This week's 'dig'
Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT


You know you're a gardener when...
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Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots
Where things either live or die!

May 28, 2009

Today’s Menu- Yum!

 

A few posts back, I wrote about the beet greens we’ve been harvesting and how the beet is really a great crop to grow because it is a double-duty plant. Early in the year the baby greens (in my case the greens are burgundy;) were harvested and used in salads. Now that the weather has heated up a bit, I’ve noticed that the greens aren’t that good raw and the color was changing as well. It was time to eat them differently. I’ve never eaten beet greens, except in salads, so I looked online for how to prepare them in other ways. Mostly, it seems, they are steamed or sautéed. Putting them in soups is something I’ve been doing as well, but I wanted to try sautéing them. I looked at a few sites and just decided to try to put something together myself.

 

 

I put olive oil and some balsamic vinegar in the pan and heated it a bit on medium. I added some greens and when the first handful cooked down just a bit I’d add more. Salt and pepper was added too.

 

Like spinach, they really cook down a lot, so you need quite a bit to start out with. I ended up adding too much salt for my taste, but the flavor was wonderful. Quite a tasty lunch, if you ask me, not to mention healthy! I think I may pick up a pear balsamic vinegar and try that next time- Yum! 

 

Happy gardening,

Tessa

May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 5-27

 

 

Peas ‘Super Sugar’

May 21, 2009

Harvest

After not being out in the garden for a while, it was nice to get out there and do some harvesting, planning and weeding. I really need to get some organization done out there too, but I want to take little steps so as not to burn myself out again!

Here is today’s harvest- Yum!

Beet ‘Bull’s Blood’, Broccoli ‘Green Sprouting Calabrese’, Lettuce ‘Breen’

Beet greens (burgundy), broccoli, and lettuce ‘Breen’. I have to say that the beets have been my best crop this year, so far. The leaves have been relatively untouched by slugs and are simply delicious in a salad. I can’t wait to taste the beets! They are a great double duty plant, making them top on my list for next year!

The broccoli I was disappointed in. Well, maybe not disappointed in, but I really can’t justify growing it unless you have a ton of space and can get a good succession going. Since they are cool weather crops, it might work to use a bunch of your beds to grow them maybe a couple weeks apart and when harvesting begins, you’d have broccoli for quite a few weeks. If you don’t have the room to do this, I can’t see it being that much of a money saving crop- but the taste is so much better than store bought! So, if I had the room, I’d grow this every year.

The new variety of lettuce I tried this year, ‘Breen’ , I’ve been very happy with. It is a romaine type and grows beautifully!

Other things I harvested today-

Lettuce ‘Salad Bowl Blend’

This is one of the remaining lettuces from the cold frame. I’m not sure the variety of this one as it was one from the ‘Salad Bowl Blend’- an oak leaf type. I like this lettuce, but my only complaint is that it doesn’t last in the fridge as long as other types of lettuce- but still good, you just have to eat it up faster! The bowl above it my largest serving bowl and that is only one plant!

I harvested a little Hong Vit and some Swiss Chard today as well!

Swiss Chard ‘Ford hook Giant’ and Hong Vit

And lastly, spinach. I only harvested enough to fit in my steamer bowl, but I may harvest some more tomorrow to go into the other steamer bowl as it take quite a bit jammed in there to amount to anything steamed. I kept some for the salad as well. I’ve really noticed that while I was being burner out the insects became more active! This is a new variety I’m trying this year and I really like how it grows more upright than others I’ve tried. Spinach is one crop that really needs to be sown close together, thinned for salads and then you leave some, spaced about 6”, to mature for steaming just before its season is done. Next year I will sow a lot more rows so I’ll have a bit more to steam.

Spinach ‘Olympia Hybrid Smooth’

I hope all your harvests are plentiful!

Happy gardening,

Tessa


Correction

Hi all! I made a boo-boo in this post. I reported harvesting Red Komatsuna when the green I harvested was Hong Vit, which is also an Asian green used in salads, stir-fry, and soups! Sorry for the mix up, and thanks goes to Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions for asking questions about my variety of Red Komatsuna or I wouldn't have caught it! I haven't even started mine yet :)

May 20, 2009

Garden Update

 

I actually had it in me to go look around in the garden today- as you all know, I’ve kind-of burned myself out lately. Slowly, I’m getting back into the swing of things, so I thought I’d post an update.

To start, we have some broccoli! I will soon be harvesting most of it as I will probably put the bush beans in this bed.

