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Seeds!

seeds from Seed Savers

I just got my seeds in the mail yesterday from Seed Savers. You have no idea how excited I am. I’m splitting some of them with my mom, who has a plot in a community garden on the other side of town. Since she has space and I do not, we’ll be starting transplants at her place. Here’s what I have for now:

Spinach – Monnopa

Melon – Collective Farm Woman

Brussels Sprouts – Long Island Improved

Carrots – St Valery

Beans – Tiger’s Eye and Cherokee Trail of Tears

Kale – Lacinato

Squash – Potimarron

Tomatoes – Italian Heirloom and Crncovic Yugoslavian

Eggplant – Listada de Gandia

Sweet Peppers – Chervena Chushka

And that’s all for now. I’ve also ordered seed potatoes (German Butterball), and I’ll be getting seeds for collards and onions elsewhere. I will probably pick up a hot pepper transplant at the market when it opens. We don’t go through many hot peppers, so there’s not much point in paying for lots of seeds. I’m particularly excited about the beans. I’ve never grown beans for drying before, and I’m pretty excited to try them out.

This year’s garden is going to be all about storage. I want to be able to eat tomatoes I picked in the dead of winter next year. All the varieties I’ve chosen (well, most of them) were picked for their storage properties, whether those be cold storage, freezing or canning. I’m also thinking about getting a CSA share at Titus Farms to supplement my garden. They’re not 100% organic, but they’re low- to no-input, very nearby, and the farm is aparenlty in the process of being passed on from Paul and Rose Titus to their daughter, a recent graduate of MSU (just like me). I’ll be meeting Paul and Rose tomorrow. I’m helping to facilitate a meeting of about 10 small farmers from Southern Michigan (including Titus Farm), getting down to the nitty-gritty details of the farmers’ market study I’ll be helping out with. It should be tons of fun. And if I end up getting a CSA share, it will be nice to have more intimate knowledge of the farm I’m supporting.

In other news, I finally got around to baking everyone’s favorite bread. This no-knead business is a miracle, and this is hands down the best loaf I’ve ever pulled out of an oven. The big, irregular holes are all kinds of fun, and the crust is just the right consistency, well worth chewing on, but with no danger of breaking any teeth. I borrowed the overnproof pot from my mom (I heard a rumor that you can get away with just a baking stone, but I don’t have one of those either), and now I think I need to buckle down and buy one. And now, just to whet your appetite, the innards:

no-knead bread crumb

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Last Year's Garden

I’ve been drooling over Pocket Farm for the past few days. Somehow it had escaped my notice all this time, but it’s so fantastic! It’s making me twelve kinds of jealous though. I wish very much that I had a 50 acre farm. Sadly, I have only a dinky one-bedroom apartment with no gardening possibilities and the dinkiest little kitchen in the world.

John and I are talking about getting a house some time in the not too distant future. We’d thought we’d have to save up for ages and ages, but my cousin and his fiance (whose finances can’t be much better than ours, if at all) just bought a house in town, and because they’re first time home buyers, they didn’t have to make a down payment. Amazing! This is a revelation to me. I’d assumed we’d be saving for years to make a huge down payment, but if that’s not necessary, we could be house shopping in a matter of months. We’ll have to get our collective money situation in order (we’ve discussed merging our finances, but we haven’t gotten into the nitty-gritty of it all), and learn to save more, but it’s exciting to think that I won’t necessarily be trapped in a little apartment for years and years. I’m mostly itching for kitchen space and a big fat garden. Sometime I’ll post a picture of our kitchen. It’s literally the size of a bathroom. It’s small enough that it’s really impossible for two people to cook at once, which translates to more work for me, since I’m definitely the family cook (I mean no disrespect to John – he takes care of all the cleaning, which I couldn’t care less about). I’d love to have some room to sprawl out and have big food projects.

And then the garden. Can I tell you how much I want a gigantic garden? Last summer we had half a plot ( 10’x20′) in the community garden a ways down the road. The soil is pretty heavy clay, and there’s no shade at all – we’re literally stuck between a construction site where a new middle school is being built, and the Lansing Armory with its mysterious fenced off fields of nothing. It’s a really strange place to have a garden. It was also not terribly productive last year. That’s because it was the first garden I’d ever started all on my own, my transplants were in pretty awful shape (I tried making soil balls wrapped in newsprint to start the seeds in, but the acid in the paper killed half of the transplants), and I didn’t take very good care of things in the second half of the summer, thanks to extra-stressful classes.

This year I’m doubling my plot size and my effort. I’m using compost, starting my seedlings early, and taking extra good care of things in that “boring” stage between transplant and harvest. I just ordered all of my seeds, mostly from Seed Savers, and I’m so excited about them coming that I can hardly contain myself. The next step is to plan how it’s all going to fit in a 20’x20′ plot. Meanwhile, I’ll be daydreaming about canning tomatoes, ignoring the 6-degree weather outside my window.

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