Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Goals!

As the new year begins, which by the way, I'm referring to as Twenty Ten, one starts to think about one wants to accomplish. Now, I've been running since late summer on a consistent basis so I really don't feel like I need to add exercise to my list. But I do love to cook and I do love to garden, so I've decided that I will do some "extra" focusing on my loves and set some goals in those areas for this coming year. I love my children and I set goals for them too so why not?!

1. Asparagus. We love it. So why am I not growing it? Well, for those of you who do not know, asparagus is a perennial vegetable. That means that it comes back, year after year on it's own accord. In fact, a well tended asparagus bed can produce for 20 years or more. I know growing up that we would find asparagus in ditches. My parents have recently, in the past few years, found some "wild" asparagus behind some old buildings on the farm. These asparagus patches have been planted by birds from the seed of female asparagus plants. Now, I am not going to plant asparagus from seed. As the newer hybrids are mostly all "male" meaning they produce more and bigger spears than the female plant but do not produce seed. So I plan on planting crowns (i.e. the roots) of the plant and probably two-year crowns. Now, the tricky thing with crops such as asparagus and strawberries is that you really are going to have to wait to harvest any sizable amount. And not wait like a few weeks or months, but maybe a couple of years. The plant needs to "get strong" enough before you can start picking the asparagus spears. That's because those spears turn into the fern that in turn feeds the roots that in turn allows it to produce more spears and so on and so forth. Why not dig up well established 5 year crowns and transplant them? Well, because they are fickle and older plants do not transplant well. So one year crowns are recommended but I find that 2 year crowns are more widely available. I'm still deciding on the variety...

2. Ranch Dressing. Lite House Ranch dressing is our favorite ranch dressing. It doesn't contain any msg and it tastes fantastic. I'd love to be able to recreate this at home. I've tinkered with this project off and on but I've decided that this is the year that I will master the ranch dressing quandary. I've made some really good head way into this project and I think that well before 2010 is over, I will have conquered ranch dressing. Then I may post the recipe :) Maybe ;)

3. Figure out another way to stake my tomatoes. I can't decide whether to do t-bars, cages or string but I do know that I need another method for staking my tomatoes. This past summer was pretty cool and rainy by any standards and tomato blight was a huge problem. Some of this could have been avoided by proper staking. But I admit, I am a lazy gardener when it comes to things like staking. And I'm cheap. One idea is to put t-bar on the outside ends of a small row of tomatoes. Then take string and as the tomato grows, use the string to make a "cage" by encasing the tomatoes between the t-bars. It might work. Or I could by or maybe build some heavy duty re-bar tomato cages. Lots of ideas floating around in my head as you can see. If anyone has some great pointers, I'm willing to listen.

4. I'm not sure this is a real goal or not but I'd like to maybe rent a plot in a community garden. Then I could grow larger quantities of things that I currently don't believe I have enough room to grow profitably - think potatoes. Wouldn't you love to see posts on here of yummy dishes using purple & fingerling potatoes? And to grow enough beans to actually put some up for the winter? I guess the problem would then be how to store the potatoes.....hmmmmm

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