So I went to the transplant sale a few weeks ago over at Turtle Farm, and picked up a whole pile of random seedlings, and here is what I ended up getting (I’ve included links with more info for some of the more off-beat items):
So I have a pretty good variety of random stuff for the garden. And we’ll see what does or doesn’t do well in the garden this year.
You’ll also notice that the seedlings that I started are looking better compared to a few weeks ago. I guess there really is something to using a bulb that is more in the blue spectrum. Since these seedlings are definitely looking hardier than they were two weeks ago. A few more days, and all these seedlings are going to be put into the ground, and the garden will then officially be up and running for the season.
As far as the peppers and the tomatoes, those are both on schedule to be transplanted around May 20th. But the herbs are looking VERY weak this year. So this year, instead of going to Goode’s Greenhouse or Menards, I’m heading up to Turtle Farm, to round out all the seedlings that didn’t come in this year. But I’ll also pick up a bunch of random plants, just for fun. Since I’m always up for growing something different.
So we’ll see what that farm has to offer this weekend!
One other this I did this weekend was to change out the fluorescent bulbs above the seedlings, since the seedlings were looking a bit “leggy.” I talked with my farmer neighbor, and apparently when you start plants, you are supposed to use a bulb that is more in the red spectrum. But then after the seedlings have germinated, you’re supposed to transition to a bulb that is more in the blue spectrum. Apparently this is supposed to mimic the sun in going from spring to summer. Talk about learning something new everyday, since I’d never heard of this before, so I might as well give it a shot.
We are now in full seedling mode in the house. Most of the time, I’ve been keeping the seedlings in the house, since its still in the high 40’s to low 50’s outside. But on the couple of days these past few weeks, it’s been in the high 60’s, so I was able to take both flats outside for a couple of hours of sun in the late afternoon and early evening.
For some reason the only seeds that haven’t germinated out of the two flats, are the bell pepper, rosemary & cilantro seeds. So it looks like I’ll just have to pick these plants up, when I go to the seedling sale at Turtle Farm up in Granger, in about two to three weeks.
The seedling sale starts next weekend (Easter Weekend) at Turtle Farm, but I’d rather wait until it’s a little bit closer to Mother’s Day, just so I don’t have a bunch of seedlings getting “leggy” in the house, when they would be better off in the greenhouse over at Turtle Farm for the time being.
Oh baby was it cold last night. It ended up dropping down to 28F overnight. So when I got home from work ~6pm, it was a mad rush to pick everything worth picking in the garden before the frost hit. That ended up being about eight tomatoes, ~5 lbs of jalapenos, ~2 lbs of aji limon, and all the rhubarb left in the garden (half a grocery bags worth). And with this mad rush of a harvest, the gardening season is basically over for 2010. The only few surviving items in the garden are the Swiss Chard, the green onions and the sage, but other then that, everything else it dead. Continue reading →
I took these late night shots of the aji limo last night, since for a while there I was worried that they weren’t going to turn yellow. But as you can tell in a couple of the pictures, slowing but surely the aji are going from green to yellow. You can even see a couple of the jalapenos going from green to red.
I had a couple of ideas that I might test out this weekend. But seeing how I only have about 2 or 3 weeks before the first frost hits. I better get cracking on these ideas.
Idea #1, is to take all the red jalapenos, and make a red jalapeno hot sauce, using the latest version of the hot sauce recipe. Idea #2, would be to make some hot sauce from the green aji.
And finally idea #3, would be to try drying out some of the peppers (aji or jalapeno) for homemade hot pepper flakes.
Since I had so much peanut sauce leftover from making chicken satays, I thought that I would make another batch of satays. Originally I was thinking about going with pork. But on Saturday morning I was watching Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen, and he made beef satays on his Lodge Hibachi. So after seeing that episode, it sealed the deal for me to make beef satays with some of the leftover peanut sauce. Continue reading →
Look at the green garden monster grooooooow. Its been raining on and off for the last couple of weeks. So I really haven’t needed to use the irrigation system that I set-up around the yard. So for now, I’ll call that a bonus. Continue reading →
You know, I’ve made chicken satays once before, but that was many many years ago. And since I don’t have central air in my house, I’m looking to cook as much food outside as possible. So doing some grilling fits the bill.
I had two recipes on file for chicken satay, but I really don’t remember which one I used when I made this dish years ago. So I kind of combined parts of both recipes (here & here) and create a new recipe. My usual cooking notes are listed below, so lists get on to the ingredient list:
2 Chicken breasts and 2 chicken breast tenders (which were from a whole chicken that I de-boned myself)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
2 TB Fish Sauce
1 TB Hoisin Sauce
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB of fresh ginger, minced
Combine all the ingredients listed in a bowl ( minus the chicken) and whisk it all together. Personally I used my Braun stick blender to get it all mixed up. Then cut up the chicken so that it is in pieces about 1/2″ wide by 1/2” thick and 2” long. Take the chicken and skewer about two or three chicken pieces onto each bamboo skewer. Once all the chicken is skewered give it a pretty heavy coating of the peanut sauce, and let it marinade for about 24 hours in the fridge. You’ll have more then enough sauce to coat all the chicken skewers, plus 2 cups of leftover sauce.
Once the chicken is done marinating overnight, I cooked the satays on the Weber for about a minute or two a side, but basically until browned and firm to the touch.
And the results, pretty good if I do say so, but check out the side notes for what I would do differently next time. Enjoy.
1) Don’t bother using bamboo skewers. Sure they look cool, but stick with stainless steel skewers.
2) Needs more spice, since I barely tasted any of the red pepper flakes that I did add. So I’d probably pump it up to a full teaspoon the next time.
3) I’m also thinking about tweaking the liquid ingredients. Since I really don’t think that the sesame oil added anything extra, so I would just increase the vegetable oil to 1.5 cups.
4) Also I just happened to find out that fish sauce is totally awesome, so I would cut back on the soy sauce and increase the fish sauce, so that each was a 1/4 cup.
5) Have you noticed that there isn’t any salt in the recipe? It because the soy sauce and fish sauce have plenty of salt to begin with, so adding in some kosher salt doesn’t make any sense.
6) If you don’t want any leftover peanut sauce, just cut the sauce recipe in half.
The tomatoes are starting to get fairly tall and a couple already have blossoms, so I think its about time to setup the trellis system for this year. In years past I’ve left the upper crossbars in place and them tried to space the plants under the crossbars. But at the end of last season I took down all the 1/2″ EMT conduit crossbars, since it really wasn’t the best setup for what I was trying to do. Continue reading →