Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pea Shoots....

You have to try the pea shoots recipe--with any Asian greens (we did a combo of young mustard greens, bok choy, and pea shoots). It's wonderful! Here's the link again: Pea Shoots Stir-Fried with Garlic

You'll all going to have stuff you could try this with sometime soon I bet. Mmmmm

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More on Pea Shoots

If they're good, then I might try this for a continuous supply.... It would be a terrific project for my intrepid 3-year-old.

Storebought Tomato Plants v. Home-seed-started Tomato Plants

Thanks to my sacrificed tomato seedlings, I succumbed and bought a few replacement tomato plants at Lowe's today. Here's what I've noticed (yes, a picture would be helpful, but that would require me finding the camera, putting my shoes on, heading outside, taking pictures, and then waiting for the upload--I'm counting on my fellow gardeners' imaginations here):

Lowe's plants are much bigger, taller, leafier, and prettier than mine. Am I discouraged? Maybe.

But then I remember: tomato plants gain more root structure each time you repot them more deeply (you can bury up to 80% of the plant when you transplant it and it will grow roots from the buried stalk). Mine are in their 3rd pot, having been buried nice and deeply each time. So, we'll see which plants do better when the hot, dry summer weather hits: the fancy, leafy Lowe's ones or the looks-can-be-deceiving-killer-root-system-home-started ones. Any guesses? I'll make sure I label them clearly so when the rubber meets the road in August, we'll know.

Incidentally, one of the ones I bought was a Mr. Stripey--these are very fun looking tomatoes in case you want ANOTHER tomato plant. (Maybe I should have taken the tomato murder as a sign from the Lord that I already had too many tomato plants--especially for a family that doesn't like them raw very much.)

First Harvest!!!

After much distress over my brutally, savagely murdered tomato seedlings* (a Golden Gem, 2 Early Girls, and 1 heirloom), I noticed with delight that we'll be eating our first meal from the garden this week!!!! What a nice pick-me-up.

I'm choosing to ignore the fact that, were the rabbits not so greedy in their nibblings, we could be eating baby bok choy several times instead of the one, small, brave plant I'm going to harvest today. Since you can't make a meal on 1 baby bok choy plant alone, I'm also going to harvest some pea shoots. My 3-year-old helper planted them rather thickly, so we have some thinning to do. I'm going to try this recipe. We'll also have Napa cabbage soon, some mesculun mix, and probably green onions if I wanted them. How're everyone else's gardens growing?

*the murder of aforementioned tomato seedlings went something like this in my imagination: "Hey, W, come over here and look what I can do." "OK." "Ooohh... cool.... we can pinch off all the leaves." "Yeah, and we can pinch off the ENTIRE stalk, too!" "This is so much fun." "It's just like what Mommy does with those plants near the sidewalk [herbs]." "I bet we're being big helpers, the three of us."

Monday, April 20, 2009

What to Plant When...and a book/blog suggestion

This is a great web site for knowing what to plant when in your particular "neck of the woods".

Would you like to know how I found it :)? Well, I recently read a book called Made from Scratch, and while reading discovered that the author ( a mere youngster!) had once lived in our previous corner of the planet! I have had a great time reading her blog. You can read an excerpt of it here, on Mother Earth News:

Anyway, one click lead to another and I thought the "what to plant when" info. was very helpful!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

No mow lawns

So, I've been reading this book called the "Gin and Tonic Gardner" - which basically takes a very (often VERY) relaxed view of gardening. The lady who wrote it likes to use plants that aren't fussy and can survive some neglect. The book itself is not as detailed as I was hoping/expecting, and there are some personal comments and remarks mixed in that I find somewhat annoying (she was newly divorced at the time of the writing and often refers to certain plants - like a rose bush she bought - as a "fussy man" who needs too much attention and care). She is very into recycling and re-using all kinds of things for her garden (like an old bathtub sunk into the ground as a planter.)

So... aside from the personal diary style, a comment that she made about her yard was that she was considering taking the sod up and planting ground covers so that she doesn't have to mow. Now, I don't mind mowing - BUT the idea of ground covers and no need to mow a lawn is very intriguing. Besides, who wouldn't rather spend the time with the kids instead of pushing the mower?? :)

Basically, I'm day dreaming for the future. When we get our final house, I've got plans... oh yeah - I've got plans!

My must haves: creeping buttercup, crested iris, lamium, Epimedium, wild ginger, soapwort, cotula, sedum, and snow-in-summer (the only kind of snow I like.)

I found a neat article here about 28 different ground covers. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nifty discoveries!

So... I was wandering about my yard and happened to look up into the brambles. There were what appeared to be lilacs pretty high above me, and I got excited. After examining them, however, I think that it may be a Wisteria vine! It's beautiful. The neat thing is that I cut some of the blooms and a few of the shoots to try rooting - and after doing some research, it appears that they tend to root easily and it's one of the best ways to grow Wisteria!

