Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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By Penny Stine
Friday, July 10, 2015
I wanted to make potato salad last night, but didn’t have enough Yukon gold potatoes in the cupboard, so I decided to poke around a few of my purple potato plants and see what I could find. I forgot to take a pic of the raw potatoes, which actually look almost brown, but you can see that they are distinctly purple inside.
I grew them last year and thought that cooking mellowed out the color. I remember eating lavender baked potatoes last year. Some of the ones I dug turned lavender after cooking, but as you can see, some kept their deep purple color.
Sadly, none sang “Smoke on the Water.”
Yes, I’m aging myself.
I wasn’t sure what the potatoes would look like when mixed in the potato salad, but I actually thought it turned out kind of pretty. My husband was a bit suspicious at first, but when I explained that they were just purple potatoes, he was fine. I think he was worried I was trying to sneak beets into the potato salad.
The purple potatoes were still on the small side, so I’m not going to dig any more. Unless, of course, I get a hankering for roast potatoes.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
My garlic was starting to turn brown and fall over, which is a sign that it’s time to dig it up, let it cure and then braid it for storage.
If I dawdle, as I have been known to do, it will disappear entirely and I’ll have to guess where I planted it and hope I get it all. I usually don’t, which means I have random garlic growing all over my garden from bulbs that got left in the ground the year before, since I hardly ever plant anything in the exact same place two years in a row.
Last night after work, I went out to dig the garlic. I had planted it in places that got winter sunshine but are fairly shady in the summer, thanks to the deciduous trees and the angle and location of the sun. I was pretty disappointed in the size, and after digging about 3/4 of the garlic that I had planted, I decided to leave the rest in the ground for another few weeks in hopes that they’ll get larger.
More than likely, they’ll just turn completely brown and then decompose quickly into the dirt so that I’ll forget where they are, but maybe I’ll remember.
I also left a few of the elephant garlic standing just because I was curious about what it will do.
Last night, I separated one head of elephant garlic, then cut a few of the cloves into quarter-inch slices and sautéed them with onions and other veggies. The flavor was good, but extremely mild.
By Penny Stine
Monday, June 29, 2015
I decided to dig another elephant garlic bulb over the weekend because we were smoking a pork loin and I wanted to smoke an entire clove of elephant garlic.
As you might be able to see, the leaves had started to die back, which is a sign that the garlic is ready for harvest. As you can also see, there are three teeny-tiny cloves. I have no idea if they would form bigger cloves if I left it in the ground longer.
I washed it off and then wrapped it in foil with a little salt, pepper and olive oil.I resisted the urge to use my flavored olive oil from Bella Balsamic, because my hubby prefers the plain. He’s not a fan of the infused balsamic vinegars, either, which is a real bummer.
We had the Traeger on smoke, so I just put the foil-wrapped garlic on the grill next to the pork and let it cook for about two hours.
When I took it off, I was afraid it would still be hard, but inside the skin of the cloves, the garlic was smooth and creamy. I put some in a corn and poblano chile side dish, but served the rest on a plate and we all just spread it on our buns like mayo or barbecue sauce, then piled on the shredded pork.
Seriously delicious sandwiches.
By Penny Stine
Friday, June 26, 2015
Last year was my first year to grow pineapple tomatillos, aka ground cherries. I loved them. They were good raw and they were great in a pie or a coffee cake. I loved them in a cucumber salad with feta cheese and peaches. I also loved just eating them in the garden.
After reading that they were notorious about re-seeding themselves and coming back, I made sure to leave some on the plants & let a few others fall to the ground and remain there at the end of the season last year. Seriously, I probably left a hundred little tomatillos on the ground.
This spring, I eagerly waiting for them to reappear. And waited some more. I also planted lettuce in the same bed, figuring that the lettuce would be an early crop that would go to seed about the time the pineapple tomatillos started to grow and take off. That strategy worked brilliantly.
Finally, I got impatient waiting for the ground cherries to start growing, so I went to Bookcliff Gardens. They had three plants left, so I bought two of the remaining ones. When I went home to plant them, I discovered that I had one volunteer pineapple tomatillo plant coming up.
The one volunteer plant has now caught up to the two I bought from Bookcliff, although it doesn't have any fruit on it yet. The ones from Bookcliff already have a few little tomatillos on them.
I’ve also discovered a few more coming up in other places.
Of course, most of them are all coming up in a clump.
I’ve transplanted two of the volunteers to a less crowded space. At first, they went into shock, but I think they’ll recover.
I don’t know why so few of the hundreds of seeds I left in the ground actually germinated, but I think I’ll end up with about six or seven plants, and that should be plenty.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
I was out in another area of my garden and I took a more careful look at the various cole crops, and I discovered that once they got to be a certain size, it was easy to tell what they were. Look at these tiny kohlrabi! I've never grown kohlrabi before, but when I was a teenager, my mom always planted it in our Wyoming garden. She still grows it in her Nebraska garden, which gets almost as hot as we do here.
Kohlrabi is one of those weird veggies that you don't see in the grocery stores much, but last summer when we visited my mom, she sliced one and I remembered how much I like them. Hubby also said it was tasty, so I had to grow it in this year's garden. This kohlrabi is obviously not the purple variety, so I'll be able to compare the purple to the white and see which one I like better. For those who have never tried it, it tastes kind of like the stem part of broccoli (which is actually my favorite part), but better. You can eat it raw or cook it.