Tag Archive | vegetable

Get Yer Ramps Here!

Ramps, or Wild Leeks

What the heck are Ramps?

Everyone is talking about Ramps these days! They look a bit like scallions and only appear in the early spring. They also known as are also known as Wild Leeks (Allium tricoccum). The plant’s flavor, a combination of onions and strong garlic or “fried green onions with a dash of funky feet” in the words of food writer Jane Snow, is adaptable to numerous cooking styles. The mountain folk of Appalachia have long celebrated spring with the arrival of the ramp, believing it to have great power as a tonic to ward off many ailments of winter. There are many festivals in Appalachia in honor of this humble plant.

The Huffington Post has several recipe suggestions. Check them out!

Exotic Vegetables

Veg Girl

Nice Gams!

When I revealed my entry in the Artful Arrangers show, you may remember that it basically a bunch of gussied up vegetables. Some of them were rather exotic. The girl figure had very odd looking legs. They are Indian Bitter Melons which are also known as Balsam Pears. There is even an official site which will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about about them – National Bitter Melon Council.

Funky Innards

Funky Innards

If you were to cut them open, and I did, you’d find bright red seeds! I was very surprised. This vegetable is prized in Asian cooking and is quite bitter, as the name suggests.

Another exotic I used was a banana flower. Terry sent me some interesting information about this veggie. Check the Thai Supermarket Online website to learn about cooking with them.

I also cut my banana flower open to see just what the heck was inside it. It was full of miniature bananas! No surprise there, I guess. See the picture below for a good look at a maturing flower.

~Max

Notice the little bananas that are hiding under the red petals. Each petal has a bunch.

Notice the little bananas that are hiding under the red petals of the banana flower. Each petal has a bunch.

Fun With Vegetables

It’s April Fool’s Day – Hope you don’t get punked!

Here are some fun things you can make with a knife and some veggies. Who said you shouldn’t play with your food? Thanks to Linda G. for bringing this underrated art form to our attention.

Veggie Fun 7-1

Veggie Fun 6-1

Veggie Fun 2

Veggie Fun 9-1Veggie Fun 1

Veggie Fun 4

Veggie Fun 5

Veggie Fun 8

Veggie Fun 3

Veggie Fun 7

Veggie Fun 10

Seed Lending Library

Susan C. sent us an article about a seed lending library. This week, The Boston Globe also had a story on this very topic. I had never heard of such a program.

seed packets

There was a librarian in New York who had a side interest of preserving heirloom seed varieties. He decided to combine his interests by adding the seeds to the library catalog so that library members could ‘borrow’ them, grow them at home and return saved seed at the end of the season. What an interesting idea! Perhaps we could do this within our club.

If you want to read more about this and find a source for heirloom seeds, check out the Hudson Valley Seed Library website. They have both certified organic and sustainably grown seeds available. I know you will want to grow Atomic Red Carrots, Moon Flowers and Gilfeather Rutabaga. Get them there! The site has also been added to the Resources section of our own website. You do use the resource section don’t you?

Ron Christie’s Potting Mix & Slide Show

Ron gave us a wonderful slide show at the last meeting about gardening in pots and raised beds. He has sent us the recipe for his favorite potting mix. Click to view the slide show he gave about Containers & Raised Beds.

 

Living Earth Farm – A Nutrient Dense Potting Mix for Vegetable Trays & Transplants

Potting SoilThis is a soilless mix that can be used with transplant starts or in a raised bed:

What you need:

  • Two ‘5 gallon’ buckets of sphagnum peat moss
  • One ‘5 gallon’ bucket of medium or fine vermiculite
  • 1 gallon of high quality compost (from Ideal Compost, Coast of Maine*, Vermont Compost Company) or 1 lb. of worm castings* (to jump start soil biology)
  • 5 gallons of water (warmed to room temperature or higher – to 90° F)

Nutrients:

  • ½ cup of blood meal (for short-term nitrogen)*
  • 1 cup of soybean meal (for short/intermediate-term nitrogen)*
  • 2 cup alfalfa meal (for long-term nitrogen)*
  • 2 cup of bone char (for short-term phosphorus)*
  • ¼ cup of sulfate of potash (for sulfur and potassium)*
  • 1 cup of kelp meal (for micro-nutrients)*
  • 1 cup of dolomitic lime (for long-term calcium and pH balance)*
  • 1 cup of wood ash (for short-term calcium and pH balance)
  • 1 cup of Menefee Humates (for soil microbes, nutrient retention, humic acid and water holding capacity)*

Method:

  1. Be sure to wear a dust mask and gloves when handling the ingredients.
  2. Add water to peat moss about one week before mixing,
  3. Gently mix the peat moss and vermiculite together (vermiculite can be crushed if handled too roughly).
  4. Add nutrients and gently and thoroughly mix.
  5. Let the mix sit for at least 24 hours (a week is ideal) so that biological activity gets a chance to start up.

Because sphagnum peat moss has some anti-fungal properties and vermiculite is almost sterile, you should not have any disease problems.

*Can be purchased from FEDCO Organic Growers Supplies.