After a rest of four full days with the compost tea soaking into the soil, the plants have doubled in size. We put down the fabric in the isles to cut down on the weed population. It just saves time, folks! I mean, when you have a large scale garden, you just need to pick your battles. Mark also bought some drip lines and set those. He got a nice 5 horse pump to such water out of the creek for watering the plants. There are some great advantaged to living right on a year round, full flowing creek with springs! It really can’t get any better than that for a homestead. Think about it…we don’t ever have to water our animals either! They can just live like animals do in the wild and forage for their food, the lush grass, the white clover, and the fresh water. Mikey covered all the strawberry plants with a thick layer of straw over the drip lines and fabric. They are already bearing fruit but since it is their first year, it is critical not to pick the fruit, says my husband. He has been growing strawberries for years and told us that you really need the first year to spend the energy growing a strong root structure. This will give us an abundant harvest next year. It is really tempting for the kids. They pass the plants and see little gleaming red berries. They just long to pluck one and taste it. My husband gave them each a one berry policy this summer. They can taste one so next year we can make some jam! That is how you have to think when you are on the homestead. LONG TERM.
I could not believe my eyes when I looked down to find my heads of broccoli already formed and some even ready for cutting. I cut some for lunch and steamed it. It was probably the sweetest broccoli I have ever tasted.
I get excited about the cabbage. I never grew cabbage before, and oh, it is such a lovely site. I love how it forms a nice head in the middle. It is such a pretty plant in the garden besides all the uses for cabbage. I love making sauer kraut and using cabbage for so many meals and soups! It is just such a blessing!
Here is our romaine lettuce. It is really amazing. We have been just plucking leaves here and there for fresh salads because there are so many heads already. It is really nice to walk out your back door and grab a fresh salad.
The bok choy is already ready for harvest…
We have 36 bok choy plants in total. Seems like enough to feed an army. When you are a homesteader, you think long term. You process things in your head and try to be as creative as possible so as to extend the life of the plant year round. As I sat gazing at the luscious green plants, so full of nutrients, I thought, I could chop it all up really fine and put it into the freezer for soups and other main dish meals. I believe that is a great idea! I thought about canning it and I just hate killing all the nutrients through that extended heat process, so freezing is a grand option. I never grew bok choy, but I buy it at the grocery store, often. It is great in Oriental cooking recipes, chopped fine in fresh salads, awesome for juicing because it has such high nutrient density with high water content, and it is absolutely wonderful for soups and casseroles. I have been using it for years. When I started juicing years ago, I used it as my base, because you get so much liquid from it, when you add some wheat grass, spinach, and kale, you have something to show for all that work. The neat thing is that it is up there on the list for high nutrient density with all the other greens so it is a very good thing. Truth be known, I always added a small green apple and a lemon to my green juicing because, well, it just makes it tastier!
Mark was able to harvest some fresh produce for our meal today. It is so good to see him enjoying the outdoors and gardening. We brought the veggies to the table where I cut them up…
Here I am cooking over my rickety old farmhouse stove, which I am very fond of. My husband always threatens to get me a new stove, and I always say I would miss her. She serves me well. Her creaky door is a comfort to me and I love that she stays warm all day and all night long. Her little pilot lights are great for incubating my yogurt. She is like my old faithful friend. I wanted to use my bok choy up that evening, so I made a pot of my favorite soup that I so lovingly call, Chicken Choy Soup.
Here is my recipe for Chicken Choy Soup… 1 head of bok choy chopped fine 1 onion chopped fin 4 stalks of celery chopped fine 4 carrots chopped fine 4 peeled and chopped potatoes Sautee these veggies in coconut oil or butter until soft. Add 1 quart of bone broth or chicken stock and about 2 pounds of cooked chicken cut into squares. I use a quart of my canned chicken for this, so easy! And our canned bone broth all stored up in our root cellar which is a dug out style. Add a quart of water or two. Make it the consistency you like. Spice it up with salt, pepper, parsley, and onion powder to your taste. Enjoy!
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