Thursday, December 29, 2011

bountiful end of 2011 harvest

Dill, arugula, mustard greens, baby beets, turnips, cauliflower and carrots all harvested on 12/29/2011. I am sad to see the season come to and end but am giving thanks for all of the beautiful nutritious food grown in this little garden this year, reflecting on how enjoyable vegetable gardening is and contemplating the 2012 season. Here is a fantastic recipe for turnips with apples.

what's left in the garden end of 2011



Mustard greens



Brussels sprouts

and swiss chard, sorrel, red cabbage and herbs

Friday, December 9, 2011

mustard greens

This is a delicious and very nutritious green called tendergreen mustard that can be used raw, steamed or sauteed. It grew quickly from an early fall sowing. My favorite preparation is as follows. Saute in garlic and olive oil for a few minutes then add a little vegetable broth and cover and steam for a few more minutes.
Here is more information on the health benefits of including mustard greens in your diet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kale and Lettuce for December Harvest

Dwarf curly blue kale and romaine lettuce mix in the garden on November 29. Kale does not mind hard frost and I think the lettuces have been somewhat protected by the surrounding buildings and plants. This kale has regrown from a complete shearing during a previous harvest.

Peas for December

This little garden has consistently exceeded expectations while defying the conventional rules of vegetable gardening. This garden is quite shady - especially now since the sun is not so high in the sky - and it's small. I thought it would be impossible to grow fava beans but planted them anyway and was delighted by the amazing black and white flowers as well as the harvest of beans. Many plants have done very well despite the lack of full sun-especially kale, lettuce, dill, beets, carrots, radishes, wild arugula, sorrel, many herbs, broccoli, swiss chard... I probably would not try growing tomatoes, peppers or squash in less than six hours of sun a day, but I definitely recommend experimenting with whatever conditions exist so that you can reap the wonderful rewards of the process and produce of vegetable gardening.
The seeds of these Wando pea plants were sown on August 16, 2011.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Borage still!

The enchanting borage still blooming heavily in late November in this zone 7 climate.
The value of its beauty in the garden is obvious. Here is a link to more discussion of its purported medicinal value.

salad burnet

Sanguisorba minor has a long history of medicinal and culinary use. Its interesting texture and beauty make it a fine addition to the kitchen garden.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Redbor kale

The redbor kale plants are so beautiful in the garden now as their color has intensified with the coolor weather. This is a delicious and highly nutritious comfort food that is easy to grow and provides fresh greens autumn into winter.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

calendula, borage and pea flowers

Yes that is frozen precipitation on the bench on October 29. I picked these flowers the previous night while gathering swiss chard for dinner. The seeds of the calendula were planted in mid March and the seeds of borage were planted in late May.
They have both been blooming for at least 4 months and the borage flowers seem very valuable to the many bees still visiting. Both borage and calendula flowers are edible and quite beautiful garnishing a salad.
Here is more discussion of the modern and historical medicinal uses of borage.
Calendula flowers have a long history of use medicinally, in food and wine preparations, in cosmetics and as a dye. They are still used in these ways and considered to have powerful healing properties.
The white flower is from the pea plant called Wando. The flowers are so pretty on the vine - like a delicate sweet pea flower.

Friday, October 28, 2011

beautiful fall garden


Purple top white globe turnips planted from seed at the end of August. They were given a place of honor in this excellent recipe for quinoa with roasted winter vegetables and pesto. The pesto was made from basil grown in the garden. The prepared pesto was frozen in ice cube trays then stored in the freezer in plastic bags.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Jackpot! These look more like candy than the nutritious vegetable that they are. The seeds of this Kaleidoscope Mix were planted in mid June.
When showing off what I thought were new varieties of colorful carrots to a visitor to the garden, he told me that they were actually very old varieties and that the orange carrots were probably chance mutations that were then selectively bred to become what we think is the norm. That night I entered "history of carrots" into an internet search and found the very comprehensive online carrot museum. It's fascinating.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

black swallowtail butterfly

Here is the beautiful caterpillar of the black swallowtail butterfly feeding on carrot leaves. You might consider planting extra parsley, dill and carrots for them or actually for you when they have defoliated your parsley and dill. Some of the many delightful interactions I have had with visitors to this garden have been with the two precious neighboring children who come to take away the caterpillars to raise in a suitable habitat so they can watch the process of metamorphosis before releasing the butterflies back into the garden.

