Soap Box

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Posts Tagged ‘homegrown food’

Victory Garden flop

Posted by eemilla on September 18, 2013

We started the year looking forward to another productive victory garden, but we were undone with the rain and the slugs.  Below are the photos before we gave up after green tomatoes sporting rot before ripening.  One out of four our basil plants survived, and we’ve harvested a dozen leaves once.


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Victory Garden Weeks Nine to Fourteen

Posted by eemilla on October 29, 2012

Around week nine (which was early August) we began harvesting the riesentraube tomatoes (cherry), and they were great for caprese salads although their skin seems a bit tough to be my absolute favorite, and they were no where near as delectable as the cherry tomatoes we grew in our shared victory garden.  I failed to take a decent photo of a harvested one even though both plants were prolific even after they were neglected for several days.



week eleven riesentraubes


The stalks of one of the riesentraubes sprouted these weird growth, but it’s productivity seemed unimpaired.

what is this


Contrary to my expectations, I loved the brandywines much better.  We were finally able to harvest them in early September after weeks of watching them grow.  They were so large I expected to find them on the ground each time I went to check on them.

week nine brandywines



blighted brandywine


week fourteen brandywines



















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Victory Garden week eight

Posted by eemilla on July 24, 2012

After weeks of growth and not enough mojitos, we have some tomatoes and leggy mint!


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Victory Garden week two

Posted by eemilla on June 13, 2012

My honey is handling all of the water so that we don’t over do it, and LB and I have been watching for bugs and weeds.


Week two was ten days ago.

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Victory Gardening returns

Posted by eemilla on June 9, 2012

After begging and begging, my awesome husband created a potted victory garden of tomatoes and basil and mint.  This is week one (which was three weeks ago).

plants in a row

Genovese basil

Italian basil


brandywine tomato plant

cherry tomato plant

I’ll photo and update their progress.  We haven’t tasted the two basils, but if we can detect a difference I’ll share it.

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Climate Change

Posted by eemilla on October 15, 2009

The facts supporting climate change have been widely reported across numerous media outlets; I wanted to post this to add one more blog to the list in support of making drastic changes to our lifestyles.

Climate change is just one of the many ills our society suffers because of our addiction with fossil fuels.  Looking for purportedly cheap coal, we send fellow citizens to work in coal mines; once the vein dies or becomes too expensive, we raze the mountains and dump the top into the surrounding valleys creating wastelands in lieu of forested habitats.  Those stream beds supply someone’s water somewhere in the chain are then filled with poisons and waste from the mining, and during rainy years like this one the fills can create huge landslides (which if it doesn’t kill you isn’t covered under a homeowner’s policy).

Our love of the automobile has lead us to build massive expanses of blacktop.  The power of the car has allowed us to move further and further from work and commercial centers which leads to more traffic congestion then demand for less congested roadways.  The fuel for these vehicles will not last forever, and even if it did, its exhaust is killing us.  Furthermore is the fuel worth the national security risk; what would the economy do if for whatever crazy reason OPEC decided to stick it to us tomorrow?  Public transportation was squashed by domestic automakers, and many people still argue public transportation will never be self-sustaining (thanks for a good jab, Doug Gibson!).  Funny how the sweetheart lease deals we make with big oil doesn’t impugn them.  However, as our population grows the stress on the current roadways will increase while the demand for housing increases, and no one wants to live near the noise and smell of major roadway.

Our food is tied closely to energy prices because almost everything Americans eat is soaked in oil starting from the time the seeds are delivered from Monsanto to their drive to your home in plastic bags in the back of your car.  If you are eating processed foods then you have even more oil on your hands not to mention the spare tire around your middle.

Even if our elected officials refuse to act, we can each do something small like grow some food, bring your own boxes and bags to the store, do without the car, or insulate your home.  These little things when compounded will help, but a phone call or email to elected officials can’t hurt.