 

Broccoli- Green Calabreese

 

I must say that I’m not real happy about the size of the heads or the fact that the buds are not real compact. I’m guessing they were planted too close- 1/square foot or no- it’s too close, I think. I know it’s not for lack of water!

 

 

This one is much more compact. I think I’m going to harvest them all anyway- stir fry anyone?

The peas are doing great!

 

And with these flowers it will soon be time to take extra care to watch for garden pests, who shall remain nameless (Karin). It’s too bad peas don’t do well in summer- they taste so good in a salad! I think I’m going to try to start peas this summer anyway, however, because I’ve read you can eat the whole shoot...it’s supposed to taste just like a pea! What a different addition to the summer salad.

 

Yummy!

 

The lettuce ‘Red Sails’ and second round of broccoli is doing well.

 

 

It will be interesting to see how this broccoli will do having more room. Looks like it is time to thin out that lettuce a little too :). Time for a nice salad.

 

 

Yep! Time for salad. You can’t tell in this photo, but this lettuce is huge! It is one of two remaining early sown, spring lettuces in the cold frame and it really needs to be harvested! I think coupled with the lovely ‘Red Sails’ above, it would make for a spectacular salad...hmmm, maybe add some fresh broccoli too? Yum!

Here is something that I wasn’t sure if I should laugh, or feel sorry for the poor thing-

 

 

This picture is horrible, and I apologize. It is the sad zucchini I started too early in Dex pots a while back, with a flower on it. Seed packets...what do they know!  See, for those of you that seem to think I have a green thumb, I can honestly say it is just not so! Now nature on the other hand is much better at all of this, as you can see with the nice volunteer zucchini seedling next to the pathetic one!

On a cheerier note, the tomato bag is doing very well, surprisingly!  I must say it has been interesting to see this thing take off.

 

 

Elsewhere in the garden things are blooming! I’m not really fond of Iris, although I recently saw a gorgeous variegated variety on another blog (can’t remember which one :) that I just loved! I’m not sure of the variety growing in my yard as they were here when we bought the house.

 

 

Unfortunately, they were beaten down today with the rain we had. This bed has been an ongoing project for a few years now- we’re getting there!

I was really happy to see that the Peony ‘Sorbet’ has quite a few blooms on it this year. It has taken a couple years to get this many buds on it- I just can’t wait to see the blooms!

 

 

That’s all for now. Hope you all have been out there enjoying your gardens!

 

Happy gardening,

Tessa

May 19, 2009

Truly Amazing!

 

After just one day, look at the growth on these beans!

bushbeans5-19

Can you believe it? It better warm up soon. I hope this batch makes it when I set them out in the garden- I plan to give them a bit of growing time in the greenhouse so they have a fighting chance in the garden :). I still have not identified the pest that annihilated my first sowing of beans- I guess I’ll have to get my tent out and set up camp!

Happy Gardening,

Tessa

May 18, 2009

Monday Seedling Update

 

Last week I didn’t have too much to update you on. This week we have beans!

my root trainers

 

After my direct sown green beans were totally eaten, I decided to start them in the house. These are my version of root trainers! It will be interesting to see how they do. I simply used my paper pot maker, but made them a lot longer to allow for long roots. Today they are being moved to the greenhouse. It will be harder to control the moisture in the long paper pots, but they will probably get too tall for the light in the house very quickly. The forecast this week is nice, so it’s perfect timing. I accidentally purchased bush beans, so I will be starting some more of these in three weeks for a continual harvest...maybe. To be truthful, I think I’ve burned myself out this year, and all before the growing season really starts!

I also managed to start some Zinnia last week. They are doing well and will probably go in the greenhouse today as well.

 

They haven’t all germinated yet, and I’ll give it a few more days and pull out what has germinated putting them in 3” pots. The flat I sowed them in is a freebie I picked up on Fuchsia Day at our local Fred Meyer a few weeks back! This was a great find because I’d been looking for these everywhere! They told me to take as many as I wanted and I ended up with 7 of them :)!

I will be posting a garden update as soon as I can, so stay tuned!

Be sure to check out Daphne’s seedling and harvest update at Daphne’s Dandelions. I’m sure she has some great babies for you to look at!

I hope all is well in your garden, and as usual...

Happy Gardening,

Tessa

May 11, 2009

Monday Seedling Update

I’ve been a little under the weather the last two weeks, so I’m really behind in starting more seeds (and blogging too). We’ve also been having a lot of heavy rain, until the last couple days, so not a lot has gone out in the garden. At least I haven’t had to water much :).
To start, unfortunately, I have bad news :(- something has totally eaten my green beans!

eatengreenbeans
eatengr.beans






They barely had their seed leaves up and, munch! Skeletonized almost overnight! I’m guessing flea beetles are to blame. I’m seeing the same thing on the Hollyhock I planted out not too long ago, and last year my Black-Eyed Susan was almost devoured too. All in May. I sprayed some neem oil on them and gave them a fert. boost, but I think they’re toast. I’m going to start some in the greenhouse and test my own version of root trainers. Time for another experiment! More on that later :).

