Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall: Gathering, Bringing Indoors & Cooking

We are having the most lovely fall days in the 70's. There is nothing to complain about when you look at a forecast that says everyday will be 70 for the entire week! The Bur Oak has begun dropping its leaves.  A few dogwood leaves are reddening. A pile of buckeyes lay on my kitchen table squirreled by some little person in my house. Carrots, kale, spinach, rutabaga, lettuce, green onions and leafing cabbages are sprouting in the fall garden.  I use to wait until the last possible moment when threatened by an overnight killing frost to bring in all of my houseplants and such. Not anymore. It's too much. I get crazy. So that project started today. The succulents and cacti come back to their windowsill residences. The lusher houseplants find their old stands. Annuals of various sorts (begonia, avocado, coleus, sweet potato vines, bromeliads, chili peppers, tender salvia, elephant ears, plectranthus, etc)  move into the basement to eek out a poor existence under shop lights. Such is life. Some days you have sunshine and others not.

Agaves, Jade, Hobbit Fingers Jade, Mother of Many in the window.

I also collected more annual seeds from things I hadn't yet: marigolds, petunia, celosia, gomphrena, star zinnia, purple prince zinnia. I make little paper packets for the smaller seeds, reuse envelopes, jars, old medicine bottles and lunch bags for others. 
After letting them dry a bit they will be contained & labeled. 

So, I've read about and watched youtube videos about Window Farming. The idea is growing some of your own food, in windows, in urban areas, hydroponically. I was trying to think of why you would want to do it hydroponically (that is, with a nutrient solution/soilless) and the only benefit I can see is less mess (unless you spill the solution). With hydroponics you have to check to make sure you are maintaining a proper pH and nutrient balance. Soil can certainly lose nutrients with use and either way the plants will show you this. So, I was considering trying it out using 2 liter bottles, but with soil. I had two mismatched bottles (mistake number 1), but thought I could still configure a way to stack them, which I did, but the hole on the bottom of the top one didn't fit perfectly with the bottom and so leaked, but not necessarily into the bottom one, which is the point. I'm not giving up on the idea. The have soil and seeds (mesclun mix and wild basil) and are growing so far so....look for updates. Oh, and for now, I've separated the two bottles until I'm ready to do more upgrades. Here are the bottles:
The plants are suppose to grow out of the cut out parts of the bottles.

Cooler weather also makes me want to cook and cook comfort food. A friend turned me on to this book:
I've really gotten into it. I learned a lot of stuff I didn't know about how to make a good veggie burger, french fries in the oven and homemade buns. Attempt #1: Easy Bean Burger, Spicy Fries and Whole Wheat buns turned out divine. Here they are:
Good buns.

Easy Bean Burgers with red beans pre-cooked.

All together now. Yum.

Now, I wish I could say most of the ingredients came from my garden, but only the parsley and potatoes were locally grown. Although, I am growing winter wheat, but for a green manure/chicken food. I continue to experiment my way through this cook book. Tonight is falafel burger night. 

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