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What to do with your beets!
Last year I had the pleasure of being a part of a local CSA. CSA stands for community supported agriculture or some say community shared agriculture. I was a little overexcited about this opportunity and opted for the full share. Needless to say, I had a ridiculous amount of food each week. My weeks soon consisted of blanching for hours. Anyway, back to my story.

One week I received beets in my share. Now beets were something I always avoided at all costs during thanksgiving. Nevertheless, receiving the food meant I needed to cook and eat it. So I got out my handy dandy vegetable cookbook to find a good recipe for these beets.

Now I can’t say this is the best recipe ever for beets. However, it’s my go to whenever I have beets now. It’s pretty simple too. Most people like their beets roasted. I’m most people. Now some roast the beets whole whereas others (me) roast them already diced. I usually roast them for about 45 minutes at 375. Once they are out of the oven and cooled down, you make the dressing. Mine since I’m pretty limited on ingredients ends up being minced garlic, S&P, horseradish, and Dijon mustard. You can, however, get real fancy and add white wine vinegar and chives.

To some this may sound like a gross combination but trust me, it’s incredible! The earthy flavor of the beets still comes through the dressing. This year in our teaching garden, we grew Guardsmark beets, which were exceptionally tasty, and I highly recommend.

Here’s an actual recipe, if you don’t want to follow mine…
http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-beets-with-mustard-horseradish-dressing-74134

What to do with your beets!

Last year I had the pleasure of being a part of a local CSA. CSA stands for community supported agriculture or some say community shared agriculture. I was a little overexcited about this opportunity and opted for the full share. Needless to say, I had a ridiculous amount of food each week. My weeks soon consisted of blanching for hours. Anyway, back to my story.

One week I received beets in my share. Now beets were something I always avoided at all costs during thanksgiving. Nevertheless, receiving the food meant I needed to cook and eat it. So I got out my handy dandy vegetable cookbook to find a good recipe for these beets.

Now I can’t say this is the best recipe ever for beets. However, it’s my go to whenever I have beets now. It’s pretty simple too. Most people like their beets roasted. I’m most people. Now some roast the beets whole whereas others (me) roast them already diced. I usually roast them for about 45 minutes at 375. Once they are out of the oven and cooled down, you make the dressing. Mine since I’m pretty limited on ingredients ends up being minced garlic, S&P, horseradish, and Dijon mustard. You can, however, get real fancy and add white wine vinegar and chives.

To some this may sound like a gross combination but trust me, it’s incredible! The earthy flavor of the beets still comes through the dressing. This year in our teaching garden, we grew Guardsmark beets, which were exceptionally tasty, and I highly recommend.

Here’s an actual recipe, if you don’t want to follow mine…

http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-beets-with-mustard-horseradish-dressing-74134

Here is our teaching garden to-date. You can see near the right side of the photo the newly planted rows of sweet and spicy peppers. It’s a full veggie garden now!

Here is our teaching garden to-date. You can see near the right side of the photo the newly planted rows of sweet and spicy peppers. It’s a full veggie garden now!

We had a great group out on 6/13. Here they are with a couple of LACBG staff in the teaching garden completing a portion of their service project with us. Here they are weeding out the area that our tomatoes will be transplanted. They weeded the vegetable garden, herb garden, kentucky native garden, and turned all three compost piles. The amount of work they did saved us WEEKS and we are very grateful for their service.
During the great weeding, we also found about a dozen volunteer tomato plants already in the tomato area!

We had a great group out on 6/13. Here they are with a couple of LACBG staff in the teaching garden completing a portion of their service project with us. Here they are weeding out the area that our tomatoes will be transplanted. They weeded the vegetable garden, herb garden, kentucky native garden, and turned all three compost piles. The amount of work they did saved us WEEKS and we are very grateful for their service.

During the great weeding, we also found about a dozen volunteer tomato plants already in the tomato area!

We finally moved the last of our seedlings down to our teaching garden on Tuesday June 12. Here they are in their glory! Here are the sweet and hot peppers as well as our tomatoes.

We finally moved the last of our seedlings down to our teaching garden on Tuesday June 12. Here they are in their glory! Here are the sweet and hot peppers as well as our tomatoes.

Here is our vegetable garden to-date with hay and newspaper interspersed. The right side of this garden has been reserved for our peppers, which will go into the ground within the next week or so. The back portion is reserved for our tomatoes, which will also be joining the teaching garden soon!

Here is our vegetable garden to-date with hay and newspaper interspersed. The right side of this garden has been reserved for our peppers, which will go into the ground within the next week or so. The back portion is reserved for our tomatoes, which will also be joining the teaching garden soon!

Our first group of the season!

Yesterday (5/7/2012), we hosted our first group this year utilizing our teaching garden. We had 60 rambunctious students from an afterschool program at Simmons Elementary in Versailles, KY. Students ranged from kindergarten to 5th grade. Students were able to experience the teaching garden, animal adaptation games, and the un-nature trail.

LACBG staff, Barb and Sarah, facilitated the group in the teaching garden. Grades K-2 started with a tour of the teaching garden. They then explored the world of compost using our compost demonstration area. Then they each became their favorite vegetable and jumped into our pot of “veggie soup”. Grades K-2 finished with an activity known as “what’s on your plate.” Students take a close look at fruits and vegetables that they may (or may not) be eating. Each is a specific part of a plant (stem, stalk, root, tuber, fruit, bark, etc…). Instead of veggie soup, grades 3-5 participated in seed, stretch, germination. This activity lets students discover the growth cycle of a mighty oak.

The Governor’s Gardener

Our teaching garden had a big day at Life Adventure Center of the Bluegrass’s Open House on April 10th. A man stopped by the environmental education table I had set up. Our teaching garden pepper and squash seedlings were center stage for all to see. He asked me a little about environmental education and our teaching garden. As I explained our little operation, he happened to mention that he was the “Governor’s Gardener.” I had to ask him to repeat what he had said as I was in disbelief. He even asked how he could help!

The Governor’s Gardener (GG) has already donated 1,000 tulip bulbs to our organization, which were delivered on Friday (3/13). Turns out the GG had a great time at the open house learning about our organization and what we do. So needless to say our teaching garden had a great boost of support in the last few weeks!

If you’d like to learn more about the Governor’s Gardener and the program he helps oversee, please visit http://greenteam.ky.gov/garden.

Moving the flats to the garden

Today, we moved the plant flats to the garden for one more day of hardening off before planting tomorrow. They seemed to have weathered the weekend outside. Tomorrow we will be planting most of the flats in the teaching garden finally.

This is Baker, one of our resident dogs on the property. She loves to garden with us.

The big day… postponed

Due to the rain yesterday afternoon and night as well as today, we have decided to postpone the big day of transplanting. Our teaching garden soil has a pretty high clay content and therefore takes quite a while to dry out. Walking or working in soil that has such a high moisture content makes for a compact and hard to work soil base. So we’re hoping for a couple of days of drying time (which may or may not happen in Kentucky).

Instead of transplanting today, we are using it as another day for hardening off the seedlings. Tonight, we are hoping to leave them out. They have been covered under our patio for the last couple of days. I’m planning to expose them completely on Friday during the day as another measure to harden them off.

Cara did, however, create our rows needed to plant. We are now hoping to plant on May 1st. She diligently hoed away (while in overalls) to make us 10 neat plant rows.