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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Springtime! It was beautiful over the weekend and it feels like it could snow today. We set up one of my trellises over the weekend so I can plant peas next weekend. Between now and then, I have to pick the garlic that got overlooked last year when I was harvesting and add some more compost to the soil.
When I got home from work last night, it was nice enough for one of my favorite activities, thanks to daylight savings time.
Yes, last night, I went for my first garden stroll of the season as soon as I got home, found a few herbs (and onions) that were big enough to pick and incorporated them into to my dinner plans.
I picked some garlic, and as you can see, the bulb's not much. Not a problem, I wanted the greens. Garlic scape (as the greens are called) is wonderful. If you let it grow to full size, some types of garlic do this awesome curlicue. Even if they don't curl, they taste delish, with a mild garlic flavor.
I added that to my pasta sauce.
Then I picked some green onions, sorrel, arugula and peas. OK, I had to pick the peas, arugula and half the sorrel from my living room planters. I added all of that to a salad.
It was all good, and wandering around in my garden, even if the majority of it was still brown and dry, made me happy.
I'm telling ya', gardening is so much cheaper than therapy and probably just as effective.
By Penny Stine
Monday, March 10, 2014
I was out cleaning up my garden yesterday and look what I saw!
Hmmmm…. I better explain what it is.
This is the tiny tip of a stalk of asparagus. I planted some sort of purple asparagus from Bookcliff Gardens last year and ignored it. Some experts say you're not supposed to harvest for three years, while others say harvest sparingly starting in year one. Last year, the stalks were extremely thin and spindly, so I didn't pick a single one.
This one, however, looks like it could be big enough to eat once it emerges fully from the ground. So, of course, I will be happy to chow down on it. Before I can do that, however, I'll probably have to drag a hose out to the garden, since irrigation water won't be in for another month, but that's a small price to pay for spring veggies from the garden.
Speaking of spring veggies, some of the spinach I planted in November is getting its true leaves. It will remain small throughout March (unless I give it more water), but should be big enough to start picking in April.
By Penny Stine
Thursday, March 6, 2014
I'm growing these cool perennial onions called Egyptian walking onions. You're supposed to put them in a bed where they can spread and then just let them do their thing.
I keep changing my mind about where I want them.
In this pic, the onions are in the bed closest to where I was standing, and the other green oniony looking tops in the far bed are actually garlic. I thought I dug up most of the onions last fall when I was harvesting after deciding to move my onion bed.
I also thought I dug up all of the garlic last July when I was harvesting it.
Obviously, I missed a few of both. Oh well, it gives me something fairly big and green in the garden already, and it's only the first week of March!
I pulled one of the onions the other day just to see how big it was and what the texture was like. When I harvested the rest of the bed last September (so I could plant spinach in this bed last November), the onions were getting a little soft.
I'm happy to say this little onion was nice and firm. As you can see, they're not big onions, slightly bigger than a green onion. The flavor is more like a hot onion, however. This time of year, you can harvest them for the green onion top or the below-ground bulb or both. They have great flavor, but are definitely one of the tear-causing onions.
Because walking onions set tops which you can use to grow more onions, I deliberately set aside some of the biggest top bulbs and used them to get this bed started. It's too hot and shady in the summer for growing anything else, and I figured the onions would be fine.
By Penny Stine
Monday, March 3, 2014
This bed may not look like much, but that's because you didn't see the before photo. There were dead sunflower stalks, dead mint plants and all kinds of mean, nasty ugly things out there.
On Saturday, my husband locked us out of the house when we were on our way to go someplace and he grabbed his work truck keys instead of his personal truck keys. Fortunately, he had a shovel and two pairs of gloves in his work truck (as well as bottles of water), so while we were waiting for the locksmith, we pulled weeds, cleared out the dead stuff and cleaned up this area, where the irises will bloom in another month or so.
Normally, he leaves the gardening to me, but since we were locked out of the house and the truck, he pitched in and we filled the garbage can with debris. Yes, I could have composted it, but since it included weed and sunflower seeds, I didn't want to. Since dead weeds and sunflowers were in this bed all winter, I'm sure thousands of seeds have already fallen to the ground, but I didn't want to add to them by throwing it in the compost pile.
Next time, I'll just ask for his help instead of using my amazing mind-meld powers to cause him to forget his keys so he's got nothing better to do while waiting for the locksmith to rescue us.
By Penny Stine
Friday, February 28, 2014
At this point in 2014, my garden is costing me more than it's saving me. I've been trying to keep track of everything we eat from the garden, (via the freezer or the canning shelf right now) but I'm pretty sure I've forgotten to record a few.
I've already ordered seeds and paid for my irrigation water for the 2014 season. We would pay for irrigation even if we didn't have a garden, but I figured since I use it to water my garden, I'd charge half of the yearly cost to my garden. It's irrigation water, so even though it was twice as much as its been in the past due to capital expenditures, it was still only $106. Not bad for all the water I need in my garden for six months.
My year-to-date costs are $141.65, which doesn't count some seeds that I've ordered, but haven't actually paid for yet.
I didn't start keeping track of the produce I've used until the middle of January, but so far, I estimate that my garden has supplied me with $49.47 worth of produce. Not bad for half of January and February.
That means that my garden has cost me $92.18 so far this year. I'm pretty sure the pendulum will swing the other way once I actually have things growing outside in the dirt, but I plan on continuing my garden cost calculator throughout the year just to see.
Of course, I can't calculate the value of my mental health, which is greatly improved every time I look at a seed catalog in the winter or go for a garden stroll in the spring, summer and fall.