Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dead of Winter

The Colts lost to the Chargers. Again. Deja vu! When the Colts are out of the playoffs, the dead of Winter begins in Indianapolis. That's when I start building my plans for Spring. I've already received a lot of seed catalogs in the mail. They're like wish books for me!

I was pleasantly surprised to find racks of fresh Burpee seeds next to the Christmas clearance items at KMart. So I bought packs of green onion, spinach, Swiss chard, snow peas and bibb lettuce. Those are the early crops. They can stand cold nights, even a light frost. So I like to have my bedding plants ready to go outside the minute the weather cooperates. I'll probably start these seeds in my makeshift basement greenhouse in February. According to the old time gardeners, potatoes should be planted on Good Friday, April 10 this year. I might try one of the gold varieties this year, so I'll be checking my seed catalogs.

I finally found the garden book I wanted to loan to a friend last spring. Now I want to read it again myself. It's called Small Space, Big Harvest by Duane Newcomb. Newcomb says you can grow over 200 pounds of produce in a 5' x 5' plot - naturally. I've utilized his space-saving techniques for years. Maybe this year I'll try a bona fide test garden and weigh all the produce.

(Note: Melissa - this would be a great book for you! Cheap used copies are available on Amazon! He has a chapter on trash can composting.)

I've been moving pretty slowly this past week. I cleaned the basement and stirred up dust. My particular dust allergy results in one very puffy, painful eyeball and a need for lots of extra sleep. I have bad reactions to prescription and OTC antihistamines, so I've just been sleeping and whining a lot. My practitioner recommended a homeopathic liquid and it seems to be working. I am pleasantly surprised!

I'll need some energy today! I'm going to drop my oldest computer off for recycling. Then I'm hitting the Winter Farmers Market. Tonight I'm volunteering at the Naptown Roller Girls first roller derby bout of the season. I'll be manning the merchandise table and selling those calendars with the GREAT photos. I'll get to sit in the stands with the loud crowd for the second half.

Back to garden stuff, I set a new record! About ten years ago, I managed to keep my garden tomatoes fresh long enough to eat my last red one on January 1. Well, it's January 10, and I'm still eating my own garden tomatoes! We had a luxuriously warm fall and a late first frost. The Romas have been the best keepers. The red onion is also from my garden.

I remember someone asking for a salad dressing recipe. Here's my default vinaigrette.

Kay's Vinaigrette

I use a clean salad dressing bottle. Fill it half full with apple cider vinegar. Add about 2 T honey, the juice of half a lime, and 1 1/2 t salt. Put the lid on and shake until the salt dissolves. Then fill the bottle with canola oil and shake some more. Grind some fresh black pepper over your salad after it's tossed.

I made a huge vat of chicken stock on Thursday. I let it simmer for hours while I was napping on the couch (and whining.) I froze some and made a small pan of chicken vegetable soup to comfort me and my puffy eyeball. I was, indeed, comforted.

Daddy Cat says, "Love dat chicken soup!"


Gluti Girl said...

Awww, Daddy sure looks cute. Hubby and I walked through Menard's down in Greenwood yesterday and as I came around the corner to where the Christmas trees used to be, behold......grills and patio sets! That's a good sign! You know we are home free when we see the mulch at the gas stations, but that will still be a while.

Your tomatoes look beautiful!

Gluten Free Steve said...

Fresh home grown tomatoes on January 10th? That's insane! But how fun, and what a good memory of your summer garden in January. The Artist is already starting to talk about what seeds we need to buy this year!

Gluten free Kay said...

Hi Melanie,
I guess we have winter so we can dream of spring!

Hi Steve,
There are a few leeks out there I think I can still dig up and eat! What are you guys going to plant this spring?

Suzette said...

OK, Kay, you really have me thinking again about gardening. We have a 4' x 8' space in our backyard. After the brain tumor, I wasn't able to do much, and it just went to pot. Then our neighbor didn't like all the weeds we were fulminating, and offered to "fix" it for us. By this, it ended up meaning he was going to come spray everything with RoundUp. UGH. So hopefully this Spring, I can get to it quickly enough to start doing something. I still have trouble getting down on hands-and-knees, but each year gets a bit better.

What kinds of things does this guy suggest to plant in a place such as Indiana?

But, to another point -- is that cat of yours a Rex? We had a beloved Cornish Rex ... to wit:

GFE--gluten free easily said...

Wow, your own tomato on Jan. 10--that's incredibly impressive, Kay! I know you'll have another terrific garden in 2009.

So sorry about the continuing allergy issues. Really glad the homeopathic liquid is working though. When we were chatting the other day, I had forgotten about the success I had recently with drinking a honey/vinegar concoction. I googled natural remedies for sinus issues and there it was. Having our honey on hand, it seemed like a logical solution and over the course of 24 hours, it kicked what I had. :-) 'll send you the exact "recipe."

