CTG 2014 Week 17: August 23rd to August 28th- Student Presentations, Leek Harvest, and Garden Upkeep

Topics:

  • Student presentations
    • Digestive Bitters with Shelley
    • Lacto-fermentation with Alyssa

Activities:

  • Leek harvest
  • Weeding, weeding, weeding!
DSC04176
Leeks from Tommy Thompson

Beautiful weather, lovely people, and amazing veggies, what more could we have asked for during week 17 of the Community Teaching Garden program!  This week we heard from another group of students as they shared some of their growing gardening knowledge with us all during some interesting, and quite delicious presentations.  The Ethan Allen group had a wonderful leek harvest Monday, while unfortunately the Tommy Thompson group saw most of their crop ruined by a pop  \    lation of leek moths- don’t worry, the Ethan Allen students will be sure to share some of their bounty!

 

DSC04156
Examining Mexican bean beetles
DSC04155
Winter squash is on the way

Student Presentations:

On Monday evening, Shelley and Alyssa kicked off another round of project presentations with their discussions on digestive bitters and lacto-fermentation, topics they’ve both been experimenting with throughout the season.

DSC04171
A great reference to spirited bitters

Shelley began with a history on the incredible health benefits of incorporating bitters into your diet.  Bitters, which are often extracted from cultivated or wild herbs and roots, have traditionally been employed for their natural ability to aid digestion.  While we often balk at the taste of something bitter in our mouth here in the US due to our acquired tastes for sugar and salt, bitters are often consumed in other countries and it seems to be on the rise here as of late.  From the mouth to the small intestine, bitters help stimulate healthy digestion, and taking some prior to meals can help one feel satiated faster, thus preventing over eating.  As Shelley noted, bitters are often infused into cocktails, but can also be taken as tinctures and even included into delicious recipes.  Shelley kindly brought examples of each, and we all relished in the sensory experience of tasting bitters.  The following is a delectable recipe for bar nuts that Shelley kindly shared with us, and we can promise they’re amazing!

Sweet & Spicy Bar Nuts:

DSC04170
So delicious that we ate them all!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups mixed, unsalted raw nuts- preferably a mixture of cashews, pecans, walnuts, and almonds
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T Angostura or other aromatic bitters
  • 1 T Maldon sea salt (or coarse sea salt)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Spread nuts on baking sheet and toast in preheated oven for 10 minutes, giving the pan a shake at the 5 minute mark.
  • While nuts are toasting, combine brown sugar, butter, rosemary, cayenne, cinnamon, honey, and bitters in a large bowl.
  • Add the warm nuts to the bowl and mix them to thoroughly coat.
  • Add salt and mix again

Best served warm, but can be stored in an airtight container for a few days!

DSC04163
Diggin’ deep for the leeks at Ethan Allen

Alyssa followed suit with another spectacular presentation as she shared her experiences with fermenting her garden harvests.  As she talked about the benefits of lacto-fermentation, she set up a lovely picnic with the sauerkraut and fermented tomato salsa she had crafted.

DSC04166
A good omen

After putting some serious garden maintenance in during class this week, the gardens are looking quite spiffy!  We’re ready for some more delightful harvests, and are excited to have Denise back in our midst next week!

CTG 2014 Week 16: August 16th to August 21st- Student Presentations & Field Trip to Honey Dew Homestead

Topics:

  • Woodworking with Jacob: An intro to tools, plans for a raised bed, and building garden benches
  • Homesteading in Williston, Vermont: A tour of Honey Dew Homestead

Activities:

  • Garden upkeep
  • Harvesting, harvesting, and more harvesting!
  • Presentations by Jeanne & Rose and Lynne
DSC04106
Cheesin’ for carrots!

This week at the Community Teaching Gardens was packed with some seriously invaluable information as we jumped into the second round of student presentations and spent a wonderful, educational evening at the Honey Dew Homestead in Williston, Vermont.  From woodworking to international garden recipes to root cellars, our students took advantage of several opportunities to expand their gardening horizons.  Not to mention the gardens still remain extremely vibrant, and with each class comes another bounty of lovely vegetables and herbs.

DSC04127
Drying onions at the Honey Dew Homestead

Woodworking with Jacob: How to build a raised bed, tools 101, and group bench construction:

DSC04108
Jacob in his Element… literally.

