Garlic Scape Pesto

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We are successfully growing garlic this year after a couple tries that have failed. One of the first benefits (luxuries) of growing garlic is the scapes that appear in the late spring/early summer.

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You can see the buds of the flowers on the stems. Scapes are cut from the garlic before the buds open. The scapes are delicious and cutting them allows the plant to put its energy into developing the garlic heads and bulbs.

We cut about a pound of garlic scapes. We washed them off in the sink and set out to make pesto.

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Aren’t they cute looking? They look like tall necked swans to me.

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Chop up your scapes into 1 inch pieces and toss in your food processor. Just like all pestos, you can be a bit creative here. I added about 1 cup of parmesan cheese that was freshly grated and about 1/2 cup of pine nuts (you can also use pistachios). As I add things I toggle between pulsing the food processor and just letting its motor go for a bit. The idea is to get a creamy paste like substance. Add some lemon juice (from 1 lemon). Stream 1 cup of olive oil into the pesto and food processor for the last ingredient. You will have a smooth, green paste. AND it will smell like garlic in your entire house!

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Oh my goodness it is so good!

We tossed some on a few veggies and tossed those on the grill. We topped some pasta with the veggies and a bit more of the garlic scape pesto. It was delicious.

I froze the rests in ice cube trays so I can have this lovely garlic pesto whenever the urge hits!

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #201 & the Winner is…

Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Deb and I had our drawings for the winners of the one year subscription to MaryJaneFarm magazine.

#1 is winner is Alicia Dandelion Rose aka Sister 5232, themostlycrunchyfarmgirl. It is so appropriate because she just started the Southern Indiana chapter of MaryJane Farmgirls last Saturday! Congrats Alicia and if you are located in Southern Indiana reach out to her for info on her MJF chapter!

Winner # 2 is Tammy Taylor ( a North Texas Farmgirl)  from Taylor Made Ranch blog. We can always count on Tammy for at least three posts a week here on the blog hop! We all love reading her entries every week straight from her farm. 
Ready to get hopping?
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Last week’s entry from You Can Be A Great Gardener-Battle with Weeds was near and dear to my heart as I blogged on a similar challenge! 

And who can’t get lost in the beautiful photography from Woods Country Love. So pretty! Thanks for sharing.

We are about to build an ark here. Rain, rain and more rain. The seedlings have loved it but I still have my tomatoes to plant! They are happy in their pots in the pole barn, but one of these days these green babies are going to have to get out to their permanent summer home.

What are you up to this week? We are headed to celebrate grandson Arlo’s 1st birthday!

Well join the hop and brag a bit!

Laying Out a Garden

IMG_20150609_091003001This is our 3rd year now in the gardening game and I am attempting to be a little more methodical about it. School has helped me understand the importance of planning in my garden. I shared my planning method with you several weeks ago. For some this wouldn’t work but for me it does (and is necessary). I am in excel during the day so it makes sense I would use it to plan my garden.

Jasmine of course joins us on all our garden activities.

The other thing we have done to make things easier in laying out the gardens and in the rotation of them is to standardized the size of them. Not 100%– the spring garden is still smaller as it really can’t be expanded where it is. “Potato Hill” as we call it is set in its size as well.  It too is planted in rows but you can’t really tell now!

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But the others (there are 3 of them now) have all been sized to 45ft x 35ft. Where did that number come from? Only from the fact that Garden #3 was that size last year and it laid out really nicely. So we thought if we are bring rotation into the mix they should all be this size. Then it is easy from year to year to swap tomatoes to squash to beans, etc.

I like to plant in rows. I know it can be prettier to not use rows and aesthetically can be so nice to have “areas” of things. I also know that the plants can benefit from that in many cases. BUT that randomness doesn’t work for me- I have tried it with a big fail. And once things start growing and sprawling you really can’t tell that I am anal in my row planting anyway. :-)

Hubby and I have come up with a method that works for us to lay these out. It is a two person job for us and that is good. It is fun to do and once it is laid out the seeds go in.

Here we go:

First we prep the garden. Our gardens are still either fairly new or brand new. This one, which is Garden #4 is a new one this year. It was in our field so we tilled it and added compost. Eventually I want to get away from the tilling of them, but for now that is what we do. Once this is done we have a clean slate to work with.

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Next cut pvc into 3 foot lengths. We have tried this with 1/2″, but it does not work as well. Use 3/4″- it pounds in well and you will use them over and over. Cutting at a 45 degree angle allows it to go in the ground better.

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Our rows are 50″ apart. We have 10 rows per garden. Layout 10 per side and start measuring.

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First row starts a couple feet in.

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Then the string comes. We use bright pink just because I like it. :-)

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We continue on; hubby places the pvc and I tie string.

