My Endangered Lawn - I always wanted to be a gastronomer Blog at - 233872

I always wanted to be a gastronomer

My endangered lawn 
Apr. 29, 2011 8:53 am 
Updated: May 5, 2011 10:00 pm
Ok, I look out the window into that vast expanse of back yard and all I see is that nasty lawn that I have to mow mow Mow MOOOOOOOOOOW all bloody summer long. I also see a dot or two of doggy squat, makes note, gotta pick that up. Oh goody another item I'll have to watch out for when I spark up the Honda. I started out my lawnmowing life with a mid line gas powered mower from Macleods. It lasted a season or two then died a miserable death. I then went back to Macleods and bought their top line self propelled gas powered mower which lasted a season or two, then died a miserable and expensive death. I was determined to keep it viable and spent a comparatively small fortune on maintaining the piece of dung. So with it's death I ventured into the land of the corded electric mower, which while not very powerful, worked well enough until I ran over the damned cord. The sparks and mayhem from that scared the literal poo out of me so I went back to fossil fuels and made the smartest mowing decision of my life and I bought a Honda.

My Honda mower is 15 years old. It lives outside all year round and in 15 years, the only thing I've had to do is change the oil and change the plug and I did that becasue I thought I should, not because it required it. Every year, I just pour out the old gas and add some new, two tugs and poof, we're mowing. Mowing aside though, that's not the reason why my lawn is endangered.

I had my very first garden last year. In a space 30" X 96" I harvested 60 lbs of tomatoes, 20 pounds of cucumbers and a few other failed efforts. The lawn endangerment comes into play when I contemplate what I'm gonna do this year. At first, as is my custom, I enjoyed my first gardening efforts so much last year that in considering this years effort, it was sell the damned place and buy an acreage, perhaps a farm. However, my common sense didn't entirely vacate my oddly shaped noggin and I'm setlling for another chunk of the back yard, perhaps 60" X 120". Oh my, be still my beating heart.

I even bought canning goods last year and did up a pile of preserves. Regards those tomatoes, we JUST used up the last can of salsa and the tomato sauce dissappeared by Xmas. The peaches I'm just gonna give away this year, I still have better than half of what I canned. So the only repeats from last year will be the tomatoes and cucumbers. Any suggestions? I did have a couple of bean plants last year. I hate green beans but once I had some that were fabulous and so wanted to grow my own. the problem was that when I went to get bean seeds, there were 400 varieties to choose from. I could really use a suggestion of what kind of beans to grow, keeping in mind that I'm geographically challenged by being in the North Okanagan/Shuswap area. We have great soil, reasonable sunshine and modest heat with a brief patch of intense and good rainfall.

Ok, so the lawn is in trouble. It's become redundant! I simply must have more fresh food and how, oh how will I get it? I'll tell ya, not just by growin it but by making the soil too! Yesterday I bought a composter so along with all of my glass, metal, plastic and paper, I'll now be recycling all of the bits I don't save for broths and that huge coffee ground conundrum is at an end. I know, it will be a year before I get any useable compost out of it but hey, maybe I'll buy some fresh clams and blend them with some fresh tomato juice and make myself a nice homemade Caesar while I sit out in my freshly Honda mowed back yard and watch my composter idle away and ponder NEXT years goodies from the ground. Life is good no?