fall garden planting

Gorgeous little plant! This is a seedling of Red Acre Cabbage growing from seed directly sown into the garden during the last two weeks of August. I expect this garden to be productive well into November. Here is a list of what was planted late August into early September. Wild kale mix seeds, Brussels Sprouts Jade Cross plants, Cauliflower Cheddar plants, Beets Bull's Blood plants, Beet seeds including Detroit Dark Red, Iride, Chiogga, Golden Globe, Lutz Green Leaf Winterkeeper, Viola Penny Lane Mix plants, Thai basil plants, lettuce Four Seasons seeds, Kale Lacinato seeds, Carrot Kaleidescope Mix seeds, Wild Arugula seeds, Mesclun Lettuce Sweet Salad Mix seeds, Chervil seeds, Broccoli DiCicco seeds, Romaine lettuce All Season Mix seeds, Kale Dwarf Curly Blue seeds, Lettuce seeds, Turnip seeds, Lettuce seeds, Salad Burnet plant, Basil Large Leaf Sweet plant, Parsley Flat Leaf Italian plants, Leek plants, Sage Grower's Friend plant, daylily Happy Returns plants, purple leaf Sage plant, Basil Purple Ruffles plant, Spinach Razzle Dazzle seeds, Mesclun Salad Mix seeds and Thyme plant.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thanks to the amazing members of the Arasapha Garden Club for organizing last weeks speaker event with Peter G Rose offering her presentation titled From Garden to Table.

The extreme weather events of rain and wind forced the wine and cheese reception from the garden into the courthouse but a full house enjoyed the good food and the sumptuously illustrated lecture.
The following morning was beautiful and sunny while I enjoyed a tour of the garden with Peter and her traveling companions.

Notice how lush, productive and beautiful a vegetable garden can be with successive plantings throughout the year.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Peter G Rose lecture and garden reception

Arasapha Garden Club

Hosts a Double Dutch Event

Thursday, Sept 15, 2011

Annual Wine and Cheese Reception
Dutch House Garden
5:30-7:00 pm

Enjoy the newly established kitchen garden and tour the Dutch House,
Chat with Anne Berry, Master Gardener,
Interpretive Staff and Volunteer Docents in the Dutch House and Garden

Meet Humanities Scholar Peter G. Rose translator and editor of
The Sensible Cook, Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World
the inspiration for our Dutch House Kitchen Garden

Transition to New Castle Court House
7:00-7:30 pm

From Garden to Table lecture by Peter G. Rose
Dutch and Dutch-American Culinary History and Gardening
New Castle Court House
7:30-8:30 pm

$5 members $10 non-members

Sales of The Sensible Cook signed by the author will be available
Enjoy Colonial Dutch Desserts

RSVP by Sept. 8
Include number of people attending each session

Pat Bird Kathy Tidball
322-7895 328-2532

Sunday, June 26, 2011

baby beets

One of the advantages of growing your own vegetables is having the opportunity to enjoy them when they are small and especially sweet and tender. Here is a recipe for baby beets and carrots with fresh dill.

Monday, June 20, 2011

garden update

The last of the Mesclun lettuce is ready for harvesting. There are other more heat tolerant lettuce varieties coming along in the garden. The birds have been eating the leaves from the emerging bean seedlings - an injury they do not recover from. So I am pondering how to protect them in a way that the colonists three hundred years ago might have employed. In the home garden, a plastic plant tray inverted over the seedbed might work. The sugar snap peas were so sweet and delicious but nearing the end of their productivity were pulled. The tripod vine supports will now be used to grow delicata squash, pole beans and cucumbers. Other seeds were planted today including a tri-color patty pan squash mix, watermelon called Bush Sugar Baby, more of the previously mentioned lettuces called all season romaine and European reds and greens and additional beets and carrots in the raised beds where the red cabbage had been pulled. Seeds of the beautiful borage plant were scattered throughout the garden. Several red, orange and yellow bell pepper plants were added. Two sweet banana pepper plants and one sweet colorful pepper plant called gypsy were planted. I planted several viola Viva plants that were grown from seed with the hope that they will continually reseed themselves in the garden. And finally, one lovage plant and one container of sorrel seedlings were planted.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

evening of 06/08/2011 harvest

French breakfast radishes are very pretty and have a nice mild flavor. I was pleased to learn that radish leaves can be used to make this delicious pasta dish. The sugar snap peas are so good raw as a snack or in a salad that they never make it to the stovetop. The wild arugula is an exciting discovery this year. It is more intensely flavored than the more common arugula. This batch is destined to become pesto. The lettuce shown on the bottom right of the picture is called Rougette de Montpellier although it does not look like the red lettuce that was pictured on the seed packet. Even though it bolted with the heat, it still tastes mild and flavorful. The gorgeous red romaine lettuce is called Rouge D'Hiver.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