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After the 10 rows are in, we run one string across the other way so we can easily visualize the 1/2 way point in the garden. Many rows are planted in 1/2 so this helps section things off. IMG_20150609_092458396(1)

Ready for planting! The shovel is a garden marker. The girls made us garden markers last year out of different things; each have a number on them-this is #4. Really cool!

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Pull out my plan & get those seeds in. You can see two colors here. Green are planting #1; yellow is planting #2 which will occur in 2 weeks. The blanks are simply that–empty. Nothing will plant there. This is the squash bed and with the way pumpkins and squash spread, they need some space so I skip rows. You can also see how each row is planting in 1/2 (hence the string across mid garden.)

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Hope this helps if you have been challenged with garden layout. I know there’s lots of ways to do this. How do you do yours?

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

My Gardening- Bragging & Confessing

I love gardening. I love my little green baby starters. I love watching my plants grow. I love harvesting and eating from what I have grown AND I love sharing pictures of my garden with ya’ll. I love to brag on the growth, on organic methods and on the yumminess. I love to brag on how much I have that is growing and my spreadsheets and how I organize it all. And don’t we all love for others to think we have it all together in whatever it is we do???IMG_20150529_200515781

But true confession is that my gardens don’t look like Organic Gardening Magazine’s or Eliot Coleman’s. Confession that many times when I take Ms. Tupelo for a ride out back ALL I do is weed- and I am talking 5 to 6 hours at a time and when I walk away there is as much crabgrass and stuff left as what I removed. Confession is that I try to get pictures that show gorgeous, but anyone can see that my gardens– although laid out perfectly are also filled with stuff that I did not plant or invite in.

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I know from reading, school and others that straw is great, mulch is wonderful, herbicidal vinegar works and ground cover is multifunction awesomeness.  I also know that in my reality mulching or straw on an acre is expensive and more than I can manage to do. I am not steady enough with herbicidal vinegar to keep it off the stuff I want to keep so the gravel drive is the only safe zone for that. And I will be using white clover this year with my tomatoes, but those are my starters and when they go in they already have some growth on them. The other gardens all start from seed. By the time the plants are established enough to broadcast clover, the grass has claimed the ground.

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So what’s a farmgirl like me to do? To use a quote we are all familiar with “change the things I can and accept the things that I cannot”.  Honestly the grass around my corn is not disturbing my corn. It is growing fast and furious. The weeds that got taller than my tomatoes last year were not aesthetically pleasing but I received 300 pounds of produce from them so I think again it bothered me more than them. Does that mean I don’t try? Does that mean I don’t continue to try to widen the space and make it clean for my growing cucs and greenbeans? Of course not. I change the things I can. BUT I have learned to accept that I my gardens will not be photographed for a magazine. I also have come to accept that the gardens I lust over from magazines are either 1) smaller than mine, 2) have a staff to assist, 3) don’t have a full time job outside of carrying for their garden or 4) are just way better than me at control and upkeep. I am good with all of that.

So let me share with you all my lovely green stuff– some edible and invited and some not so much. I hope you enjoy your garden as it comes and quit comparing yours to the magazines or neighbors. Gardening is to be enjoyed so enjoy!

My Purple BasilIMG_20150614_164319416

My Pension Green Beans

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My Corn

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Beneficial Insect Mix

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A Volunteer Tomato (one of many; I think a San Mazano)
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Potatoes – 3 types. They are controlling the weeds solo at this point.

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Sweet Potatoes

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Italian Basil

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Greens of various types
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AND of course my grass and weeds!

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Enjoy your gardening! Remember the goal! To produce nutritious food for you and your family, to reduce stress, to get your Vitamin D, to exercise and for whatever else motivates you. Enjoy the green and all that is growing!

Happy Unleashing,

FGU

200th Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop Anniversary AND Giveaway!

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WOW! 200th Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Some of you have been here since hop #1 and some (like me) joined in sometime between then and now. Whenever you started hopping with us, we are just glad you did!

Every week we have such an array of great blogs, tips, fun and creativity. Deb and I love reading them and feeling connected to you all.

Hop over to Deb’s to see where her inspiration came from for our blog hop (I am sure many of you can guess it is MaryJane Butters). She inspired Deb to start our blog hop.

A little known fact is that when we decided to move to the country the very first magazine I bought was a MaryJanesFarm Magazine. I had never heard of this magazine in the “city” but I ate it up–every page and have been a loyal reader and part of the Farmgirl Sisterhood ever since.

So it only makes sense that on this, our 200th Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop that Deb and I are giving away TWO 1 year subscriptions to MaryJanesFarm Magazine!

Do I hear a YIPEE??

