Archive for December, 2015

Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015
Mulched Brussels Sprouts

Mulched Brussels Sprouts

We still have Brussels sprouts growing in the garden. They can tolerate light freezes and even colder temperatures if covered with straw or leaves – which we have done. Most years I pick the sprouts before it gets super cold, then blanch and freeze them. This year the freezer was already at capacity so that was not an option.

Lately I’ve been roasting the sprouts. There are lots of variations on the theme but basically the vegetables are tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 degree oven until “done”. I use “done” loosely because your version of done may be different than mine. Timing can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, depending upon the size of the sprouts and your definition of done. Some people like them just barely cooked and some like them browned and crispy.  Use some caution, overcooking can make them mushy inside.

Sprouts on Parchment

Sprouts on Parchment

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1-2 pounds Brussels sprouts

2-4 T. olive oil

1 clove squeezed garlic mashed with 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Clean and trim Brussels sprouts. If they are very large you may want to cut them in half or cut an X in the stem end. Mix garlic/salt mixture with olive oil and toss with the sprouts. Grind pepper over all. Place on a greased broiler pan or use parchment paper. Bake until just done or until browned and crispy – your choice! The sprouts pictured were small, about the size of a nickel, and were roasted for 25 minutes.

We served them with a red wine/tamari seared portobello mushroom, buttered potatoes and pureed Red Kuri squash. Yum!

Portobello Harvest Dinner

Portobello Harvest Dinner

2015 Garden Review

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Potato Blossoms

Potato Blossoms

The 2015 CobraHead Home Garden was a great success. The garden is never the same from year to year. Weather, seed and plant inputs, labor, luck, and a lot of other variables make each garden season a new experience. That’s an advantage for home gardeners. They don’t need perfection to be successful, and last year’s errors are only lessons for the future. I like to tell beginning gardeners not to worry. Plant enough different stuff and some of it will turn out great in spite of your mistakes or misfortunes.  We had some pretty miserable failures this year, but overall most plants did fine and we harvested as much as we could hope for.

Potatoes in Open Raised Bed

Potatoes in Open Raised Bed

200 Pounds of Potatoes

200 Pounds of Potatoes

We had our largest potato harvest ever.  We’re storing them in a straw bale cold storage structure I set up in the barn.

One Potato - Over Four Pounds

One Potato – Over Four Pounds

Sweet Potato Starts in Flat

Sweet Potato Starts in Flat

Sweet potatoes are a crop we are famous for, and this year’s harvest was among our best ever.  I’m continuing to start my sweet potatoes from sprouted old roots.  It’s really easy.

Peas Interplanted with Greens in Open Raised Bed

Peas Interplanted with Greens in Open Raised Bed

T-Post and Bamboo Tomato Trellis.

T-Post and Bamboo Tomato Trellis.

Squash Trellises

Squash Trellises

We continue to use T-posts as our primary trellis structure supports.  I like them because they are cheap, nearly indestructible, and they can handle huge loads.

Low Hoop Tunnels

Low Hoop Tunnels

Cabbages

Cabbages

We’re getting better at transplanting seedlings directly from indoor spouting to a low tunnel hoop house.  This eliminates time consuming “hardening off”  and gives us some really vigorous starts.

Giant Swiss Snow Pea

Giant Swiss Snow Pea

Radishes and Peas in the Pan

Radishes and Peas in the Pan

We grew a new (for us) snow pea called Giant Swiss.  It was prolific and delicious.  Here’s a frying pan with peas and radishes, the first time we’ve ever cooked radishes, which is something we should have been doing  a long time ago.

Harvest of Smaller Squash

Harvest of Smaller Squash

Boston Marrow Squash

Boston Marrow Squash

Our trellised smaller winter squash and our larger trailing vine squash were both super productive.  We are trying to figure out what to do with it all.

Mustard in the Pea Patch

Mustard in the Pea Patch

We’re getting more and more vegetables and herbs to be perennials or volunteers.  It’s our sort of stab at permaculture.  Mustard is now a weed in the garden, along with cilantro and kale, and several types of onions and garlic.

Comfrey

Comfrey

Big Yields

Big Yields

An inedible weed, but one I’m encouraging for its properties as a compost plant is comfrey.  I just have to be careful it doesn’t take over everything.  It’s too easy to grow.

Celery

Celery

One of our miserable failures this year was celery.  It’s looking great here in the picture, but I didn’t pay attention to its watering needs and ended up with a mostly unusable batch of hollow stems.

Dwarf Gray Sugar Pea

Dwarf Gray Sugar Pea

Leatherwing beetles on tansy

Leatherwing beetles on tansy

We write about our garden and show pictures on our blog, so I thought I needed a macro lens to help give us some cool photos.  I’m not into insect sex life, but the macro really gives some nice detail.

We’re still harvesting leeks, Brussels sprouts, and various greens as our unusually mild December draws to a close.  I would have to rate the 2015 garden one of the best ever.  Now we’ll see what the new year brings.