On Monday evening, the Ethan Allen group arrived to class surprised to see Jacob working away in the open trunk of his Honda Element, which happens to make a wonderful traveling workshop.  Within the first half-hour of class, a freshly made garden bench appeared, and Jacob announced that by the end of his presentation, everyone would be helping to create a second.  As a builder by trade, Jacob has quite a bit of experience when it comes to woodworking and tools, in fact he often leads courses at Yestermorrow in Warren and at UVM.  As we all gathered around his ‘workshop’ he began with a crash-course on some basic tools that anyone interested in DIY projects will find useful.  He identified and explained the uses for tools like an impact driver, a Japanese hand saw, a cordless drill, a bevel, a couple circular saws, and a combination square.  He next got to work with getting everyone involved in helping construct a simple garden bench with some left-over lumber from a previous project.  Each student took a least a turn or two drilling fasteners (aka screws) into the bench pieces until the final product was complete.  Following this interactive piece, Jacob whipped out a whiteboard with some basic plans and tips for constructing a raised bed.  Midst some of his helpful hints were:

  • Never use pressure treated lumber!
  • Use regular SPF 2×6 or 2×8 lumber for building projects
    • If you go to a supply store and/or saw mill and just tell them your project, they’re sure to help you find the right material
  • Know your desired dimensions in comparison the materials you have at hand
  • Consider local saw mills for your lumber- they’re shrinking at an alarming rate!
DSC04114
DIY Raised Beds by Jacob

Jeanne and Rose kindly brought some samples of Asian Slaw and Paddy Pan Squash with Caraway seeds as part of their presentation on International Garden-Inspired  Recipes, and we munched away while enjoying the new garden benches.  Great job, gardeners!

DSC04118
Eats by Jeanne & Rose

Honey Dew Homestead: A Guided Tour by Markey Read and Tim King

Husband and wife team Tim King, a mechanical engineer, and Markey Read, a career consultant, have called Williston, Vermont home since 1998 when they bought their home and 5 acre plot out on Old Stage Road.  Since then, their property has developed into a ‘suburban homestead’ where they produce up to 50% of their foodstuffs and sell the minimal surplus they produce at local vendors.  As a homestead, Markey and Tim do not meet agricultural production standards and they do not produce for means of income, merely to break-even upon their efforts.  However, they do have the joy of saying that they eat from their land everyday in one way or another.

 

DSC04120
Rice Paddy at Honey Dew Homestead
DSC04134
Ducks excited for dinner time!

Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by Markey, Tim, and their cat, Ariel.  Our tour began with the front section of their property that boasts multiple fruit-producing plants and a rice paddy that they’ve been working on for the past 5 years.  The rice, a short-grain brown variety, is well suited to the colder climate of Vermont and they plant it from seed each season in the hand-dug paddy they manually flood regularly.  Next stop was the greenhouse that Markey and Tim worked together to design and build with materials they collected over time.  It became apparent it is one of Markey’s domains as she discussed how she starts her plants from seeds each season in this warm, moist environment and also uses it to cure the garlic and onions she grows in her  garden. As we meandered out the back portion of the property,  we discussed the homestead’s new garden (currently in the works), Tim’s bee hives, and the three massive solar panels that supply the energy for the whole operation.   We then said a quick hello the numerous chickens, turkeys, Cornish hens and ducks that Markey and Tim raise as poultry, many of which will be ready for processing in the coming weeks.

DSC04140
Buzzing hives

 

DSC04142
Amaranth

Finally we reached Markey’s garden oasis, which was quite literally bursting with some amazing organic vegetables, herbs, and even amaranth (a highly nutritional ancient grain).  Markey’s current garden offers 1,000 square feet of planting space in several raised beds, which she plants in a biointensive manner to get the highest yields possible.  As an well-seasoned gardener, Markey maintains a map of her planting space and rotates crops between specific beds each season to maintain the health of her soil, which she feeds with her own biodynamic compost each season.  Her veggie and herb selection was quite extensive and included several varieties of squash, celery root, asparagus, lettuce, kale, carrots, several kinds of peppers (hot & sweet), grapes, and several culinary herbs.   Each bed is carefully mulched with cocoa shells, which happens to smell delicious and is clearly quite effective as there was no weed in sight.   As the sun began to set, we said our goodbyes and thanked both Markey and Tim for the impressive knowledge and hospitality they bestowed on us.

