Thursday, June 26, 2014

Harvest-based tempura and more...

The harvest for some tempura.

The harvest & recipe

I had some okra, but not enough for good-sized batch of fried okra, so I supplemented it with 5 little sweet onions, some zucchini, and not shown here, about half of a garlic bulb.

I don't have a deep fryer, but this method for tempura works pretty well.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Results: the nematode experiment

In looking at all the broccoli & parsley roots, there was very little damage
by root-knot nematodes. Yay!

The problem...

For the last several years, the root-knot nematodes have damaged roots of several of our crops, but we were not aware of it until they were pulled up. Most of the time the crops had been producing well anyway, but why not take all the organic precautions we could to prevent the damage?

In doing research for "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida," UF agricultural professors informed us of their work with marigold cover crops for fighting nematodes.    

I took action last year and planted a dense cover crop of marigolds and dug them into the soil. See my post Nematodes, marigolds & crop rotation for the details. Last fall I planted my cool weather crops hoping for the best, because previously marigold plants scattered around the garden had not had any effect.

Success! Today we pulled the parsley and broccoli, both of which had been seriously affected the last few years. The roots were clean! No lumpy knobs caused by the nematodes.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Zucchinis, garlic, and kites: summer is here!

Oooh tiger zucchinis.

Changing seasons for our edibles

The tiger zucchinis are doing very well this year and I scramble to harvest them before they get too big. Half of one of these beauties was grated into a tuna salad, while the other half was sliced and was added last to a stir fry featuring onions, garlic, garlic chives, parsley from our garden, plus store-bought celery & 2 Boca Burgers (our favorite non-meat patties). The other one and maybe an additional one still growing in the garden will be the key ingredient in some zucchini bread. Yummy.

The last lettuce crop and the parsley have bolted and the broccoli is done after many months of come-again picking. My husband made a nice tabbouleh from the last of the parsley crop. I've allowed the plants to remain in the garden so their blooms will attract pollinators.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Down on the farm

A guest post from my grandson Weber who is working on a farm this summer. 

Summer at Magee Farms: Part One

Hi! My name is Weber Stibolt, and I’m one of Ginny’s grandchildren. This summer I am working at a produce farm in southern Delaware, and she asked me to write a few columns for you to show you a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes. I am a rising junior and am studying Food Science at the University of Delaware. 

Although there are many paths that I can take with this degree, one of the aspects that interests me the most is food safety. With increased capability to detect foodborne pathogens and an increase in food safety regulations like the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, there is and will be an increased demand for specialists to help producers of food ensure that they are taking the necessary steps in order to reduce the risk of microbial contamination. 

A family farm

Magee Farms has been a family farm since 1865 and this is the fifth generation farming the land. 

I have been hired as a Food Safety Manager to assist the produce farm in keeping records and making sure everything is in order for the annual food safety audit. I will mainly be overseeing the packinghouse where the watermelons and sweet corn that the farm produces are packed and put onto trucks to be sold at local supermarkets. 

The picture below shows just some of the paperwork that goes in to all of this! The government agency completing the audit is the USDA. The paperwork isn't necessarily being turned in - it's being reviewed by them to make sure we are in compliance with everything that needs to be done and is just a means for collecting data like temperatures of water and proper levels of chlorination and a whole list of other things that I will cover in more detail in later posts.

More pictures and posts to come. ~Weber


Have you thanked your farmers today?

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt