8 pounds chicken backs
2 medium-large onions, peeled and large diced (save the skins and trimmings for compost pile)
2 large carrots cut into 2-3 inch chunks
6 stalks celery cut into 2-3 inch chunks
8 sprigs fresh thyme from the garden
12 sprigs fresh parsley from the garden
2 bay leaves
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Last week, we got new gutters for the house. I didn't have to do anything for that other than write a check, but there was a method to my madness. I had 2 brand spanking new 75-gallon rain barrels I wanted to install and what's the point without gutters that are draining into them? Though they came with a linking kit to have one barrel overflow into the second, I decided to put one in the back of the house and one in the front so I can hook a hose to each for ease of watering since I've planted in both places. We haven't had any rain since they were installed, so I'll give an update when it rains, but I can tell you these things collect dew! Aside from the obvious reduction in our water bills, I'm proud that this will move our home one tiny step forward in our efforts to become more sustainable. I have no doubt that next year we'll end up ordering 2 more barrels because it gets mighty warm in south Florida in the summer and the veggie plants will need extra watering.
This leads me to my shopping spree at Gardener's Supply. I considered the stash my Hanukkah presents to myself. I made sure to tell my husband he didn't have to shop for me this year (as if shopping was his favorite thing to do; I think he's been in a mall 4 times in the past 12 years). And everything I ordered was useful, from the tomato cages and pea trellises, all the way down to my new hot pink Daisy Clogs that I got on sale for $12.00 (I couldn't pass them up).
Then there's the garden. Well, there's more good news than bad, but there is bad news. Rats have gotten my entire crop of broccoli, but, for some reason that hasn't yet made itself clear to me, they didn't touch the brussel sprouts or eggplant that are in the same bed. Rats with tastebuds? Got to be something in the broccoli I'm guessing. On the good side, my Meyer lemon tree is blooming profusely, we've eaten a couple salads made with our own lettuce, I've got baby tomatoes beginning to pop out all over, the blueberry bushes are sprouting beautiful tiny pink bloom buds, and the herbs and onions are doing well. I honestly can't complain. Oh I forgot. I can complain about one thing. I had stuck 4 bush snap bean seeds in one of the beds that had some room just for the heck of it and they actually all started to come up, but my eldest child Caleb (a dachschund) decided to push his way through the gates we built to keep him out so he could check out the beans himself. One lonely little bean plant survived. I tried it again today and this time placed cinder blocks against the gate to block him.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, I baked 6 loaves of a really easy and delicious honey-wheat bread and started a new project to make a bread board/slicer with my dad. Thank goodness for two 4-day weekends in a row. I'll put the recipe in the next post as this one is getting rather lengthy, and post pictures and instructions for the bread slicer.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
In most parts of the country, winter is the time for preparing for spring planting. Not so for south Florida gardeners. We're busy planting and planning. I just received my used copy of Tom MacCubbin's The Edible Landscape and here's what he says about what vegetables to plant when in south Florida:
Whew! I'm thinking we need to relocate up north.
- Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collards, lettuce, mustards, peas, potatoes, radishes and turnips. Fertilize every 3-4 weeks.
- Anise, cardamom, catnip, chives, comfrey, coriander, fennel, horehound, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
- At mid-month, sow cucumber, eggplant, pepper, squash and tomato seeds indoors to have transplants ready by March.
- Plant cold-tolerant fruit trees, shrubs and vines as they become available at garden centers.
- Florida spring begins in February, so start looking through seed catalogs and order.
- Make final plantings of cool-season vegetables (January) early in the month.
- By the end of the month, begin planting warm-season crops, i.e. beans, cantaloupes, corn, cucumbers, peppers, squash, tomatoes and watermelons.
- Fill in gaps in the herb garden.
- Start seeds of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers indoors to have transplants ready in 6-8 weeks.
- Plant apples, blackberries, blueberries, figs, grapes, peaches and pears.
- Prune fruit trees.
- Add a 2-3 inch layer of mulch to spring gardens.
- Plan for a long, productive season by making early plantings of corn, peppers, tomatoes and watermelons.
- Plant beans, cantaloupes, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, Southern peas and squash.
- Fertilize young plants every 2-3 weeks and those plants nearing harvest every 3-4 weeks.
- Sprout sweet potatoes to serve as transplants later in the spring.
- Plant more herbs.
- Plant papayas.
- Plant beans, cantaloupes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peppers, squash, Southern peas, sweet potatoes, calabazas, chayotes, yard-long beans and other tropical crops.
- Plant anise, basil, chives, dill, borage, oregano, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, sweet marjoram and thyme.
- Trim banana foliage and fertilize monthly.
- Fertilize trees, shrubs and vines planted earlier.
- Fertilize container gardens weekly.
- Plant lima beans, snap beans, collards, and summer spinach. Continue planting heat-tolerant veggies such as calabazas, chayotes, yard-long beans, okra, Southern peas, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes and tropical crops.
- Plant basil, chives, dill, sage, savory, sweet marjoram, mint and thyme.
- Cover developing papaya fruit with paper bags to protect from fruit flies.
- Plant summer veggies - okra, Southern peas, sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes.
- Plant boniato, calabaza, dasheen, roselle, sweet cassava, yard-long beans and yautias (what the heck is a yautia?)
- Cut back blueberry bushes. Cut blackberries to the ground after fruiting.
- Plant calabaza, cherry tomatoes, okra, pumpkins,Southern peas, sweet potatoes and yard-long beans.
- Plant basil, chives, dill, mint, oregano and sweet marjoram.
- Mid-month, sow eggplant, pepper and tomato seeds to have transplants for late August.
- Harvest early avocados and mangoes.
- Sow watermelon seeds by the 10th. Wait until mid-month to plant beans, broccoli, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, peppers, squash and tomatoes.
- Plant basil, chives, dill, mint, oregano and sweet marjoram.
- Pears should be ripening - pick early to avoid rot and browning.
- Harvest winter-chilled pineapples.
- Sow vegetable and herb seeds for fall transplants.
- By mid-month, complete plantings of beans, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, squash and tomatoes.
- At end of month, plant broccoli, cabbage, celery, collards, onions and turnips.
- Start seeds for brussel sprouts, cauliflower, celery, lettuce and onion.
- Plant anise, borage, cilantro, fennel, lavender, rosemary, mint, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme.
- Prepare strawberry beds for planting.
- Fat, plump sweet potatoes should be harvested.
- Persimmons should be ripening and ready for harvest.
- Start more seeds for cool-season planting.
- Plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustards, onions, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips.
- Start transplants of brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collards, lettuce and onions.
- Plant strawberries.
- Plant anise, borage, chives, coriander, fennel, garlic, lavender, mint, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme.
- Harvest papayas, sweet potatoes, chayotes, cocoyams and dasheens. Harvest pecans when when husks begin to open.
- After harvesting the end of the warm-season veggies, start planting beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustards, onions, peas, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.
- Plant anise, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic lavender, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme.
- Harvest sweet potatoes, chayotes, cocoyams and dasheens.
- Start picking ripening citrus - pick only what is needed; leave the rest on the tree.
- Sow cool-season veggies and papaya seeds.
- Plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, mustards, onions, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips.
- Plant anise, chives, comfrey, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic parsley, mint, thyme and sage.
- Harvest more citrus.