All posts filed under: Harvesting

Growing Great Garlic: A Photo Diary

November 2016. Planting This year we planted Music garlic. An old Italian Heirloom Eliza found in Louisville, Kentucky this summer, we were very excited to try this hard neck variety. December-May… Weeding, Watering, Waiting… Garlic requires a long period of time to reach full maturity. On average, it can take anywhere from 6-10 months. You can plant in either fall or spring, but we always plant in the fall because the bulbs are bigger that way. May 2017. Harvest time! Afternoon students in Primary harvested and cleaned the first of four beds  we planted at GMS this year. They loved it so much they had a hard time stopping. May 2017. Post-harvest Star Treatment Upper Elementary and Middle School students harvested, cleaned, and bundled the remaining garlic in their garden. They also cut and bundled the garlic scapes, the flowering edible stalk, using them in the final Farm to Fork Restaurant of the 2017 school-year! Upper El and Middle School Casa students hung the bundles under the red shed in Lower Elementary for them to cure, …

Worldly Plants: Luffas and Rice

This fall Upper Elementary students have been working hard in their permaculture garden. So hard, in fact, that they are in the midst of perhaps the greatest discovery they’ve made all year: how to process the luffas and Carolina Gold rice that they planted in the spring of 2015. Students planted the luffa gourds with Aubrey in early June by mounding up 3 small hills at the end of beds along the black chain-linked fence. Why here, you might ask? Because these plants produce a beautiful trellising vine that will grow straight up a brick wall all summer long. Our luffas loved that small corner we carved out for them and only at the end of December were they ready to harvest. Although most of the plantings we have in the garden are edible (and luffas are), there are some that are not! When harvested early, the luffa fruits are eaten often in many South East Asian countries. When left for months to grow large, the fruits become, arguably, nature’s best scouring brushes and sponges! …

All Things Persimmon!

Several factors have contributed to our harvest of a bumper crop of persimmons this year. One of those is most likely the honey bees on campus have been working hard to pollinate our many crops and they apparently did a thorough job on the persimmons, which are an early bloomer and good source of food for them in spring. We also prevented any “pre-harvesting,” which led to higher yields. We have been busy in gardening classes and with the middle school farm team (part of the MS micro-economy) finding creative ways to eat and preserve the HUNDREDS we harvested this year. Hopefully you’ve already heard about a few of these from your children or purchased some of the jam, chips, or whole persimmons in the front office See some of our creations below! In addition to the persimmon salad, fruit roll ups, pancakes and 5 spice persimmon jam we also made persimmon salad dressing and ate a lot of fresh persimmons. Look for some of these products at Marketplace on December 16th!  

Persimmon Pancakes

We made these celebratory pancakes both this fall and last as the persimmons were ripening. There were loads of them this year, so look for more blogs on the many many things we’ve done with them. This recipe featured cardamom, a spice many primary and lower el students had never encountered before. They were a perfect treat during the cool rainy weather. One of our favorite activities is making whipped cream from scratch and grinding flour from wheat berries so that the students can see where all of the ingredients came from in their whole form! We used ultra ripe persimmons for this recipe, so the pulp folds into the batter just like jam. You can however, also cut up a firm Fuyu persimmon and there will be little chunks of persimmon goodness in your pancakes. Enjoy!

What’s growing in the winter garden?

The hardiest of the cool weather vegetables can survive the winter. Some of them will need protection from harsh freezing temperatures and some of them can withstand temperatures down to 10 degrees! Interestingly, the adaptation that allows them to survive, also makes them sweeter. When it gets cold, these plants convert some of their starch stores into sugar, which prevents their cells from freezing. It’s the same concept as salt on the road — the presence of salt, or in this case sugar, lowers the freezing point of water. Lettuce, Spinach, and Cilantro are growing under plastic row covers. We follow Elliot Coleman’s four season gardening method, low tunnels heating up with the sun on cool days and protecting from crippling temperatures at night. We plant lettuce in succession to have a fresh supply throughout the winter and early spring. We’ve been using these greens nearly every week in restaurant to make a side salad that feeds 40+. Did you know that lettuce is related to dandelions and was first cultivated by ancient Egyptians? Spinach, …

Amaranth Candy

Alegrías, whose name is derived from the Spanish word for “happy,” are made from the highly nutritious, ancient grain amaranth. The recipe calls for amaranth that has already been toasted or “popped.” You can find popped amaranth in grocery stores, or pop the seeds yourself using an non-oiled heated pan on high (a clear lid is recommended for this). Amaranth had been grown by the Aztecs, Incans, Mayans, and several other ancient cultures until the conquistadors banned it from being grown in order to stop their ceremonies. It was nearly wiped from existence, and only brought back through seed saving by those who had retreated to the remote mountains. Today, it has been brought back, and has been found to have important amino acids, protein, minerals, and vitamins that completed the diet of these ancient peoples. Ingredients: • ¼ pound piloncillo or panela (raw unrefined cane sugar in solid molds sold in international food market grocery stores) • 1 cup water • ½ pound amaranth cereal (“popped” amaranth) • a few drops of lime juice …