Thursday, March 8, 2012

You Can Grow This! Part Deux (with recipe!)

Last year, Tiny Tim's Garden looked like this in mid June:

Nothing like morning light to show off plants, right?

Isn't "Bright Lights" Swiss Chard almost shockingly beautiful?

Broccoli rabe looks good enough to eat at 7:00 a.m

Here's what all the glorious vegetables, herbs and annual flowers had in common.

 They came from this:

Started life in my unheated mudroom, and 

Moved to roomier digs before they got planted outside after the ubiquitous "all danger from frost has passed."

MWH (my wonderful husband) built a 6 x 8 greenhouse last year and just put together a retro two tier plant stands with two grow lights on them.  Both treasures came from the Craig's List "farm and garden" listings and were CHEAP! (Check it out daily - you'll never know what you'll find).
With these additions, you can imagine that I'm going a little nuts, but I do have method in my madness.  My goal is to give spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, beets and herbs starts to a low-income housing community here.  The residents have well made raised beds on the property and do a great job raising vegetables, but since they're on fixed incomes, free starts will save them a bit.

Here's where you might help out.  Have you been collecting 2" pots and transplant six plants in your garage or potting bench area?  Let me recycle them for you!  I will gladly meet you and take them off your hands.

If you haven't seen it yet, here's a link to The Farmers Almanac, showing when we can start seeds inside, when we can transplant or sow seeds directly in the ground. Enter your zip code and The Farmer's Almanac will graciously give that information specific to your locale.

Are you growing starts this year, and what are your favorites?  How do you do it?

For your dining pleasure, may I offer an easy St. Patrick's Day recipe for a variety of Irish Colcannon that has a few extra goodies in it from  Talk about comfort food!  



Mashed Potatoes with Kale and Leeks



    • 8 medium red potatoes
    • 2 cups kale, chopped (not packed too snugly)
    • 1 medium leeks, thinly sliced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
    • 1-2 T. lemon juice 
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • 1 cup potato water
    • salt and pepper


  1. Cube and boil potatoes (with skins) in lightly salted water.
  2. Drain, reserve 1 cup water.
  3. Saute garlic and leek in 2 Tbs oil until translucent.
  4. Add kale, saute  until wilted.
  5. Squirt some lemon juice, about 1T. to maintain color and add flavor
  6. Mash potatoes with reserved water, 2 remaining Tbs of oil.
  7. Fold in sauteed veggies.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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