Thursday, February 11, 2010

Warm in the Greenhouse!

Well, It is planting day here at Marble Family Farms!

Last night we moved the chickens from the "old" greenhouse (now called the East Greenhouse) to the "new" greenhouse (now called the West Greenhouse to avoid further confusion on our part!). The ladies did a great job of picking the greenhouse clean, and leaving a lot of fertilizer! Here is the greenhouse after 25 chickens have cleaned it up for us!

And here are the chickens at home in the East Greenhouse now! We have a lot of carbon in the soil, so the high amount of nitrogen in the chicken manure should help break it down. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants will be in this greenhouse later in the spring.

So today we are rototilling and planting a 90 foot row of Beets, a 90 foot row of Spinach, 20 feet of kale, 20 feet of Swiss Chard, and 90 feet of salad greens! We are hoping that in 70 days we will have something to harvest! I can't wait for vegetables. Okay, the carrots and potatoes that we have in storage are wonderful, but you can only cook them so many ways before they get old! I need fresh, crisp greens!

Usually we have greens all year long, but this year we decided that the East greenhouse needed fertilizer in a big way, and that we wanted the addition on the West greenhouse. So we decided to take the winter off. We also wanted to get away for a while and this gave us the opportunity. It was really great to take a break from farming for a little while. We came back to it with the enthusiasm that we needed to regain. Now we are ready for a new growing season, and I know that I will never go without having at least a small plot of winter greens again!!

Here is my favorite soup recipe (although I did have homemade Minestrone soup that was even better! You can find the recipe at 4boysonly!) I thought I should post something to do with all of those storage vegetables! I always chop up potatoes and throw them in with the tomatoes. Also, a great addition is to chop up greens (spinach, swiss chard or kale) and throw them in as soon as you turn the heat off at the end... Delicious!!

Tomato-Lentil Soup with Brown Rice
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen

2 Tbl. EV Olive Oil
½ Cup Onion, Chopped
2 Small Carrots, Chopped
1 Celery Stalk, Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
4 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Lentils, rinsed and picked over
¼ Cup Brown Rice
14 oz. Canned Whole Tomatoes, drained and chopped
½ tsp. Thyme
1 Bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste

~In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, water, lentils, rice, tomatoes and their juices, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, until the lentils and rice are tender, stirring occasionally, 50 to 60 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot.

Per serving: Calories 378, Protein 28g, Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrate 52g, Dietary Fiber 22g, Sodium 763mg.

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