goes it with the Aerogarden? Effective? Worth the money?

The Voracious Vegan said...

Love the kitties!

Your posts are always so great, I love all the detail.

It is so cool you are sprouting your own seeds, yay!

SusanB said...

Love the seed sprouting condo and cute cat pictures (I can look but not touch -- allergies). I'd say Brett's electronic mistress is rather compact compared to my partner's.

Avery Yale Kamila said...

Your garden is going to absolutely rock this summer! What an amazing line-up of seedlings!

jessy said...

aaaahahahahaa - gabby looks so grumpyfaced! she's cracking me up! i love it! hooray for kitty pictures! i puffy heart pictures of kitties. always makes me smile! yay!

superdoublehooray for some germinating seeds! the wee seedlings are look'n good - you let them know that i'm cheering them on! dan & i are sooo behind this season already. i've gotta get started on some seeds 'n such! eek! i think i got so darn excited that we were actually able to join the CSA that i forgot to start some seeds! opps!

those damn aphids - how frustrating that they just won't go away! true pests, indeed. jerks!

dan looooves his PS3, too - he's got his all set up so that it connects with his computer - i find that pretty darn creepy as well. what's funny is that dan bought this freak'n huge (i hate it so much) flat screen tv and we've got rabbit ears too - we just refuse to pay for cable as we just play vids, watch the occasional movie, and watch football when it's football season. (i miss football season so much already!) ;)

yay for some tasty booty yumminess! i can't wait to see what'cha stuff in those wrappers! ooooooh! nice job on scoring some local goodies! that's too awesome! good luck with the ciabatta and keep us posted! fingers crossed!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Selina - I'll take a wild guess. Was it "curmudgeon"? And if so, do you relate? :-)

I like them too - dual purpose! Coolers are great too, you just have to keep an eye of them, they can get too leggy on you pretty quick. Hey, I didn't invent the hot house, I won't be offended.

Courtney - I am SO SICK of apples. And besides those, there isn't anything else, and it is slim picking aside from that. We are pretty much down to the end of our winter stores (though the freezer needs some attention), and we have bought a bit of out of season produce.

6 inches of snow?!?! I don't know how you folks up North manage that! They were predicting 2 inches here over the weekend, but as usual, we didn't get any. We are supposed to have 60s later this week, hopefully some warm weather will make it your way.

Aw, I love it when kitties like their bellies rubbed.

The bread making went wonderfully!

Living in a Local Zone - We were trying to be resourceful and space efficient (living in an apartment and all) and this happened to work. We are using egg cartons for the greens and herbs, we are using peat pots, starting containers saved from previous years, and newspaper pots for the larger things like peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos. We will also use the larger pots for beans, peas, cukes, squash, etc. I am thinking about using an egg carton for the leeks.

Well we are taking the AeroGarden out of commission for a little while, but I highly recommend them. It needs to be cleaned and aphids attacked our herbs, so we have been spraying the plants and are trying to cause a "die off".

I don't know how much it was as it was a gift from my dad, but I would say so. We were a little concerned that our electricity bill would go up a lot due to the grow lights, but it wasn't bad at all. The level of growth from the herbs, and thus yield was surprising. Those things really grow and will yield multiple clippings a week during times.

Apparently you can also grown things like cherry tomatoes, beans, peas, peppers, etc., in there, you just have to prune them often and keep them bushy and compact. I'm not sure what the yield would be like on those.

And finally, any plants you have in the room near the AeroGarden will benefit from the additional light. We had plants (like our catnip), that had pretty much stopped growing on the natural light they received, now that we have the AeroGarden, the catnip has taken off.

The Voracious Vegan - Thanks, we do too.

Haha, you are nice. I'd say "detail" could also be swapped for "long-winded". :-)

Trial and error is a great way to learn something like this.

Susan B - Allergies, that is a bummer I suppose. Are you allergic to dogs as well? Yeah, sorry about all the cat pictures lately, I am going to move on to more interesting subject material at some point.

Electronic mistress - I love it! Wow, may I ask what your partner's electronic mistress is? He doesn't have a thing for like mainframes or something does he? That could take up a lot of space. ;-)

Avery Yale - I sure hope so. I hope they all go and do well, if so, we will have a tasty variety of local goodies this summer.

Jessy - Yeah, I don't blame her, I hate having my picture taken. Though the look she is giving the camera is Nermal's usual look.

You aren't too far behind, don't worry. I am so happy that you guys are FINALLY getting a CSA, I'm sure you will love it, and I can't wait to see what you do with all that produce!

Jerks indeed. I think they won't go away because we aren't being stringent enough in clearing them out. I think it is going to require no plants being in this room for awhile and no outdoor plants EVER in this room.

You can connect it with your COMPUTER? Seriously? That is frightening. I reluctantly told Brett, but am now regretting it, I hope he isn't getting ideas... :-)

Hahahahaha! I can imagine Brett doing something like that with the TV. We just have this small modest TV for video games and football.

Sigh, I miss football too, and it JUST ENDED. Sigh.

I'm thinking that some of that cabbage just might make its way in. Yum!

Anonymous said...

Sick of apples?! What?! I seriously don't think I could EVER be sick of apples...I love them sooooo much! In fact, I am eating one now :o) I am sorry you are less than thrilled with apples, but with your warm weather, you should be getting more local produce relatively soon? I hope so! AND, I am jealous that you were in the 60s!


PB and Jess said...

I can't wait to see how the sprouting turns out! As a fellow Missourian, I can't wait for spring to get here...I love the farmer's market!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Courtney - I love apples too, they have just been the only available local fresh produce since October, they are just wearing a little thin. Come fall this year though, I will be stoked to see the apples return.

Our farmer's market starts up mid-April, so we only have a few weeks left, I am looking forward to the market's return!

Not to rub in our beautiful weather but we had a high of 76 the other day, it was amazing! I took the long way to the bus station after work, it is amazing how much a sunny warm day can improve your mood.

PB and Jess - First off, I love your screen name. And wahoo for a fellow Missourian. Where at in the good 'ol Show-Me-State do you live if you don't mind my asking?

I should be posting another garden update in the next few days. It is amazing what a difference a week makes once the seeds begin to germinate.

I can't WAIT for the farmer's market to return.

T said...

Your cats are too precious!

So exciting that its almost Spring! Looks like you guys are going to be amply prepared!

Cookiemouse said...

Lovely to see some new seeds sprouting.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

T - I wish I could say I had something to do with it, but, alas, they are cats. But I do agree.

I can't wait for summer. If all these little guys make it to maturity, Brett and I are going to have quite the abundance and variety.

Cookiemouse - I think so too!

Anonymous said...

I've always been impressed at your gardening skills Jennifer. I'm still working on that basil plant. Don't know if you remember. It was a while ago. haha! It's like I have a "gray" thumb. Some plants I kill (orchids) and some plants I flourish (kitty grass). I'm still working on it though. Just hoping to get more sunshine. I'll try that "hot house" idea when I'm planting seeds again. I want to try and plant cilantro and other herbs

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Leng - You are so sweet. I DO remember that basil, I can't believe you still have it alive!

Orchids are very difficult to care for if I understand correctly, not something I would be willing to try!

Good luck with your herb garden!