We know ya’ll are busy, busy, busy!  It is summer time right??? So, simply leave a comment on my blog and Deb’s and finish the statement

“You might be a farmgirl if…..”

I can’t wait to see how ya’ll finish that one. For me it would be “You might be a farmgirl if you have more dirt under your nails than polish on top.”

What about you? Visit Deb and I and leave your antic! Good Luck!

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #199

apronWelcome to the 199th Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Can you believe that we are about to hit 200????

Deb and I have a surprise for you on #200!

Deb has been harvesting rhubarb and she has a fabulous pie recipe (and beautiful picture) that she is sharing. Stop over and say hi and take a peak!

We have been playing in the bee yard and have added some more bees. :-)

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What have you been up to this week?  Come on and share your doin’s!

Let’s hop!

More Bees to the Family!

If you recall we lost a hive over our first winter with the bees. We ordered two nucs in January to bring us to three hives this year and we started preparing their new home for them. Hubby added a pallet and concrete cookies to raise up the area and level it. Then added a deep or brood box for each. You can see our existing hive, Trudeau in the middle. The one near the fence is Green and the other new one is Sky Harbor. (can you guess the naming theme?)

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Then we got the call and went to pick them up on Sunday. We did not know exactly what to expect. Last year (our 1st), we order nucs and hive boxes from the same person. They delivered the hives with the bees already set up. We just suited up and watched. This year it was our turn to pick up actual nucs. Those little guys were buzzing away on the ride home!

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Once home we took them out to the apiary. They were heavy and we used Ms. Tupelo to haul them. We opened them up and …

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and boy oh boy were there a lot of bees in there!

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To add nucs you “simply” swap these five frames for five empties in the hive. You place the loaded frames in the middle. That sounds easy in class. What they don’t tell you is that a TON of bees like to hang out in the old box in all the hard to reach places and they can be very stubborn in your thoughts about moving them. :-)

We finally got them all in, added their feeders on top and watched as the last couple headed in to see their new digs.

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We now have a lovely view of three hives from our house. We see them heading in and out so we hope they are well. We will peak at them in the upcoming week.

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Happy Unleashing (bzzzzz)

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #198

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Yipee! It is Farmgirl Friday and I am back! I have not blogged for a couple of weeks. Lots happening and travel. We got back Wednesday night and I am getting back in my homestead groove.

I will be out with the green babies and gardens this evening and over the weekend. I will take some pictures and put up an update; some of you have inquired as to what is going on with those precious green babies! They are doing well for the most part. All of my eggplant got eaten while we were gone, but everyone else is happily growing. The potatoes are going to take us over if we are not careful…

Deb has a new Wednesday blog “Wednesday Garden Notes with Deb” This week is all about direct sowing annuals. Perfect timing for me as we just ordered some zinnia seeds and other pretty things to plant. I am a sucker for seeds and seed catalogs! Deb is also going to try succession planting this year with her flowers; I am doing the same with my veggies. We will have to compare notes.

So, I am ready to see what everyone is up to. I feel a little disconnected and there is nothing like Farmgirl Friday to connect in again!

Let’s get hopping! Stop by Deb’s and say “hi!” Thank you for joining in!

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #196 & Happy Mother’s Day!

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Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #196 AND Happy Mother’s Day!

This weekend celebrates all things motherhood. Along with the scrapes, bruises, messes and frustrations that are a part of being a mom, the hugs, kisses and love outweighs all and we would not trade it for the world.

I hope this weekend brings to mind all things that celebrate motherhood. Care, nurture, love, protection all display motherhood. Whether you are a nurse caring for all, in the military protecting your country and citizens, a gardener raising green babies, an animal lover, a caring neighbor or a thousand other roles we all play out, you all depict traits associated with motherhood everyday. I hope during this weekend you celebrate all things motherhood and wish for you a glorious celebration with those you love.

Happy Mother’s Day from Deb and I!

Hope you have a bit of time to join in the hop!!!

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #195

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Welcome back to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop. Deb and I have been busy, busy and I KNOW all of you have been too. Spring is such a favorite time of year and it is full of all kinds of fun things to experience and do.

Deb has finally thawed and her raised beds are cleaned up and ready for action! Visit here and take a peak. They are gorgeous!

I have had so much fun in my garden this week. The ground finally got to workable condition and bed #1 is sown!

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I will be sharing details next week on this.

Since we are in southern Indiana another major focus is Derby. We have been having some Derby fun ourselves. Check out the balloon race, Dawn at the Downs and Thurby.

What have you been up to? I know each of you is up to your own farmgirl fun! We are glad you are here and anxious to see your talents shared.

Don’t forget to visit Deb and take a peak at her wonderful flower beds!

Let’s get hopping!