Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My New Veggie Garden and No Knead Bread

Byron is building me my dream garden, a french style pottager! He's come a long way with his skills. We were just laughing recently over the PVC pipe green house he built me that blew to pieces a couple of days after he finished. His skills have improved exponentially!

The beds in the pictures are really only one sixth of what the garden will be when it is finished. I will have room to grow organic veggies, cut flowers (which I intend to use in my event floral business) and a perennial border with a pergola and seating. I would like to deck the top of the pergola to overlook the Mississippi river. My house is right on the banks of the Mississippi. The hill you see in the background is the levee containing the river. During Katrina the river topped the levee and only two extremely old pecan trees that had blown down in the winds before the storm surge protected my home and minimized what could have been much worse damage. I still have four large pecan trees left and I recently planted four more.

The blue trellises were also built by Byron. Boy he's getting good. I would like the garden to have a very cottage style country feel. I'm trying the raised beds specifically because of the huge amount of rainfall we receive in our area. I also am attempting to control the rampant growth of grasses and weeds. I always said, if there weren't an army of lawnmowers cutting grass daily in the New Orleans area the swamp and forests would remove any trace in ten years. Well maybe not, but when I try to control weeds in my garden it feels like it!

So far I am please with the progress. We will be finishing the veggie and cut flower portion of the garden this spring. This project is to provide our family with a constant supply of fresh vegetables and eliminate the need to purchase tasteless supermarket varieties (that includes the "organic store veggies" as well). This is just another step in the right direction for sustainability.

Here is the No Knead Dutch Oven Bread recipe I got from my Mother Earth Magazine
My husband loves it. My daughter eats out the center and says the crust nearly breaks her braces.

Bake in 6 to 8 quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (I use half white and half whole wheat you can use either or
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

-in large bowl dissolve yeast in water (warm water til it is just hot enough that your finger can stand it). add flour and salt stirring until blended. the dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest 8 hours preferably 12 to 18 hours at warm room temp about 70 degrees.

-the dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour work surface and place dough on it sprinkle with a little four and fold over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

-Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface, gently shape into a ball. coat a clean towel with flour. Put seam side of dough down on towel and dust with more flour. Cover with another towel and let rise for 1 to 2 hour until doubled in size.

-20 min before dough is ready heat oven to 475 degrees. put a 6 to 8 qt cast iron dutch oven in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready remove pot form oven and lift off the lid. Turn dough over into pot seam side up. Give the pan a shake to distribute dough.

- Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 10 to 20 minutes until loaf is browned.

Yield- 1 1/2 lb loaf
Mother Earth News adapted from New York Times


Liberty Star Farm said...

Hello Kristi,

I am a reader of at Rhonda's Down to Earth. I wanted to visit your new bog and say "hello."

Best Wishes,

Kristi said...

Thanks Christine,

I hope you enjoy my blog also. Thanks for visiting!


Egghead said...

These beds look terrific. I can tell you from experience that they will be so much easier to weed. I love mine. Your husband is quite crafty.