Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Harvest Info

Romaine lettuce bolted. Bolting is when plants go to seed, and it appears Romaine is prone to bolting. We've harvested the other lettuces some already, as well as radishes. The first round of spinach is leafing out and we may pluck some leaves in a few days. The "gourmet" pack from Walmart has done really well, and the greens have a great spicy note to them. Not sure if its the endive, radicchio, or arugula but it is really good and productive as well. Although the 4-pack was about $3.50, well worth the price so far.

I've planted 3 more rows of spinach and they're all sprouted, as have the carrots and garlic. I also did a second round or radishes. Yum all.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gardening update

All my plants from seed are up except for the cilanto. The radishes took about 3 days, the carrots aabout 10-14 days, and the spinach came up last night. No seedlings yesterday but there today - 7 day germination.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Planting Done

Apology for the delay. Last weekend I planted and finished this afternoon. All of my plants were starter plants that can be found at local nurseries or home centers.

I planted the following:

green lettuce
red leaf lettuce
romaine lettuce
buttercrunch lettuce
red cabbage
green cabbage
radishes from seed (already germinated and sprouted)
carrots from seed

Yesterday we bought a "gourmet" lettuce pack from Walmart and I planted it today.

Today I also planted cilantro from seed and spinach from seed. Spinach germinates when it is cool and will not germinate if it is too warm. Last year I bought starter plants and did seed, and both were fine (once it cooled down - 1st seed planting failed and I read up and found out why they did not sprout). I am hoping the early part of the week will be cool enough to germinate. If not I'll have to wait.

I also planted garlic from cloves. I bought 4 head at the store and pulled the cloves apart, and set them in the tilled soil (stem down). They'll sprout and overwinter fine, and by May will be ready for harvest. We may run out of this years harvest by next spring - they keep well in the pantry (used three cloves w/ the roasted potatoes tonite - mmmmmmmmm).

Finally, i dug up some blackberry volunteers and reset them along the fencerow. Hopefully they'll take.

I water everything well and keep the soil damp where I planted from seed. I water the starter plants well once planted. I've been watering about every other day with it being warm and dry. Once plants are established I can back off on the watering, or until it rains.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time to Plant

Upcoming weather change this weekend. The persistent heat will finally break this weekend. I think I will till tomorrow and plant Saturday. Will send an update then.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Getting Ready For Fall

Still to hot for fall planting. Went to Lowe's to see what they had in inventory - not much but expect more in the next few weeks.

Garden is all pulled except for the peppers and the Santa Claus melon, which is still producing. One good cool front needed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

End of summer

Well - not much left as far as annuals. The Santa Claus melons are still growing and producing - slowly. The brief cool down last week has resulted in additional fruit set - we'll see if they last. Although the peppers are growing, they're not setting fruit very well (at least the jalapenos and bells).

The herbs are doing well - made a quart of pesto yesterday.

Thinking about, in a couple of weeks, getting ready for fall planting. Not watching the calendar but more so the temps/precip. The first strong front mid September will be the cue. No rain here for a month, although we got a shower today to knowck the dust down.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pesto Recipe (for my watering friend)

2 cups fresh basil, rinsed and dried, packed moderately
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted
3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine ingredients, about 1/3 at a time, in the processor. Add a touch of salt for taste.

I never measure - I eyeball it based on the amount of basil I pick.

Cucumber Sorbet

4 large or 5 medium cucumbers, peeled and seeded
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups lime juice
1 bunch fresh mint

*recipe can be cut in half if desired

Make a syrup out of the sugar and water by combining and heating, and steep the mint in the syrup on low heat. Remove the mint after 30 min. or so and cool the syrup.

Meanwhile, seed and peel the cucumbers, and puree in a blender or processor. Add the lime juice.

Combine all of the ingredients in the ice cream machine and freeze. A couple of drops of green food coloring can be added for visual appeal but not necessary.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Heat

March 22 we had snow here, and some freezes/frost afterwards. This followed a long, cold winter thaat resulted in planting and soil tempratures being several weeks behand. Second week of May it hit the mid 90s and above and stayed that way until the first week of July. Do tha math and that's only 6 weeks or so of a decent growing season. Adding insult to injury, there was very little rain (<1>

The result iss that the garden has taken a beating. The basil is not as robust as in the past, and the melons were slow to get really established. Most everything elso has struggled or has bolted (matures/turns woody and goes to seed) way too soon, including the radishes and the lettuce. The squash got nailed by bugs.

