BHG Home Farming

Three bloggers took on the Home Farming Challenge brought to you by Triscuit and chronicled their journey of growing vegetables for the first time in hopes of winning your vote for the best home farm.

broccoli

Contain This: Setbacks

Written on July 19, 2011 at 1:00 am , by

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Well, I am 3 months into my Home Farm project and even with some recent setbacks I can say that I am still overjoyed with what my Home Farm has taught me (and produced) this summer. Setbacks you say? Yep.

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My first setback was one I didn’t account for as I always assumed that sun and warmth would be a good thing. And while they are to some degree, we had one really warm day which produced me a TON of snap peas (peas for Peabody!!!) but also caused my broccoli to form flowers. Once the broccoli grows flowers you can’t eat it. As you can see from the picture I got flowers. Luckily for me though I still had quite a few other stalks, though I panicked at the idea of not getting to use them. So I probably prematurely chopped some of them to make soup. But I wasn’t missing my chance to make Broccoli Cheddar Soup with broccoli from my very own patio! So even though many of my plants when planted said that they needed 5-6 hours of sun, they seem to like the rainy overcast weather better.

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Setback number two I definitely did NOT account for was that my Home Farm is doing SO well that I am running out of space. Things are growing much faster than I can eat them or the plant is getting so large and mingling over with other plants. While I love the growth I only have so much space to work with, especially now that I own a grill that is out there as well.

Setback number three is that the majority of my plants that were planted in small pots have reached their demise (moment of silence please). The only survivors were the mint, because mint I believe is the cockroach of the herb world, you have to work hard to kill it off. So I bought another big pot (this was before I got a BBQ) and plan on planting something new. Suggestions? What do you all think? What would you like to see me try and grow?

Despite my few setbacks I am not giving up. This is after all an experiment of sorts and you are going to have the good with the bad and you learn from all of it! How about you? How is your Home Farm coming along? If you don’t have one, summer is only half way done, if you did plants and not seeds, you could still join the Triscuit Home Farm movement!

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup flour

2 cups half-and-half cream

2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 lb. fresh broccoli

1 cup carrots, julienned

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (use GOOD quality cheese)

salt and pepper

Sauté onion in 1 TBSP butter. Set aside.

Cook 1/4 cup melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.

Add the vegetable stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper. Can be puréed in a blender but I don’t. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

Recipe adapted from Panera Bread Company

If you are interested in seeing other ideas, please visit the other bloggers who are participating in the Home Farming Movement which you can find here at the Better Homes and Gardens Home Farming Challenge Page.



Contain This: Floral Arrangements

Written on June 28, 2011 at 1:00 am , by

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First off I want to say that who needs a traditional flower garden when you can have a Home Farm? Not only has having a Home Farm on my patio brought lush green to gaze upon (as well as all the salad greens I need), but many of those herbs and plants also produce flowers. Some of those flowers, like the one pictured above, are even edible as well. In fact, every flowering plant I chose for my Home Farm is edible.

In case you are wondering what the lovely yellow flowers above are, they come from arugula, also called rocket in the UK…my former neighbor is from Britain and she was more than excited to learn they were the same thing as she was wondering why there was no rocket here in the states. My particular flowers are yellow, but I am told they are often white. I’m happy to get the yellow as they add a pop to my lovely farm. Normally you want to remove the flowers but I am trying to promote bees to come on by since my strawberries don’t seem to want to produce any fruit and my local garden store guy suggested promoting bees. The arugula flowers go nicely in salads and add a beautiful and summery touch, perfect to serve at a dinner party. Though keep in mind, that just like arugula itself, the flowers also have a spicy, peppery flavor.

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The other two flowers that are adding beauty to my Home Farm are chive blossoms, which I have had for some time now and pea blossoms. The chive blossoms produce a gorgeous purple color and can be used basically where you would put onion, for just like the arugula flowers take on the flavor of the arugula, the chive blossom takes on the flavor of the chive, though slightly less pungent. I personally like to scramble them into my eggs. Looks a little odd, but tastes really good. You want to take your chive blossoms off as they grow, if left on the plant they will go to seed and stop producing chives.

pic3-homefarmjune183Pea blossoms, though edible (note that flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous so do not eat if that is the kind you have) I won’t be using them, for if you take away your pea blossoms you will diminish your pea harvest and I don’t want that.

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And while all of the flowers are pretty, it was one, not so pretty flower that had me the most excited of all…my broccoli. That’s right, broccoli is a flower…kind of. The broccoli parts that we eat are called florets. Each floret has the potential of opening a tiny flower. When broccoli goes to flowering, it has bolted and is not edible. Bolting means the plant has finished its reproductive cycle and is now going to make seeds (just like the chives). This I think is going to be the hard part for me. I am not sure totally how large my broccoli is going to get before I harvest it. According to the Triscuit Home Farming website (crop guide), broccoli takes 112 days till harvest, but I have a slightly different variety, one that is more forgiving to the Pacific Northwest Weather. For right now I will just play it by ear. No matter what, I was mostly just excited that for the first time ever I got a vegetable to grow! No, like really excited. Called my mom excited, yes I am a nerd.