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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Harvesting pitiful Brussels sprouts

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I took a quick garden stroll to check out the Brussels sprouts, which are continuing to overwinter in my garden. As you can see, the little sprouts on this portion of the stem have started to open up like little flower petals, which is a sign that I should have picked them weeks ago.
I didn’t want to pick them because they weren’t very big. I kept hoping they’d get larger.




As you can see by this pick,there were other little sprouts on the plant that still look like teeny tiny little cabbages. I decided they probably weren’t going to get any bigger, so I picked them.


I also pulled a couple of green onions and decided to do a veggie medley with some purple cabbage, orange sweet peppers, mushrooms and garlic. I sautéed some of the veggies and roasted the cabbage and the Brussels sprouts. I had to combine the sprouts with a bunch of other veggies in order to make enough to bother eating. If all that was standing between me and starvation was my overwintering veggies, I would have been dead several months ago.  


Get ready, set, grow

By Penny Stine
Thursday, February 26, 2015

I got some of my seeds started over the weekend. Because peppers grow so slowly at first, my gardening buddy and I started those and we also started some cold-weather loving plants. We could have direct-sowed the cold-lovers in April, but we wanted to give them a little head start.


This year, I’m growing a giant kohlrabi variety that my mom recommended (which has already sprouted, as you can see in this pic) as well as an orange cauliflower, a normal broccoli and a weird broccoli variety that has stems like asparagus. We’re also trying a new kale variety that’s supposed to be sweeter than regular kale, some leftover Brussels sprouts seeds and a purple savoy cabbage. Oh, the excitement of new varieties… be still, my beating heart.

Most of the cole crops have already sprouted in my southern window.
We ordered several different types of pepper seeds, and we also used some left over pepper seeds from previous years. My friend, Jan, wants purple jalapeños, which we had leftover, while I want to continue growing the hot Fresno peppers, which were leftover. We’re trying one new hot pepper called a cayennetta, which is supposed to grow well in a pot.
We’ve got a combination of new seeds and old seeds for peppers, too. I’ve got my planters with peppers sitting on my heat mat, but so far, none of the peppers have sprouted.


February garden harvest

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I made a cauliflower with blue cheese recipe that needed green onions. So I wandered out to the garden and look what I found!
Yes, I’ve got enough onions that are big enough to pull and use green. I also had these odd little cabbage-type leaves that I plucked from on of my Brussels sprouts plants, which I roasted with the cauliflower.
I picked the sage to go into an apple/pork chop recipe that was OK, but nothing to write home about.
It made me quite happy to do a garden stroll and find something to harvest that I could use in dinner.
Btw, the cauliflower was delicious. I highly recommend the recipe.  


Some gardens grow better in winter

By Penny Stine
Monday, February 16, 2015

Another lovely week last week, with warm temperatures and no snow or rain, so I dragged the hose around on Sunday to water the plants that are growing in the garden this winter.



I was pleasantly surprised to see how tall this garlic is. It’s quite happy in this spot, which gets quite a bit of winter sun, in spite of the blue spruce planted directly west of the tree.



In the winter, the sun is in the northwest, so the tree doesn’t block the sun as much as it will start to come March, April and May, as the sun heads toward the southwest.







I also have this big tree in the front yard that’s east of the garlic spot. During the winter, as you can see, it has no leaves, so it doesn’t block the sun, either.Once the leaves are on the tree, the bed in which I planted garlic gets a lot of shade, which is why it’s a great place for over-wintering plants.

I love and hate the tree, which I think is a honeylocust. It gets those long, black pods that fall in early winter, after the city's leaf pickup service has made its last run through the neighborhood. The tree does produce nice shade for the front yard, which feels great, but makes it harder to grow a garden.


My garden loves the mild winter

By Penny Stine
Monday, February 9, 2015

Last fall, I left the Brussels sprouts out in the garden when they didn’t produce before Thanksgiving. Ditto for some mid-summer planted carrots and beets. I also left some onions out there near one of the Brussels sprouts plants. I didn’t cover the Brussels sprouts, but did spread straw all over the carrots.




As you can see by the pic, the onions look fine, perhaps a little thirsty. The Brussels sprouts (it’s supposed to be purple) is droopy, but when I looked more closely, look what I saw!



Yep, tiny little Brussels sprouts. I’m not sure when I’m supposed to pick them. The ones growing elsewhere look like they're starting to open, but they're still pretty tiny. 




I decided to water my everything on Saturday since we haven’t had much rain, so I dragged the hose around to water my spinach that came up a couple weeks ago, as well as the Brussels sprouts and the area where I had carrots and beets. I was curious about the carrots and beets, so I rooted around in the straw to see what was there.
Check out the carrots - don’t they look fine and dandy?









These beets look pretty promising, too.







I’m thinking the biggest challenge I’ll have with these plants isn’t the cold, but the lack of water. Looks like I’ll be dragging around the hose or my watering can.

When I was out doing a weekend garden checkup, I looked in on the garlic. It’s up, too!
Yay for mild winters! 

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