Here are two pictures - [NOTE -FREE FORM WRITING ON A MOUSE PAD - CAN YOU WRITE BETER THAN A 5TH GRADER..??? NO I CANT] one of the garden in general and one of the heat damaage to the beans. It is hard to see detail in the garden photo, but the overall lack of robustness is evident.

The other photo is of the green beans. I planted the beans in a staggered order so we could eat them over a long period of time. The first planting yielded beans in superb quality and quantity (10-15 per plant!!). The second planting was about half, and the heat affected the quality greatly. It is said to keep picking the beans so they contiinue to produce, but my experience is is that you get one harvest - the summer heat takes its toll on the rest.

Looking at the photo of the bean plant, the heat damage is evident. The pollinated flowers are not setting fruit. This could be a lack of pollination, but that has never been a problem with beans in the garden. I came to the conclusion that the heat was causing this. At the time the photo was taken, the plant was healthy and there were plenty of bees around. As you can see, the number of "lost" fruit was significant to the point that I don't think I harvested a single plant.

Continued Harvest

Here is some of what I've picked last month. The heat and bugs have really taken their toll.

Bug Damage

Some beetle has decimated the squash. I suspect squash bugs. I did out of necessity put some mild pesticide on there and they have snce recuperated.

Friday, June 4, 2010

W/E June 4 Week In Review

Very hot so lots of watering. The ground is drying out deeply so the watering is about every other day. Weed when I can - the lack of rain helps here.

Pests - bugs are aplenty. 2 weeks ago we saw a mockingbird on the ground probing the defenses (berry area is netted) of the netting by jumping into the net, moving a few feet, and jumping again. Smart bird. Last weekend same scoundrel was ON TOP of the netting and bouncing - trying to get that ripe berry sticking straight up on the branch - no kidding!!!! This morning I saw him inside the netting (snuck in a corner) - he tried to hide but panicked - repeatedly flying into the net trying to get out - he finally found the loosely tied seam and escaped.

Missed a zucchini growing and picked it today - huge.

Salad this week w/ lettuce, radishes, carrots, bell pepper from the garden.

Ate green beans 2 x this week for dinner - we're about to get overrun.

Fruit salads had fresh berries, incl. blues. I put some fresh mint in mine.

Rice/corn/black bean salad for lunch - added a jalapeno from the garden. Yum.

Picked another 2 quarts of berries yesterday. Made some turnovers (16 - 2 consumed) to freeze/keep till winter if need be. Probably will pick another 2 quarts tomorrow - likely freeze them.

Checked on the cucumbers - little nubs a few days ago but they're almost ready to harvest in a day or so. CUCUMBER SORBET COMING!!!!!

Melons are starting to take off - little fruits can be seen.

Onions still a couple of weeks out.

Tomatoes very healthy - the heat no will no longer allow fruit set so what's on there is it, but plenty there.

Planted some cilantro seeds a week ago - sprouting.

More tomorrow.

Monday, May 31, 2010


I was inspired to expand the garden a year and a half ago, so part of the motivation for this blog is to inspire others. It was my idea to the Obamas to have a garden at the White House. Really. It was........Really..........

It was funny, though, that shortly after I expanded the garden then EVERYBODY was doing it, there was more attention in the media, etc., but that's okay. It was still my idea. So - the inspiration for this then is to have others get the joy and satisfaction of growing one's own food. It's actually pretty cool, but a lot of work at times. I plan on using some unorthodox means to inspire others, share what I've learned, etc. Showing everyone how easy it is is one way, and sharing the results is another way.

Having said that, dinner tonight included the bean salad posted earlier and steamed green beans from the garden. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Still some berry pie for dessert.

Veggie Bean Salad

This can be made with all-garden ingredients, although the tomatos and the onions aren't ready yet so today they were store bought. Note that I don't measure

~4 TBS Olive Oil

~2 TBS Red Wine Vinegar

~1 Heaping TBS Dijon Mustard

1 Clove Garling, Finely Chopped and Pressed w/ Knife Into a Paste

Ground Seasalt

Ground Pepper

Combine all ingedients and whisk together.


1 Zuchini, Diced

1 Yellow Squash, Diced

3 Roma Tomatoes, Diced

1/4 Red Onion, Finely Diced

1 Can Canneloni, Navy, or Great Northern Beans - Rinsed and drained

~4 TBS Finely Chopped Basil (Oregeno Works in Winter)

Stir Well, Chill, and Serve.

This is best very fresh.

The pie that started it all