Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Tag Archives: herbs

Mothers’ Day Herb Spiral

We celebrated Mothers’ Day with my mom in Philly by building and planting an herb spiral for her. Now she’ll have easy access to fresh sweet basil, Thai basil, thyme, sage, onion chives, and rosemary!

My mom selected the area, which gets full morning sun and is close to her kitchen. To get the spot ready we had to transplant some daylilies and trim the tree in the back to allow for more sunlight. We then leveled the area and built the first course. The second level of blocks were placed between the joints of the first level for stability, and we built up another level of blocks in the center to give the spiral some height. We used landscape block adhesive to secure the topmost level of blocks before adding our topsoil, humus and manure.

You can click the images below to see the whole process.

Happy belated Mothers’ Day to all you moms out there!

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Still Workin’ For Peanuts

Somewhere in there behind the flowering onion chives, scattered tiny basil seedlings, giant feverfew…

… and huge beet stalks preparing to flower…

… are our peanut plants!

We cleared out a lot of the feverfew that had migrated all over the bed (to be dried and steeped in tea for headaches) and pulled up some beets to give them more room.  Grow, peanuts, grow!

Our First Produce Stand

Our produce stand outside Labeebee’s yesterday was a great success- a big thank you to all of our friends and family who stopped by! We enjoyed talking to people about our gardens and the chickens, and we actually sold a good amount. We’ll be back there next Saturday, too!

Our first produce stand

Radishes, beets, eggs, alfalfa & mung bean sprouts, bell peppers, 3 types of kale, carrots, salad greens, basil, thyme, rosemary, and sage. We also had yellow cherry tomatoes, banana and jalapeno peppers, and lemongrass, not in the picture.

The best part of the experience yesterday is the confidence it’s given us in our chosen path. We’ve both dreamed of having a farm and leading a self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle on our own little homestead, and yesterday we took a big step toward that goal. Good timing, as we’re both losing our jobs soon and were unsure whether we should find new employment or start pursuing our dreams. After yesterday’s success, we know that we should follow our hearts. We’re nothing but excited for the future!

A Preview of our Produce Stand Tomorrow

We didn’t expect to be taking any of our produce to market this year, but the opportunity has presented itself and we’re going for it! This is a just a little taste of what we’ll be offering…

ready for the market

Tomorrow, Saturday September 10, 2011 outside Labeebees Mid-East Cafe at 2609 Cherokee Street, just west of Jefferson in St. Louis. We’ll be there at 11 AM, rain or shine!

Exciting News! Farm Stand at Labeebee’s!

We’ll be selling some of our produce outside of Labeebee’s Mid-East Cafe this coming Saturday, September 10, 2011, starting around 11 AM. Labeebee’s is located at 2609 Cherokee Street, just west of Jefferson (here’s a map).

We’ll be offering peppers, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, salad greens,  basil, and more. Stop by and say hi!

Carrots

We'll have lots of fresh carrots for you!

Cukes

Our cucumber bed at Dave’s place has been exploding lately! We’re growing a variety of cucumber suited for pickling, though their thin skin and sweetness make them a great raw treat too.

Cucumbers

We pickled about three pints’ worth of cucumbers a couple weeks ago. We cut them into slices and spears and added them to our jars with sliced onions, crushed garlic cloves, and dill (all from our garden).

We then added a boiled solution of water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper to each jar until mostly full. Then to seal, we placed the jars in a boiling water bath for about 10 minutes. We kept one jar in the fridge and two in the basement in a dark spot until last week.

We’ve already gone through the first delicious jar of our homemade pickles. We’re letting the other pickles age a little more before enjoying them!

In the meantime, we’ve still been harvesting lots and lots of cucumbers. They keep well in the fridge in a bowl of water, and we’ll be pickling again soon.

Luckily, we made a great connection with a local restaurant blocks away from our garden at Dave’s Place. That’s right, you can find some of our cucumbers in the delicious wraps and salads at Labeebee’s Mid-East Cafe on Cherokee Street! They happen to have the best falafel in the city, and we’re looking forward to sharing more of our harvests with them.

Beets!

We harvested some Shiraz Tall-Top Beets and some carrots yesterday from Dave’s place. We used them to make a roasted, toasted beet burger dinner.

We sliced the beets and roasted them in the oven at 375° F for about 40 minutes in a marinade of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey, and cracked pepper, with juice of half an orange squeezed on halfway through.

We toasted chopped pecans separately, as well as some slices of french bread.

To assemble our “burgers,” Eric rubbed garlic on the toasted french bread, then we spread a layer of goat cheese and added the toasted nuts. We then layered two beet slices each with a couple fresh Russian kale leaves and parsley leaves, topped with another dollop of goat cheese and a couple nuts, with an extra drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette.

Served with steamed carrots- delicious!

Frugal Friday: Homemade, Homegrown Pizza

We love making things from scratch, especially when we end up with a high quality meal that cost us significantly less than out at a restaurant. Pizza comes up on our menu fairly regularly, not just because it’s delicious, but it’s also pretty easy to make.
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Our favorite pizza crust recipe is this Quick Beer Pizza Dough– it’s just flour, yeast, baking powder, salt, olive oil, and 1 bottle of room temperature beer. This recipe is enough for two 12″ pizzas. We prefer to make the dough fresh, but it does freeze well. A couple weeks ago, Eric happened to open a bottle of beer he didn’t like; not wanting to waste it, I took it and made up a batch of this dough and froze it in a ziplock bag. It sat in the freezer until yesterday, when we harvested these beautiful tomatoes:
Before we made our pizza sauce, we de-seeded the tomatoes to save for next year. Then we made up a quick sauce by sauteing onion, garlic, tomatoes, and the hot pepper from the garden in oil until everything was soft and fragrant, then we added fresh basil, oregano, and parsley from the garden, and of course salt and pepper to taste. We prefer a smooth pizza sauce, so we blended it in a small food processor- you can keep yours chunky if that’s your thing. Keep in mind, the longer your sauce cooks, the more flavorful it gets.
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Next, the fun part: assembling your pizza. Eric has experience at pizzerias, so he rolls out the dough by hand; you can also use a rolling pin. As for toppings,  Eric uses high quality cheeses and I’ll throw on some Baetje Farms goat cheese or vegan cheese or opt for a tomato pie (cheese-less). We try to use as much from our gardens as possible. Even if you do have to buy some toppings, it’s still way cheaper than having to pay for each topping at a pizzeria.
Enjoy!

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

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!