The Potager

The Potager

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blueberry Syrup

While I love being able to come home and pick my dinner from the Potager, some things just are not worth growing because they grow in abundance in our area. Blueberries for example. There are dozens of u-pick blueberry operations within a 5-15 minute drive of the Potager. I have a few bags of frozen organic blueberries from last summer, so I made homemade blueberry syrup for breakfast. This recipe is so easy!

Three ingredients - blueberries, fresh or frozen; lemon juice and maple syrup (real please).

Put blueberries in a pot. I don't measure. If you have a lot of people, put a lot, if you only have you, put in a little. I wouldn't do less than a cup.

Squeeze in a little lemon juice. Again. What ever. I don't use a lot, maybe a tablespoon. I don't measure.

Then splash in a bit of the maple syrup. Also, not a lot. It is just for a bit of sweetness.

Bring to a boil. Turn down and let simmer until the blueberries have all popped.

Pour over your whole grain (in this case Oatmeal) pancakes and enjoy a taste of summer in the winter. Yummy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gardening on my mind

Another snowy day in the Potager.

We are expecting another foot tonight. It is truly beautiful. I love this season of quiet coverings.

But my mind wanders to the spring.

It is only 7 weeks to St.Patrick's Day, the first day of gardening for me. That day, or as close to it as I can get, is the day the peas get planted in the garden!

And the peas get followed by onions and broccoli and spinach! Oh my!

After paying high prices for rather tasteless organic produce this winter, I am looking forward to growing my own.

More seeds have arrived! I was searching online for a good tomato to grow in New Jersey, when I came upon the Rutgers University site (duh!) and they were selling two seeds for the garden this year, both claiming to have that famous "Jersey Tomato" taste. So I ordered both Ramapo and Moreton. I'll let you know how that goes.

From Jung's Seeds I received the white scallop squash, turnips and cucumbers.

And free with my order Jung's sent Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds and something I had never heard of, Ground Cherries!
I've been reading a lot about Ground Cherries since I received them. They are in the tomato family and are poisonous when immature, have a papery husk like a tomatillo, and mature into a round, sweet, strawberry tasting fruit. They grow wild throughout the country. Should I try to grow them, even though I have never tasted them? What if they become a new favorite? What if I just waste valuable garden space on something I may not use?
So many things to ponder on yet another snowy evening!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday, again

Wow, this week flew by! Except for a trip to Surf Taco on Sunday, we ate whole grain, organic foods all week and we both feel so good! My new challenge is to do this while keeping on budget - which will be much easier in the summer while the Potager is feeding us! In many instances the price of organic food is double that of pesticide ridden foods. Gardening season can't come soon enough!
I've planted my onion seeds and will post about that soon, but here is my menu plan for the week:
Monday - Shopping Day - Rotisserie Chicken, left over vegetables and a glass of wine - ahhh!
Tuesday - Chicken Lo Mein with the left over chicken.
Wednesday -  Hoppin John (Black Eyes Peas and Rice)
Thursday - Pork Chops, Potatoes Anna and Broccoli
Friday - Whole Wheat Pizza, recipe try #2 (last week's was good, but we like a chewier crust)
Saturday - Steaks, baked Potato and Salad
Sunday - Chicken Soup and Homemade Bread

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I know this is a gardening blog and not a cooking blog, but the two are intertwined in my mind. After all the purpose of the Potager is to provide food for the table. And while it is not doing that at this moment, I am still trying to eat healthy and use organic, whole grain and local foods as much as possible.
So I am going to be linking up to Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday group ( to help me keep on track each week. Hopefully you'll see how the Potager starts influencing my menus as it grows.
Monday - Spaghetti and (turkey) meatballs with homemade whole wheat bread and Salad (love days off!)
Tuesday - Kale, Sausage and Lentil Skillet Bake (recipe from
Wednesday - Chicken Cashew and Brown Rice, Green Beans
Thursday - Chili with Homemade Cornbread and Salad
Friday - Homemade Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust
Saturday - Scallops with Roast Carrots/Parsnips and Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
Sunday - 16 Bean Soup with Left-Over ham and homemade bread

Sunday, January 16, 2011


On Friday seeds arrived from Gurney's and Pine Tree Seeds! It was Christmas all over again!
From Gurney's I received Blue Lake Pole Beans, Lincoln Peas, Danvers Half Long Carrots, Tyee Spinach, Early Prolific Straightneck Summer Squash, Evergreen White Bunching Onions, Ruby Queen Beets, Golden Acre Cabbage, and Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce. From Pine Tree Seeds I got Ruby Perfection Cabbage, Windsor Broccoli, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Yellow Spanish Onions and New Red Fire, Oakleaf and Buttercrunch Lettuces. My red onion seeds were back ordered. My husband says my eyes are bigger than my garden. It's probably more like they are bigger than gardening skills! But I will have fun learning what does and does not work in the Potager in 2011!

Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has
been, I have great faith in a seed.  Convince me that you have a seed
there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
-   Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let's Think of Something to do while we're waiting...

I watched way too much Mr. Rogers with my kids. That song keeps going through my mind as I look at my garden:
Pretty. . . , but I long to dig dirt. However Mr. Rogers would be proud of me, because I am thinking of something to do while I'm waiting. I am researching on the internet how to avoid some of the mistakes I made last year. Don't you just love the wealth of knowledge at our fingertips? Almost any question you have can be answered instantly!
There are also some very cool gardening tools I use and I thought I'd take this lull in gardening to introduce you to a few.

Do you know what zone you are in? If you enter your zip code at this site:  it will tell you.

How about your first and last frost dates by zip code? You can find it here:

When should you start your seeds, or put your plants out? Consult the grow guide at this site:

Want to try the ancient practice of planting by the moon signs? (Basically it's above ground vegetables when the moon is waxing and below ground vegetables when the moon is waning), you can check here to make sure it is the right time to plant:

Need help with a specific vegetable in your garden? Everything you need to know to grow it successfully is here:

Also, check out the blogs I follow to the right of my page ->
These women I have never met inspire me daily with their gardening skills.

So while the snow may continue to pile up, I will continue cyber-gardening and coming up with "something to do that's specific for you me" !

(Listen to Mr. Rogers sing at the link below)
Let's Think of Something to Do While We're Waiting

The internet is amazing!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowy days are made for this

Last Saturday the snow fell steadily all day. It was an unusual snowfall, never getting heavier or lighter, no wind to blow it around. It looked like a computer image of snow falling. So I planned my garden and ordered my seeds!
I am trying a few new things this year. I'm going to try onions. I'm growing them from seed and will have to start early in February. I'm also going to try potatoes in a box like this:
And I am going to try white patty pan squash because I think it looks cool. You can see one here: . I'm hoping to add an herb/flower garden off to the side and plant some raspberry canes. And I'd love to grow grapes.  Ambition runs big on a snowy day in January. But now my garden is quietly sleeping beneath a blanket of snow, with more snow on the way.

In winter's cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
Cheryl Magic-Lady, Winter Garden