raised bed plantings

Here is a list of the vegetables growing in the first raised bed that was planted May 12. The purple cabbage is called Red Acre. French breakfast radish seeds from Renee's Garden were planted close to the cabbage plants since the radishes will be ready to harvest before the cabbage expands into that space. Close to the radishes is a row of mesclun called Paris Market Mix which is also from Renee's Garden. Her seed company sells a wonderful variety of lettuces and blends of salad greens with lovely artwork and useful information on the seed packs. Next is a row of carrots called Bolero Nantes. The sage was planted as a companion for the purple cabbage to repel the white cabbage moth. For a most impressive yet easy gastronomic delight, try butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter sauce. Next is a row of red baron onions planted from sets. I have read that if growing onions for fall/winter storage, it is best to plant them from seed. The onions growing in the bed now will be harvested small and used as scallions then red onion seeds will be planted in their place. Another row of carrots is planted next to the onions. The lore of companion planting suggests that onions, leeks and sage might help to repel the carrot fly pest. Next are two rows of beets that contain five different varieties. The seed packs were all emptied into one container so that the planting would be random. The mix includes Detroit Dark Red, Iride, Chioggia, Golden Globe, Lutz Green Leaf Winterkeeper and Bull's Blood. A row of Summer Lettuce Bouquet - European Reds & Greens is planted next. Finally some more onions and radishes complete the planting.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, 2011 in the garden

Here is your weekly photo tour of the kitchen garden. Enjoy.

Baked kale chips recipe (better than potato chips)

I know that is a bold claim but everyone in my family from young to old loves these.
The above is a picture of the freshly picked and washed curly blue kale that was so easy to grow from seed in a totally organic way.
Here is the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stems, wash and dry the leaves then tear them into bite size pieces. Lightly coat with olive oil by putting them in a plastic bag, drizzle in olive oil and shake. Arrange on a parchment lined cookie sheet and season with sea salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lettuce and spinach harvest

Here is a big bowl of goodness - Spinach Bordeaux, Mesclun lettuce and Spinach Razzle Dazzle. The seeds were planted at the end of March - about 7 weeks prior to harvest. The lettuce was cut to allow the plants to continue production. The spinach had started to flower so the whole plants were removed, creating space for sowing of summer vegetable seeds. So with a little planning and patience and very little cost, even a small garden can provide you with fresh, nutritious organically grown food.
Vegetable gardening - a feast for all of the senses.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 20, 2011 Garden Photo Tour

The very ornamental black and white fava bean flowers. Take a photo tour through the garden on May 20, 2011 - the day before Day in Old New Castle. Congratulations to all who contribute so generously to welcome visitors to this treasure of a town and for the beautiful sunny day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

beautiful radishes

Cook's Custom Mix radishes planted March 25th and picked on May 16. So a shady garden can be productive but maybe plants take a little bit longer to develop than would be expected.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Exciting developments in the garden

It is enlightening to see how productive a shady garden can be. Here is a link to a photo tour of the garden.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Guiding principles and practices for the Dutch House Kitchen Garden

Vegetables, herbs, fruit and flower choices informed mainly by the work of culinary historian Peter G. Rose. The introduction to her book The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World states "The translation that follows presents the 189 recipes contained in The Sensible Cook and its appendixes "The Dutch Butchering Time" and "The Sensible Confectioner" all of which are from the 1683 edition of The Pleasurable Country Life..."

The seventeenth century Dutch were known as the horticulturalists of Europe and vegetables were a big part of their diet. Early Dutch settlers of colonial America sought to imitate their life in the Netherlands in the new colonies in America. They brought their rich culinary traditions along with recipe books, cooking implements, fruit trees, vegetable and herb and flower seeds with them to their New Netherlands.

Some of the recipes that the Dutch settlers introduced to America included coleslaw, pretzels, cookies and doughnuts.

Guiding principles and practices for this garden
-efficient use of space by season long succession planting, growing plants on vertical supports and dense planting arrangements
-mixing herbs, vegetables, edible flowers and fruit
-fertilize only with homemade compost
-organic, people and planet friendly practices with no synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers
-aesthetically pleasing arrangements of plants considering color and texture
-utilize knowledge of beneficial plant combinations for health and pest control

Sunday, April 17, 2011

First harvest

Micro greens! After thinning these seedlings from the row of radishes they will be washed and added to a salad. They taste just like radish.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dwarf curly blue kale

Hooray! The kale, spinach, sugar snap peas, radishes and lettuces are all sprouting. The kale plants will need to be thinned to about 10 inches apart so the little baby seedlings that are pulled will be perfect sauteed with herbs and seasonings and tossed with pasta.

