Thursday, 28 July 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Dragon carrot — This heirloom carrot , originally from China, has a beautiful reddish-purple exterior, purple-hued tops and yellowish-orange interior. We find red carrots taste best when cooked.
  • Zucchini
  • Green & purple beans
  • Mixed heirloom tomatoes
  • Yellow & white sweet onions
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Kohlrabi
  • Fresh garlic
  • Sweet pepper
  • Hot pepper

Diatomaceous earth

Growing summer squash, winter squash and cucumbers organically can be something of a challenge due to a pest called the striped cucumber beetle. They have been particularly difficult to deal with this year, since they seem to enjoy hot, dry weather. They eat the plants, and worse yet, spread bacterial wilt which causes the plants to wilt and die.
You will occasionally see a bit of a white residue on cucumbers and zucchini. It is diatomaceous earth, a mineral powder which we sometimes use to help reduce the amount of damage cucumber beetles do to the plants. Food grade diatomaceous earth is completely non-toxic, and is approved for use in organic growing.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Sun Gold cherry tomatoes
  • Green and Royal Burgundy snap beans
  • Zuchinni
  • Carrots
  • Red beets
  • Bell pepper
  • Sweet onion
  • Cyklon hot pepper  A little hotter than last week's, this is a Polish heirloom that is quite hot with great flavor. Remember to treat fresh hot peppers carefully. Don't touch your face, and wash your hands, especially after handling the seeds.
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh Basil

A very different summer

When it's 36 degrees in the shade, you gotta do what you can to keep cool!

This is the first hot dry summer we've had since we started the farm, so we're using our irrigation system for the first time. It's a drip system which conserves water and allows us to irrigate a large field all at once.

It might feel a little uncomfortable to us, but for many plants, this weather is ideal. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are happy as can be. And these melons will be ripening up in no time!
We use a plastic mulch for some crops, which blocks out weeds, holds moisture and warms the soil in the spring.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Crisphead lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Green and yellow zucchini
  • Rainbow chard & red Russian kale
  • Bell pepper and a Hungarian yellow hot wax pepper — A mild hot pepper. 
  • Sierra Blanca sweet onion 
  • Fresh Russian red garlic  — This is garlic that hasn't been dried yet. Keep fresh garlic in a dry place, not the refrigerator.
  • A sampling of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes  —  They're just starting to come in, and although we don't have a lot yet, I consider the official start of summer to be when the Sun Golds start to ripen.

Lunchtime vegetable medley

When you don't have a lot of time, here's a quick and easy way to enjoy some of the garden's summer bounty. It's a little something I do quite often for a quick and delicious lunch.

Chop up one sweet onion and a couple of cloves of fresh garlic.

Slice up whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand. One of my favorite combinations is zuchinni, bell pepper, hot pepper, tomatoes and eggplant. Swiss chard, kale, peas, beans, and beet greens are great additions as well.

Heat a pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and throw in the onion and garlic. Toss them a round a few times until slightly browned.

Add the veggies, let them brown just a little, then add a little water and a dash of soya sauce. Toss them around a couple of times, and cook until softened, but not mushy.

Serve immediately. Today, my vegetable medley is being served with a slice of organic spinach quiche from Savoury Pursuits in Almonte, and some marinated sheep's milk Jibneh from Canreg Station in Finch. All of these delicacies are available at the Ottawa Farmers' Market.


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Heirloom leaf lettuce mix
  • Golden Beets — Extra sweet beets, and the colour doesn't run!
  • Walla Walla sweet onion — The famous variety named for Walla Walla, Washington.
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Zucchini
  • Radishes
  • Garlic scapes — last week of scapes.
  • Fresh basil

Doing double duty

People sometimes ask us why we keep sheep. Especially people who know a thing or two about the economics of livestock nowadays. When we were young and naive (4 years ago) we imagined that sheep farming would be a bigger part of our farming business than it is today. Although we have kept our flock small, what they contribute to our farming operation is substantial. By using a portable electric fence, our sheep keep the areas around the gardens clean and free of weed seeds. They consume perennial grasses and even swamp grass, nettles, small trees and weeds of all sorts, and turn them into a valuable, high-nitrogen fertilizer.You can't ask for a better deal than that.