Monday, February 15, 2010

Sprouting Onion Seeds

These tiny little black seeds are the beginning of candy onions to eat this fall. We discovered these delicious candy onions while shopping at the Shipshewana, IN flea market in September. They are a mild, sweet onion good for cooking or in salads.

My always adventurous DH decided to sprout these seeds and start the plants while we are here in FL. Yes, we will baby them until we leave for Michigan in April.

In the first photo, he is scoring the hard shell of the seed in order to make it easier for the little sprout to get through the covering.
He put the scored seed on a wet paper towel in small plastic containers (including the lid from the Miracle Whip jar). My DH placed them on the wireless router and on the cable modem box (shh, don't tell the cable guys). The temperature on top of the boxes are just warm enough to coax the seeds to sprout. In the picture, you can see one container on the router right next to our electric pencil sharpener.
Within a few days, the seeds sprouted. Next he will plant the seeds in cell packs.
It's always fun to play with seeds. They are powerful little mysteries of creation.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Recipe--Cream of Broccoli Soup Will Warm You Up

This cream soup made of fresh broccoli from our Florida garden mixed with carrots and onions (from our Michigan garden), and celery gently simmered in a cream base certainly warms the tummies this crazy cold winter. If you have been reading this blog you know that even Florida is suffering this winter. How about snow in the panhandle this morning?? I know it doesn't compare to the bitter cold and snow and blizzards experienced in other parts of the country. Hang in there. Spring will soon be here and we will all be outside getting our hands in the dirt and toiling under bright sunshine.
Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe
4 T. butter or margarine
1 1/2 c. chopped broccoli
1 1/2 c. chopped carrots
1 c. chopped celery--Add more if you like a lot of celery taste
1 medium diced onion
20 oz. chicken broth
1/3 c. flour
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
2 1/2 c. lowfat milk--you can replace evap milk with lowfat and use total 4 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste
Melt margarine in Dutch oven. Add vegetables and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes or till veggies are tender. Add chicken broth and allow to begin to boil. Stir in flour gradually, then slowly stir in milk. Salt and pepper to taste.
You can add more veggies to make a heartier soup and you may want to add ham and cheese too.
Enjoy this tummy warmer.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Waiting for Spring

There's not much you can do about hurrying up nice spring weather for planting. Let's face it. You are chomping at the bit after looking through those seed catalogs and you are ready to get some dirt under your nails. Alas, after looking out the window or walking outdoors, you realize there is no way that spring is close. (unless you live in a Southern state..)

So what do you do to chase away those can't-garden-blues? Now is the time to prepare for gardening such as:

1. Clean out pots/containers that you will need for transplanting.
2. Inventory for transplanting--such as germination mix, soil, ingredients for mixing soil, cell packs, warming mats, lights.
3. Clean and sharpen tools.
4. Find that soil report from the extension office.
5. Look over your journal from last year and make notes for improving this spring's garden. If you didn't keep a journal, look into ways of keeping one for this coming year. It can be a spiral book for jotting notes or something you use online. Decide what will work best for you.
6. Go through photos from last year and organize them into digital folders that make sense. Group photos of the tomatoes in one, beans in another, etc. You may even want to play with making a movie of your garden using Movie Maker or other programs.
7. Look for recipes you want to try this year using your fresh garden produce. (and please feel free to share them here for all of us. It's fun to experiement.)

Waiting for spring to arrive will drive many gardeners to start planting seeds indoors too soon. Oh yes, we are guilty of getting too anxious. Know when you can actually set out transplants in your zone without worrying about a heavy frost killing them. Then backtrack from that date so you can figure out by reading the seed packet the dates for planting the seed indoors. Seeding too soon can lead to plants overgrowing while waiting for the optimal planting weather.

Before you know it you will be out in the dirt again. Oh, maybe you should add to the list--buy some Ben Gay and and a hot pad for your aching back!