On the Radar – July & August Water, weed, harvest, repeat. Our peas are coming in fast now at the end of June. Pick one day… and more are ready the very next. Summer squash is notorious for doubling in size over night to become baseball bat-like. Lettuce will be bolting soon, so harvest, eat and share all that you can. It is the curse of the vegetable gardener who plants energetically in spring and to be overwhelmed with produce in August!
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by Annette Kleinschmidt, Leelanau County MSU Extension Office Manager
The Leelanau Christian Neighbor’s (LCN) with the help of numerous Master Gardeners has constructed and planted 23 raised vegetable garden beds at their new location near Lake Leelanau. These gardens were planted by dedicated volunteers to grow food for their food pantry patrons, which they call “Neighbors.” The gardens look FANTASTIC! They are looking for a committed volunteer to oversee its growing and harvesting season. We have a great committee of folks and other MG volunteers to help weed and harvest (still need more!) but need someone to organize everyone. The only ‘criteria’ is that they have a knowledge, or at least passion, for vegetable gardening and can be organized. This isn’t a difficult role, just need a go-to person.
Are you the kind of person that likes to get your hands in rich soil – grow healthy produce – meet people with your interests – then join in the fun! They definitely need YOU!
On a related note, the LCN Garden will have TWO weekly work bees on Monday mornings from 9am – noon, and on Thursday evenings from 4pm – 7pm from now until the end of harvest in fall. They could always use more MG volunteers! This is a great opportunity to educate LCN volunteers on proper vegetable garden maintenance. If you can help during those times, you can just show up, or let myself (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Nate know, (email@example.com) – until we get a lead person, we’ll try to help in the interim! Even if you can only come for an hour, that helps! There are some gardening tools in the garage there, but bring your own gloves and hand tools if you can. The LCN garden is located at 7322 E Duck Lake Rd, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653.
by Sally Perkins, contributor
When did you last try wild rice? If the answer is either “never” or “not sure,” then it is high time you gave it a go. Not only does it have a far more interesting flavor than conventional white or brown rice, it is also vastly superior in terms of nutritional content. And what’s more, you could even try growing it yourself, right here in Michigan.
Looks and even names can be deceptive – wild rice is actually a type of grass, and is a completely different crop to ordinary rice, although it can be used and cooked in more or less the same way. Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional gains of eating wild rice, and why it is the ideal ingredient to include in family meals and snacks.
Boosts your immune system
One of the reasons that health experts get so enthusiastic about wild rice is that it is one of the best sources of antioxidants around, containing as much in one spoonful as you would get from an entire portion of white rice. This means it is great for keeping your heart, skin and general immune system in tip top condition.
Furthermore, it is high in phytonutrients, which have even been shown to guard against certain forms of cancer!
A great source of protein
Wild rice also has a higher protein content than other types of rice. And as it is suitable for people on grain free as well as gluten free diets, that can be great news for those who can find it hard to come up with foodstuffs that tick the boxes for both taste and nutrition.
Grow your own
You do not need acres of paddy fields to have a go at growing your own wild rice, but you do need a pond or some wetland space. The seed has to go through a cold dormancy period before it can germinate, so the best time to plant is in the fall.
The growing season is April to August, and your crop needs to be in mildly acidic water throughout. Wild rice will grow in a depth of anything between four inches and five feet, but around 18 inches is ideal. Distribute your seeds at a rate of around an ounce of seed for every five square yards.
If the seeds germinate, you will start to see leaves on the surface of the water, during which time all the real action is taking place beneath the surface while the root system develops. Once it has done so, the plant will start shooting up to a mature height of six to nine feet, and you are ready to harvest your crop.
Once sown, wild rice will reseed itself for the following year, leaving you nothing more to do but sit back and enjoy. Good luck!
by Nancy Denison, Advanced EMG
My remodeled garden has fewer rhubarb plants but they are producing well, so I am always on the outlook for unique rhubarb recipes. I found this one last year from Taste of Home where the recipe is also available online under rhubarb scones. It is easy, freezable and tasty. Enjoy!
1 ¼ C whole wheat flour
1 ¼ C all-purpose flour
½ C sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp cardamom (I have not used this)
½ tsp salt
½ C cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 ½ C finely chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb (if using frozen, drain in colander but do not express liquid)
½ C heavy whipping cream
¼ C fat free milk
1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 400. In large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add rhubarb, toss to coat.
- In another bowl, whisk cream, milk and vanilla; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.
- Turn mixture onto a floured surface; knead gently 4-5 times. Divide dough in half; pat into two round circles. Cut each into eight wedges. Place wedges on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Makes 16 scones.