Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winter planting is in full swing

We had some warm season crops left in the front garden until yesterday partially because I was so busy leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and partially because they were still producing and I did not want to pull them out before we got the bulk of the edible food off of them. 

We had a nice warm spell here over the weekend and that helped the last of the tomatoes to ripen but it was time to pull the plants out and get a start on our winter crops. Yesterday, I planted lettuce in the shadiest bed and pulled all of the remaining warm season crops, except for 1 cucumber out of the other beds.

The large bed in front before pulling out the tomatoes
Gidget says, "You're finally getting this done now?"
The bed looks pretty empty now but I will fill it back up with cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lettuce like wildflowers

I took out the last of the tomatoes in the front today. There were 5 plants left and none of them were getting the minimum 6 hours of sun that they require. I also took out the last eggplant and 1 last pepper.

Lemon boy, 3 sisters and beefsteak tomatoes. Some will ripen and some we will eat green

Gidget is hoping the mailman will take her and deliver her to a place that has chickens, rabbits or even a mouse.
The back portion of this bed had 2 peppers and 2 tomatoes in it
I pulled out the plants, weeds, rocks and fortified the soil. I used powdered milk for mildew, corn meal for the same and to help reduce the grub population, and I used our own worm castings as fertilizer.

This portion of the garden is completely shady during winter so I do not expect to grow much. I want to put something in until the sun returns in spring so I decided to try a Gidget's Garden salad mix of lettuce.
I went with seeds from Seed Savers and chose 6 lettuce varieties and arugula.

I mixed up a variety of seeds and sprinkled them across my prepared soil
Then I added a shallow layer of E.B. Stone topsoil
Once the plants have sprouted, I will thin them to about 18 inches in between and then have fun trying to guess which is which. I hope to keep Farmer D and I supplied with lettuce over the winter in this bed. Once the sun returns we will grow something more exciting.

Gidget says, "You're not taking all the tomatoes yet, are you? Where are the squirrels that eat them?"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photo of the week

Gidget apparently explored a fireplace on Thanksgiving, this is her first and hopefully only  bath

Friday, November 25, 2011

This week's market harvest

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house and had a wonderful day. We used more produce from the garden than normal so this week's harvest is a little small but beautiful as always. 

These huge avocados are taking about two weeks to soften up but they are tasty once they do!

We have the last of the eggplant, some tomatoes and pink lemonade lemons

More tomatoes, lemons and some sweet limes
Gidget decided to go play in a chimney all night and did not get home until very early this morning.

After we forced a bath on her, she had nothing to say about the harvest

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin pie recipe using melted ice cream instead of condensed milk

I didn't want to go a third day without posting so I'm sitting down this morning to get it done before I get too busy with preparations for Thanksgiving again. 
Gidget is freshly fluffed and ready to go
Our menu is expansive and we are feeding a whole lotta people. Luckily my bestie and I are splitting it up so my part is not too overwhelming. I made the pumpkin pies and butternut soup last night. I've been using the same pie recipe for over 10 years and it's always a hit.

I like starting with actual pumpkins but canned pumpkin will work just fine too

I slice the pumpkins in half, seed them, and bake them at 350 for about 45 minutes or until soft
Then scoop out the pumpkin meat and puree in a food processor until it is very smooth. You'll need 1 and 3/4 cup of pumpkin and these 2 gave me that plus some to feed to the animals because cats and dogs LOVE pumpkin.  

Cindy's Pumpkin Pie (from

  • 1 1/2 Pints vanilla ice cream softened (I used Alden's organic this time)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 Cups pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 Cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie shells (I used one traditional and 1 made from gingersnaps)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place ice cream near warm oven to soften.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs. Stir in the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Mix in soft ice cream until smooth. Pour filling into two 9 inch pie shells.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes, or until filling is set.

Now I have to go get the turkey in the brine. Everyone at Gidget's Garden hopes you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Our actual turkey from Spur Valley Ranch

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Harvest day

We missed you last week and we look forward to seeing you at the market in the morning. 

Here's what we have:
Some beautiful avocados, the first of the season

We have 2 eggplants, 1 Japanese cucumber and 3 bell peppers, the last of the year

We have lots of nice tomatoes

There are also sweet limes and pink lemonade lemons
We'll pick herbs including basil, sage, rosemary and mint in the morning
I also plan to prune the scented geraniums way back, great for flower arrangements or to plant

Gidget says, "Be quiet. I'm trying to catch some real food."

