Monday, April 25, 2011

Hey, I Won Something!

One of the best blogs on this whole home production, storage, use, reuse and urban farming concept is done by Erica and her husband Nick and it's called Northwest Edible Life. You can find it on and I highly recommend it. What they are doing is definitely in harmony with the whole Stealth Farm concept. (Besides that, she likes to cook in cast iron. How cool is that?!?)

Last week for her 100th posting celebration, she ran a 'thank you for reading' contest for her readers. As a nearly daily faithful reader, I left a comment which was her preferred way to enter. Today I found out I was the randomly selected winner of the home canning book she has as a prize.  I'm very excited.

I'm sure with all that is going on in our lives right now, we'll be able to put this book to good use.

Thanks, Erica and Nick, for doing a great job with your family, with your home production efforts and with the way you share what you're doing. I hope you are blessed with all that you want and need. (And thanks in advance for the book.)

On the local front, here are some photos of part of this past weekends radish haul. They are still tasty and crunchy and full of flavor. Their tops are good in salads, especially the smaller leaves. Their shapes are a little non-standard because these are being grown in the onion bed which doesn't have as much organic material in it and the clay soil compacts pretty tightly. I mulched this bed with straw and cultivate it regularly, but it still gets pretty hard.

This guy, however, didn't grown in that bed. He was in the chard bed which has much more compost and leaves and other organic stuff in it. Notice a difference?

This guy is over 8 inches long and at least an inch and a half in diameter. it wasn't woody or bitter. It was crunchy and sweet and tangy, just the way a radish should be. With the softer and more hummus-filled soil, it got a lot bigger in a hurry.

I think that it'll take me about 5 years to grow the soil to the point that it will grow anything I want. If I keep tilling in the mulching materials and adding compost and worms to it, I'm sure that in that much time I will have good, rich soil that will support my plants.

On the flower front, the hollyhocks that I planted last year are starting to flower. They aren't the really tall varieties and they only stand between 3 and 4 feet tall but the flowers are big and very pretty.

I've also noticed that some of the beans are starting to flower. This is good. This is another thing I'm doing to try to improve my soil, legumes. I grew black-eyed-peas last year and I was quite surprised with what I saw them do. When I cleaned the plants, there were many nodules on the root systems. I tilled the plant stems and leaves into the soil, also. I'm of the opinion that you can't have too much organic material in your soil.

This tough guy is a pepper that actually survived from last year. When we got our cold snap, which I think was on a Tuesday this year, all the rest of the peppers and tomatoes finally gave up the ghost. I though that this one did, too. But I was mistaken as I found out in February when I was getting that bed ready for the Spring. On the old root stock there were four or five green leaves. I decided to not pull it up and chop it into the compost bin and sure enough, it kept right on growing. I now have at least 6 peppers on this plant and it's only April. I'm pretty excited.

Sorry about the fuzzy photo. I'm still working on that macro thing.

My cilantro is growing quite well and I'm ready to start another batch. This stuff is aromatic, flavorful and prolific. I've taken several bags into work to share with my coworkers and my wife has used a bunch for some of her recipes, too. It's good stuff.

Thanks again to Erica at Northwest Edibles for the great canning book. I'm so looking forward to it. Best wishes to your family (including your chickens!).

And if you're ever in Las Vegas, please make sure you stop by.


  1. Hey sweet! Good luck canning the stuff you grow, hehe. That'll be a whole new project...

  2. That's cool, I don't think I've ever won something before, especially in a random drawing. Awesome!


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