Let's Get Dirty

A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.

Send stories and pictures of your horticultural adventures to letsgetdirty@gjsentinel.com.

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September sweeties

By Penny Stine
Monday, September 26, 2016

So I’m a very bad blogger, but in my defense, I’ve had a lot going on at work and even more going on in my garden. My heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous, I’ve been digging lots of potatoes and carrots, and finally, finally, finally, my peppers are turning red.
These are all sweet peppers and they have a pretty good taste. Some of them are simply enormous. My plants are fairly loaded, but I really want to find an earlier sweet pepper. I don’t like waiting until September to harvest.  


Someone else grew a straw bale garden

By Penny Stine
Friday, September 16, 2016

My hubby and I took a motorcycle ride over Grand Mesa last weekend and we stopped at Red Mountain Ranch (an orchard above Cedaredge) to find out when they'd start having apples. They won't have most of them until well into October. While we were there, I saw the sign inviting visitors to check out the straw bale garden. Since I experimented with it a few years ago, I thought I'd go check theirs out. 

As you can see, it looks pretty good, although it looks like the straw is sprouting. 

It was a fun experiment, but I think I prefer growing in soil. 


Colorful heirlooms

By Penny Stine
Thursday, September 8, 2016



My garden is going crazy right now, crazy with weeds, tomatoes and squash. I should be taking photos and blogging about it, but I’m crazy busy with work, so these pics of colorful tomatoes will have to do.






In July, I always wish I were growing more early season hybrid varieties, but in September, I love the colorful heirlooms!
The big yellow tomato is Hugh’s, the medium black one is Black from Tula and the small pinkish one is probably a Clear Pink Early. 


Harvesting roots

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Some of my potato plants had died down and had turned brown, so I decided to dig potatoes over the weekend. If the plant had any green or new growth on it, I left it in the ground, hoping that it would keep on forming more potatoes. Or that the ones underground would get bigger.



Plus, I figured what’s the point of digging all the potatoes at one time if I don’t have to? It’s not like we’re going to eat 15 pounds of potatoes in a week.
I tried a different purple potato than the one I had last year, because last year, they were all pretty small. I can’t remember the name of the one I planted this year, but as you can see, they’re pretty good-sized potatoes. I also planted a few red potatoes and some Yukon Golds. Last year, I planted this yellow fingerling potato, and I must have missed a few when I dug potatoes, since some of the potatoes I dug this year were yellow fingerling potatoes.
Because I had planted red onions near one potato spot, I ended up pulling those, too. Even though they weren’t as big as I was hoping, the stems were turning brown, which is a sign that the onions were ready to come up, too.
And then, just because I was pulling root crops, I decided to go ahead and pull a few more carrots, too.
The onions are supposed to store well, so I decided to let them cure in hopes that they will last until November. Not that I couldn’t use them before then, but I have boatloads of Egyptian walking onions, which do not store well at all, that I’ve been using all summer.
The directions for curing onions and garlic say to leave them in a warm (75-degree) dry place for a few weeks to a month. I just leave them on a tray on my picnic table on the back deck. They don’t get any direct sunlight, and although they do get rained on occasionally, we don’t get that much rain, so it doesn’t interfere with the curing process.
The garlic that I cured that way last year (and stored in a canvas bag in the fridge) was still good (and I still had some) in late June, when I started pulling this year’s garlic.  


Tiny tomatoes offer a colorful twist

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Every year, I like to try something new, whether it’s a new plant entirely that I’ve never grown before or never heard of, or a new variety of an old favorite. Usually, I do both.
This year, when we chose tomato varieties, I wanted an unusual-looking cherry tomato variety. I’ve grown sungold and we did a black cherry one year, and I liked them both, but wanted to try something new. So we found a variety called indigo cream berry. It’s a yellow tomato with a dark purple top.
Unlike many other types of cherry tomatoes, this is not an early-producer, which made me crazy in July when other people had loads of cherry tomatoes.
It’s finally starting to go into high-production mode, and I’m happy to say that it was worth the wait. Not only are they pretty, but they taste good, too.  

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