Friday, March 06, 2009

Garden/CSA advice

Last year, my vegetable garden was a major disappointment. I didn't do anything differently, but had lousy crop yields on some produce that I usually want (and in a normal year, am able to produce) in abundance.

So this year, I am going to let the pro's grow the bulk of my vegetables. I signed up for the Tantre Farm CSA -- I've bought their produce at the market and have been reading about their lovely weekly CSA surprise boxes from Kim and the Gastronomical Three ladies. I had a major case of produce envy last summer. I also really love the idea of a weekly surprise box -- I eat pretty much every vegetable out there so there really aren't any particular vegetables that I wouldn't be happy to see. And I like the idea of using the mix to jump start my creativity in the kitchen.

I will still be keeping my garden going and this will give me the liberty to grow fun stuff (pumpkins, potatoes) and stuff that we can never get enough of (peas, spinach).

So I'm looking for a little advice from those of you who have had Tantre CSA shares in the last few years: Are there some vegetables that you would grow to supplement your share if you had the space/time? What vegetables, other than greens like kale and swiss chard which I have heard are always in abundant supply, did you get a ton of or should I definitely NOT think about growing?

Here are some of the vegetables I'm considering for my three raised beds this year:
  • peas (can never have too many)
  • spinach (ditto)
  • potatoes (fun! store well)
  • pumpkins (kids should get a kick out of them)
  • basil (for annual frozen pesto supply)
  • shell beans (the kind you dry, because it sounds like fun and they store well)
  • lima beans (because fresh baby lima beans are so different from the mealy stuff we all grew up with)

Suggestions? Advice?


Maria said...

Last year, Tantre Farms was REALLY big on beets too. In general there are a lot of greens and potatoes. I think the small tender vegetables like peas, shell beans, carrots were in the shortest supply. I like to grow basil to have some on hand, but Tantre keeps you supplied with more than enough basil to feed the freezer. A big bunch every week almost all summer long.

Anonymous said...

We'll have to compare shares, Kate! I am getting my share from our fellow food blogger, Cathy Kings! (I am just fixated on the idea that I can't afford Tantre, even though Frog Holler isn't that much cheaper).

Susan W said...

I always think carrots are fun to grow - they're easy, they're a surprise (are they straight, crooked, stubby) and keep for a looooong time. I love CSAs too, we had one in Colorado - sounds like fun!

Anonymous said...

I second Maria's thought about the basil. You'll get plenty of basil!
Unless you're planning to make large amounts of pesto to freeze, I wouldn't recommend additional basil.

We split a share last year and I would have liked more carrots, peas, beans, and melons. We're getting a full share this year and I'm thrilled!

Maggie said...

I'd suggest still growing some tomatoes. Go for something unusual or just a couple cherry tomato plants. Nothing beats eating a perfectly ripe tomato while standing in the garden and there is a ton of ways to use up the extras.

I really want to grow drying beans this year too. It's something I haven't done yet and I think my son will have fun winnowing them.

Alex Harrison said...

Totally agree with the Lima beans...growing up in South Carolina we had darn nasty-and you're right- mealy. Then I had succotash with fresh lima beans at Vinology and it totally changed my perspective on them. WOW! I'm excited for your garden- rah!

Kim said...

For our family (of now 2), we split our Tantre share with another couple and that works great for all of us. I thought one of the best things about having the CSA share is truly learning the meaning of "seasonal," which I have learned signifies the cycle of boom and bust in the garden.

Tantre seems to always start out with almost more (seasonal) greens than we can eat - and it makes me get creative to make sure we eat them! :)

I agree with Maggie and AB about what to grow at home - specialty things you like that would be hard or expensive to find at the market. I'm into the heirloom tomatoes and shelling beans. Can't seem to get enough of either and I know I want plenty to preserve for the winter.

Do you know about VeggieTown Ning site? Hopefully that will get going again for Tantre members.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate: I am hoping you can contact me about possibly speaking at the Kerrytown BookFest this coming september - I am putting together a panel of food bloggers and would love to include you!

Robin Agnew

Sarah said...

Hope to start some tomato seeds soon if you want any. I had such bad luck last year with the tomato plants I bought. Hoping for better luck this year.

Meagan said...

Hi Kate,

Tantre gave a LOT of potatoes, tomatoes and basil last year.