Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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By Penny Stine
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Every day, our mailbox is full of catalogs. I look through a few and admire the flannel shirts from L.L.Bean and then toss most of them in the recycle bin.
Except for these.
That's right. My first three catalogs of the 2014 gardening season, full of promise that my garden will be beautiful, tasty and the best-producing garden ever.
With snow and cold temperatures lingering for who knows how long, these catalogs will become more and more important to my sanity.
By Penny Stine
Monday, December 2, 2013
I guess this really is the end. With more snow forecast for tomorrow and the next day accompanied by even the cold-hardiest killing frosts, I should probably go pick the few remaining leeks and the one remaining celery root.
If I wait, the ground will get too hard to pull anything loose.
I picked these a week or two ago when we got snow on a Saturday and my husband decided it would be a good day to make vegetable beef soup. Although we used some fresh and some frozen vegetables, we also used leeks and celery root that I pulled that day.
Yes, I had to uncover the celery root before I could pull it. Luckily, I remembered where it was, since the garden was covered in snow.
I still have a few herbs out there that I'll try to pick tonight, too, even if I end up picking by flashlight, since it's almost dark by 5 p.m.
I'm sure the neighbors think I'm nuts, since they drive by and wave to me when I'm out bundled up in the garden in December, but I don't care.
After all, I've got this to show for my efforts - isn't it a beauty?
OK, so celery root won't win any prizes for its looks. but it is kinda cool to be pulling something out of a garden this late in the season.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Yes, I know, it's not the lettuce's fault that it's bad. As a responsible gardener, it's my duty to provide the right growing conditions if I want a specific crop to be good.
I planted this lettuce at the beginning of fall, thinking that it would be quite happy in the cooler weather. It's a butter crunch type of lettuce, which I've grown in the past and which has been sweet. Sometimes.
I thought it was the hot weather that made my lettuce so awful, but after tasting this lettuce, I realized it was probably a lack of water, since I try to water about once every three days during growing season. I didn't water as much in the fall as we were nearing the end of irrigation season, and this lettuce hasn't received any extra watering from me since the irrigation water has been off.
After picking a few leaves (which I was hoping to add to my pea shoot salad), I tasted them and discovered they were bitter beyond belief. So they went in the compost bin. I left the lettuce in the ground out of curiosity, just to see if the cold weather kills it or weather it will survive the winter. You never know…
But I did learn that next spring, I should plant lettuce next to the newly seeded carrots, which I always water more often than other parts of the garden to encourage those little carrot seeds to sprout. Of course, the lettuce will probably bolt by July and the tomatoes won't get ripe until August, but maybe I'll have a couple early season salads.
By Penny Stine
Monday, November 25, 2013
I decided the pea shoots in the living room were large enough to try to star in a salad. I found a recipe that just used pea shoots and shaved parmesan cheese in a lemon vinaigrette and decided to give it a whirl.
I meant to take a photo of the salad in the salad bowl, but forgot. So here it is on my plate.
The good news is that it was good - what there was of it. My husband also thought it was tasty, but he agreed that he could have easily consumed more. When pea shoots are the only real ingredient in a salad, you need a lot of them. I probably had a scant three cups before adding the dressing, which reduced it to less than two cups of salad.
The good news is that I finally confessed to my husband that I was growing a little garden in the living room on my plant shelf. Not that I was hiding it - the planters are out in plain site and all, but he never noticed them. Since he thought the pea shoot salad was fab, he didn't seem to care.
So of course, I planted more the next day...
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I've been pulling onions for a couple of weeks, after I discovered that the texture was improving after a brief period of mushiness in September. I still have have a few in the ground, too. The harvested ones were piling up on a tray on my back deck in the shade, which was a fine place for them to cure in the fall. I don't think it's such a great place for winter, when they would all freeze like little onion-cycles. Actually, that should be onioncicles, since they'd be frozen onions rather than onions with two wheels.
Although my attempts to braid garlic didn't result in beautiful garlic braids, I did end up with OK braids. They're hanging on my kitchen wall and are slowly disappearing as I use the garlic. Without consulting a youtube video, I attempted an onion braid.
I got an onion blob.
They are all bound together, however, and I was able to hang them from our wine rack, off to the side where my husband won't bump his head when he does the dishes, so I'm happy with my hanging onion blob.
These onions are really small - just slightly bigger than a green onion. They have a nice flavor, however, and will probably keep for another month or two as I slowly use them.
I'm going to let the remainder of the ones out in the garden stay out in the garden through the winter, just to see if I can pull them in December or January (I doubt it) or will still be a good texture in February and March when the ground might start softening again enough for me to pull them out of the dirt.