Zucchiniland

Yep, it’s that time of the year folks.  Back in the spring it was so hard to only plant one zucchini plant.  Heh, now what are you going to do?

I thought I was being restrained. I really did.  After last year’s monster zucchini I didn’t see any reason to ever plant more than one summer squash.

I had picked up some sugar pumpkin seeds this spring at the seed swap at Homegrown New Mexico thinking, “What the heidi-ho? Some pumpkin pie would be nice.”  Well my friends, squash are infamous for being a little naive and a bit loose.   Clearly some some bees took last year’s pumpkin and a willing zucchini out for a few too many drinks because the love child of that tryst created a plant that makes the biggest baddest squash you’ve ever seen!

zumpkins 

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Crispy Kale

Crispy kale chips seem to be spreading like a house-o-fire over the last year as a healthy tasty snack alternative.  At the grocery store a small bag goes for about $3!  As some of you have discovered it’s pretty durn easy to make and a heck of a lot cheaper than buying it at the store.

No matter the year we seem to have an over abundance of dark greens.  Mike can’t just plant one he plants many.  We end up eating mountains of the stuff, blanching more, and taking the extras to the food bank so it turns out to be a win-win.  This year is no different….

I head out to pick some kale.  Now this year I have two big change-up’s  for my crispy kale chips.  The first is to use ‘Dinosaur Kale’.

Dinosaur Kale from last years garden

Dinosaur kale from last year’s garden

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Show and Tell @ Mike and Molly’s House | Boxcar Farm

Farm to table is a popular meme these days.  It evokes all sorts of romantic notions of land stewardship, organic foods and right living.  It lets those who would like to participate in this vision without actually farming themselves close the loop by buying from small local farmers at the farmer’s market or eating at restaurants that carry local food.

boxcar

The boxcar of Boxcar Farm

I got to briefly meet some people last week who are right smack dab at the origin of the cycle.  Kristen and Avrum Katz are the proprietors of Boxcar Farm up in Peñasco, New Mexico and by up I mean 8,000 feet up in the air.  Their high mountain farm picks up more moisture which allows them to do more growing with less irrigation.  I have to admit I was more than a little jealous of their lush pastures although I know they endure some harsh winters in the bargain. » » »

Sprouts!

In the fall we put our garden to bed.  With the exception of a few spinach plants that winter over in a cold frame we say goodbye.  Come early spring we start dreaming of what should get planted.

Mike:  We’ve had a veggie garden since we’ve moved here 9 years ago but the last few years I’ve gotten interested in gardening on a much larger scale.  Last year we really amped up what we grew and how much we grew.  

Molly:  We started seeds inside for the fist time last year.  It was great, kind of.  

Mike:  It was/is a learning curve.  We got real excited last year and planted our seeds a little too early.

To help satiate the need to garden in the spring Mike discovered that planting sprouts indoors is quick and easy.  You can do it all winter if you have a seed starting station.  (or a window) » » »

Canning & Pickling

Having a large vegetable garden is great.  One problem that arises though is what to do with all that food.  It tends to come in all at once and as much as we love to eat our veggies we can’t eat them all.  We blanch and freeze our greens but who doesn’t love a shelf full of pickles?  Last week Mike shared his recipe for his scrumptious green tomato chutney.  You can freeze it but we chose to can it.  Today we will show you how to can the green tomato chutney and how to pickle cucumbers. » » »

Green Tomato Chutney

Up until two years ago I watched in angst as the first frost of fall hit and took out all our green tomatoes.  We just didn’t know what to do with them so we’d let them sit on the vine and die in the freeze.  To make things worse we could never get our tomatoes to start ripening until mid to late August.  The first freeze can be as early as October 15th.  There were always plenty of green tomatoes. » » »

Veggie Seed Saving

It’s that time of year when we pull out the seeds and start some indoor gardening.  Even though we have snow on the ground and currently falling we have to start preparing our garden.

Currently our back garden

Wintertime in our back garden

When we (Mike) expanded our vegetable garden to 460 sq ft last year our intention was two-fold: 1) grow food so we knew where it came from 2) cut back on our grocery expenses.  The issue with the latter is that yes, we can spend less at the grocery store but we can easily see that savings go right into growing our own food.  Over the next few weeks we will share some ways we’ve been learning to keep our costs down.  It takes a little forethought- last year we learned so much we can’t wait to start this year’s garden. » » »

Fast Fresh Salsa

This summer we had an abundance of tomatoes.  When we had the threat of our first freeze Mike and I spent the evening out in the cold, cold rain picking tomatoes.  Bags and bag and bags.  What to do, oh, what to do with all these tomatoes?!  We canned, stewed and diced them.  A meal did not go by without a few tomatoes in it.  In an act of tomato inspiration this super fresh salsa came to fruition. » » »

New Mexico Chiles & A Giveaway!

The green chiles have arrived!

This post is part of the Hearth-n-Soul blog hop where you can find lots of other great recipes posted this week.

It’s that time of year when the streets all over New Mexico are fragrant with the aroma of roasting chile.  It’s something unique to our fair state.  You see, our main crop here (legally speaking) is chile peppers and come late summer all of the southern NM farmers fan out throughout the state to sell this delicious crop directly to the public.  They bring the chile harvest to us and roast it on the spot.  What service!! » » »

The Vegetable Harvest

This was going to be so easy.  Just plop a few pictures and and BAM! there’s a great post about this year’s vegetable harvest!  Not so fast turbo, it took hours to sort through all the images from the garden this year.  We have a tendency to take a few too many pictures.

Molly:  It took me all week to go through the pictures and make the decision if the photo stays or goes.  It was a lot of pressure.

Mike:  That was a lot of pressure?  I think you may want to go back to work so you can remember what intense pressure really feels like.

Molly:  I know, I know!  When I have more time and fewer projects I can get a little bit finicky.  Building someone’s dream home within budget and time constraints seems so simple from this distance.

Mike:  Hmmm,…. » » »