Monday, May 30, 2011

Green Thumb Season 2 - Ep.1

Picking up from last time, we found ourselves coming home from the plant nursery up the road with some seedlings, soil and pots. Beth worked her magic and got everything transplanted and watered. The biggest wildcard this year is growing cucumbers, which we've never done before. Growing them isn't the issue as much as how they grow. Last year with the tomatoes (another plant that likes growing with a support system of sorts) we found out late that they should either be supported as they grow vertically or you should just let them grow out horizontally, naturally. If they slump or grow out horizontally after they start their upward climb, it's easy to damage the stalks. Cucumbers by all research we've done can grow in a similar manner, but the weight will be considerably more. For the time being we have pots with 'mounded' soil and we plan on letting them go horizontal once fruit begin to develop (or whenever the plant naturally leans toward the ground). Another unknown is what local woodland creatures like cucumbers, but we'll deal with that when we come to it.

I didn't end up taking shots of them initially planted, but these are about a week in:

After another week or so of rain from the last shot, the peppers sprouted upwards with a couple flowers here and there. The Bush Crop cucumber plants exploded in size.

The full pepper list is Thai Hot, Yummy, Italian Sweet and Jalepeno. They all serve their purpose depending on the dish you plan on cooking and I hope to do a food dish special (or two) using the ingredients when harvesting time arrives. In the meantime though, I'm going to stick to grilling my food on this lovely but hot Memorial Day weekend.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beer of the Month - May (I have another)

The beer of the month for May is Leinenkugel Brewing Company's Sunset Wheat {4.9% abv}. I first heard of Leinenkugel a couple years back when shopping for new variety; I purchased some of their Honey Weiss brew on gut intuition and was rewarded handsomely. I snagged their Oktoberfest for the first time last fall, which made BOTM for October a tricky one. Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company is one of great tradition and history in the United States; it was started near the clean waters of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin in 1867. This long running company has beer brewing roots going back to 18th Century Germany, but for the sake of time check out the site to find out more; Leinenkugel's story is currently being written in real-time by the 5th Generation of this family.

Sunset Wheat is a Belgian style white beer (Witbier), which are known for a light body and moderate citrus flavor. The first sip brings a pleasing aroma of almost fruity hops; initially what comes to mind is fruity pebbles cereal, but thankfully not in a bad way. This cloudy amber brew has a moderately clean finish with appealing carbonation. After drinking Sunset Wheat I found myself trying to determine a familiar underlying flavor which drove me up a wall. After some research I found out this beer is brewed with coriander and it all made sense; New Belgian Trippel is brewed with the same aromatics, and while these two brews cannot be compared it was still a familiar chair to recline in. Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat is a great year-rounder in the same vein as Hoegaarden and Blue Moon. 2.5 stars.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Green Thumb - Season 2 Preview

Summer is on the way and it's about time to get some deck crops going for this years' warm season. Tomato plants are very rewarding, and delicious too might I add, but Beth and I wanted to go in a different direction this year. We'll be out of town for about three weeks come July, so having a more robust plant will be good as well; tomatoes need quite a bit of attention, especially with the way the vines grow and our planting constraints. This year we'll be growing cucumbers and a variety of peppers. This past Saturday we drove to a local nursery and picked out a few items; Yummy pepper, Thai hot pepper and Italian sweet pepper starter plants, as well as cucumbers. The cucumbers are supposed to be grown on a mound, but we only have large pots so this should be interesting.

Stay tuned.

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