Monthly Archives: October 2010

Getting Ready For Winter

Standard

Worked for nearly 6 hours in two days on the garden. The soil was worse than I thought. Time for raised beds. Bright and early, in the freezing Oregon morning, I went to get lumber and soil and started on my beds. I got two beds put together and started a compost area. In one of the beds I planted garlic, and will hopefully plant kale or spinach as a companion. The other bed I just sprinkled my cover crop over top.

 In my raised beds I mixed two bags soil, one bag manure, and one big pile of leaf mulch with the existing dirt. Hopefully my dirt will be soil soon. I think I will do about 5 raised and supported beds and then have an area for climbing for peas and vines.

Other than preparing my beds for winter, I have also been taking my garden vegetables and local finds and winterizing them. Because I do not have the machinery or room for canning, freezing has been my method. I have blueberries, carrots, chard, and tomatoes frozen right now. I need a big freezer!

There are many winter recipes I hope to try out soon. Soups, and breads, and cakes, oh my.  A couple I hope to add to my cookbook are: beet and apple soup with horseradish cream, potatoe and broccoli soup with winter greens, and pumpkin soup with spiced croutons. Excited for my first local healthy winter!

Advertisements

Garden Crazy

Standard

October is a tough month in Oregon! Constant harvesting and tilling and planting and tilling and harvesting. The urban farm has been exploding with veggies, much more than I expected: tomatoes, swiss chard, leeks, carrots!, and basil. Can you say lasagna? (Check out the recipe!)

 I have been experimenting with putting my bed to sleep, trying to break up this notoriously Oregon clay and mixing in some  organic matter. I started with a pine needle mulch, but I was told it is  extremely acidic, so I found some free leaf mulch. Hoping that will help. I have worked on my garden about five hours in the past two days and haven’t even gotten half way done. I am holding strong though.

I decided that I will continue tilling the garden, then I will plant my vetch and rye. Planting legumes and grains help to balance the soil out, adding the NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) that the plants need -Potassium goes down (the roots) and phosphorous is all around (the plant)- The vetch is supposed to have roots that break up tough soil and the rye is really hardy (hopefully I will get some rye grain too!). In the spring, I think I will make some raised bed with wood supports around the outside. I need to get a good bed going quick, because I feel my gardening life in Eugene is limited, and I may only have one or two summers left.

Its garlic planting season too! Gonna get my garlic, hopefully some onions, and some bulb flowers in the ground soon for a nice spring welcoming!

Eat Local Project

Standard

To kick off Project Life, I decided to begin with a Eat Local Challenge. The challenge (spawned from an assignment in my Urban Farm class) is to eat only Local for (at least) 2 complete days. After that, I plan to use the rest of the food up that I have already purchased, and from now on, really focus on buying local and organic!

I decided that buying local, for me, would be buying as close to home as possible, and not buying anything out of Oregon. I came to this decision because I wanted to challenge myself to have the smallest environmental footprint I possibly could and also, I wanted to challenge myself to eat seasonally.

I began my local excursion as I always do, venturing to Sundance on a bright sunny morning. Alright well I ventured to Sundance, but it was, of course, a dreary Eugene morning. But I was not deterred from my mission! Vegetables were very easy to come by, especially with my feast harvested from the Urban Farm. Fruit, very limited at this time of year, consisted of mainly apples and pears (this was my first lesson). I had an especially hard time with my grains, realizing that rice cannot obviously be local, and bread is almost never local. Meat and dairy were expensive things, but those items are not terribley common in my diet anyways.

After leaving Sundance, I realized I lacked some crucial staples. I searched online later that night and found www.eugenelocalfoods.com. This website is incredible and had everything I needed. I order some bison burger, chantrelles, eggs, and Local Flour! the first time. Then about an hour later I went back on and ordered some frozen berries (lesson two).  The ordering process was very easy and the items can be picked up Tuesdays at  Hideaway Bakery (which is very convenient because Tuesdays are wood fire oven pizza, ninkasi, and live music nights!).

Speaking of Ninkasi, drinking local will never be an issue for me. Living in Oregon is a blessing in beer and wine world and should be fully embraced. Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Ninkasi Oatis Stout, Hop Valley IPA, Willamette Valley Vineyards, I could go on forever…

I am inspired by the plethora of incredible food I acquired- purple cauliflower, Oregon wild rice, rainbow carrots, yellow zucchinis, dried prunes- just by spending a little extra money and a little extra time (lesson three)

Today, a girl in my Urban Farm class said, “Oh but I am so hungry, arent you starving too?” Starving? I thought. Hardly!