The Snarky Gardener’s Beginning Vegetable Gardening Video

On April 21, 2016, the Snarky Gardener gave a presentation on vegetable gardening for beginners at the Kent (Ohio) Free Library. The audio isn’t the greatest, but hopefully you’ll gain some new information.

Subjects covered:
1. Gardening Definitions
2. Plant Families
3. Easiest to Grow Veggies
4. Gardening Advice

Here’s the video of my dog that didn’t work:

Weeds Can Be Your Friends

The Snarky Gardener knows how to turn weeds into allies. Or at least keep them from being a problem.

No-till, mulch and homemade weeds - what a combo!
No-till, mulch and homemade weeds – what a combo!

On the Mother Earth News blog, I wrote an article describing my techniques to bring your weeds down to a dull roar. There I listed 5 different ideas to mitigate garden weeds (including eating them). I personally think “weeds” are misunderstood. Unless an unwanted plant is literally shading out one that needs the sunlight, there is no reason to remove them. Most of my weeding is preventative, meaning I remove plants going to seed that I believe I have plenty of (grass and quickweed for example).

So here’s the list:

  1. Low till – tilling brings up weed seeds
  2. Mulch – to keep weeds from growing in the first place. I usually use fall leaves or straw, especially with my potatoes.
  3. Utilize them – many “weeds” are edible
  4. Cover crops – keeps the soil covered while enriching it
  5. Make Your Own – turn your seedier veggies (like lettuce and turnips) into edible weeds
  6. Plant closely (especially beans) – closely planted vegetables naturally shade out other plants

I left out number 6 from my Mother Earth News blog post mostly because including it didn’t occur to me until after it was released. It’s worked with green beans but I might try it with bush zucchini also. Just have to find the right sweet spot between crowding and too weedy.

Turkey Cottage Pie with Sunchokes and Turnips

The Snarky Gardener welcomes Brooke the Cook to the blog. She has created a recipe to use up his abundance of sunchokes, potatoes, and turnips.

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Photo Credit: gkdavie cc

Turkey Cottage Pie: is it a shepherd’s pie or pot pie?

Inspired by the bounty of root vegetables at Snarky Acres, this recipe combines the rich filling of a shepherd’s pie (sans sheep), the abundance of turkey left-overs available after the holidays, and is topped with low-glycemic white root vegetables to balance the body.

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I recommend pairing this delicious casserole with a side of steamed asparagus or green beans, and a fresh salad of mixed greens.
Serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups root vegetables (choose low GI: (Jerusalem artichoke/sunchoke, celeriac, white turnip)
  • 1 potato (see note below)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup sweet peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1lb / 450g turkey
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder or reduced sodium Old Bay spice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour (all purpose, gluten free or chickpea)
  • 1 cup white wine (or filtered water)

Topping

  1. Roughly chop the root vegetables and potato. Boil in 3 cups of water until soft (15-20 minutes). Partially drain and set aside.

Note: Russet potatoes will give it a lighter-fluffier mash. Yukon Gold will give a smooth but heavy texture. Red or white skin potatoes can quickly turn gummy. For the best texture use a masher. Do not use a mixer or it will go gummy.

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Filling

  1. Finely dice the carrot, onion, garlic and celery. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until soft. Sprinkle flour and add wine and spices. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes more. Set aside in a dutch oven or oven-proof casserole dish.
  2. Scramble fry ground turkey, drain. If using left-over roast turkey, chop finely 1-2 cups and pan fry 3-5 minutes to warm. Add the turkey to the vegetables. Note: For a vegetarian option, replace the turkey with 1-2 cups of cooked lentils and/or quinoa, combined.

Assembly

  1. Mash root vegetables with a pinch of salt. Beat until smooth. Spoon evenly over the filling. Bake 40 min at 375F. Let stand 5 min.
  2. Serve with steamed asparagus or green beans, and a salad.

What’s your favourite way to use up left-over turkey?

In health and friendship,
Brooke

Brooke loves to cook, hence the nickname. She is passionate about eating for pleasure and nutrition. Her recipes are health-conscious, though she does enjoy a satisfyingly-rich dessert. If you like what you read, please leave a comment below and subscribe for new recipes at weekbyweek.ca.

Seed Starting Tips

The Snarky Gardener has plenty of seed starting tips and tricks. Please enjoy.

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I recently guest blogged on weekbyweek.ca, a weekly recipe food blog called “Brooke the Cook”. Starting seeds can be intimidating but it’s not too difficult if you follow my helpful advice.

Remember: your starts are basically baby plants. They will need your constant care until they are planted (and then a little more after that).

 

Do You Have Mad Gardening Skills?

The Snarky Gardener lists 7 skills you need to take your gardening to the next level.

To be an avid gardener, you need to develop special abilities. Do you have what it takes? Are you willing to stretch outside your comfort zone? It will take hard work and dedication.

The Snarky Gardener patiently standing by his tree.
The Snarky Gardener patiently standing by his tree.

Here are my 7 mad gardening skills:

  1. Alertness
  2. Creativity
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Humility
  5. Patience
  6. Planning
  7. Sharing

Discover them in my latest Mother Earth News blog post “7 Mad Gardening Skills

Let's Grow Some Veggies!