Monday, December 21, 2009
I did get all the bulbs dug in before Thanksgiving. So glad I did because we had a very long cold snap of below freezing temperatures, and the ground is much easier to dig in when it's not frozen. It's good to know that the work is done, but I am worried that some of them are in too deep. I bought a mixed bag that is supposed to give you a varied garden, and it said to put them in 6 inches. But some of the flowers in there were crocuses and I realized a bit too late that crocuses really shouldn't be in deeper than 2 inches. So I'm a little worried but I'll try not to let it bother me. If they don't come up, there's always next year for another try. And if you're wondering, no, I am not about to dig in the ground searching for crocus bulbs. I am not the kind of gardener who digs up tulip bulbs to store in the garage for the next year, so you can be sure I won't rummage the ground for crocuses either. Not at this point in my life anyway. I am looking so much forward to spring when I know that some of those bulbs I planted will pop up and flower!
I have been pondering my vegetable garden and would like to share what I would not grow again, what I would grow again, and what I'd like to try.
Would not grow again (not guarantees though, I am free to change my mind):
Broccoli. I tried to grow broccoli this year and it just didn't work out. The plants look amazingly healthy and are still out there, green in the garden with pretty yellow flowers atop. But I got nothing I considered to be usable heads of broccoli. What I did find was covered in tiny gray aphid like creatures, and they could hide so well I'd never be sure I cleaned them all away. I didn't use any pesticides in my vegetable garden this year and would like to keep it that way. Anyway, broccoli not worth my while this year and I plan to save it's space for something else next.
Cucumber SMR 58. What a strangely shaped cucumber. The package said good for pickling and slicing. To me, the flavor was bitter as if for pickling, but the strange shape was good for nothing. Toddler did eat them up, but I'll try a less-bitter slicing cucumber next year. "Fountain", "Babylon" and "Green Slam" from the Territorial catalog sound promising, and I can't help but consider growing "Rocky," listed as growing miniature, bit-size 2-3" long cucumbers. Oh, the choices and yet the lack of land to grow them all.
Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes. They did give me lots of tomatoes, but they are such big monstrous plants that they needed constant attention to keep them staked up.
What I would grow again: (in the order of which they come to mind)
Zucchini. I'd like to try growing "Eight Ball" and a yellow just for fun.
Carrots. Maybe I'll try a full size this year and see how they do.
Green Pole Beans So tasty. I grew Kentucky Blue Pole beans and will again.
Dill. More, and planted closer together, and successive plantings.
Cilantro. Much more this time, and remember successive plantings so I don't run out when they bolt.
Lettuce. Never expected it to do so well and feed us for so long as we waited for other veggies to catch up. I loved having the mixed pack of seeds.
Radishes. Not too many, but fun to have around. Maybe grow in containers.
Roma VF Tomato. Compact, healthy plants throughout the season with lots of fruit.
Miniature Bell Peppers. The pride of my garden, but I might try growing "Yum Yum Gold" next time around. The description says they have few seeds, which would be nice. The mini bells I grew this year from Territorial were just full of seeds. It's OK, just a bit of a pain to prep. They grew so well that I still have a few bags of them in the freezer.
Basil. My plants (grown from seed by me) never look as good as the ones they sell outside of Trader Joe's, but I'll work on improving them. We had a few pesto dishes and that was fun.
Sugar Snap Peas. I've always grown peas, even once in a pot on an apartment balcony.
Alright, that's all I can think of for now. And that's just the edibles. Not including the blueberries, which are technically husband's.
What I want to grow:
Leeks I've never even bought them at the store or cooked with them, but they sound neat on all those cooking shows on TV.
Yellow Doll Watermelon. OK just kidding, but I should give my dad some seeds and see how he does. It says they mature in 76 days and are 5-8 pounds. I think it's possible!
Spinach. I read somewhere that Western Washington is the spinach capital of the US. So why haven't I grown any yet?
Determinate Cherry Tomato. Looking for a small plant with tasty fruit.
Snow Peas. For stir-frying.
Shelling Peas. To shell and save in the freezer. I'll plan to have one cage dedicated to each type of pea.
I might add to the list later, but that is all for now. What is it about seed catalogs?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I haven't been doing much outside lately. I've moved on to my indoor hobbies for the most part. A few weeks ago I dug in a lot of bulbs around the back yard. I still have a lot more to put in the front flower bed, but I am putting it off because I would have to dig into the alyssum. The alyssum is still flowering a little so I hate to get rid of them. Maybe I should just get it over with but it's so hard to toss out a plant if it still has even one flower left. I also like to leave them to set seed. Better an alyssum than a weed, and better a plant than me out there weeding. I think the crocuses are starting to sprout while they wait in the garage to be put in the ground. I should get to it soon. I did clean out the petunias and prune back some scraggly plants. It is very fun to think of the surprises that will pop up out of the ground in spring. I hope I planted the bulbs in right.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We acquired three California Wax Myrtles. They are evergreen and native to the area so they should do well. It was either them or arbor vitaes, but I do like the color and look of their leaves better. We hope that they grow quickly to create a nice screen. We were told they should grow at least 8 inches a year. I think I'll make a little bulb garden in front of them.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I have three bowls of Roma tomatoes on the counter along with one of cherry tomatoes. I need to chop, seed and freeze the tomatoes.