That salad dressing sounds fantastic! Will make it for our next support group meeting.


Gluten free Kay said...

Hi Suzette,

This book has MANY planting option designs, for many tastes. And it tells you how to fortify your soil naturally to get great results.

Maybe you can just mow the weeds down and have the patch roto-tilled. You can work in nutrients at the same time.

If you don't want to get down on your knees, I recommend pole beans and trellises for cukes. Go vertical!

Hi Shirley,
I remember my mom feeding us the vinegar and honey cure until all us kids got hives. That was 40 years ago. Now I like my vinegar in salad dressing and my honey with peanut butter.

I am delighted with this new homeopathic potion!

glutenfreeforgood said...


One click ordering at here I come! Thanks for the tip. As soon as I add this comment, I'm ordering the book.

Love the fact that you just used the last of your tomatoes. That's amazing. I also love the fact that as I type, you're at a roller derby match (contest, game -- what do you call it?).

Hope your allergies clear up! And thanks again for the book tip. I am totally addicted to All someone has to do is make a book suggestion and I'm there. This one sounds great.


Gluten free Kay said...

Hi Melissa,
That wasn't my LAST tomato! I still have a few left. So this year's record will be hard to beat in the future.

Roller derby was fun to watch. The bout was against Pittsburg. Those girls play a lot like the Pittsburg Steelers! I definitely need to get insurance before I join the fray! I'm hoping there's a not-so-risky option for being involved with the team and getting to skate a lot. But I still want a hot uniform!

You will love this book!

glutenfreeforgood said...


You're "feeding" my addiction. I ordered the book! Thanks for the tip.

Can you be a water girl and still were the hot pants? Sell GF treats and healthy energy drinks to the crowd?


H.Peter said...

january tomatoes are incredible.
Are you sure your garden is not in the south of France????

Victoria enjoys gardening, whereas I am the type that enjoys teh fruits of her labor.....

Nothing beats fresh herbs when you do a lot of home cooking.

Cheryl Harris said...

so great to make soup! sounds like you had a very busy week.

GardeningJo said...

Kay, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are having a happy, healthy & blessed New Year! (Allergies of sorts have been trying to get the best of me as of late, after being sick since November, my Psoriatic Arthritis has decided to pop out on my face! I've been itchy, red, hot & swollen since Tuesday but it's slowly getting better).

Fantastic garden seed find! I'm jealous!

What are your favorite catalogs for seeds? I did so well with seeds this garden season just past I want to do more this year!

Hubby bought me a GORGEOUS gardening book I've been eye-ing for a year or more: The Garden In Winter by Suzy Bales. The pics alone are worth it but so far it's very readable.

Gluten free Kay said...

Hey Jo!

Sorry to hear about your psoriatic arthritis! (Sure it's not rosacea? That's the one I had on my face.) I'm nearly rash-free this winter. It's a miracle! I'm wondering if my psoriasis wasn't DH all along (for 30 years!) No psoriasis meds ever worked, and it's improved dramatically since I went gluten free. Sometimes drinking water with a big squeeze of lemon could take the edge off my itching for a bit.

Last year I ordered all my seeds from RH Shumway catalog. They had all the oddities I wanted, and their prices were the best. I had good luck with their Baby Bubba okra, Rainbow carrots and Chioggia beets.

I found a great little tomato called Red Star in the Totally Tomatoes catalog two years ago. I tried several new-to-me varieties, and they were my favorite. I'll be ordering fresh seeds for my all time favorite - Sungold cherry tomatoes from Burpee. I've used saved seed for several years. They fruits have cross polinated and don't look quite the same. Sungolds make the BEST sundried tomatoes EVER!

GardeningJo said...

Yes, the dr's are sure it's Psoriatic Arthritis. Only 10% of people diagnosed with it have psoriasis - I'm not one of those people but the disease manifests itself in different ways at different times and has decided to do so this way for the time being. I've been worlds better since I started at home iv treatments of Remicade in Jan of '08. I do have rosacea but this is definately not it! (Huge difference there).

I forgot about using vitamin e when my skin acts up for any reason so I used a thumb tack to pop a whole in a gel cap, squeezed it onto my finger and applied it to where it was still bothering me and already I'm feeling better! (One of my Mama's home remedies).

I grew Early Girl tomato's last season & I almost couldn't keep up with all of the tomato's it produced! (I've never had that many before). And they were delicious too!

Gluten free Kay said...

Hi Jo,

Glad you are certain of your diagnosis and you're improving with medication.

We had a late start to the garden season last year, due to flooding and more flooding. But I ended up with lots and lots of tomatoes. I made batches of sauce several nights a week. I was happy when the Olympics were on late at night because I was always up late making pickles or sauce or freezing green beans.