Archive for April, 2010

The Garden Is Ready for Planting!

About two weeks ago I finished expanding my garden from a 8′ x 30′ plot to a 12′ x 30′ plot. Last Tuesday I finished getting the garden ready for planting, and planted what could be planted this early in the season.

Here is the way the garden looked before the expansion and the preparation:

And here is how it looks now:

Sorry about the shadows in the pictures!

The south end of the garden now has six 3′ x 4′ beds and the north end of it now is set up for growing fifteen different non-row plants.

In the south side of the garden I planted one 4′ row each of salsify, turnips, chioggia beets, golden beets, carrots, and parsnips. Soon I will plant one 4′ row of red potatoes and one 4′ row of russet potatoes.

In the north side of the garden I will be growing zephyr squash, butternut squash, cardoon, okra, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, snow peas, green beans, filet green beans, okra, and tomatoes.

The black stuff is the weed-blocking fabric that I put down on all of the walkway areas so that I will not have to do so much weeding. It will gradually look better as the fabric meshes with the ground and as I dump my grass clippings on top of it.

Here are a few more pictures of the garden:


Overwintered Vegetables

Some vegetables that I planted or left in the ground last fall have come back to life.

First, there is my little row of garlic and shallots:

Then there is the parsley:

I just never got around to digging up the parsley last winter, but that’s OK since it turns out that parsley is a biennial plant that is capable of surviving winter and coming back to life in the spring. So I harvested some of the parsley and made a batch of tabouli with it:

Then there is the parsnip I left in the ground to overwinter, which is supposed to result in them becoming sweeter:

And here is the parsnip after I dug it up:

It’s a monster! Fifteen inches long, and three inches wide at the crown!

I also left some carrots in the ground, not knowing if they would survive. They look OK to me:

Now I just have to decide how I want to cook my carrots and my parsnip…

Improvised Falafel Chowder

This is one of those let’s-use-up-some-stuff-we-don’t-like-very-much-and-have-had-in-the-pantry-for-a-long-time soups. I’ve given up on making falafel at home – it never turns out as well as it does in (some) restaurants – and I didn’t like the Israeli couscous all that much the one time I tried them before. Soup season is past for me – I don’t really like eating soup in the spring and summer – but I wanted to use up the little bit of falafel mix and Israeli couscous I had in the pantry, and I was curious to see if my idea for using them in a soup would work.

Here’s what went in the soup:

Olive oil
1/4 cup of onion, chopped
1/4 cup of celery, chopped
7 cups of water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
Approximately 1/3 cup of dry falafel mix
Approximately 1 cup of Israeli couscous
1/2 cup of red lentils
1/3 cup of parsnip, chopped
1/3 cup of cauliflower, chopped

It ended up being really tasty. It turns out that falafel mix makes for a pretty good soup seasoning, and the Israeli couscous turn out to be a good kind of pasta for adding to a soup. So maybe I’ll end up buying falafel mix and/or Israeli couscous again, after all!

I’m calling it falafel chowder because the red lentils pretty much disintegrated, giving the soup a thick, chowder-esque consistency. The falafel mix probably helped in that regard too.

By the way, my favorite place to get falafel in Omaha is Amsterdam Falafel and Kabob in Dundee. Their falafel is more tasty and more moist than I can ever get home-cooked falafel to be.

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