A combination of some or all of the following herbs.
SageWash the herbs and place in dehydrator. Dehydrate at 105 degrees until leaves are crispy (about an hour or two).
This is Vegan MoFo post #10 — halfway to my goal of 20 posts in October, are you sick of me yet? Thanks for sticking with me!
I am fortunate to live in southern Ontario where there are tons of amazing farms surrounding our city. I grow some of our own food, but my fruit and vegetable garden is pretty meager and our family consumes a lot of fresh produce. We have been receiving local organic produce by home delivery since 2007 thanks to Homefield Organics. Every weekend, Homefield emails out the organic and local food that will be available that week. The list notes which items are local, which are certified organic, and which are both. Place an order, leave a cooler on your porch, and come home to gorgeous farm-fresh food.
Here is a photo of the goodies from our last delivery: kale, garlic, potatoes, tortillas, parsnips, sunflower sprouts, bagels, spinach, red onions, squash, broccoli and pears.
I’ve found their prices normally a bit lower than the grocery store (which may not be supporting any local organic farmers), and delivery is just $5 to save you the hassle of shopping yourself. Beyond fruits and vegetables, Homefield also carries breads and pantry items like quinoa, rice and preserves.
Homefield also sells the most delicious whole wheat tortillas by J&D Peters, which are vegan (no honey or L-cystein, etc). In five years, we’ve never had a negative experience with Homefield. If anything was ever amiss, we were issued a credit or refund, but the food is almost always perfectly fresh. Homefield delivers to Guelph, Waterloo Region, Elora and area. To sign up, go to their website here: http://www.homefieldorganics.com/.
After a very hot and dry July, August’s rains turned my lawn a shade I could almost describe as green, filled my rain barrel and finally brought out some more food in my garden: strawberries and peppers, which we’ve gotten to enjoy for the last month.
The peppers brought scores of ants, but I’ve been trying keeping them at bay with my all-natural pest deterrent. It doesn’t deter them all, but it led to a significant decrease in ants right away. I was motivated to take great care of my peppers after most of my vegetables failed in the heat earlier this summer. See July’s post for a reminder of my vegetable garden of shame!
The measurements need not be exact. Combine in a jar and shake well. Spray or pour over plants with firm skins like peppers. Reapply every few days. Wash vegetables well before eating, naturally!
The spray would work on vegetables with firm skins not delicate skins like strawberries or peaches that I imagine would soak in the taste of the spray.
The spray worked well enough to allow my peppers to ripen unhindered, then I made salsa with one of the peppers plus basil from my garden and the rest of the organic tomatoes from my Palatine delivery. Salsa is easy to make and the ingredients are cheap, no need to buy a jar. I like a mild salsa with a bit of sweetness and tang. I know basil is nontraditional, but for me, it gave the salsa just the right personality!
2 large tomatoes
1 large onion
1 pepper, finely chopped
2 jalepeño peppers
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp Herbamare seasoning
1/8 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 large pieces of basil, minced
Finely chop all vegetables. Place all ingredients except the basil in a pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low boil for at least 15 minutes. Add the basil and stir well. Pour into glass jars and can, refrigerate or freeze.
I love summer. I look forward all year to my summer garden and I’m one of those people who love the heat
This year…. the vegetables are not so great. My spinach and rhubarb are done for the season after a meager harvest and the rest of the vegetables are doing poorly. The peppers and zucchini aren’t up yet, still just flowers, which could be a pollinating problem, or too much heat. I’ve chatted with neighbours with vegetable gardens and they are reporting the same frustrations.
I tried two cauliflower plants this year; both ruined by heat and caterpillars, see photo of all the eggs in the cauliflower. Gross.
On the positive side, we are reveling in a plethora of raspberries right now.
I’ve been making raspberry smoothies, raspberry jam, raspberry muffins, and of course, just eating them fresh off the canes.
Strawberries are doing well too this year. I moved them to different location than they were last year, and that has resulted in less ants in the containers. Growing my own fruit and vegetables makes me deeply appreciate organic farmers; keeping insects away with no pesticides is quite a challenge.
The Saskatoon berries never came up, too much damage from the animals in the spring; hopefully we’ll get a good harvest next summer. For the first time in a dozen years, our mulberry hasn’t had ripe fruit by June, the berries are still small and white, though they look like they’ll be ready to eat in a week or two. The herbs are hanging in there with the heat. We finally had rain this week, which was desperately needed, my rain barrel was just about empty.
Anyone with tips for organic fruit and vegetable gardening? I’d love to hear your comments.
A friend who knows me so well bought me an organic microgreens kit for my birthday (thanks a bunch, Melanie!). The kit even came packaged in a reusable lunch bag, how’s that for an environmentally friendly gift? I’ve sprouted seeds before (where you rinse the seeds in water until they sprout, then eat the entire thing), but never microgreens, so this was a great new idea to try. I’ve also been trying to integrate more raw foods in my diet and sprouts and microgreens are a great, easy and inexpensive way to get fresh greens.
