When to plant what?

For the past three years I have made a planting calendar that combines the Biodynamic planting recommendations with my own gardening experience here in the high desert.  This was mostly made to assist my fellow gardeners and to answer the question all my students ask most of me, ‘When to plant what’?  It is also a great tool for me to record everything I did in one place (I am awful at record keeping) and cross reference in the following years…..

IMG_6966 What can I say, this winter has brought lots of hibernation and big changes that have needed my attention….so my friends, sadly there is no calendar this year.  Luckily these hands know what to do and I am happy to share with all of you through my blog what I am up to in the garden and greenhouse this season.

It may make for a series of short, possibly boring posts, but if you are one of my many gardeners out there you can just follow along as we plan and plant for an abundant season ahead, ( I hope you have been collecting all this moisture in your water tanks!).

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I am also teaching a few classes this spring on Seed Sowing if you are new to all this Seedy business for Homegrown and the Botanical Garden.

The Planting Report

So for now the planting report is this….Last Saturday I went ahead and planted a ton of tomatoes (I think somewhere near 300, lord help me!!).. My Biodynamic calendar said it was an “specially good”day and I just couldn’t help myself!!

This Friday Feb 12th, is a Leaf day and I will be planting Celery, Lettuce, Kale, Chard in the greenhouse.  I probably could have done all these a month ago, but I just didn’t feel the seeds calling.  Now that Bridgid has blessed them all it feels time.

IMG_7324If I set up some row cover I may just plant Spinach outside…But then I have to start watering out there and I am not sure I am ready for that!  But let’s just say I Could.

Planning Ahead

Have you ordered you Potatoes and Onions sets yet?  Those go in around St. Patrick’s day and lots of companies sell out of certain kinds, so order them soon.  I often buy Potatoes from Ronniger’s which is based in Colorado, or Irish Eyes which have lots of organic varieties.  I have bought onions sets from Dixondale farms in the past and wow, serious onion bounty!  Both Potatoes and Onions can be bought locally as well from Aqua Fria Nursery and lots of other seeds companies you may already be loyal to.

IMG_7071All this said, I do have a passive solar greenhouse and have very particular temperature and light conditions, so even though I can start stuff indoors it may not quite be time for you.  The best way is to try of course, or your could come to my class and I can help you find the right conditions and timing for your situation! Happy gardening!

 

 

 

The sap is rising

Happy Imbolc, the half way point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  It is time my friends, to face the sun again and return my thoughts to the garden.  Not yet planting of course, still tucked cozy away in hibernation, but my thoughts are shifting to seeds, I can feel the sap rising in a round me.

It is said that if you leave your seeds out tonight they will be blessed by Brigid and bring a good harvest….So yes my seeds are all over the table organized into little piles of who gets started where and when…and I will leave them right there to receive all the blessings they can tonight.  Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 9.52.55 PM

So tonight I will dream of my garden and the fruits this year may bring.  I know I have been away from my little blog for a while, but much has gestated and this year promises more abundance than ever, so I am looking forward to a return to this space and have lots to bring…..but for, now get out those seeds, if only for a tiny blessing of promises ahead.

2015 Santa Fe Harvest Swap

Busy little squirrels over here gathering up the acorns for winter and preparing all our goodies to the share

on Oct 25th

at the Fourth Annual Santa Fe Harvest Swap!!

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Over the years this has become a place where we gather with our community to

Swap, Savor and Celebrate the Abundance of our year together on this beautiful earth.

It is a place to share gratitude for all that we are given and have the opportunity to be nourished from each others kitchens, hard work and hearts.

Hope to see you all back again, or if you haven’t ever joined us, this might just be your year!! Sign up here.

My counters runneth over

This pretty much sums up my kitchen these days.  My counters runneth over with goodness calling my name: feed me, cook, me, can me, dry me, PLEASEEEEEEE

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We reignited the sourdough starter for our Pre-school baking day, upon my sons request after hearing the Little Red Hen for the first time, and we made ourselves some sourdough bread (both gluten and gluten-free I might add!) He couldn’t have been more excited, which totally made it worth the effort ( we have been gluten-free for a year now and my bread rhythm is completely gone and I don’t really miss it at all)

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We have two crockpots going 24 hours a day with the tomatoes and more ripening every day! Luckily I have a baby holder when I MUST do something that requires two hands like churning hot tomatoes!