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Local Food Failure

Posted by eemilla on July 7, 2009

I thought the local food challenge was going to be easier, but alas I was not able to concoct a meal that was completely local without changing my shopping habits more than I was ready to.  I love Hickory Nut Gap Farm eggs, but I wanted to avoid animal protein for both its ecological repercussions and my changing diet.  I found locally fermented tempeh and locally milled flour, but they both cost more than three times their non local options.  The French Broad Food Coop did have some fava beans from either Jake’s Farm in Candler or Gladheart Farms in Asheville, along with local shiitakes from the Mushroom Co-op, Jake’s Farm’s romaine heads, and Gladheart’s local broccoli crowns.

Although I did not complete the challenge as I wanted to, I did try fava beans for the first time.  I love them (even if you have to twice shuck them), and I devoured my fava shiitake dish (garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil being the non local interlopers).  The next step is to either commit to a CSA share, more homegrown food, or to tailgate market shopping.  Last year we did so well with all our victory garden herbs, arugula, kale, and tomatoes, but we completely dropped the ball for this year.

Congratulations to Small Footprints at Reduce Footprints for once again challenging me to see past my own greenwashing.

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Victory Garden and Mountaintop Removal

Posted by eemilla on March 27, 2009

It has been a good week for environmental awareness and stewardship.  I was thrilled that Mrs. Obama broke ground on the first victory garden (in lieu of the Axis I think of unsafe food and corporate agriculture) since Mrs. Roosevelt; sixty years is too long to wait.  While I applaud the thought of it being organic, its proximity to swaths of golf course looking lawns might render the harvest much less than organic.  One step at a time, though, and I really am quite pleased.

The garden was the cherry, but the sundae came later.  On Tuesday announced that the EPA will stop issuing permits for mountaintop removal mining.  I have never encountered one of these wastelands, but the pictures are eerie.  Although this stops new mines, there are still existing mines.  Ashevegas mentioned this earlier this month.  Representatives Pricey Harrison, Phillip Haire, Susan Fisher, and Julia Howard are the primary House sponsors for H340 (Senator Steve Goss is sponsoring the sister bill, S341).  I hope you will join me in taking the time to say thanks as well as question the missing Senators Nesbitt and Apodaca and the missing Representatives.

Thank you!

Those that have yet to sign on:


To toot our own horn, we are thirty weeks into our one car household adventure.  Admittedly my wonderful husband deserves the bulk of the credit as he sacrifices the most sleep and convenience.  However, I am stoked that the bus stop we use is finally getting a sidewalk, so I will have to ride the bus more to enjoy it.

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Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Sage

Posted by eemilla on November 23, 2008

I made dinner last night based on my cravings and what was on hand, and for the first time that I can recall it turned out tasty.  I took some photos, and they are woefully amateur unlike the best food blog I’ve found,  Also the gnocchi wasn’t much better than frozen gnocchi, and it is certainly much more labor intensive than pulling it out of the freezer and dumping it into water.  However, with less than six ingredients that most households have on hand and that are cheap, I think the trick to gnocchi is making it in large batches and freezing the leftovers because the store bought stuff is not cheap.  I used the gnocchi recipe from The Joy of Cooking; we had too many walnuts and butternut squash so I picked the sage from Mom’s, and voila! a tasty fall meal.  I didn’t get a photo of the finished product because the camera’s battery hadn’t been charged in a while, but maybe next time after I get the food mill or try the grater version from SmittenKitchen.

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Victory Tomatoes

Posted by eemilla on July 25, 2008


homegrown Roma tomatoes

homegrown Roma tomatoes

I am so proud of the tomatoes that we have harvested from our first victory garden, and with the abundance of basil, arugula, and cilantro we can start enjoying more fresh salads and salsa!  My honey and I are not big tomato fans, but when we ate these Romas they were so flavorful.  Even with our drought, we have been quite fortunate with the abundance of herbs and vegetables we have produced with so little skill.  Our plans for next year are much more ambitious, and I hope to have a window herb garden in my south facing office window throughout the winter.  It has been such a treat knowing that part of our meals have consisted of vegetables that we grew without pesticides or fertilizer aside from our composted kitchen scraps and yard waste.  Much love to those gracious friends for sacrificing a good portion of their yard.

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