A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What are "Garlic Scapes"?

Every year, before garlic bulbs are ready to be harvested, the plant sends up a flower-stalk, or "scape". If picked when young and tender, they are a delicious, mild form of garlic and can be used just like garlic, in most recipes that call for it. They are considered a gourmet treat by many and are not often found in grocery stores or markets.

Fresh-cut garlic "scapes"
We like to chop them up in eggs, saute' them in stir-fries or cook them into soups.

Garlic-farmers pick them off so the garlic plant will send more energy into the bulb and the cloves will be bigger at harvest time.  As long as they are picked young, all parts are edible.

Here's a link to Cook's Illustrated, for more detailed cooking ideas.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy Birthday - Sharing Gardens!

Hi Folks! On April 15th, 2009, our friend Steve Rose broke ground with his tractor at Alpine Park, marking the birth of the Sharing Gardens. We're nine years old this week!

Here's Chris, forming 'raised beds' with our little 1947 Farmall Cub tractor in Alpine, after Steve Rose had plowed it (April, 2009).
Here's Llyn with the Sharing Gardens' first harvest taken to the Food Pantry, July 2009.
Here are a few highlights from the 2018 season so far. Enjoy!

We've had two service-learning groups from Oregon State University. We have two more scheduled for later this spring.

The February group helped us mulch trees...
...empty our compost bins...
...mulch our blueberries...
...and mix and sift soil in preparation for starting seedlings.
Our second group of OSU students came on April 14th. The ground was too wet to do anything outside so they helped us in the greenhouses:

April, Ema and Anna harvest radishes.
They helped us transplant tomatoes too.
Here's Cody harvesting lettuce in the Sun Ship greenhouse...
...and potting onions to be transplanted outdoors once the ground dries out.
We've managed to host a few volunteer sessions with our local Share-givers:

Chris and Rook mulching potatoes with leaves in the Sun Ship greenhouse (Feb 15).
Rook, Kat and Llyn planting cabbage before the big rains came (March 20).
Here's Kat on April 5th. Even on cool, wet days outside, it's always more pleasant in the greenhouses!
We are so grateful for our two big greenhouses. They allow us to plant many cold-weather crops directly in the ground much earlier than we could outside. Also we can start all the heat-loving seedlings and grow them big indoors so they're ready for outside planting as soon as the last likely frost-date has passed.

Here's a view of the Ark greenhouse on March 15.

Here's that same view in mid-April. Left bed has radishes, and two patches of lettuce. Right bed has radishes, beets and red lettuce in the background. Note fresh grass-clippings in the path. These are very pleasant to walk and kneel on, smell great, and provide food for the worms and other "micro-livestock" living below.

I didn't take many early pics of the  Sun Ship greenhouse for comparison, but here's Chris, on April 18th examining our pea-patch, started in mid-December! It looks like we're going to have a fantastic harvest this year.
We experimented with starting tomatoes and peppers in early/mid February on heat mats with excellent results (late Feb. start is more typical for our region). We had only a few freezing nights once they had sprouted, but the seedlings did fine under plastic tray covers and/or 'floating row cover fabric' with the heat mats left on.
Here are some of those same tomato 'starts' on April 17. Some are beginning to flower already!


As some of you recall, we had a terrible problem last year when our potting soil was contaminated with herbicides (from un-composted horse manure) which killed many of our tomato-, pepper -, and flower-seedlings. No sign of that problem this year; all our seedlings look great!

Great, spring weather is in the forecast and we expect everything will really begin to grow much faster now. Hurray!