Mary's Veggie Garden

February 11, 2013

Got Color?

Filed under: Parsnips,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 7:20 am

We are advised to eat five a day – is that vegetables or colors? No matter, this meal has both.

Hamburger glop - an old standby.

Hamburger glop – an old standby.

Hamburger Glop is what I call it – a no-recipe creation that accepts lots of substitutions. Start by browning some hamburg then drain the fat. Next add chopped garlic, onions and peppers & sauté a bit, then add tomatoes, fresh or canned, and herbs.  Mix in some cooked grain – rice, buckwheat, quinoa, or pasta and melt your favorite cheese over the top.

So what’s on this plate? This glop contains:

  • Red, yellow and orange peppers from the freezer
  • Canned tomatoes – still using my 2011 crop
  • A purple Cabernet onion – they are storing very well in my root cellar. I find the skins are difficult to remove.
  • Russet Burbank potatoes from the root cellar (I guess the potatoes make this dish ‘ hash’.)
  • Basil from my freezer.

As sides, there are Purple sweet potatoes and Waltham Butternut squash from my supply in the basement. I baked both couple of days ago to provide leftovers for several days.

The only parts from the market are the hamburg, cheese, and garlic.

I apologize for the bad photo – I just washed the smear off the lens. We’ve finished dinner & the food is gone so I can’t take another picture.

I also harvested this week. I figured I should dig some parsnips before the blizzard hides them.

Parsnips harvested as the snow flies...

Parsnips 11 oz. harvested as the snow flies…

It’s been cold enough that the ground has finally frozen (unlike last winter.)  The leaves mulching the parsnips came up as a frozen chunk – we got a lot of rain about a week ago which froze solid in the mulch.  Underneath the frozen part, the ground was loose and the parsnips  were easy to dig.  I hope I got the last of the beets two weeks ago, because that area was not well mulched and it is frozen solid.

In Poughkeepsie the blizzard wasn’t too bad. Though about 1′ of snow fell our power stayed on.

February 4, 2013

Germination Test of Bean Seed

Filed under: Beans,Gardening,Seeds,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 9:08 am

I grow Jacob’s Cattle dried beans. I let the pods dry on the plant, snip them off when dry, dry them a few more days, then shell out the beans. Good beans are burgundy with white markings.

Jacob’s Cattle beans. The discolored beans on top were germination tested.

Jacob’s Cattle is a bush bean. There are always some pods that hang low enough to drag the ground. If it gets rainy while the beans are drying, the pods may turn black and mildewed where they touch the ground. Inside the mildewed pod, the bottom bean or two is often sprouted and moldy. I discard those. Beans higher up in the pod sometimes are discolored but without mold. The discoloration is from being partially dried, then getting damp, then drying again. Although I don’t save them for eating, I’ve often wondered if these discolored beans could be saved as seed. Or has the dampness caused by the pod touching the ground ruined their viability?

I started the germination test Nov. 11 with 10 ugly beans.

I started my germination test Nov. 11 with 10 ugly beans.

Seeds are folded in a damp paper towel and placed in a plastic bag for the test.

Seeds are folded in a damp paper towel and placed in a plastic bag for the test.

In November I taught a class on Seeds and Transplants and in class I discussed seed germination testing.  Students were asked to test the discolored seed as homework.

I tested 10 of those seeds myself and 9 germinated.  Usually beans grow quickly and five of my seeds had good-sized roots showing 6 days later. I discarded the growing seeds and put the rest back in the plastic bag for a few more days. In another 3 days four of the remaining seeds had germinated.

Germination results on Nov. 17.

Germination results on Nov. 17.

Results: of 40 seeds tested 32 germinated.
Now that I know the seed is viable, should it be used as seed stock? It doesn’t meet the standards of the seed industry – I’ve never seen discolored bean seed in a seed packet. And knowing the seed has been wet then dried, there is probably some danger of some sort of mold or mildew contamination – even if I cannot see it. You can probably tell – I’m still undecided.

Nov. 17, 4 more growing.

Nov. 17, four of the ungerminated beans in the previous photo are growing.

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