DSC04147
Homestead extraordinaire Markey Read

Although Markey and Tim are quite busy during the growing season, they do offer tours and lead instructive planning sessions and homesteading courses for individuals interested in starting their own venture through Champlain Valley Union Access.  Find the complete list of classes here: http://cvuweb.cvuhs.org/access/

DSC04139
‘Bee well’

CTG 2014 Week 15: August 9th to August 14th- Lea Scott & Cooking with ‘Garden Scraps’, First Student Presentation, & Fletcher Allen Gardeners Visit the Intervale

Topics:

  • Lea Scott on ‘Cooking with Garden Scraps’: Getting the most out of your harvest

Activities:

  • First Student Presentation: Martine on Balcony Herb Gardening
  • Fletcher Allen & Fanny Allen Gardeners Tour Tommy Thompson Community Garden
DSC04092
Bringing in the goods at the Ethan Allen Homestead

It’s safe to say that we’re all a bit relieved that the latest storms have finally passed, a downpour does make garden work a bit less enjoyable for some.  However, the rain made this week no less exciting at the Community Teaching Gardens as we were visited again by Lea Scott, as student from the UVM Farmer Training Program, heard the first round of student presentations, and hosted a tour at the Tommy Thompson Community Garden for the gardeners from the Fletcher & Fanny Allen teaching gardens.  All in all, there were certainly some ‘rays of sunshine’ midst the gray skies!

DSC04085
Tomatillo ‘Lanterns’
DSC04096
Garden Scraps Talk with Lea!

‘Cooking with Garden Scraps’: Getting the most out of your harvest with Lea Scott:

On Monday evening, the Ethan Allen Homestead group was fortunate enough to receive another enthusiastic presentation from Lea Scott, a student at the UVM Farmer Training Program.   During her talk, Lea addressed a concern all gardeners must feel at one point or another; the struggle of discarding a gorgeous plant after harvesting only its fruits.  Well, never fear because there are some seriously creative, and delicious, uses you can find for those ‘garden scraps’.

DSC04094

  • Brassica leaves:
    • Ever wonder what to do with that huge broccoli plant after harvesting just the florets? Well, the leaves are full of vitamins and can be sautéed/ wilted like kale, and are delicious with some onion, olive oil, salt, soy sauce etc. thrown in.  They also can be made ‘kale-chip’ style, make sure to bake them low & slow!
  • Early roots:
    • Usually if things like radishes and turnips are left just a little too long in the ground they get an odd woody texture and are uncomfortably spicy when eaten fresh.  Roots that have ‘gone over’ make the perfect subjects for lacto-fermentation!  See last week’s post for information on this technique!
  • Radish Tops:
    • These spicy greens can be cooked in several ways, and even made into soup,  which is Lea’s favorite method of preparation.  Find a delightful recipe for Radish-Top Soup here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Radish-Top-Soup/
  • Green Tomatoes:
    • Coming to the end of the season and have a TON of green tomatoes on your hands?  Don’t worry, they can be made into delicious dishes like Fried Green Tomatoes and infused with some tomatillos to make Salsa Verde (Green Salsa).
  • Pesto:
    • Pesto may in fact be a cure-all, especially when it comes to figuring out what to do with basil, arugula, parsley, and even lamb’s quarters!

 

DSC04093
See you soon, Lea!

Thanks for all of the tips, Lea!  We’re thrilled to try them out, and we can’t wait to see you again in September!

DSC04098
Balcony Gardening with Martine

Following Lea’s discussion, our gardeners listened intently to Martine, a first-year CTG student, as she presented on her venture with a balcony herb garden.  Using self-watering containers, Martine grew several types of herbs and hanging plants, including sage, oregano, basil, and parsley.  Some of the challenges she ran into dealing with the dry weather, which demanded additional watering, and figuring out what kinds of plant foods would be most beneficial.  She also talked about how she infused her harvested herbs into her daily meals, which all sounded quite delicious! Great job, Martine!

DSC04101
Touring in the rain
DSC04099
Gardens full of beauty

On Wednesday afternoon, the Lisa Hoare and her students from the Fletcher and Fanny Allen gardens braved the rain to join Libby and myself (Sarah) on a tour of the entire Tommy Thompson Community Garden.  Starting at the Eastern side of the garden, we perused all of the plots, noting the unique intricacies of each one, representations of the different style each gardener brings to the area.  We were impressed to see some incredible-looking flower varieties (zinnias, poppies, and so on), grape vines, hops, zebra grass, and some really interesting trellising methods!  As we meandered, Libby shared some of her knowledge on the Intervale as well as the functioning of the Burlington Area Community Gardens, which oversees the Tommy Thompson site as well as several others.  A huge thank you goes to Lisa and her students for not letting the rain get in the way of a great afternoon!  Also, kudos to all of you Tommy Thompson gardeners out there- it’s a truly spectacular landscape you’ve all helped to create!

