All posts filed under: Gardening

Baleful Bounty – Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes – that mainstay of Church Homecoming potlucks – the master of family Sunday dinners – the keystone of just about every holiday get together… And, face it… most of them are pretty dreadful. Flaccid potato slices floating in noxious, overly garlicky gravy. But, it doesn’t need to be that way. Let’s break away from the norm and make something a little lighter, a little more flavorful, and a hell of a lot prettier to look at.   Since I was blessed with a handful  (really, out of 5 plants, I got 2 pounds of potatoes) of beauties from the garden this year, I thought I’d do something to go with the Sage Battered Pork Chops I was making. And, smashing them up just seemed a crime… you know, since I only got 8 taters from all my hard work and all. I decided to do Jane’s scalloped potatoes… except, I really didn’t know her exact recipe… just basically how it was done… So, I did what I always do… I punted. ________________________________________________ Plate Fodder’s …

Baleful Bounty – Curry Glazed Carrots

Baby . Chantenay . Carrots You remember earlier in the season when I told you about my fantastic brainstorm to create these stunningly amazing growing baskets out of chicken wire, burlap, weed block and my 4-in-1 dirt (1 part hay mulch, 1 part sand, 1 part hummus, 1 part composted cow manure) high above the chomping incisors of marauding rabbits? Well, they were – and are – still stunning…. but I forgot a basic fact when I chose the vegetable to inhabit said stunning suspended medium. Carrots, like a great many other rooty-type vegetables, like a hot head. However – carrots (once again, like any other rooty thing) need cool bottoms in order to achieve maximum rootiness. Hot tops and hot bottoms gives you supreme stunted rootiness…. much like … say… a hot summer day and a 40 year old guy in a very cold swimming pool…. … I’ve got a bumper crop of short, stubby, diminutive chantenay carrots to deal with this year. Which if you’re someone like me that gets all gooey over baby vegetables …

Baleful Bounty ~ Sauce Rustica

With Summer in full swing, the garden should be producing to beat the drum. However, after the issues I had earlier in the season, I’ve played it safe on the tomatoes; I only planted one plant of a single variety ( Mountain Pride). And, since it’s a late season tomato… there isn’t anything resembling a ripe fruit on the vines yet.  Thankfully, friends are seeing to it that I have more than enough extra ripe tomatoes to go around. Here’s the thing with being gifted with a dozen tomatoes that are ready to eat NOW – like it or not, some are going to go bad. And the only way to combat all that spoilage is to either cook it down to sauce, or can them (which I don’t do), or zipper bag them up whole – and freeze them (as it happens, I’m all over that action.) Freezing and thawing fully ripe tomatoes allow you to keep that fresh picked flavor that you don’t get with a processed product. Granted, they can’t be used for …

Garden Project 2014 ~ Busy as Bees

With the recent late afternoon storms and hot , hot – ninth ring of hell hot – summer afternoons, the Early Sunglow Corn has shot up like kudzu.  Sun and heat trigger the tassels Which in turn release the rows of  pollen laden capsules which makes the recent emergence of a new hatching of bumblebees VERY happy… which fertilize the corn silk which makes ear upon ear of delicious, sweet, milky corn later this month. To read more about how corn does what it does, you can find more information  HERE and to read  more about bumblebees and pollination, and why they’re more important than honey bees – you can find out everything you need to know HERE  

Steakhouse ~ Red Spring Onions

  Looking at this year’s garden plan, I realized I had gotten a tad over-zealous with my onion planting. No one really needs 5 dozen red onion plants… especially when I’ve got 3 dozen Texas Sweet and another 4 dozen Late Season Yellows bedded in. I mean, I do like me some onions, but I’d never be able to utilize all the reds before they rotted… or stunk up the pantry… or both. So I’ve harvested them all as tender spring onions. Why, you ask? Because: 1). As a spring onion, they hold less water than the common white variety, which makes them a bit more meaty. 2). Less Water means they’ll hold up better on the grill and not disintegrate into a slimy pile. 3). They are less aggressive than white onions, and can be added to salads without the fear of onions taking the salad bowl hostage. 4). Red onions (even the immature ones) have up to 8 times the anti-oxidants as their paler cousins, making them an excellent choice for healthier eating. …

Garden Project 2014 – The Unconsoled

For all the planning, prepping, and planting done last year, the 2013 Garden Project was a bust. The cooler than normal – wetter than normal – stranger than normal Spring wreaked havoc with the layout and the Only things that produced like I expected were the eggplants and peppers. I tried these nifty looking potato cages, where you layer mulch and slips into a hay-lined cage… and Voila! (supposedly) you get a bounty of taters. this was my “bounty”…   Don’t get excited… it was 187  potatoes ranging in size from a golf ball to a cat’s eye marble…. heavy on the marble. So, I’ve let the failures knock a bit of the stream out of my rhubarb this year, but only a bit. Once again we’re doing without the hay bales. I think 4 years of  hay much worked into the soil, along with composted cow manure and a healthy compliment of mushroom compost will bolster the soil perfectly well for anything I plan to grow this year. And what is that? you ask…   …

Garden Project 2014 – The Creep

baaaa – Dum Baa – Dum bum bum bum bum Bum bum Bum bum Bum Bum BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM   A couple of years ago I bought some long forgotten native plant (I don’t remember what it was… it died) from my favorite “Native Plant Nursery” in Ellijay.   Anyway, in along with whatever it was, was a single, small sprig of this scalloped leafed, blue flowered “thing”. I thought it was pretty. So I left it alone and let it grow to see what it would do. This thing is Creeping Charlie. A drought resistant, deer resistant, eradication resistant weed. Supposedly, you can use it as a herb, or make a poultice out of the crushed leaves for aches and pains, or eat it as a salad green, or make a calming tea out of it. I don’t recommend any of those things. While the leaves are palatable, it’s got this weird goaty – sheepy – lanolin vibe to it… like eating mutton steeped in tarragon. What I can do with …

French Gibbons, The Number 5, and some peas

  April marks the start of our fifth year at the reins of the madly careening ride that is Plate Fodder. I feel like my somewhat inebriated Uncle Posey heading to town hitched to his blind mule… “I may have connected the wagon correctly”, “He may or may not know the way to town even if I pass out”, “I might not even care if we get lost”. Like my colorful uncle – it’s never about the destination – it’s the journey that’s the gas. and… it has been. You know, I have fellow writer friends that say “I’m taking a break…I can’t seem to find my voice…or my angle… or point of view for my site”. And, I get that. It’s tough to stay within the lines of a prescribed notion of what we want our online persona to be. Maybe that’s why I have three unfinished novels still sitting in boxes and scribbled on moldy index cards (yes, it’s been that long) – I can’t stay focused on a story line. But some time ago I knew …

Hydra – Flummoxed

See this? This is a BLUE lace cap hydrangea. I know it’s blue because it was probably the first thing I planted 5 years ago when I started landscaping the property here at Turtle Creek. Every year it’s grown larger, fledged out a little more, and rewarded us with a cacophony of lazy soft blue crowns that bowed and dipped as you entered the walled garden where I do the hay bale thing. Only, this year it’s white. Now, I know that you can affect color changes by adding sulfur or lime or by increasing the acidity, but nothing has changed in that bed. And the other mop-head varieties lower down the way that feed from the run-off of this bed are still their mottled purple and brilliant blues. So it’s a pretty good bet there’s nothing wrong with the PH. It’s a puzzlement. And I tend to obsess about puzzlements. So the other day I registered & logged on to a  well-respected garden site (who will hereafter remain nameless) and posed a question about …