The Pac Choi I started in the cold frame are all doing well. I only started 3, just for a trial, to see how they do and if we like it or not. I’ll probably start more.

pakchoi
The carrot next to it should be getting close to harvesting...I hope! They take forever!
I have some seedlings ready to go in the very front that I should be planting out this week.

plantsforfront

They are: Iberis, yellow and purple Alyssum, and rock cress. Some of the Alyssum has buds on it, so I’d really like to get them in the ground soon...weather permitting, of course.
While not seedlings, we did manage to get some things in the ground this weekend! We lost 3 of the 5 Pieris shrubs we planted last year. After the nasty winter we had, we’ve lost a few things. This is the bed that the above seedlings will go in too.

replacedshrubs2
The ones on the ends survived and have a lot of growth. We’ve always been so busy growing food that these beds really haven’t been worked on, so I’m glad I have a few things to brighten them up!
We also planted a few things one of the beds next to our front door. Some Shasta Daisy and Salvia. I’m a little concerned that it might be too cool still at night for the Salvia, but they’ve been hardening off for a while now so we’ll see what happens.

frontofficebed

I’ll add more Salvia there on the front edge as the weather permits. Towards the back, along the house wall (starting far left) the Iris is budding. Against the wall on the right are a bunch of Nicotiana volunteers! I will be setting out some more to join them so they aren’t lonely- new varieties too! The Shasta Daisy is right by the little wheel barrel. In the middle there is the Gooseneck Loosestrife that I fight a little every year- in likes to invade a little and almost crowded out my coneflower I started from seed- it looks like 2 of the coneflower are there this year! I also have some Daylilies, and Veronica that I just love. I lost one Veronica, however. Below is a shot of the two together- just beautiful together. Not the best photo, it was taken the first year planted, and not too many blooms on the Daylilies.

officebed3'05
Well I’ll end here, since this was supposed to be about seedlings! Just one more photo- hope you all had a great Mother’s Day!

lilac3 Lilac in bloom ‘Beauty of Moscow’

Don’t forget to check out what Daphne has growing over at Daphne’s Dandelions!

Happy Gardening!

Tessa

May 10, 2009

Two Poems for my Mom

 

My Mother Kept A Garden  

            gmaround30
My Mother kept a garden,
a garden of the heart,
She planted all the good things
that gave my life it's start.
She turned me to the sunshine
and encouraged me to dream,
Fostering and nurturing
the seeds of self-esteem...
And when the winds and rain came,
she protected me enough-
But not too much because she knew
I'd need to stand up strong and tough.
Her constant good example
always taught me right from wrong-
Markers for my pathway
that will last a lifetime long.
I am my Mother's garden.
I am her legacy-
And I hope today she feels the love
reflected back from me
Author Unknown

And here is one to make you laugh!

WITH MOTHER IN THE GARDEN

When muvver's in the garden,
'At's where I like to be,
'Cause then I git to help her
A-pickin' things you see.
I help her with the cabbage
An' she don't care at all
When I play bowlin' alley
With cabbage fer a ball.
An' when I count the beanses
She never had to look,
But always knows exac'ly
How many she must cook.
Sometimes we digs b'tatoes
An' when I throw too fur
An' miss it where's the basket
She laughs at me an' her.
She laughs , too, when I holler
'Bount bein' skeered o' toads,
But I'm more scared o' lizards
'At jumps out 'long the roads.
An' muvver thinks it's funny
When I'm below a tree
Where apples keep a-dropping'
An' cannonballin' me.
But one time when tomatoes
Was ripe she didn't grin-
An' I'm not laughin' neither
Fer trouble I was in.
'Cause when she picked tomatoes,
An' piled 'em in her hat,
I falled right over backwards
An' sit down where they're at!

W. M. Herschell

(Of course, you never would have let me talk like that, even at a very young age!)

Thanks for letting me pick the ‘dani-whinies’, Mom...I think it stuck!

Love you Mom!

Tessa

May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday



Beautiful spring bouquet- May '09

May 4, 2009

Monday Seedling Update

 

Time for another seedling update! Not too much to report, but I did find a volunteer seedling that I’m very happy about!