I'm still harvesting handfuls of green beans. Every few days I'll have enough beans for two dinner servings. There are still a few green onions growing, but their tips are starting to yellow so I'm trying to use those up. There are two or three zucchini out on almost dead plants, so I think I'll pick them tomorrow. The alpine strawberries are producing several red berries daily, which toddler enjoys to forage.
Let's not forget the carrots, though it's easy to do since they are mostly underground. There are still several carrots growing. I've been harvesting them as needed or when toddler thinks it would be fun to dig in the garden.
The broccoli is producing, but the heads are so tiny that they just flower before they seem big enough to pick. I haven't had any, but it's another thing that I let toddler pick and eat as desired.
As far as herbs, there is still basil and oregano growing which I should probably harvest and dry before the cold gets to them. The chives and parsley should be fine left to grow through the winter.
In hopes of a later fall harvest, I have a set of radishes started. Some are ready to be picked and served to toddler, who loves them. Also started are three lettuce plants, more green onions, cilantro, dill and parsley. I'm not sure how much these late plantings will produce, but I had the seeds and the ground so it's worth a try.
Today we had a field trip to Furney's Nursery to find bulbs to plant for flowers next spring. Here is what I have to put in the ground:
- Narcissus "Tete-a-Tete"
- Blue Hyacinth orientalis
- Anemone Blanda Mix
- Crocus chrysantus
- Bearded Iris Raspberry Blush
- Dutch Iris Blue Ribbon
- Iris danfordiae
- Chionodoxa luciliae
- Puschkinia libanotica
Quite a list. I'm sure I'll get tired of digging! But the hardest part is planning, deciding where to put them.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Gallo Pinto Costa Rican Breakfast
(A good way to use leftover rice)
1-2 cups cooked leftover rice, one day old taken from the fridge. It is very important that it is day old rice.
1 regular ~15 oz. can black beans, drained (or the equivalent of home cooked beans)
About ½ cup chopped onion or more
1-3 cloves garlic, chopped
About 2-4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, more or less for taste
1 chopped regular-sized red pepper, bell or other kind ok depending on how spicy you like. Green or other bell peppers work too. (Several miniature peppers)
1-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
3 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
Salt to taste (¼ tsp)
Pepper to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet.
2. Add the rice, onion, pepper and garlic to the skillet and fry until the rice begins to turn a little brown. Stir regularly to keep rice from burning.
3. Add the beans, including some of the liquid but not all.
4. Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes.
5. Add the chopped cilantro or parsley.
6. Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.
7. Serve for any meal of the day.
When I made this last week, I didn't have any fresh cilantro in the garden. Luckily, I had saved some chopped cilantro in ice cube trays earlier this summer. In the last few minutes of cooking, I added a few to the pan and let them melt in.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I am almost in disbelief. Can it be? How could this have actually happened in my garden? Here, in northern Washington state. I spent all spring and summer planning, preparing, waiting for this very moment. And then one day, just like that, it happened.
One of my miniature bell peppers turned red. Out of quite possibly hundreds of tiny green peppers growing on my five pepper plants, one of them is red.
All of the time and care has paid off. Those days of dragging the plants outside in the morning, and back in at nightfall. Careful watering always at the base. Picking aphids off one by one. Moving them into the shade on our hottest days. Daily inspections for the tiniest sign of growth.
One of my miniature bell peppers has turned red.
I'm not sure now what to do with it. Should I just eat the tiny thing plain and raw? Should I stuff it? Roast it? Slice it to add to a dish? Shall I share it or keep it for myself? I'll have to share it. Spread the joy around. But it's so small. There must be others on the way.
The excitement of gardening. I've actually grown a miniature bell pepper that turned red. Here in the northern parts of Washington. It can be done.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Cucumbers on the trellis fence next to the green beans. Dill is growing right in front of them, just in case I decide to can dill pickles. In the meantime, we've enjoyed the fresh dill over salmon and it is so delicious! My plan is to plant more dill just in case it has time to grow. I'd love to dry it to have for the winter and not buy any at the store.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunny flowers out front.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I am surprised to say that I am fond of my bumblebees. I say they are mine because they live in my flower garden out front. They even sleep there. They like to curl up inside the daphnias at sundown, and when they wake, they spend their entire day buzzing around my garden.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
The only vegetable produce we are buying are onions. The rest of our vegetables with dinner are from the garden. That has meant a lot of salads, but the salads have chopped green onions and fresh peas on top. And since I'm growing four kinds of lettuce, we always have a variety on the plate. I was under the impression that the lettuce would bolt by now, but the first set is still growing. I did some succession planting and now we have 16 heads of lettuce! All still going strong. So, anyway, we may have salad every night, but at least we didn't get it at the grocery store. Soon we will have so much more to add to the salads. See below!
Cherry tomatoes "Sweet 100." I have four of these plants and they all are full of little green tomatoes. What I love about these are that they are so small that they ripen really quickly. It can't be too long and we'll be tossing these into just about every dish!
Green beans starting to tie themselves on the trellis and climb up. I think it's so cute how they are leaning toward the fence. They really seem to know what they are doing. What a money saver these will be. I saw green beans at the farmer's market for $1.99 a pound. Whatever happened to the saying, "Ain't worth beans?"
Miniature bell peppers in pots. We have lots of little blossoms. I will be so happy and surprised when we get a pepper to grow up here, especially if I can get some to turn red!