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We went apple picking and luckily there are about twenty pre-school apple picking verses to learn along side.

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We changed the seasonal alter to an autumn theme to my sons delight added a few new puppets of whom he is very fond of!  These little guys got me back in the crafting mood, and though I spent way too much time on them, aspiring to my Utube muse, I had so much fun and now have yet another crafty obsession, needle felting!

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This must be our season because home-pre-school curriculum lines up perfectly with what we fill our days with anyways, so instead of feeling like I am taking on yet ANOTHER task, I feel like I am actually just weaving song and spirit and sweet company into my daily hum.

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Ahhhh I just love when things are fluid and easy….well done with ease & fluidity–

(canning and processing all this stuff while juggling two kids is not exactly easy!!, but a healthy challenge I am delighting in and I am sure not the first mama to have all these pots on the stove at once!)

AHHHHHHugust

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Oh August- you are such a dream, I am pretty sure I write you an Ode every year, and this one you have shown your true colors so generously, yet again.

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Your light is amazing, your rains oh so soft, the world just seems to sparkle in your glow.

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You have me busy though I will say that…Gathering up those Amish Paste tomatoes like little easter eggs hiding under a forest of foliage and the cherries that just won’t stop giving!!

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Chop chop chopping onions that are pungent and sweet all at the same time!

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And attempting to put off the canning sessions as long as I can by fermenting Salsa!! IMG_9043

Which is going quite well I must say!

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August, it feels like you are almost over and I just wanted you to know, you are my favorite of all the many moons we see come and go, and if September wasn’t so Spectacular as well, I might grasp at you, but for now, I just want you to know how much I love you so.

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The Rough Guide to Big Batch Basil Pesto

It happens every summer…or winter I suppose.  I start in the green house in March with these little tiny Basil seeds…

they are so itty bitty I end up planting way too many.

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When they grow I find plenty of nooks and crannies for them to grow in the garden and then this time of year I am swimming in beautiful Genovese Basil.  So I get to work on big old batches of pesto to freeze and share at the Santa Fe Harvest Swap, (yes it is happening again this fall folks, more details later!!!)

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I usually start with about 1 1/2 lbs Basil, a dozen head of garlic, four cups almonds, four cups olive oil, and a handful of salt.  This much will get you about a case of half pint jars of pesto.  It isn’t hard, just takes a few time consuming steps- like peeling a ton of garlic, and plucking off a ton of Basil stems.

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Along the way I figured out an average head of garlic equals about 1/4 minced garlic- which is enough for one batch– yes I like garlic!!

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To make these batches affordable I use Almonds instead of pine nuts, and I soak them over night before hand to get even more bang for my buck ( they expand a little when soaked)

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The making is easy once you have everything prepped and ready, (this can take days!!)IMG_8798

For one Batch ( 3 half pint jars)

Fill the Cuisinart with

4 cups of basil leaves (That means filled to the brim and pushed down a couple times)

I pulse the Cuisinart a couple of times and add

1 cup of Olive Oil on top and pulse till a nice green paste

Then I add a

1/4 cup minced garlic (run through the cuisinart earlier)

1 Cup soaked Almonds

1tsp salt

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Before you finish taste it!! Some garlic is much stronger than others as is Basil so make sure you like it before you go freezing a ton of it!!

Blend until nice a creamy and fill up half pint jars leaving a little room at the top for a layer of olive oil ( this keeps it green)

This amount will make 3 Half pint jars

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Do this four times and you will have a case of pesto which you can freeze and eat throughout the year!

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***Remember this is a Rough Guide- I can barely follow a recipe much less write one, but so many of you have asked how I make my pesto over the years, so there you have it!

Processing

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I have been doing a lot of processing lately- mostly thoughts & emotions, struggles & triumphs, births and deaths.  I have never really used this space to share these things, mostly because I am not really sure how.  When big things happen I don’t always know how to put words to them, I live through my senses and images come more naturally to me then words.  IMG_8720

I am not always sure what to do with all that life offers and doing is what I know best.  I feel good when I do, I get my hands in the earth and it grounds me.  I grow food and I feed and thus am feed.  IMG_8714

I bring life, but sometimes it is simply taken away.  There are times in life when things are out of my hands, I get disoriented and somewhat lost.