 

 

Volunteer Zucchini

This little volunteer Zucchini showed up a few days ago, and boy am I glad! My Dex pot Zucchini started looking really bad! Note to self: start them later next year, if you plan on using the Dex pots :). I planted a couple anyway- live or die, but this volunteer will make up for it, I’m hoping :). It is much healthier anyway.

 

 

Very sad, sad Zucchini!

As you can see my Zucchini is very sad! The volunteer is right next to it, so it will be interesting to see which one will do better- I’m sure it will be the volunteer! We’re in for more torrential downpours this week and who knows what next week, so I’ll be watching to see which one I need to cut out.
After all, you only really need one zucchini! Any more than that and I’d go nuts getting rid of them! I do plan to start another one (or a few) this new round will replace my current one when they start to get a little unruly! I’ve read that people do this because they get so big and take up so much room, so I’ve decided to give that a try. I’ll be sure to move it up a pot size when needed, until I’m ready to make the switch. It should be an interesting experiment.


 

Broccoli- second round :) 
The second round of broccoli is doing very well, even considering the horrible wind and downpour we had yesterday. I only planted 3 of them this time and gave the rest away to friends. Because they take 70 days to maturity, I’m not sure that the timing for these was great either, the first one was too early, and this one could be too late- as they are a cool season crop, I’m hoping our weather will be nice and mild :). 

 

We have broccoli! 
I am happy to report that the first round has some signs of real broccoli! Yippee! I lost maybe half the plants, but we’ll have some! 


 

Eggplant is in the ground, folks! 'Hansel' The eggplant baby was finally planted out yesterday (5/2). The soil was really warm when I uncovered the chenille and felt the weed mat! I was surprised because our temps have been a little lower than I’d like. Later the same day was when we had the wind and hard rain- I was glad I had that chenille up!

 

Yipee! Beans are up!

The green beans are up! Along with a ton of tiny weeds! I sifted some soil from another place in the garden and put it in with the soil I used to build up this bed- blah! I have awoken little,  sleeping giants, dang it! 

 

Hmmm, tomatos in a bag?

I hung my tomato bag, so it’s vertical now- it’s amazing how fast the little plants turn their tips up! I’d say an hour later and they were looking skyward :). This is the first time I’ve grown in these bags, so it should be interesting to see how they do. I still need to plant something in the top- hmmm, I must have something that would do well in a bag, I’ll have to give that some thought.

 

A few weeks back, I made some under sowings of Red Komatsuna between and under the remains of the Mizuna. It has grown nicely and was protected by the few Mizuna that needed to be harvested just before I left for our CCOC Women’s Retreat. Now the Mizuna has been harvested completely and I’m left with some great little Komatsuna seedlings. I probably will be sowing some more, here and there, to fill it in a little. I’m also thinking of mixing in some NZ Spinach.

 

Variety 'Night & Day'

The Nasturtium I planted here and there is up! The variety I chose this year is called ‘Night and Day’ I can’t wait to see them- I just love Nasturtium and this year I plan on trying them in my salads! I not 100% sure these are all the variety I planted this year, however, so I might be in for a good mix. I’ll have to look at my records to see what variety I planted last year.

 

Where the hell is the Lantana?

Here we have our Lantana seedlings- aren’t they beautiful? Yes siree! They are gonna be the show of the garden this year- I can just see cars stopping by to ask what they are, and where they can get some!

Okay, I was patient! I read online that they can take from 40-62 days to germinate. I knew it would be a challenge...but couldn’t at least one germinate? I purchased the seeds from a good company. All that grew was moss. It was very hard to get the water just right- I only watered the flat once before I sowed, let it drain, and then one more time after that. I don’t know what happened, but I’m not going to give up...er...well at least with the next flat that I sow- I dumped this one!

I must end on a good and bountiful note...so here you go.

Salad anyone?

 

Yesterday’s harvest was wonderful! Yummy! The lettuce ‘Salad Bowl’ is just about finished up in the cold frame and chenille/tunnel #1. Lettuce ‘Focea’, ‘Red Star’ and the new variety I’m trying this year ‘Breen’, are all going strong. I’m really impressed with ‘Breen’ and may add it to my staples list. Spinach thinning is now complete and the beets greens are getting less red with the weather warming, but are just as good! The radishes are all finished up, and I may do one more sowing. Yummy! Time for a salad :).

Now if I can only get those tomatoes going!

                                                Outdoor tomato variety ‘New Girl’

 

Now don’t forget to head on over to Daphne’s Dandelions and check out her seedling update! I'm sure she has some harvests to report as well.

Happy Gardening!

 

Tessa