Ok, beans, who can help me out here?
Apr. 29, 2011 10:51 am
I have had good luck with bush beans here in NY(growing zone 6B) They were hardy and required almost no labor. How about adding a section for herbs? Don't forget the zucchini and I would think lettuce would do well too. I'm sitting here being envious, I now live in an apartment with my only garden on a windowsill. Have fun!
Apr. 29, 2011 11:24 am
Grass is so overrated!! I've dug up large quanties of our's to put in more gardens. Thinking of getting a few chickens next! There is nothing like fresh food or homecanned!
Apr. 29, 2011 1:03 pm
Get some pole beans. The Kentucky Wonders are hardy and prolific and the bonus id they won't require much space. Then, a couple plants of zucchini squash. (I use that for relish. And give the rest to my wife who actually like the stuff!) Not much space used by them, either. Then there is "bush cucumbers that grow very compact but I don't know how hardy they are. Wishing you much fun and success. Your compost should be ready in two months or less. If you get it started now, you should have some to side dress your plants when they need it most.
Apr. 29, 2011 3:13 pm
Where our pool sits used to be my garden - sigh - so now I too am eyeing the lawn. It is a water hog and produces nothing but clippings for the compost. I do tomatoes, zucchini, of course, bell peppers, hot peppers, in your area - how the cooler season veggies? As for those beans - I like them all - plant loads of them!
Apr. 29, 2011 4:24 pm
So true about the pole beans. They just keep going and going and going. Never cared for them until I started canning my own! That said, I would sell and buy the farm! Let the sheep mow your lawn.
May 1, 2011 8:20 am
We do well with bush and pole bean varieties. And, I had to laugh because SIL and I "repurposed" a 25' x 120' chunk of my MIL's yard this year (mil got the best end of that deal:) We meet next sunday to plant. I can already taste the fried zuccini, fresh tomatoes, turnip fries....mmmmmmm.
May 1, 2011 8:02 pm
All of the above! The way you enjoy cooking, you must raise your own veggies. Canned home-grown is so superior to others. Peppers are easy, freeze or can well, and are prolific as tomatoes. Kale and spinach cans and freezes well, then you can shade your cuke plants with what you don't pick. Vertical gardening, wide-row planting, successive planting, all work for maximizing produce. Can you grow sweet corn? Go for the super sweet. BTW my granddaughter's fav peach is home-grown "frozen sugar peaches" she calls them. Easier than canning, taste like fresh. We do a 5-gallon bucket production at a time. Messy, but worth it. Blanch, (cool), peel, put (or slice) into big container of lemon-juiced water, dip out(kinda drain off water) into sugar or sugar syrup to taste, stir, and freeze. Any reusable plastic container works. Leave head space for expansion. DELICIOUS! Try some fresh, then freeze what mix tastes good to you. Much better than anything you can buy. Seriously, move to the country!
May 2, 2011 7:30 am
I hear ya Mamaw. I've done the peaches exactly as you described plus I canned some, did a bunch of jam both traditional and spiced. The corn I wouldn't bother with. There simply isn't enough room to do any more than a few plants and add to that that we live in corn country where just a few miles down the road I can buy the sweetest yummiest... I tried peppers last year and we had a very short hot spell last summer, maybe 10 days. My peppers simply never got off the ground. I got a couple but small, hardly worth my time. As far as moving to the country, lol, no time soon, I want to move clsoer to the city!
May 2, 2011 10:01 pm
Too bad about your unsuitable pepper growing season. "Mama's Pickled Peppers" (banana or any) are a big hit here. How do tomatoes do? Wonderful about the corn source-lucky you! Beans should be a sure crop. I have a recipe for "Elvina's Canned Green Beans" using a touch each of salt, vinegar,& sugar. Crisp, nice taste, can be eaten with or w/o fatty seasonings, for a change of pace. RU a wannabe city dweller? A suburbanite? Mow or no mow? BTW, I'm glad you recognize the tastiness/worthiness of the remarkable, glorious, homegrown peach!!LOL
May 3, 2011 9:36 pm
The reason I want to go to the city is because of the food. I want fresh veal, seafood on demand, a leg of lamb when I'm so moved. I want theater, and shopping when I need it and not when I can bundle it into a special trip. Mostly, I want to become something else, perhaps a chef. I've had 3 big careers, time for one more. It's me 4.0. My beans last year did good, just tasted awful, thats why I wanted a suggestion for a TYPE of bean, a breed if you will.
May 3, 2011 9:37 pm
And mowing is great, cuz if I'm mowing, I'm gardening! Oh right, yeah lotso tomatoes last year, over 60 lbs from 6 plants.
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About Me
Let's see, in keeping it to a subject, at age 22 I had a filet doused in Bernaise sauce aboard a train. That was it, I was hooked on fine food. Living in a small town necessitates learning to cook well to maintain that stellar menu.
My favorite things to cook
Oh man, only a thousand characters? My favorite things to cook are items that make YOU happy. I'll try anything and thus far it would be far easier to list those things I don't like than those I do. So far, I hate Cilantro and I'm allergic to green chiles. It's a short list.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas. I like everything about that meal and every single year I aim to improve.
My cooking triumphs
Every smile, every gasp of delight, every accolade, such sweet victory!
My cooking tragedies
A Cioppino recipe I found here. I served it as part of one of those Christmas dinners and the cod was a poor choice. It was terrible, ghastly fishy taste. I've since learned a thing or two about freshness in fish. Prior to that, hmm perhaps when I was 10, I made a spice cake that called for whole cloves....hey, that's what it said on the outside of the bottle, whole cloves....
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