Archive for April, 2016

A Garden Journal

Author: helga

Garden Journal

Gardens and kitchens have a long tradition of existing side by side. For many of our grandmothers all  vegetables came from the garden.  Today, there is a growing interest in urban gardening, even if it only consists of a patio pot of herbs or a balcony tomato plant. I’ve given in to the gardening urge by renting a plot in my community garden. I’m amazed how much food can be produced from a 10 X 13 plot and how much work it is to preserve it for the season.

Last year I planted one tomato plant and thought I would remember what variety it was. But a year later I have no idea which of the many varieties I looked at is the one I planted. (I blame all the internet passwords taking up space in my brain.)

A garden journal of some kind would have let me know what I planted and help me decide what variety might do better. There is no substitute for information from our own garden. Our climate is unique and every little patch of soil is unique in its characteristics and chemistry affecting the growth of  vegetables.

A journal can be as simple as keeping notes on your phone. It only needs to be  a record that you can look back on from one year to the next. It will be useful to know what was planted in previous years, how quickly it grew, how frost resistant it was, and let’s not forget, how well it tasted.  I’ve decided on a traditional paper journal, mostly because I am a compulsive buyer of notebooks.

There are gardening apps available for iPhone and iPad that look promising but I haven’t found anything for Android that looks useful.  Paper notebook it is.

If anyone finds a fabulous app for garden planning please do let me know.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a Mediterranean evergreen. it’s leaves are shaped like needles and it has a pine like scent. In our northern climate  we need to plant it every spring.   I wanted rosemary for roasted potatoes, so why not get a head start on spring with a fresh plant.  I stripped the bottom branches and the rest will keep growing.

Rosemary roasted potatoes are so easy to make. All you need is some potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of finely chopped rosemary.  They taste so much better than boiled or microwaved potatoes!

Preheat your oven to 400° and get a metal, glass or ceramic pan. Any pan you have available will likely be adequate, but flat is best so they can spread out in a single layer.  Cut potatoes into approximately equal size pieces, coat with a couple spoonfuls of oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the chopped rosemary.  Cook for 45-60 minutes. Stir a couple of times while cooking  to brown  them more evenly.

This is a very flexible recipe. The potatoes can be cooked at a lower temperature if another dish is in the oven at the same time. They will taste good, if all you have is oil and some salt and pepper. If you prefer,  garlic can be added as well, or a  couple tablespoons of lemon juice. Grated parmesan can be added for extra crispiness.