Wednesday, June 24, 2020

NJ SFG Garden Tour - June 24, 2020

I'm a lousy blogger. Not even sure why I'm posting now, but....I like documenting the garden's progress.  We took down the deck, and put in a stone, paver patio.  It's covered and has ceiling fans... It's been my dream for a long time and we've been spending more time outside than we have been inside.

In addition to us spending a lot of time outside, so has Chloe (a.k.a. Bear).  She is often bothered by the boys in the house, so she loves having time otuside in her catio, surrounded by catnip.

I decided to try herbs in pots.  Dill, chives, thyme, Emily basil, Greek basil, cilantro and several other things that did not germinate....  I've been good about watering them.  Guess what? That makes a huge difference!  And people, stop painting your terracotta. The point of clay planters is that they breath.  Painting them stops that and will eventually cause the paint to just peel off.

I have been talking about raised beds and Square Foot Gardening for a very long time.  So, after dismantling the deck, I saved the board to build these boxes.  I used roofing nails and nylon twine to make the squares.  Unfortunately, the whole thing came together so late, that I wound up direct sowing everything.  Somehow, it all seems to be working out. 

I did buy new strawberry plants at Gaskow's in Monroe. That place is insane!  And I left my kid and the dogs (a.k.a. the Goobies) in the car with it running so they could listen to the radio, and my battery died. I had to flag down a cop who procured some jumper cables and jump started my car for me.  We've been picking a few strawberries everyday.  Well, the ones the birds haven't picked at.

The peas and sugar snap peas are starting to flower.

So are the cucumbers.  I tried out Dar Cucumbers this year, not realizing it was a bush variety and didn't actually need to be trellised.  So basically, I built it for nothing.  Live and learn.

See that huge empty spot?  You can't see them, but there are some peppers, eggplant and celery growing between the sugar snap peas and beets.  I'm not sure why they're growing so slowly, but I will be sure to start them in modules next year for sure.

Only a few lettuce and spinach germinated.  But I have carrots and beets galore.  Do I super love beets?  No, I just didn't realize there are actually 2-3 seeds in each beet seed.  So I wound up with about 5000 extra beet seedlings which I transplanted all around the garden. 

I also accidentally planted more collard greens than I meant to.  Plus I interplanted collards and swiss chard, and thought the chard was beets, so now I have beets and chard mixed together.  Which is which?  Who knows!  There are also lactino kale, curly kale and zucchinis.  Well, two zucchinis because no matter how many I tried to start in that third box, it just wasn't happening. 

I also panicked and thought none of the tomato seeds were going to grow, started an extra set and now I have twice as many plants as I wanted.  

What have I learned so far?  The whole four foot deep boxes is legit.  The two boxes that are six foot deep are a disaster.  It's so hard to reach the middle!  No clue how I'm going to readjust for that next year.  Also, now that the beds are in and the fence is up, I will start those seedlings indoors much earlier. Direct sowing has been stressful.  Mostly because I'm pretty OCD, and the uncertainty of what will or won't germinate was making me anxious.  

I love the SFG method because I'm definitely growing more veg than ever before and less weeding.  Much less weeding!  Oh, my arthritis-ridden hands are so grateful for that.

Happy Gardening my friends.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Want an Easier and Faster Tofu Scramble? Make a Tofu Scramble Mix

I don't know what to call this.  A seasoning blend? Tofu scramble mix? Whatever you want to call it, it will make your mornings go faster if you're a tofu scramble kind of person.  You take my basic ratio and double, triple, get my to whatever will fit your container.  Mix it together so it's well-blended and use however much makes you happy.

My basic ratio is this:

Tofu Scramble Mix

1 tablespoon of  nutritional yeast (aka nooch)
1 teaspoon of kala namak (aka black salt)
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

I think I use more turmeric (every Asian I know pronounces it tumeric, no R. Just saying) and black salt than other people.  Turmeric has a lot of health benefits, including being an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.  But to really magnify it's benefits, you need to combine it with pepper.  Black salt also has health benefits, primarily aiding in digestion. Random info, black salt isn't really salty tasting. Indian Asian people use it a lot, which is why you're going to get the best price buying it at an Indian Asian store.  It's not a specialty item that you get up-charged on, it's just a regular old spice.

How much do you use?  It's your tofu scramble, use as much as you want!  After I crumble the tofu in a hot, oiled frying pan, I add about 2-3 teaspoons per package of tofu.  Mix it together and cook until you think it's heated through, and voila.  I usually add onions, spinach, tomatoes, cheese...but this is your tofu scramble, so you do you.  You can also rub it on slices of tofu and fry it. Now you have the perfect faux egg for an egg sandwich!