<![CDATA[Rusty Plow Farms - Blog]]>Thu, 30 Sep 2021 15:09:00 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust Recipe]]>Fri, 10 Sep 2021 01:03:35 GMThttp://rustyplowfarms.com/blog/spaghetti-squash-pizza-crust-recipe
Using spaghetti squash in pizza crust adds moisture and fiber to make a delicious crust that has a great flavor. This recipe will make 4 individual-sized crusts (about 8 inches in diameter). They also freeze well.
Ingredients:

3 cups cooked spaghetti squash, drained
3 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T shredded Parmesan cheese
1 T Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets each with a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine spaghetti squash, eggs and flour in a large mixing bowl and combine well. Fold in cheeses just until combined. Add spices and mix. Spoon approximately 3/4 cup of the mixture onto the parchment, using the back of the spoon to spread mixture into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Repeat, you should be able to fit 2 crusts onto each baking sheet.

Bake the crusts on the center and center top rack of the oven for approximately 18 minutes, or until the crusts have a medium golden color and appear slightly drier. If using immediately, top with pizza sauce, cheese and desired toppings and return to bake in the oven for another 5-8 minutes or until cheese is slightly melted.

To freeze:
When crusts are medium golden and appear slightly dried, remove baking sheets from the oven and carefully move the crusts on parchment onto wire racks to cool. Once completely cooled, flip the crusts over and peel the parchment from them. To freeze, cut squares of clean parchment and layer between the crusts to keep them separated, then put the stacked crusts in a gallon zipper-seal freezer bag. Will keep in the freezer for up to 4 months.
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<![CDATA[Growing Garlic]]>Mon, 21 Jun 2021 15:52:16 GMThttp://rustyplowfarms.com/blog/growing-garlicGarlic is perhaps my favorite crop to grow because its timeline is opposite of most of the rest of the crops that we grow. It is planted in October, overwinters in the ground, sprouts up in very early spring and gets harvested in early July. Garlic levels out some of the workload in the spring by not needing too much of our time. Then when the busy planting season is winding down in early summer, it's time to harvest and cure the garlic. 

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To plant, begin by separating each bulb into cloves. Each clove will grow into a completely formed bulb. Cloves are planted about 4 inches deep and about 4-5 inches apart in a row. Each row is about 10 inches apart so that we can get the wheel hoe between the rows for weed control.  We find it easier to dig a shallow trench, line the bulbs up in the trench and then backfill with soil. Then after the ground freezes, we apply a thick layer of straw mulch to the entire bed. Mulching after the ground freezes helps lessen the freeze-thaw cycle of the soil that may cause heaving of the bulbs.

Once you see the first leaves emerging in very early spring, it's time to begin some fertilization. We side dress with an organic granular fertilizer from HyrBrix.

Keep up with weeds in the bed, garlic doesn't like to compete and you'll have bigger bulbs if you keep a weed-free bed.

Hardneck garlic will send up a flower shoot called a scape in early June. We remove the scape, which sends more every to the bulb growing underground. This usually results in bigger bulbs.

It's time to harvest garlic when approximately half of the leaves have turned completely brown. Dig the bulbs by hand using a garden fork, being careful to dig 6 inches or so away from the plant to avoid damaging the bulbs. Shake the excess soil from the plants, then lay the entire plant in a dry shady spot with plenty of air flow. Allow the plants to complete dry out and the bulbs to cure, which takes about 3 weeks.  Once cured, trim the stalks about 2 inches above the bulb. The bulbs can now be stored for several months in a cool, dry and dark location. Save the largest bulbs to be planted the following fall for next year's garlic crop.
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<![CDATA[Indoor Seed Starting]]>Fri, 11 Jun 2021 18:00:24 GMThttp://rustyplowfarms.com/blog/starting-seedlings-to-get-an-early-start-to-your-season​Growing tomatoes and peppers in central Ohio can be a bit challenging. With an annual average of only 150 days between the last spring frost and the first fall frost, there isn’t much time to get a long harvest period from crops that thrive in warm weather. Most of the larger sized slicing tomatoes take an average of 80 or more days to mature, meaning that from the time you plant a seed to the first ripe tomato will take 3 full months!

Germination Area

We work really hard at getting an early start on that 3 months so we can have large tomatoes earlier. Beginning in early March, we seed flats of tomatoes in 72 cell growing trays. To get tomatoes to germinate in the coolness of our basement, the trays sit on temperature controlled heat mats and are covered with humidity domes. After about 6 days at 75 degrees, the seedlings emerge and they are ready to move over to the light shelves. We use 4 ft long wire shelving that has pink LED grow lights suspended over each shelf. The lights are controlled with a timer to allow a 12 hour on/off photo period for the plants. After about 3 weeks in the trays, the seedlings are ready to be “potted up” into larger pots. The seedlings’ roots are quickly expanding and we find that 3.5 to 4 inch square pots give the plants enough room while maintaining efficient use of space under the lights.

Hardening Off

​After about another 3 to 4 weeks, the seedlings are 6 to 8 inches tall and are ready to be hardened off. Hardening off is the process of acclimating the plants to outside conditions. To harden off young plants, we transfer them to benches in our polycarbonate propagation greenhouse. By opening the vents in the roof of the propagation greenhouse, the seedlings are exposed to breezes and stronger sunlight, which quickly strengthens them and causes them to really ramp up their growth rate. If you don’t have a shelter like a greenhouse to harden off your seedlings, simply allowing them to hang out on the porch for a few hours each day will also help them adjust to outside growing conditions. Bring them inside each night, since overnight temps in Ohio can fluctuate quite a bit and you don’t want to shock your plants.

Planting Out

After a week of careful observation, watering and monitoring the plants’ response to being outside, it’s usually safe to plant them into their final spot. For us, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers all grow inside one of two high tunnels that we have on our farm. The high tunnels do a great job of controlling the rainfall that gets on the plants (like, none!) and also helps us control the air temperature. Tomatoes and peppers especially love the heat and will not produce well at all if the temperature drops below 50 degrees or so. In fact, studies show that even though tomatoes can survive temperatures below 50, exposure to low temps can permanently stunt their potential production of fruits.

So there you have it, our method of starting seedlings under lights to produce better and earlier tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. We hope this helps you get a start on your summer garden plans. There’s nothing in a store that compares to a home grown tomato!
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