Let us know if you would like some Aloe Vera leaves and we'll bring some of those too. See you between 9:30 and 1:30 tomorrow. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kabocha coconut soup recipe

I'm really busy in the garden today so I've decided to recycle an old post. Kabocha squash is still widely available from several of the vendors at the Golden Hill Farmers Market and if you've been wanting to try one but aren't sure what to do with it, this is a very easy and tasty recipe. Hope you are enjoying the day, it's a gorgeous one in San Diego.

Last week I gave one of our neighbors a kabocha squash and yesterday he handed me a container of soup that he made with it. The soup was so good that I had to have more and immediately made some myself. This is a very simple soup that is really delicious. It can easily be made vegan too.

All the ingredients you need
Kabocha Coconut Soup

1 kabocha squash
1 can coconut milk
1 box chicken or vegetable broth
1 onion
1 Tablespoon coconut oil or butter

I cut the squash in half and bake covered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, but you could also cube it and boil it until soft. Finely dice the onions and cook in the coconut oil until translucent and nearly golden.

Sweating the onions
Put all ingredients into large food processor or blender, you may have to work in batches. Blend until smooth and then heat in pot on stove until hot. Enjoy.

Even Gidget liked it

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What the hay?

I like to use straw to mulch and choke out weeds in our back yard. It looks nice, it helps reduce dust and it replaces the grass that most people would have in their back yard. I am not a fan of having grass in San Diego because we have a water shortage and can't have a miniature cow. The water I use for my food is already a lot of water so why would I use even more of our reserves for grass that does not serve us?

I plan to keep a nice thick layer of straw in the back for a couple of years, until we're ready to overhaul the back yard and make it the way we really want. At that point the straw layer will have enriched our soil and killed most of the weeds.

I have been asking and asking for rice straw because the alfalfa straw I have been using has seeds in it and that could be a problem because my goal is to end up with weed free soil at the end of this process. So I did ask for this.

Yesterday City Farmers Nursery came though for me with a ton of love. Literally. A ton. I thought I was getting the equivalent of 3 bales of straw but I got so much more. I love City Farmers for doing so much to make and keep me happy.

This is what a ton of rice straw looks like, it looks like way more than 3 bales to me.

Gidget says, "I'm a little worried the crazy police are going to come to get you."

This is the area I needed straw for, I would like to lay it down 12 inches thick

"I don't think you understand math, you really did not need a ton for that."
Sierra says, "Don't worry, I won't let them put you in a straitjacket."

Frijole adds to the conversation, "This might be the dumbest thing I've ever seen you do."
Whatever animals. I am almost 1/2 way through my ton of love and we'll be rolling in the hay for months to come. 

Fleck interjects, "If you say so, Mom. I'll do my best to protect you when they come to put you in a rubber room."
Back to work. If the animals are this amused, I cannot even imagine what the neighbors are thinking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Food for winter

We're in serious transition mode in the garden so I thought I'd show you what we hope to be eating this winter. While many gardeners around the country will rely on the food they canned during summer and fall, in San Diego, we should be able to eat fresh food from the garden all year long. If you are looking to plant a new garden now, these are some things you could consider growing.

Gidget is exhausted from watching me work

We've got nasturtiums that will bloom soon and provide tasty flowers to add to salads

We also have some fall planted tomatoes on the roof, the warmest and sunniest spot in the garden

Here is cauliflower and broccoli

And we have some Green Arrow peas starting to bloom 

If you have curious cats that you want to stay out of your newly planted beds, I suggest this product

It's completely natural and our cats get the hint if we apply it once.
Soon the newly planted seedlings will be bigger and take up most of the surface area of the raised bed. While there is exposed dirt, cats will get in and rummage around but this powder does the trick to keep them out.

Here we have Cauliflower and Bok Choy with some cat repellent around the new  plants.

We still have some eggplants that are growing nicely so we'll wait before pulling this plant out

The Lemon Boy tomatoes are doing a nice job of ripening up. I will replace this plant soon.

This was full of peppers yesterday but I pulled them out
The new plants I am putting in the garden consist primarily of:
Swiss Chard
Cool tolerant tomatoes
All types of lettuce
all types of cabbage

The citrus is ready now so we are enjoying lemons, limes and avocados
Here is a brand new pea plant that we direct seeded in the large raised bed about a week ago
We just had a ton of rice straw delivered to beautify, mulch, and reduce weeds so we have to go get prepared to lay it down.

Gidget says, "Really? Because I'm ready for a nap."