I also found, as I was dumping my compost, that we have a bunch of Japanese Honeysuckle back in thicket. It smells great and is gorgeous! Both of these appear to be bee attractors and from what I read they attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Now I have to figure out where I want to move some of this to in the yard! I definitely would like to have some in a spot that is a little easier to enjoy!

It was such a beautiful day! I managed to dig out a bit more around the annoying tree stump in the back garden - but didn't have much time to really work it out. There's a section that appears to have been a garden at some point in the back (or side??) yard and behind the camper in our driveway, so I am going to dig those up in the next few days. I'm still sore about never getting some reasonably priced dirt for where I really wanted my garden - but I think I'll manage without it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Well, I am glad that someone has dogs that are helpful!!

Here is our garden update: It appears that I posted it to the wrong blog!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What is this weed?

It is taking over my front flower beds--and it seems to spread several feet at night. I don't remember it being there before. It's a creeping thing and isn't too hard to pull up.... any thoughts? We've got it in the back yard, too. The late freezes last year and the year before must have also killed some weeds.... This year, they're flourishing.

Some Garden Photos

I enjoyed seeing Sara's garden a bit over the weekend, so I thought I'd post some pics of our (struggling) crops. You'll have to drive by on the Dogwood Trail to get the full impact of the azaleas coming out and the few dogwoods that survived the previous years' droughts. But the azaleas are electric!!

First, we have a nice, flourishing row of snow peas. They're doing the best and coming up nicely. I'm even going to have to thin them out, I believe. Struggling to grow just in front of them is some bok choy--hardly even worth a picture.

Next, I have a nice small amount of mustard greens growing. The few plants are finally doing quite well... no thanks to the rabbit I saw fleeing down my street last night.

Third is my row of sugar snap peas--not doing as well as the snow peas, but finally making a brave appearance.

I've put my tomatoes and peppers out to harden off this week, so here's a shot of a few of them. I'm pretty proud of them, but I was also proud of my bok choy, broccoli, and napa cabbage seedlings before they got munched on in the garden.

I'm including a small shot of some oregano in my herb garden--anyone need some? How about lemon marjoram (nice yellow/chartreuse color, no noticeable flavor difference)? My parsley is coming back from last year, too. And, if you can root rosemary, then bring your shears over because I have a nice, big specimen. Come to think of it, this might be marjoram in the picture--they look so similar at this point in the year and the genius that planted them (me) put them right next to each other....

This brings us to some hostas I transplanted from my back yard into my front (the flowers are primroses--can't take any credit for those). I'm including some ornamentals here to cheer myself up--not all my plants become lunch for the local wildlife.

And, finally, some black-eyed Susans from a neighbor's yard that are also doing nicely. I'm going to give her some of my maidenhair ferns--you can just seem their new leaves in the front left of the black-eyed Susan picture.

Now, it's your turn! I want to see what everyone else's garden looks like! And, I should offer full disclosure here: my garden looks WAY more impressive from a few close up shots of the plants that are doing well than the overall first impression of weeds, grass that needs cutting, and chewed off leaves of vegetable plants.....


So much for the predicted rain and cloudy days ahead... now, they're saying sunny and no more rain really. Yeah, I'll believe that when it happens.

I don't know why I believe the weather forecasts anymore--this past winter, I remember vividly checking the weather online at about 8:45 a.m. Forecast: 40's, cloudy, maybe some rain. 10 minutes later it was below freezing and snowing....

Anyway, the temperatures should still be good for hardening off plants, but you might want to watch their sun exposure the first day or two. And, make sure you water them! Wind and sun are a lot more drying than our houses sometimes.

Happy Gardening! I'm going to post pictures soon of my little estate.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Better Late than Never

I finally started my basil seeds (about 3 weeks late), my hot pepper seeds (about 4 or 5 weeks late), and the last of my tomatoes (6 weeks late). Oh well. Alicia convinced me that, since we have a long growing season, all is not lost.

On a positive note, I noticed that the little rabbits that have been partaking of my outdoor salad bar seem to have moved on. I scattered some dog hair around the periphery of the garden, and it looks like it's working!!! There IS a benefit to having dogs around! I now have bok choy leaves, mustard greens, and a few other things growing again.

The weather is perfect this week for hardening off your plants: cloudy, some rain, mild temperatures. Then, you'll be in good shape to put them in the ground this weekend (herbs, maybe even peppers and tomatoes?). I'm thinking of putting bean seeds in the ground, too. I might wait a bit longer for cukes and squashes--any thoughts from the peanut gallery on that one?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Big Freeze

We're expecting freezing temperatures this coming Monday and Tuesday (low of 29 degrees). So, wait on any iffy crops until after then if you still haven't planted them (little flowers and such). If things are in the ground, you might want to cover them up with sheets if they're not very cold hardy.

Does anyone know what spring crops should be protected and which ones can take the cold? I've got pea shoots coming up, broccoli, greens, etc..... I also HAD bok choy, spinach, and some lettuce, but I think the little bunnies and squirrels have been munching away.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Working in the garden

is wearing me out! LOL!

Just had to share. I hope you are all having a good time in yours!