Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grilling Vegetables

Like most people, I like just about any kind of meat cooked over fire on the grill.  From hamburgers and pork chops to steaks and chicken, it's all good.  I'll even settle for meat cooked on a propane grill from time to time, but traditional grilling over charcoal briquettes is pretty hard to beat. 

Most of my friends wouldn't really consider cooking vegetables on the grill, but they don't really know what they are missing.  I mean if you're going to fire up the grill, why not grill the entire meal?

Onions, green peppers, red peppers, asparagus, cabbage, corn on the cob, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, egg plant, and the list goes on....

Here's a short recipe for grilling vegetable kabobs:

Grilled Vegetables
  • Chop your vegetables into halves, quarters, or eighths.
  • Brush them lightly with butter or cooking oil.
  • Sprinkle them with some herbs and spices, or simply use salt and pepper to taste.
  • Thread them through kabobs and cook them on the grill turning to prevent excessive charring.
  • Or if you prefer, you can wrap them in foil.
  • You can also marinade the veggies first in salad dressing or something similar if you prefer.

I grilled these vegetables with some chicken marinated in some Lawry's.

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Our First Earthbox

We decided to purchase an Earthbox for growing cucumbers. Here's a few pictures I took during the assembly process.  You can use transplants or seeds. We opted for seeds and planted 4 of them as per the Earthbox instruction manual. The bedding covers are reversible - black on one side and white on the other. According to the instructions, the white colored cover will reduce chances of overheating the bin in warmer climates.

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Square Foot Gardening

Gardening by the "square", or "square foot gardening" has been around for a couple of decades now, but the basic technique dates back even farther.  Biodynamic gardening and French intensive growing methods are other names for the same basic goal of getting the highest possible production from a minimum land area.

As described in Mother Earth News, Alan Chadwick, an English actor and painter introduced intensive gardening techniques at the University of California Santa Cruz campus in 1966. John Jeavons, from Stanford, California experimented with the method and has been able to improve production 4 to 6 times more than traditional U.S. farming methods.

Mel Bartholomew, a civil engineer who wrote book about intensive gardening, has made Square Foot Gardening a term familar to millions.  Using above ground boxes, Mr. Bartholomew demonstrated techniques for growing vegetables in backyards, on patios, and even decks with great results. Here's additional explanation courtesy of Wikipedia:

Square Foot Gardening is the practice of planning small but intensively planted gardens. The phrase "square foot gardening" was popularized by Mel Bartholomew in a 1981 Rodale Press book and subsequent PBS television series. The practice combines concepts from other organic gardening methods, including a strong focus on compost, closely planted raised beds and biointensive attention to a small, clearly defined area. Proponents claim that the method is particularly well-suited for areas with poor soil, beginning gardeners or as adaptive recreation for those with disabilities.

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Earthbox Garden Kit

Using an Earthbox Garden Kit can be a great way to start growing your own garden. 

In some areas, it's not practical to plant seeds in the ground.  Not all soil is fertile. Some soil is contaminated. Some is too sandy. Some has too much clay.  The Earthbox provides an alternative.

Product description from

The patented EarthBox was developed by commercial farmers and proven in the lab and on the farm. This maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort!
We've recently purchased an Earthbox for our own use.  We plan to include it as a part of our own comprehensive backyard food growing strategy. Read more about the Earthbox and it's inventor, Blake Whisenant.

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