 

No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna (Gluten-Free!)

This past Monday evening, the Ethan Allen Homestead group had the pleasure of hosting Lea Scott from the UVM Farmer Training Program for a discussion on utilizng plant scraps in culinary ventures.  Midst the conversation, the idea of lasagna made with zucchini rather than traditional noodles was brought up by one of the students.  Joanne, a second-year student, was inspired to do some recipe hunting in order to find a dish that she could use her zucchini harvest with while also abiding by her gluten-free diet.  The ‘No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna’ below is the answer that Joanne found, and here it is for all of you to experiment with!

No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

Makes 1- 9×13 inch baking dish

646036

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 lb ground beef (may be omitted for vegetarian option)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup tomato paste (fresh tomatoes may be used if available!)
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (15 oz) container low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 (16 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
    • May substitute with fresh spinach, use a 2:1 ratio for fresh to frozen
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • hot water as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚ F.  Grease a deep 9×13 inch baking pan
  2. Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt; set aside to drain in a colander (salt will draw out natural moisture)
  3. To prepare the meat sauce (can be done vegetarian style), cook and stir ground beef and black pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  Add in green pepper and onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink.  Stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano, adding a small amount of hot water if sauce is too thick.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Meanwhile, stir egg, ricotta, and parsley together in a bowl until well combined.
  5. To assemble lasagna, spread 1/2 of the meat sauce into the bottom of prepared pan.  Then layer 1/2 zucchini slices, 1/2 the ricotta mixture, all of the spinach, followed by all of the mushrooms, then 1/2 the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat by layering the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella.  Spread Parmesan cheese evenly over the top; cover with foil.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil; raise oven temperature to 350˚ F, and back an additional 15 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving

Feel free to experiment by adding some garlic and/or some of your other favorite veggies!

Enjoy!

CTG 2014 Week 14: August 2nd To August 7th- Lacto-Fermentation Demo, Fletcher Allen Rooftop Garden Visit, and More Harvesting!

Topics:

  • Lacto-Fermentation with Denise
  • Fletcher Allen Rooftop Garden: The Architecture of a Rooftop Garden & Square Foot Gardening In Action

Activities:

  • Visit to Fletcher Allen: Connecting with fellow gardeners
  • Learning about fermentation
  • Harvesting, weeding, and watering those beautiful gardens!
DSC04069
Garden beauties

Besides providing technical assistance, resources, and education to blossoming garden leaders of all ages, VGCN strives to connect the greater gardening community together through their various programs, like the CTG program, in order to strengthen the common values we all find in growing food sustainably.  This week, we had the pleasure of meeting with some fellow garden connoisseurs at the Fletcher Allen Rooftop Garden and learned of their garden operation (pun-intended) while sharing the experiences we’ve encountered this season.  In addition to our excursion, we had another lovely lesson from Denise on lacto-fermentation, and continued harvesting the fruits of the growing gardens.  Keep reading to get the full story on week 14 of the Community Teaching Garden program!

DSC04065
Bites of sunshine
DSC04064
The Ethan Allen group working away…

Lacto-Fermentation Demo by Denise:

Food-saving techniques have been utilized by human cultures for centuries as a means of stretching harvests past their growing season while also creating a sense of food security during the off-season when fresh goods become scarce.  Methods like canning, salting, fermenting, and pickling are all preservation techniques that have been employed worldwide, and some even remain commonplace today in certain parts of the world

Lacto-fermentation seems to be experiencing a renaissance of sorts  here in the US as interest midst gardeners and cooks alike rises in this practice.  This preservation technique, which is used to make foodstuffs like sauerkraut and kimchi, is famed for its apparent health benefits that result from the cultivation of beneficial bacteria, lactobacillus, during the fermentation process.  While the lactobacilli reproduce they create a substance known as lactic acid, which kills undesired bacteria while promoting healthy gut bacteria that assist with digestion.  This also gives the fermented veggies their vinegar-like taste, but there’s actually no vinegar added during the process.

