Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Gardening?

Is winter gardening an oxymoron? NO! Even in Yreka you can garden in the winter. Ah, I bet I know what you are thinking. "You posted about row covers in the last message. So, yes... you can garden in Yreka if you have a greenhouse, or a row cover, or some other type of expensive system that I don't have the time or money for." WRONG! You can garden in the winter without all of those things. Heck, it is an excellent time to garden because you don't have to do anything! There aren't even any bugs or weeds to worry about. Best of all, you don't even have to water! It is the perfect lazy gardener season. Plant in the fall and walk away. Today I harvested carrots and broccoli from my bed, which I have not done anything to since I planted the broccoli back in October. And no, I don't have row covers. Don't believe me? I didn't think you would, so I took photos.

I wish I could say those carrots were delicious, but my daughter and husband ate them all before I could try one. However, I got the last laugh because guess who ate all the broccoli? Yup! My tummy and taste buds loved that broccoli. So, there you go. Even though it takes more time than growing in the summer, winter gardening is not an oxymoron.

Check out this page from Ed Hume Seeds or this one from a nursery in Davis, CA for ideas on what to plant for your Winter/Spring garden. You'll notice that they talk about ideas for fall gardens on those sites. Fall is long behind us, but we are cool enough in Yreka that we can plant a lot of fall crops in the spring and have really good luck with them. Let us know if you have any questions about growing in the cold.

-Rachel Jereb

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Recipe - Italian Sausage, Cannellini and Kale Soup

Now that winter has decided to rejoin us for the next week or so, the thought of a hot soup for lunch or dinner is sounding mighty good. This recipe is for those of us who still have some kale stored up in their freezer. Didn't stock up? No problem. The garden still has fresh kale ready to be picked in the bonus garden (garden in the back at the end of the path). Thanks to Ayn donating some Remay, we even have salad greens and bok choy back there, too! Consider using some sort of row cover yourself next year, or even get an early start right now, and keep the fresh produce growing!

One final note before I get to the recipe. The garden's water is still turned off for the season, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to do. Thanks to Duane and Aase of EBA Oaks Alpacas, we have a huge supply of alpaca manure for you to use. It is in the middle concrete bin. The first concrete bin holds some really nice compost. Add a few wheelbarrows of each to your bed and you'll be growing some happy vegetables. Use the metal screens if you want finer material.

Italian Sausage Soup
1 package Italian sausage (or one pound bulk sausage), your choice - hot or sweet
1 white or yellow onion, diced
1 or 2 carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
3 oz tomato paste (half of a small can)
1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, minced (or 2 teaspoons granulated garlic)
1-2 quarts chicken/turkey/pork/vegetable broth or stock (use whatever you have, homemade is best)
2 - 15oz cans cannellini beans (sometimes called white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
9oz kale (whatever type you have), center rib removed and leaves chopped
salt/pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Add whole sausages to bottom of large soup pot. Cook on medium high until sausages are browned on one side, then flip. When brown on other side, add enough water to pan to mostly cover sausages. Bring water to a boil and let sausages cook until water is mostly evaporated. Remove sausages to cutting board and let cool while adding the remaining ingredients. If using bulk sausage (sausage without the casing), simply brown until cooked through and remove from pot. Drain off the fat if you want, but be sure to leave the little brown bits (called fond).

Add onion, carrots, celery and rosemary. Cook on medium high until onions are translucent and soft, about five minutes.

Add tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. 

Add broth/stock, beans and kale. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer until kale is tender (about 15 minutes).

Slice cooled sausages at an angle and add to soup, along with any juices that ran out.

Bring soup back to a boil and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese grated on top.

*To save time, dice the onions, celery, carrots and rosemary while the sausage is cooking. If the sausage gets done before you finish chopping, simply turn the heat off and let it sit in the pot until you are done.

*If you don't have an immediate use for half of a can of tomato paste, try freezing the remainder. Or, you can just add the whole can to your soup and have a more prominent tomato flavor.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Yreka Community Gardens (YCG) is actively seeking new gardeners to join us for the 2011 season.  We are expanding with more garden plots and we have room for 12 new gardeners to join us at our garden at Knapp and North Oregon Street.  Join the fun, grow fresh food for your family and make new friends.  Beds are various sizes starting at $25 per year.   If we have more gardeners than beds, we will hold a drawing.  The last day to reserve a bed is February 18th.  We welcome you if you are new to gardening.   Come garden with a friend or your family.  Please contact us through our email at or call Amy at 842-1626 for information or to apply.  YCG is a project of the Siskiyou Parks, Gardens and Greenway Association.