Follow me into my organic garden and country kitchen through photo illustrations and text, as I share tips and how-to information focused on growing and preparing delicious and nutritious food, all from our 120 acre family farm in central North Carolina.
Left photo above: Health Kick Tomatoes are producing very well as usual. Center photo above: The strawberry plants were removed from this raised bed after the strawberry harvest was over. I replanted the bed with Lima beans and Mississippi Purple Hull Peas. Right photo above: After the potatoes were harvested from this area I tilled the soil and planted a late planting of corn. The row of large plants on the right are Tenderette Green Beans. These tender, stringless beans have produced exceptionally well.
Left photo above: You can see the home garden is doing well. Center photo above: I removed the cornstalks from the area that had finished producing corn, cut the weeds with a string trimmer and then covered the area with hay mulch. This area will be replanted with cabbage, collard and broccoli plants in August. Right photo above: Sweet Banana Peppers are about ready to begin harvesting.
Left photo above: I planted four rows of carrots in this bed, covered them with a little organic soil mix, then covered the bed with shade cloth. The shade cloth aids germination and keeps crickets and grasshoppers from eating the tiny seedlings. Keeping the bed moist helped the seed to germinate in about five days. Center photo above: Home canned black beans and green beans. I purchased organic dry black beans, soaked them about 12 hours in water, cooked and canned them. Now I can go to my pantry, pull out a jar for salsa or chili beans, or I can just heat and serve. The green beans are Tenderette green beans from my home garden. Right photo above: Health Kick Tomatoes, Rattlesnake watermelon, Missouri Gold canteloupe and cucumbers from my home garden. This is the first year I have planted Missouri Gold canteloupe. It is a real treat! An heirloom melon with sweet, deep orange flesh that is very productive.
Homemade Pizza, what a treat! With a few fresh ingredients and a little time you can make a great, nutritious and delicious pizza.
The photo on the left above shows the ingredients for one of my homemade pizza ideas. When making whole wheat bread I used some of the dough to make this pizza crust. The thin sliced Health Kick tomatoes are from my garden. In the skillet I sauteed peppers and onions from my garden then added free range chicken raised on our farm. I chose Monterey Jack cheese to top this pizza. The small dish on the right contains olive oil and crushed garlic.
First brush the crust with the garlic oil Sprinkle a small amount of grated cheese on the crust Place tomato slices over the cheese Again sprinkle another small amount of cheese over the tomato slices Next add the sauteed mixture and top with remaining cheese.
Bake in 450 degree oven until cheese is melted and crust is slightly brown.
Homemade Pizza Ideas: Use your imagination. Choose your favorite toppings ( peppers, herbs, onions, pepperoni, sausage, olives, chicken & pineapple, garlic, etc.) in the combination you enjoy. Use tomato sauce or sliced fresh tomatoes. Choose your favorite cheese or cheeses. Purchase a crust or make your own. Get the kids involved. Have a pizza party, let everyone help add their favorite toppings. Enjoy your homemade pizza!
Can you believe it, it's time to start the fall garden. I plant broccoli, cabbage, and collard seed in plug trays to grow plants for the home garden. Also tomato seeds are planted in July to grow plants for the fall crop in the greenhouse. My seeds germinate under florescent lights and once they reach appropriate size I put them in 3 inch pots and take them to the greenhouse. Carrot seeds can be planted directly in the garden this month for carrots that will overwinter in the garden. Garden soil can be amended with peat moss and compost to make a loose bed for carrots to grow in. I add one pint of lime for each 5 gallons of peat moss to balance the acidity. Also potatoes can be planted in the garden for fall harvested potatoes. They may not grow as well as spring planted potatoes but are still good. I mulch them heavily to keep the soil as cool as possible.
As you can see from the photos above the home garden is doing well. We have had plenty of rain and unlike most wet seasons there has not been much plant disease.
As seen in the photo on the left above I have taken the strawberry plants from their bed and replanted with Mississippi Purple Hull Peas and Lima Beans. The center photo above shows the garden area from which potatoes were recently harvested. This was the first year I planted Adirondack Blue Potatoes. The yield was great plus they are very tasty and contain more antioxidants than other potatoes. The Yukon Gold yield was also very good, however, due to heavy rains and rapid growth they have a lot of hollow centers. I tilled in the leaves that had served as a mulch for the potatoes and replanted this area with my last planting of corn. The bumble bee covered in pollen, in the photo on the right above, moves from flower to flower collecting pollen and serving as a pollinator for our plants. Bumble bees are practically our only pollinators this year. In the past we normally saw a variety of wasps, honey bees, bumble bees and others pollinating our plants. I suspect that all the chemicals used in the environment are taking a toll on these small creatures.
Judy's Bookshelf: recommended reading For additional information on gardening, cooking, baking, health, nutrition and more you will find great selections on my bookshelf. I invite you to browse, read, learn, and enjoy!
John Ikerd articles and books Thought provoking articles and books addressing the sustainability of our food supply, the real cost of food, the importance of home cooking and more, by John E. Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri .
Local Harvest Find locally grown produce, anywhere in the country.
ATTRA National sustainable agriculture information service.
Eatwild The #1 site for grass-fed food and facts with a state-by-state listing of farmers who sell grass-fed meat, eggs and dairy products.