By Penny Stine
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
My gardening buddy, Jan, and I got together on Saturday morning to figure out our seed order. We usually refer to it as our garden porn session, although a neighbor of mine referred to it as horti-porn. I’m not sure which I prefer… both are fairly accurate.
I probably received almost 20 seed catalogs in the mail. I got duplicates from some companies, but I heard from plenty of companies from which I’d never ordered seeds.
My goal was to order from only three different catalogs. Of course, my goal was also to order seeds that I really wanted to grow, and when you find some weird little variety that only one catalog has, it makes it difficult to stick with just three catalogs.
We ended up ordering from four catalogs because Tomato Growers was the only one that had the Black from Tula variety, Johnny’s had De Cicco broccoli, Redwing onions, Cylindra beets, Autumn Star kalettes and Adirondack Blue potatoes, Park Seed had Tenderstar green beans, Enterprise summer squash and sponges for our bio-domes, and finally, Burpee had this awesome pea called Peagoda, as well as the Bodacious honeydew and Collective Farm Woman melons. How could we not order all of those cool, unique seeds?
We also ordered several seeds that weren’t so unique, which put our total up to about $246. But since we’re splitting it in two, that puts at it at merely $123 per person, which isn’t bad, considering all the food I get out of my garden, as well as all the happy hours I spend playing in the dirt.
It’s cheaper than both therapy and organic produce from the store, so it’s $123 well-spent.
By Penny Stine
Monday, February 1, 2016
There are carrots that I left in the ground because they were too small to pick last fall, as well as some little tiny spinach seedlings that I spied after the December snowfall melted (and before this latest snow fell) under all this snow.
I’m sure the spinach will be quite happy. Not so sure about the carrots. I still haven’t figured out if overwintering works for carrots. Last year, I had quite a few carrots that overwintered, although they were a bit on the short side. It was a lot warmer last winter, and I didn’t bother mulching any of them this year, so we’ll see if I’m pulling carrots in May.
The garlic and additional spinach in the back yard is also buried under four inches of snow. It will probably be twice as tall when the snow finally melts, thanks to all the moisture in the snow.
Right now, NOAA still says upper 30s over the coming weekend. It cannot melt fast enough for me. If I wanted to live in snow, I’d move to Minnesota.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
My son bought me an oyster mushroom kit for Christmas, and it has given me something to grow in the dreary cold of January. Last year, I bought a kit from Park Seed, and although it wasn’t difficult to get started, it was a little messier. This kit was incredibly simple, with no mess.
The directions on the box are easy to follow in order to get the mushrooms to start growing, and what’s cool is that they grow in a plastic bag (after you've gotten the soil thoroughly wet & put a couple slits in plastic) right in the box.
When I first started it, I put it on the floor in a corner of my kitchen next to a heat radiator. That was a bone-headed thing to do. After several days of no action, I realized my mistake and moved the box to the kitchen counter.
Within days, I could see some growth. To be honest, it looked a little icky at first… after all, mushrooms are a fungus. They grow and change every day, which is pretty cool. Even my husband, who is not a gardener, has been intrigued with these. This would be really great with kids.
I’ve been Googling to see when to pick them, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’m gonna get it right. All the photos of oyster mushrooms that I’ve seen show these cream-colored mushrooms, so I’m waiting until these change color. Or until I can’t stand it anymore and decide to pick them.
As you can see by this second pic, they get bigger every day, so who know's what they'll look like when I go home from work. The box says 10 days to harvest, but unfortunately, I forgot to write down the day I moved them to the counter.
What’s cool about this particular kit is that after you harvest the mushrooms on this side of the box, you start the growing process all over again, so mushrooms grow out of the other side of the box!
I’ve never cooked with oyster mushrooms simply because the grocery stores don’t carry them, but I’m planning on doing a stir-fry with them as the star.
For gardeners like me who are anxiously awaiting springtime, a mushroom box is a pretty cool way to get your growing fix.
This one is from a company called Back to the Roots, and they can be ordered online for $19.99.
By Penny Stine
Monday, January 18, 2016
I went home at lunch and decided to stroll out to the garden spot in the back yard, since that was the only garden spot that wasn’t still covered in snow. Look what I found!
For those who don’t recognize it, that’s what spinach looks like when it sprouts.
By Penny Stine
Monday, January 11, 2016
While snow is still covering most of my garden, at least the mounds of snow aren’t (for the moment) growing. In fact, they’re starting to melt. So yesterday afternoon, when I was tired of feeling like a prisoner in my house, I decided to walk out to my garden areas and see if the spinach or garlic was up.
The spinach was still buried under the snow in all the places that I remember planting it. It may have sprouted, but I wasn’t going to dig under the snow in search of it.
The elephant garlic, however, is up in one area! Woo-hoo!
I try to change where I plant garlic every year and don’t remember where else I might have planted it, but I’m sure it will sprout as soon as the snow melts.
Yay, spring is coming! There may be Grand Junction folks who love the winter, but for me, I just try to endure and overcome in the wintertime. January lasts longer than June, July and August combined….