12 Apr

Kate’s Ponderings & CSA Registration

It’s spring again!  Or, is it!  By  this time last year we had experienced lots of winter snow and heavy spring rains.  Not so this year….and the wind!  Oh my!  It blew down part of the north fence a couple of weeks ago and the willow trees self pruned like crazy.  I have had to resort to using city water to keep the trees happy and transplants watered.  The winter mulch of straw was removed from the  the strawberry and garlic beds as it was so warm there for awhile and with the winds they dryed out quickly.  We have been asking for rain, and we have finally been blessed with it.  The much needed moisture these last two days has greened up the lawn and brought sweet fragrance to the air from all all of the flowering trees.  The robins are so happy with the big fat worms that are now at the surface of the ground for easy picking.

I transplanted the scallions, bulb onions and green and red cabbages into the garden this past week.  Barbara came for her first day of work on Thursday and direct seeded radishes and beets.   The greenhouse is full of seed flats.  The tomatoes and peppers are looking fine!  I started more seeds yesterday.

The greenhouse is full of seedlings; peppers, tomatoes, parsley, basil and broccoli, and I started more seeds yesterday.  There is always so much to do this time of year!  My son, Greg, has been coming over to help when he can, and that has been such a blessing.  I may just turn him into a farmer yet!   I am always looking for more help in the gardens and a computer person would be great, too, to help with the on-line marketing/social media stuff.  Sitting in front of a computer is definitely not my thing!  If you or someone you know would be interested please give me a call, or send an email.  This would probably amount to just a few hours a week.

So you can see that things are on course for season 2015 here at Kate’s Garden.  Now, I only need more subscribers to my CSA and other outlets to sell the produce.  I thought that by lowering the subscription price and offering half shares this season that I would be encouraging more subscribers….but so far, that has not been the case.  I know that it is early yet, but the purpose of the CSA is for the producer to bring in early funds in order to pay for start up costs like seed, labor and supplies.  I am trusting that things will turn around as soon as the warmth of the sun and longer days return for good!

Did you know that once upon a time, Montana produced 80 to 90% of the food consumed in the state. The remaining percentage was shipped out of state and that was mostly grain. More, now than ever, it is important to have access to local, sustainably grown food.  Farming cannot be sustainable without the support of their local communities.   It is time to really think about how we, as individuals and as a community, can start to build sustainability and a vibrant healthy food system right here in Billings and the surrounding area. I encourage you to spend your dollar with local food producers and shop keepers so that they can continue creating jobs, paying their taxes and raising their families. That’s what community is all about. Farmers and local businesses are not asking for charity or demanding your support. That is, after all, not the idea. Most are just going about doing what we love while providing you a service that you may need. I can only speak for myself, but for me, it’s also not about getting rich, although that would certainly be great.   It’s about doing something that makes sense, while assisting us all in being able to eat well and stay healthy! We are really supporting each other!

There is a worldwide movement happening, based on this concept. All of the elements are in place and they are valid. Now, it is the cost, the extent and the organization of this movement that will decide if it succeeds or not.  Won’t you join me in strengthening this movement?

If you have been on the fence deciding on whether to join Kate’s Garden CSA, now is a good time to do so, as I will be starting an advertising campaign soon to bring in new subscribers.  I have a passion for growing healthy food, education and being in service to my community.  I would love to hear your comments and suggestions, so if you are so inclined, add a comment to this post or send an email.  I look  forward to hearing from you.

broccoli raab 2

The broccoli raab that I have growing in the greenhouse was the idea behind this quick and easy curry recipe, but the recipe calls for regular broccoli. Both will certainly work. I hope you are inspired to create this in your own kitchen.

5 Ingredient Coconut Curry

Serves: 3-4


  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 small heads broccoli (and/or other veggies of choice)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • optional: minced garlic or onion


  1. Saute broccoli (and onion/garlic if you’re using it) in a tablespoon of oil. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. The broccoli should soften but still be tender-crisp.
  2. Add the curry paste to the pan and whisk it until it combines with the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas.
  3. Bring to a slight boil and add the cornstarch. Boil for about a minute, then reduce heat and let cool slightly. Sauce will thicken as the mixture cools.
12 Apr

How are your seedlings doing?

Hello students and fellow gardeners!

I thought I would check in to see how your seedlings are doing since our class! The weather has certainly been lovely, and the sun has been shining bright so your babies should have started to grow. If you planted large seeds like cucumbers, they should have popped up in 7 to 10 days. Smaller seeds like tomatoes and peppers always take a little longer, and herbs are typically very slow. Watering is always a challenge depending on the air temperature and whether they are in direct sun or under lights. You don’t want them to dry out, but you also don’t want them to drown. Once up, you can begin fertilizing with a weak dose of fish emulsion. I use 1 tbsp per gallon of water every week until transplanting out into your pots or garden. You can either water into the soil or spray onto the plant (foliar feeding).

I am planning on offering another class on transplanting and direct seeding into your garden sometime in the latter part of May, but will wait to see what the weather is going to do to confirm dates. Let me know If you think that would be of interest and helpful to you.

Have you started any new seeds? This is a photo of peppers that I started on March 9th. By early June they should bed ready to be transplanted out. Now is a good time to start cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, chard and kale. All of these can be transplanted out into the gardens when it is still cool, as long as it doesn’t freeze. It’s also not too late to plant potatoes. Seed potatoes are available now at all of the garden centers. You don’t have to grow them in the ground if you don’t want to. They grow great in large whiskey barrels or wire cages.

I would love to hear from you regarding your seedlings; I want you to really fall in love with gardening and growing good food! That means you must have fun and be successful in your process. I am here to help, so call or email with your questions.

Some of you may not have the time or space to grow enough food for you and your family or may only want to grow a few tomatoes and herbs. That is just fine, too! Just being outside playing in the dirt and watching the magic happen can be such a joy. It’s the ultimate stress buster!

Don’t forget that you can always sign up for my CSA to supplement what you are already growing for this summer season. I am taking applications now and still have plenty of room for new subscribers. You can visit my website to see the information on how it works and also the registration form. I would also appreciate any referrals that you can send my way. I have a passion for educating others on the importance of sustainability in building strong communities. I can only continue my work with your help and support.

Please drop me an email or give me a call to let me know how you are progressing with your garden planning and your veggie starts. I would love to hear from you and offer help whenever you need it.