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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What a difference

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I’ve tried all kinds of different fertilizers in my garden, from cow and alpaca poop to Soil Pep and Alaska Fish Fertilizer. When I first started gardening, I didn’t use any fertilizer at all, I just brought in a truck load of Mesa Magic every year.


This year, I bought a bag of fertilizer granules from Bookcliff Gardens. It’s their own brand, which means that they probably buy it wholesale by the truckload from somewhere and simply have it packaged in a bag that says Bookcliff Gardens.
It was relatively inexpensive, and whoever waited on me assured me it was what they used on all their plants. They do a spectacular job of raising plants, so I thought I’d give it a try.






So far, me and my plants are quite happy. I’ve been picking spinach since March, which is probably the earliest I’ve ever harvested it. I have it planted in three areas (all of which got the fertilizer), and it’s growing well in all three areas.



I’ve also used it in this bed, which has carrots, broccoli, onions, parsley, at least one potato hill, and more spinach. As you can see, the plants are pretty dang happy.




Ditto for this spot, where I planted baby bok choi a few weeks ago.

The Bookcliff fertilizer isn’t organic, but frankly, I’m not too concerned about that. Usually, my spinach gets attacked by these chlorophyll-sucking bugs that do severe damage, but I've seen very little evidence of them this year. I remember learning in the master gardening class that healthier plants can fight off bugs better than struggling plants.

Plus, I’d be willing to bet that my veggies, which come straight from my garden to my kitchen table (sometimes with a detour to the stove or in the oven) are still healthier and more nutritious than anything I could buy at the store. And thanks to the fertilizer, I think this year will be an amazing garden year. Of course, I say that every spring…  


Yellow sprouts

By Penny Stine
Monday, April 18, 2016

I planted two different kinds of peas in several different places in my gardens, so whenever I go out for a garden stroll, I always check to see what they’re doing. The two kinds don’t look any different from each other when they first come up out of the ground.

Or so I thought. Can you see this? I thought it was a yellow flower that had fallen from a nearby flowering bush when I first saw it, but when I bent to take a closer look, I realized it wasn’t lying on top of the ground, it was attached to the root underneath the ground…It’s a yellow pea plant!

It looks like some weird, chlorophyll-sucking alien has been busy here. I have no idea why it’s the color it is. I did a quick Google search and found nothing.

I definitely didn’t buy yellow peas. These are growing in the area where I planted the peagoda variety, and as you can see from these sprouts, all the other little peagoda plants are sprouting green.
I will continue watching this particular little pea plant to see how it grows.

The longer I do this and learn a little bit, the more I realize I don't know much about gardening!


Everything looks better after a good soak

By Penny Stine
Thursday, April 14, 2016

My amazing hubby got the sprinklers up and running yesterday (after picking up the irrigation pump, which had to be fixed when he discovered on Sunday that it had cracked over the winter), which will make it so much easier to water my spring garden.
I took a stroll to see how everything looked after a good drink of water and here’s what I saw:



The baby bok choi is looking great & should be ready to pick by the end of the month.



This kale is the result of a kale plant that didn’t do much last year besides go to seed. As usual, I let it go to seed, and this year, I’m pretty happy that it did, since I’ve already picked several kale leaves from this patch. I didn’t buy any kale Red Russian kale seeds this spring, so I’m happy that I have all these volunteers, even if they are growing in a spot that I used to consider part of my garden path.


These little pea shoots are from a variety I found at Burpee Seeds called Peagoda. It’s a pea plant that’s not supposed to need trellising and it’s supposed to be a prolific producer of branches (full of peas) that bend at a 90 degree angle.
I’ll take more pics of my peagoda plants, especially if they look as cool as what the catalog claims they will. I planted them in places that get more shade, since they like cooler temps. I’m hoping they’ll last longer than typical peas. If not, I’ll get peas for a week or two.  


April flowers aren’t waiting on showers

By Penny Stine
Friday, April 8, 2016


My bulb bed in the front yard under the sensation box elder tree. I think I need to fertilize the flowers a bit more; the tulips are pretty tiny. 


Lovely, lovely spinach

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

We made fried rice last night with leftover pulled pork, so I decided to see if I had enough spinach to pick some and toss it in with the other veggies.





I’ve got it growing in two other areas, and between the three areas, I can usually pick enough to eat about two to three times per week. Soon, it will be five to six times per week and then it will get hot and the spinach will be gone.

I pulled a few onions to add to the fried rice, too, but onions aren’t as exciting as spinach. 

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