Microgreens are tiny nutrient-packed leafed vegetables grown in small spaces and harvested just 1-2 weeks after sprouted when they are about an inch tall. Even if you have just a windowsill you can grown your own nutritious green food. Microgreens are chock full of chlorophyll, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Some even have a decent protein content.
Here are the wee guys Day one….
….and Day 10.
Just snip off a few leaves and add it anywhere you’d use lettuce or a green garnish. We added microgreens to our veggie burgers, pasta, salads and rice bowls.
When you’ve harvested all your greens, add more seeds and off you go again.
Roses and clematis.
The raspberries are just coming out now. The Saskatoon berry bush shows no sign of producing this year, perhaps too much damage from the rabbits and ground hog. No mulberries yet either which are normally ready by mid-June.
Henry enjoys the salad bar.
My first year attempting to grow cauliflower. The above picture was taken two weeks ago. Unfortunately, my cauliflower turned purple in last week’s heat wave (and it’s not a purple variety cauliflower). I learned after the fact that I should have blanched the curds when they appear by covering them with the leaves so they could finish growing in the shade. Lesson learned for next year!
Rhubarb. Hm, what shall I make? Muffins?
Spectacular peonies! They smell heavenly too.
Roses in an up-cycled tea tin.
Beautiful basil in my herb pot.
Zucchini blossom. Can’t wait to enjoy their veggies in a few more weeks. The spinach has been out for a few weeks though I just have three plants of them. The peppers barely have buds, so we’ll have to wait a while longer for them.
How goes your garden so far?
When we moved to our home in the city, it was a relatively new neighbourhood with no mature trees. There weren’t even squirrels around. Twelve years later, our backyard looks almost forest-like and an assortment of wildlife has made itself at home in our yard, for better or for worse.
I love all animals, I really do. I want them to have food to eat, so I don’t mind sharing some of what we grow with them. But in the last year, a groundhog and a family of rabbits have done significant damage and we’ve had to implement some measures to keep them from taking everything.
First, the groundhog moved in. He is so audacious, he comes up to our back door. We’ve named him Gus because he is so aggravating that we figured we would either have to name him –like a pet we pretend we want– or want to kill him. And since I try not to even step on spiders……Gus it is. He moved in just over a year ago so I guess he’s renewed his lease.
Here he is at our door, and one of his holes he’s built for himself in our garden. If you fill in his holes, he will just re-dig it, bigger the next day. We would like to serve him an eviction notice, but there are no removal options that are particularly humane, so I think we have to live with him.
Second, the rabbits are destroying our plants. We named the one we see regularly Brad Pitt, so it will feel exciting when we spot him the garden, like Oh look! Brad Pitt is here! Then we saw another bunny with him (Angelina of course), and we think they live under our pine tree with a family of rabbits (the Jolie-Pitt bunnies). Brad Pitt’s favourite food appears to be our Saskatoon berry bush, so earlier this spring I wrapped a tarp around the bush to impede its destruction. I hope the bush recovers enough to give us berries this summer. Unlike the human Jolie-Pitts, the rabbits are camera shy and I haven’t gotten a photo of them yet.
Others who have taken up residence…..
There’s a robin’s nest in our rose arbour for the third year. Those turquoise eggs are a beautiful sight.
My daughter is obsessed with snails this year, and there seems to be thousands of them, they are everywhere, to her delight. Big snail and baby snail, pretty cute, right?
Lots of bees doing their pollinating thing.
And squirrels. Always squirrels!
Newly planted vegetables: spinach, red pepper, zucchini, cauliflower, celery, and cilantro. Perennial herbs from last year: chives and lavender. Chives are the heartiest thing in my garden. They last until late fall and are the first to come up in late winter. Most of our veggies are in containers and this works well for us with our small backyard for many reasons: being two feet off the ground makes it less likely for rabbits, groundhogs and other animals to destroy them, I can easily switch up which veggies I want to grow each year, I can control the quality of the soil and I can easily move them around the yard to maximize sun exposure.
Fruit that will be ready to pick later this summer: strawberries for the fifth year (one plant from last year actually survived; the rest are new), raspberries for the eighth year (last year’s harvest was about 1,000) and Saskatoon berries for the second year (last year’s harvest was a pitiful two; our resident groundhog destroyed much of the bush so we hope it recovers well this year).
Pot of Italian herbs: basil, parsley, etc.
Newly planted cauliflower
What to do with an old metal gazebo we don’t use anymore? We upcycled the legs to hang our strawberry plants and to deter animals from coming in the garden. We also used a piece as a rose trellis:
By the way, the rose above is called Breath of Life and will be in full bloom in about a month. It grows like a weed and has the nastiest thorns but the prettiest pale pink blooms. If you want a hardy, climbing rose bush that will grow quickly up a wall or arbor, it makes a good choice, but it’s a beast that can take over your garden if you don’t cut it back regularly. Here’s a pic from last year:
Breath of Life rose
Can’t wait to begin harvesting fruits and veggies this summer!