Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Baby Carrots

We thinned out our carrot bed a few days ago- carrot seeds are very small and when you sow them they end up close together. Throughout the growing season, we thin out the carrots multiple times to give the carrots room to grow. At this point, the carrots we’re uprooting are large enough to enjoy. The “baby carrots” you find at the store are just shaved down from larger carrots; our baby carrots have the sweetness and crispiness of fresh growth. There’s no comparison!

We devoured most of the baby carrots raw, and then steamed some for a veggie pasta.  They were so good that we went out and thinned two more rows the next day! Eric created an amazing salad to showcase the carrots, inspired by one of Jamie Oliver’s dishes. We call it the Fruits & Roots Salad:

Ingredients

• 1 pound carrots
•  1-2 big beets, peeled and sliced
• 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
• 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
• extra virgin olive oil
• red or white wine vinegar
• 1 orange, halved
• 1 lemon, halved
• 2 ripe avocados
• several slices of ciabatta or other good-quality bread (or homemade croutons)
• a bunch of fresh salad greens

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F

2. Steam the carrots and beets until nearly done.

3. While the carrots are steaming, create the marinade in a separate bowl by combining the red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme. Mash together, then add 1-2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar and enough olive oil to cover the paste.

4. Transfer the cooked carrots to a roasting pan, and pour the marinade over the carrots to coat them completely. Add the orange and lemon halves, cut side down. Bake 25-30 minutes.

5. Arrange the bread on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven during the last few minutes of roasting. (Disregard if you already have croutons,  or you can choose to just toast your bread, too).

6. In a large bowl, add the avocado, the roasted carrots & beets, and croutons. Pour the marinade from the pan over the bowl and squeeze the orange & lemon halves with tongs to add the juices. Add olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste. We plated our salads separately by adding a bed of salad greens to each plate and topping with the fruits and roots.

We’re looking forward to thinning the rest of the carrot bed!

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Dave’s Place Garden Update

It’s been a while… here’s what’s going on in our raised beds at Dave’s place.

Edamame

Heirloom tomatoes, growing on the ground. We're trying a cage-less approach this year

Beets

Potato fruits- not edible

Sunflower

Sweet potato, amaranth, and quinoa bed

Dinosaur kale with bolting bibb lettuce

Zinnias

Carrot bed, newly thinned out

Our cucumber bed, with dill, echinacea, and hyssop

Garlic

Last fall we bought some local heads of garlic, split the cloves and planted each one  separately. It’s important to get garlic that’s been grown locally so you know it will thrive in your area. We just harvested some of the bulbs this week- full heads of garlic! We’ll have bigger bulbs later in the summer. Just dry them out for a day or two, then store in the fridge and enjoy!

Frugal Friday: Clean & Green

It’s great that commercial cleaning products have jumped onto the eco-conscious bandwagon, but there’s an even better way to clean your house without making a huge impact on the environment or your wallet. Plus, you probably already have all the necessary ingredients in your pantry!

Baking soda is a natural deodorant and mild abrasive that helps scrub and whiten in the kitchen and bathroom. We make a paste with baking soda and a little bit of water and vinegar or lemon juice.  Let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub away!

Vinegar is effective in controlling mold, bacteria, and germs. Make your own homemade all-purpose spray- just add equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle, then use it on surfaces around the house and in the bathroom. Don’t worry- the smell will dissipate as it dries. Or you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give it a nicer fragrance.

Add 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to equal parts water and vinegar to get a quick, streak-free window and glass cleaner! And instead of using paper towels, we’ve found newspaper cleans glass efficiently, without leaving any lint behind.

Side Yard Garden Update

Sugar snap peas

We're nearing the end of our sugar snap pea bounty, we'll have plenty to save seeds from.

Cilantro

We're also planning to save the seeds from some of our cilantro plants that have started to flower.

Beets

Our beets have really taken off- the greens are great salad additions.

Nasturtium

We like tossing some of these edible nasturtium flowers in our salads, too.

Pole beans

It's almost time for our first pole bean harvest!

Garlic scapesGarlic scapes, the immature flower stalks, have a great mild garlic taste
Strawberries

It doesn't get any better than a handful of fresh strawberries for dessert!