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Lately this has been true, I have been thrown off by what life has thrown at me and the way I process is by doing things that make sense to me.  Lately there has been a lot of processing internally and externally in this processing I am finding healing.

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If food is medicine then maybe food processing is therapy.  So in my muddled mind when my hands can do I am made whole again.  So picking and processing I go. Grinding the berries, sorting the seeds, whirling the blender. IMG_8766

Time to harvest the bounty and make the food and I feel it healing all the confusion of the world.  So I give thanks for the ability to be processed by my processing of the food that will feed in the months to come.

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Desert Lawns

Oh this rain!! I don’t need to say how glorious it is, as I know each and everyone of you (that lives here in the high desert) is loving every minute of it as much as I am!!  BUT OH HOW WONDERFULl!!!

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Our skin our soils our souls are soaking up every sacred drop!  The rivers are raging, the mountains inn full bloom!  All I want to so right now is wildly throw seeds around!! And of course lay in the great green grass!!

I green up on blankets of green but I admit I started to reject the typical lawn when I learned how many chemicals went into the average American lawn, not to mention water and how many other amazing plants you could squeeze into those precious spaces around ones home.

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There is a huge movement across the country now to pull out your lawn, grow food and medicine and even keep animals close to home and I am all for it!!  But I must say when I ran the garden at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum I saw how precious the lawn was for picnicing families, barefoot children and rolly polly babies alike.

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Here in the desert lawns are rare and now that I have barefoot children of my own I see the great need to have open soft green spaces for them to run and roll and rest in.  So this year has been the year of the lawn.  I probably wouldn’t have thought of it, but my son did.  In fact he asked for a lawn mower first, which he was gifted by a dear friend…but once he brought it home he realized it was not much fun on our weedy dirt…So we planted the boy a lawn.

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Luckily it has coencieded with a very wet year here in the desert, so the lawn is growing to every bare patch we have left in this little lot.  So when I say lawn- I don’t actually mean the Kentucky blue grass or fescue of my past, but an herbicous or otherwise known as a weedy lawn.  We started out by leaving to of my beloved ‘weeds’. Mallow (Malva neglecta) ( the name says it all!)IMG_8333

and Knotweed (Polygonum erectum )

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were already growing here.  They are hardy weeds, trouble for some if you are trying to rid your farm of them, but soft under foot and welcome here.  They grow low under heavy traffic and take to mowing quite nicely.  We used what was here as nurse crops and planted in plugs of Buffalo Grass, Chamomile, Creeping Thyme, and YarrowIMG_8343

Then we raked the bare soil

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mixed up a bag of Strawberry Clover, Blue Grama Grass and more Buffalo Grass seed from Plants of the Southwest.IMG_8357

Sprinkled liberally

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raked some more and covered with a bit of loss dirt from a pile we had and danced around on it.  The seeds of course need contact with the dirt and all like to be watered to begin with- and in this rain are sprouting up beautifully.

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Once they are established, they will be desert hardy and should thrive just fine on the water that falls from the sky (hopefully it will just keep coming!!)

So now we have ourselves a beautiful little lawn and an extra lawn mower when we need her!!

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How to spend a summer day

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Let your garden run wild in the hot summer sun and your kid be half naked all he wants!

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Pick the reddest ripest Nanking Cherries on the bush ( a super hardy bush cherry that does great in Southwestern landscaping)

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Wash in cold water in the hot sun

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Take your time, this is one of the best parts!

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Roll them around in your little fingers and giggle

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Dust off the old Cherry pitter and crank to your hearts delight!

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Get as messy as you want.

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Soon enough you will have a bowl full of Cherries.

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Decide to make a pie

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Roll it out and mark it with a B

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Put it on the oven (outdoor oven or solar oven if you are lucky cause it is simply too hot to bake a pie inside!)

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Wait for it!

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Give thanks

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and thoroughly enjoy!

We’re at the Farm

I woke up to this message today

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so I packed a lunch and headed up.

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Looks like last falls cloves are hanging in there

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and the water is flowing well.

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Seeds are still being set in the ground

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and the furrows constantly cut, the mud ever moving

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but we are starting to see the fruits of our labors

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and if nothing more, sweet smiles from a Sunday morning spent well.

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