Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

Little Red Farm

Monday, May 3rd, 2010


Here are some scenes from the recent Open House at Little Red Farm Nursery in Springfield, OR. You can pretty much expect the same, any day during springtime – stop by soon, it’s even better in person.

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You’ll find plants for sun, plants for shade.

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Add a touch of magic to your garden.


The flowers are luminous in the greenhouse.

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A peaceful, beautiful afternoon.

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Summering along

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Well, I’ve mostly just been really busy with work. I am thankful for the blessing of work at hand. So many people are out of a job… I am not one of them. Other things get put off, though – now I’ve just blinked and we are approaching the end of August and our big trip to Hawaii… less than a week to go! Unfortunately I am suffering from a terrible head cold. I’m all stuffed up and barely able to look at the list of things I need to get done before we leave Monday evening (we’ll stay in Portland overnight and fly to SFO first thing Tuesday morning). Meanwhile, we’re having another heat wave – in the high 90’s yesterday, so that’s not helping my motivation to do much other than sit around and drink (iced) Throat-Coat tea with lemon.

We are eating home-grown tomatoes. Yay! You just can’t beat fresh off the vine. The timing worked out nicely with our basil… it must be some sort of “phoenix” variety, because it had me convinced that it was dead, or at least stunted beyond any hope of harvest. In early July it was tiny, chewed, and partly bolted. Now it’s thriving green plants and we’ve been eating it with the tomatoes. If I get around to it, I want to pick what’s left and freeze a batch of pesto before our vacation.


Bruschetta (serves 2-4)
We devoured a whole pan as our main dish, but this makes a great appetizer or along side a simple grilled entree.

1 medium ciabatta loaf, or other crusty bread
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c chopped red onion
A handful fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
Salt and pepper
Mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400.° Slice the bread into 3/4-inch slices and arrange them on a baking sheet. Brush each slice with olive oil. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, and garlic. Spoon this mixture onto the bread slices. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the mozzarella over all, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and browned in places.

Garden Victory

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


All the veggies for our dinner came from the garden the other night – 4 beets and 1 carrot from our garden, more of our rainbow chard, and a big zucchini that was given to us by our neighbor. The zuke we grilled along with some chicken, I roasted the beets and carrots (in the toaster oven to save heating up the kitchen, but it might have been a toss-up – it took twice as long) and I simmered the chard as I’ve done before.


Rainbow Chard

Monday, July 6th, 2009


Our first significant crop from our garden has been Rainbow Chard. We got six healthy “stands” of it and we’ve been harvesting a few dinners’ worth over the last few weeks. Some of the leaves got chewed up pretty badly by some kind of critters, but there is enough of it that it’s not much of a loss.

This colorful meal, served over brown rice, is my Pineapple Chicken recipe with chard, carrots, and purple cabbage. For the chard, I sliced it into bitesized pieces and simmered it in the sauce as the last step. I stirred the cabbage in, cold, at the end so it wouldn’t turn everything blue. Sweet, spicy, and delicous.

Garden Update

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009


We have eaten our first “crop” from our garden. The bok choi (or pac choi as we discovered is its correct name) apparently felt too hot too soon and bolted. So did the cilantro. Maybe we will plant some more in the early fall… But we had a bit of pac choi in our pesto pasta a few nights ago and in an omelette for brunch.

Most things are growing along OK. We have corn, beets, carrots, chard, bell peppers, butternut squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

The first tomato plant we got, from the natural foods market, grew slowly and then suddenly produced a tomato. It was a bit alarming – I compared it to teenage pregnancy. You’re too young to have young! Grow some leaves first, honey! The other 3 tomato plants are seriously stunted. They are still alive but didn’t grow significantly since we put them in as starts, until a week or so ago when they started to shoot up a bit with green growth rather than dark dingy stalks like they were before. I guess where there’s life there’s hope… I’m not holding my breath… But, it’s likely we’ll get a few tomatoes from the freebie plants we got from a church member. He was getting rid of some surplus starts from his garden business a month or so ago and we planted tomatoes and cucumbers in an unclaimed plot next to our existing one. Those plants all have green tomatoes. We also got a few peppers and there is a baby bell pepper in the works. I’m pleased with the chard – it looks so pretty with its multi-colored stems.

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Starting from Scratch

Saturday, May 9th, 2009


We planted our vegetable garden today! This is so exciting. A week or so ago we got our plot assignment from the housing manager and started to dig out the weeds. There was a lot of rain last weekend, and during the whole week, so it was kind of an on-again-off-again kind of thing until today. We got all the remaining weeds out (lots of grass) and turned all the soil. We blended in quite a lot of coffee grounds from Starbucks, leveled everything out, and planted our starts. We went to the Little Red Farm, where our friends the K’s have their wonderful nursery. We got a selection of tomatoes, basil, butternut squash, spinach, and swiss chard (see photo above.) Here’s what our patch looked like a week ago, and what it looks like now that we have our stuff planted:

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We are planning to plant some seeds in the area shown in the upper left – probably beets and corn. There are faucets next to each patch, but they haven’t turned the water on yet. Hopefully they will soon because our apartment is not all that close!

The landscaping in our complex is all in bud and bloom – don’t these pink blossoms look good enough to eat? Some of them are starting to pop.

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Spring Fried Rice

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009


An easy option for dinner year-round, this time there are no frozen veggies in sight. I used radishes (with their tops) and carrots from the farmers’ market, and lots of green onions that we found growing in our newly-claimed garden patch. Our apartment complex has community garden plots, and we have started working on our allotment. At the moment we are just trying to get the grass and weeds out of it. There are lots of worms, so that’s a good sign. Yay, worms. Boo, slugs. This weekend has been on-and-off rainy so we didn’t get as much done as we would have liked. I say “we,” even though BN is way beyond me in gardening skills. Well, I am going to try to learn by doing. I helped by going to 2 different Starbucks and getting coffee grounds to enrich the soil. I felt like a true Eugenian, with my farmers’ market purchases and 4 bags of coffee grounds on my bike baskets. Peace out!

Fried Rice (serves 4)

4 cups cold cooked Rice
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into long strips
2 eggs, lightly beaten
lots of garlic, minced
a good sized hunk of ginger, minced
a handful of green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
a couple of small carrots, diced
half a bunch of radishes, diced, with greens, stemmed
1/2 cup of cashew pieces (toasted in a dry skillet before you begin cooking)
2 T vegetable oil
3 T soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tsp oil in a non-stick pan. Cook the chicken until opaque. Remove from the pan, chop into small pieces, and place in a large covered dish. Add the eggs to the pan, cook, and scramble. Add to the covered dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add 2 tsp oil to the pan. Add the white parts of the onion, and cook until softened. Stir in garlic, ginger, and carrots. Add a splash of water and cover the pan to let the carrots steam for a minute or two. Stir in the radish greens, heat until just wilted. Move all the veggies to the dish.

Add 2 tsp oil to the pan. Add the rice, and stir constantly. Stir in the soy sauce. When the rice is sizzling, and no clumps remain, remove it to the covered dish. Add the radishes, green onion tops, and cashews to the mix; stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.