While this all sounds super scientific, and perhaps a bit intimidating, Denise showed just how simple it can be to create your own lacto-fermented goods.  All you’ll need is the veggie(s) of your choice, some non-iodized salt (sea salt & kosher work well), chilled boiled water, and a canning or mason jar.  Check out the recipe below that was adapted from Denise’s demonstration at the Ethan Allen Homestead on Monday:

DSC04063
Preparing fermented beets


Lacto-Fermented Beets:

Ingredients & Tools:

  • 1 qt of beets (shredded)
  • 1 TBS of salt (non-iodized)
  • 1/2 C boiled water, cooled
  • 1 medium sized bowl
  • 1 pint sized mason jar & lid
  • A spoon, and tamping stick if desired
  • A cloth

Methods:

  • Shred veggies (may add ginger, garlic, spices etc for variations)
  • Mix veggies and salt in bowl, make sure salt is evenly distributed
  • Cover bowl with a cloth and let sit, approx. 15-20 minutes.  The beets will begin to produce some water.
  • Spoon beets into the mason jar, pressing down with tamping stick every few spoonfuls to make sure it is packed down and no air bubbles form
  • Fill jar approximately 1 inch from top
  • Add cooled, boiled water by approx. 1/2 inch leaving space at top of jar for bubbling to occur during fermentation process
  • Screw on lid leaving it loose enough for air/gas to escape during fermentation
  • Leave jar on kitchen counter for approximately 1 week with a plate or bowl underneath to catch bubbling liquid
  • Once bubbling ceases, after 7 days or so, tighten down the lid and place jar in fridge or cellar.

*If left unopened, jar of fermented veggies will keep for up to 1 year.  Make sure to refrigerate after opening.

**DO NOT eat any fermented goods that take on a strange coloring or appear to have mold.  This means that a mistake was made during the fermentation process and the finished good could make you very sick!

DSC04062
Denise on Lacto-fermentation

 

DSC04072
Hello gorgeous!!

Fletcher Allen Rooftop Gardens: Architecture & Square Foot Gardening In Action:

On Wednesday, our class ventured to Fletcher Allen to learn about the rooftop garden that sits above the Oncology and Radiation Department of the hospital.  We were met by Lisa Hoare, the Lead Teacher at the Fletcher Allen and Fanny Allen teaching garden sites, who described the architecture and origins of the garden.  The new portion of Fletcher Allen, which boasts an impressive glass facade, was built to meet LEED green building certifications, and the garden was fit into the plan to meet the required educational standards for LEED buildings.  Thus, the whole addition was designed so that the part on which the garden sits upon was able to hold the weight of the soil, garden beds, shed, and outdoor seating area.  Additionally, a series of water channels sits just underneath the surface of the garden area in order to hold draining water, which prevents leakage in the building below and also provides a water source when the plants’ root systems pull excess water from the ground.  The garden shed, which is quite a shed indeed, also boasts a rain water catchment system that provides a ‘renewable’ source of water that the gardeners often use to water their plants with.  For those of you who didn’t know, this garden is also entirely public and may be visited by anyone, in fact hospital employees and able patients often frequent this little oasis.

DSC04079
An example of the rooftop beds

 

DSC04078
Close-up of cultivated squares

As we were guided through the garden, which is almost entirely covered with 3 1/2 foot raised beds, Lisa explained the concept of square foot gardening that she employs in teaching her garden students. Square foot gardening was introduced and popularized by Mel Bartholomew starting in the 1980s, and since then it has expanded immensely throughout the gardening world.  Each student in the class receives a 3.5 x 3.5ft raised bed for the duration of the class that is then sectioned off with twine to create tangible 1 x 1ft squares in which to garden.  While this limits the amount of plants that can go in each square, the benefits are quite impressive.  Some of the pro’s that Lisa explained included:

  • Takes advantage of growing space
  • More deliberate seeding = less wasted seeds & better germination
  • Less weeding
  • More efficient water use

Although some drawbacks do exist in utilizing square foot gardening, it is quite a wonderful approach for gardeners of all levels, especially those who have little space or very poor soil.  To learn more about Mel Bartholomew’s method of square foot gardening you may visit: http://www.melbartholomew.com/

DSC04071
Wonder berries

We continued the visit by peeking at each gardener’s plot and the communal areas, one of which is home to two Hardy Kiwi plants!  After wrapping up our tour with a peek at each gardener’s plot, we said our goodbyes to the Lisa and the Fletcher Allen group.  We are excited to be hosting them at the Tommy Thompson Community Garden next week!