Seeds planted the week of March 28th

More spinach Bordeaux, chervil, lettuce Rougette de Montpellier were planted. Some new plantings of Spinach Razzle Dazzle, All Season Romaine, chicory, and arugula were added.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seeds and plants planted the week of March 21st

A row of Mesclun Classic Mix seed was planted in the bed along the 3rd St fence. After the seeds were planted, several plants of Viola Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow were planted within the row of seeds. These produce edible flowers that are so pretty in the salad or on the plate and will be lovely growing within the row of lettuces. Divisions of chamomile plants were scattered throughout the garden and one Rosemary officinalis(upright rosemary) was added to the bed along the 3rd St fence.
On Friday March 25, a row of radish seeds and a row of broccoli raab seeds were planted in the bed along the fence. More super sugar snap pea seeds were sown in one corner of each of the 4 quadrants.
On Saturday March 26, seeds of the following plants were sown in rows in quadrant one-Spinach Bordeaux, Chervil, Galia Endive and Escarole and more lettuce Rougette de Montpellier.

The red powdery substance sprinkled liberally over top of the newly planted seeds is a mix of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. It is very effective for discouraging the squirrels that dug all throughout the first seed planting of kale - immediately after planting. If you try this, be careful that it does not blow into your face while applying.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vegetable Garden Planting/Harvest Calendar

It might be surprising to learn that some vegetable seeds can be directly sown in the garden as early as the beginning of March. Knowledge of optimal time to plant and days to harvest allows one to plan successive plantings which help to maximize yield from a vegetable garden that could potentially produce fresh nutritious herbs and vegetables for up to nine months of the year - even without a greenhouse or cold frame. The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension office has made available online a Vegetable Garden Planting/Harvest Calendar within a document titled Planning a Vegetable Garden. The document also includes a vegetable planting guide chart full of information including spring and fall planting dates, days to harvest, planting depth and distance and much more. It also includes a suggested garden plan for a home vegetable garden with some options for succession planting schemes. The six page document contains a wealth of useful information in a very easy to read and printable format.

Now for some very exciting news - the kale seeds that were planting in the garden last Tuesday March 15th are sprouting - and there were snow flurries throughout the day today! Ah spring.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Seeds planted the week of March 14th

The first seeds were planted in the garden this week. Kale Dwarf Curly Blue is a beautiful and very nutritious leafy vegetable which should be ready to harvest in early May leaving space for planting warm season vegetables. Then another planting of kale can be made at the end of the summer. Seeds of a very pretty lettuce called Rougette de Montpellier were sown in the central bed around the chives, apple and english daisy plants. This is reportedly very cold tolerant so might possibly be planted in the beginning of March. Successive plantings will be made weekly until mid to late April and then resume again in September. Here is a bit of lettuce history for your reading pleasure. Several plantings of sugar snap peas will be made until the end of March. Seeds of fava bean were planted as an experiment. This is a cool season plant with a long growing season of 85 days and will not thrive when temperatures exceed 70 degrees. So it really is not suited to this climate but a sowing in mid February next year might be worth trying.

Monday, March 14, 2011

First planting of 2011 in the Dutch House Kitchen Garden

Introducing Enterprise dwarf apple and its companion planting of chives.

First planting of 2011 in the Dutch House Kitchen Garden

This is Goldrush dwarf apple with its companion planting of chives. The apple varieties were chosen from a list recommended by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension office of apple trees especially suited for this area and having strong disease resistance. There are enthusiastic experts serving the community through this cooperative extension office. They are a valuable resource for the farmer and the home gardener.

Monday, March 7, 2011

This is the charming gate through which one enters the Dutch House Kitchen Garden from the sidewalk along E 3rd St. Pause to notice the warmth and beauty of the old brick paving and stone threshold pieces as well as the different patterns of the brick arrangement.

Look at this gorgeous stone and how it has weathered with time and foot traffic. Notice how the brick patterning changes here at the gate. When laying brick as paving, it is important to understand how the pace at which one moves through a space is affected by the arrangement of the paving. These bricks are set perpendicular to the side of the Dutch House. This arrangement tends to slow the pace as well as direct attention to the adjacent garden.

The boxwoods have been sheared to reduce their size in order to maximize the space available for planting fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.

This is where we will be building two raised beds for additional planting space. The best lumber for this purpose is cypress. It is naturally resistant to insects and decay so needs no preservative treatments. It weathers to a lovely silvery grey. We will be using boards that are one inch thick and 12 inches wide that seem especially appropriate in this context since they repeat the look of the material used in the nearby fence.

This is the view of the kitchen garden as seen from the lawn behind the Dutch House.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Greetings. This is the inaugural post to a page dedicated to an exciting new garden project in historic Old New Castle Delaware.