Let’s Get Gardening!

As winters sits behind us (thank goodness!) and spring begins to show its face, it’s time to start thinking about the garden. Each year, as the weather tries to make up its mind, we are given plenty of opportunities to start the planning process for the garden. Here are some tips we consider each year at this time that you can put to use in your own garden:

  1. Start with the basics. Deciding what to grow is always the easiest place to begin. Consider what is most important to your diet and needs. Don’t forget to include your neighbors because each year a garden usually produces more than one family can handle. Gardening allows us to connect to our community through the food we grow.
  2. Prep the soil. As we’ve seen this year, these late winter months usually bring iffy weather, so watch for the dry days and get that soil tilled and ready for those seedlings to be tucked in!
  3. Mulch, mulch, mulch! You’d be surprised how far a little mulch will go to protect your plants, especially in an uncertain temperature fluctuation (we call that Kentucky). This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. As a matter of fact, most resources needed for your garden are usually readily available in your own yard. We use leaf mulch. It adds a blanket to our soil, helping insulate and protect sprouts as they reach up from the dirt toward the sun. Not to mention, it’s free!
  4. Get things in early. Just because we are still shivering, doesn’t mean our plants are. A lot of the things we grow are adapted to these uncertain cold snaps. For instance, peas and carrots should always be planted as soon as the ground can be worked. They can handle more than you’d think.

Cole crops, or brassicas, such as cabbage, kales, broccoli and collards are extremely cold hearty, but why wait for sprouts in the garden when you could have them growing in your window waiting for warmer days? (They have to be coming soon, right?) Seed the restnot all things like to be transplanted. Crops like lettuces, beets, radishes and turnips would all rather be directly seeded into our gardens. And don’t worry, they too are more cold hearty than given credit.

The view of The Trustees’ Table standing in the garden area. Music on the Lawn starts in May!

If gardening isn’t your thing, no worriesit’s ours and we invite you to come visit! Each year, we produce a high diversity of vegetables for The Trustees’ Table, where you’re served a seasonal and sustainable selection of vegetables from our farm to your fork. Visit The Farm any day of the week to see what’s sprouting (and even take a little taste), during our Spring Farm Tasting program where visitors sample seasonal selections from the greenhouse and garden, including our fresh herbs. Glean from the first flavors of spring while uncovering the Shaker practice of spiritual cultivation through preparing the fields for planting. Stop by and talk to us while you’re here. We’d love to hear about your own gardening practices. Then, make a reservation at The Trustees’ Table to see what our chef has created from our bounty.

Happy Plantings!


Mike Moore, Assistant Farm Manager

Recipe: Zucchini + Squash Pickles

We have an abundance of patty-pan squash coming in from the garden this year, and we hear we aren’t the only ones. It seems to be a very productive year for garden veggies! Right now, our garden team is harvesting 30-40 pounds of summer squash every other day!

The abundance doesn’t stop there. Our butternut winter squashes have produced with equal vigor and have ripened earlier than expected. The beets are in, the garlic has been dug and sorted, and the tomatoes, basil, peppers, okra and eggplant harvests are ramping up! It doesn’t get much better than enjoying late summer crops from the garden.

That means The Trustees’ Table has to get creative with how fresh ingredients are getting prepared on a daily basis. Here’s one of our favorite ways to serve the fresh squash and zucchini:

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 qt. apple cider vinegar

1/2 qt. water

1 1/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. fennel seed

1 tbsp. mustard seeds

1 tbsp. dry mustard

1 bulb fennel, sliced and tops rough chopped

6 large zucchini, sliced into 1/8-thick rounds

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/4 c. Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring vinegar, water, sugar, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, dry mustard and mustard seeds to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Toss zuchinni and salt in a large bowl and let stand until zucchini releases moisture, 30-35 minutes. Drain squash, add fennel and onion. Pour pickling liquid over vegetables to submerge and stir. Cover and chill at least 12 hours. Enjoy!


In the Shaker tradition, our farmers take pride in planting, tending and harvesting sustainably-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, destined to end up on your plate at The Trustees’ Table.

J. Steven Brockman is the executive chef. A south central Nebraska native, he grew up surrounded by the corn and soybeans of his grandparents’ farm…

Dylan Kennedy is the farm manager. An avid mountain biker and traveler, he has farmed as far and wide as Foxhollow Farm in Oldham County (Kentucky) to New Orleans…