DSC04084
Some persistent pansies

 

 

CTG 2014 Week 13: July 26th to July 31st- Brunch Potluck II, Garden Walk & Talk with Denise, Happily Harvesting

Topics:

  • Garden Walk & Talk with Denise: Edible and Medicinal Properties of Common Garden Weeds
  • Harvesting Potatoes: How & When to do it

Activities:

  • Brunch Potluck at the Tommy Thompson Community Garden
  • Harvesting crops
  • General garden upkeep

 

316
Pure bliss in muffin form
320
Libby looks intimidated by this spread

This week was kicked off by yet another delicious Community Teaching Garden potluck that was held Saturday morning at the Tommy Thompson Community Garden.  Midst the beautiful sunshine, students, staff members, friends, and family gathered together to enjoy a delicious spread of garden-inspired dishes.   There was a lot of ‘mmmm-ing’ going on as we enjoyed zucchini breads, a garden fresh salad, some divine french toast, multiple egg dishes, some veggie-infused grain salads, fried-green tomatoes, and some delicious veggie tater-tots.  It’s always such a lovely experience gathering with our gardeners at each potluck and having them share their successes, questions, and growing knowledge with one another.   These relationships are sure to grow throughout the remainder of the season, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

319
Veggie tater-tots by Diane
321
Digging in

Garden Walk & Talk with Denise: Edible and Medicinal Properties of Common Garden Weeds

Immediately following Saturday’s brunch potluck, Denise, who is a training herbalist, led a garden ‘walk and talk’ in which she divulged her knowledge on some of the interesting uses of common garden weeds.  During our stroll around the Tommy Thompson site Denise identified and discussed the benefits of seemingly pesky plants like Burdock, Stinging nettles, Plantain (not the fruit species!), purslain, Lambs Quarters, Dandelion, and Yarrow.  Here’s some of the neat from Denise:

  • Burdock (1st year stage, noburs) :
    • The root, which can stretch as far as 18 inches, is highly nutritious  and is a traditional ingredient in some Chinese dishes, like soups and stews.
    • Root can be made into digestive bitters or tonics to promote easy digestion and liver functions
328
Examining burdock root
  • Stinging Nettles:
    • Dealt with a bare-hand this plant will live up to its name, so be sure to use gloves when harvesting
    • Can be made into a spring tonic and steamed like a green
    • Provides arthritis relief
    • Fresh leaves, with nettles removed, are said to help with respiratory disorders like allergies and asthma
329
Discussing stinging nettles from afar
  • Broad Leaf Plantain:
    • Can be used as a topical anti-inflammatory treatment
    • Can be made into a topical salve
      • 1. Dry leaves
      • 2. Infuse in organic oil
      • 3. Set in sun for 1 week
      • 4. Filter
      • 5. Add beeswax
    • Seed stack has psyllium husk, same compound found in Metamucil

333

  • Purslain:
    • High in vitamin C and omega-3’s
  • Lamb’s Quarters:
    • Good source of vitamins C and B and calcium
    • Can be made into a spring tonic
    • Can be cooked and is a nice ingredient to add to salads
  • Dandelion:
    • Commonly found in teas
    • Acts as a diuretic
    • Supports healthy liver functions
  • Yarrow:
    • Can support wound-healing process by helping proteins bind together
    • Astringent qualities
    • Can reduce fevers
    • Can be made into salve or other tinctures
335
Yarrow

As our tour came to an end, Denise offered some very important advice including the importance of consulting a trained, licensed herbalist regarding one’s ailments or concerns prior to utilizing herbal treatments.  Also, it is extremely important that a given plant is properly identified prior to use.  If your interested in herbal treatments, City Market offers herbal consultations with training herbalists, check out their website at https://www.citymarket.coop

 

339
A rainbow of cherry tomatoes

Harvesting Potatoes (TT):

While it’s been a season-long battle against the ever persistent Colorado Potato Beetles, we received a bit of a victory this Wednesday as we harvested some spuds from the potato plot.   A proper harvesting demo was provided by Denise as she drove a large fork into the ground to pull up a plant to see how they veggies were coming along.  It’s important to not dig directly at the base of the plant as it is likely you will pierce the potatoes.   A couple of students took their turns digging up some the young spuds.  Many of the plants will be left for later in the season and will be harvested once the leaves begin to wilt and die as they will yield larger potatoes for winter storage.

346
Some spuds

Although storms unfortunately canceled a field trip on Monday evening, this week at the Community Teaching Gardens was still full of delightful harvests, delicious foods, and plenty of gardening!