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
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
We were gone for a couple of days and my garden exploded with weeds. My flashy trout's back lettuce looks pretty happy, too.
So far, it's not bitter (like every other lettuce I've tried to grow). I plan on making some sort of main dish salad with it tomorrow or Friday. I like the speckled look of it, but have no idea if it adds to the nutrional value of it or not.
By Penny Stine
Thursday, May 22, 2014
I love me some kale, and I always leave my plants where they are in the fall, because half of them manage to survive and give me lots of kale in the spring. Sometimes they go to seed in early summer and sometimes they produce for another year. I have no idea why they do what they do.
I did, however, pick this bowl of kale the other night. My hubby was out of town, and I decided it was a good night to experiment with roasted kale.
Earlier in the day, I had visited with a guy who owns a barbecue supply store off 23 Road. I'm writing about barbecue for the Summer Home Improvement section, and he had all kinds of cool supplies, including a shop full of spices, rubs, sauces, wood chunks and pellets.
So, of course, I had to buy a couple varieties. I bought them with grilling and smoking in mind, but as I was picking kale, I thought it would be interesting to see how they tasted on roast kale.
The Johnny's Garlic Spread & Seasoning Mix comes from the Pacific Northwest, where there really was a guy named Johnny who had a restaraunt in Tacoma with an original spice mixture he used on his steaks and seafood. We used to buy the original Johnny's Seasoning (as opposed to this garlic one) when we lived up there and used it on popcorn.
The Dizzy Pig spice said it was good for chicken, pork, fish and veggies, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. It also had some sweetness in it.
When I put the kale on my pizza pan, I tossed it all with olive oil, then used the Dizzy Pig spices on half and the Johnny's Garlic Spread on the other half.
I roasted it at 350 for maybe 10 minutes. As you can see, it always shrinks. I couldn't make up my mind which seasoning mix I like the most. The garlic was good because garlic is flat-out delicous, but the Dizzy Pig was good because the sweet spices were a nice contrast with the bite of the kale. Needless to say, I ate the entire amount by myself.
It's a good thing I grow so much kale...
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I like to grow herbs in the garden. Many are perennials, which means they don’t have to be replanted every year and they’re often available in spring and early summer, when everything else is just getting started.
I’m also willing to plant herbs that I’ve never heard of, like lovage.
Lovage is related to celery and parsley, but it’s much, much stronger, with a flavor that’s reminiscent of fennel.
Mine is planted in an area that gets a fair amount of shade, so it stays about two feet tall. I’ve read that it can reach heights of five or six feet.
I brought some in to work to share, which prompted a couple of people to start researching ways to use it. I also did some online scouting of recipes, and decided a potato/lovage frittata might be worth a try.
I also had some arugula that was ready to pick.I plant my arugula in the shade, so it stays fairly small. This variety is called sweet oak leaf, I think. I have two different types of seeds, and am not 100 percent positive that this one is the sweet oak leaf.
Arugula is an odd flavor, too, kind of hot and mustardy. I figured it would go well in the frittata.
I assembled all my garden ingredients, including some onion, garlic and pea shoots.
I sautéed onions and garlic first, then added cubed potatoes in my cast iron skillet until they were starting to turn brown. Then I threw in all the greens, including the lovage, which I chopped pretty fine. Everything else was fairly coarse.
I scrambled some eggs in a bowl, poured them on top and cooked it on the stovetop with a lid for at least five minutes. Then I topped it with some cheddar cheese and put it in the oven on the broiler setting until the cheese was melted and starting to toast.
I thought it was delicious. My husband could detect the lovage and asked me not to make it again. I didn’t confess to the arugula, since he has told me on other occasions that he doesn’t like it. I was hoping to blow his mind with the amazing flavors, but alas, it didn’t happen.
By Penny Stine
Monday, May 19, 2014
See this tree?
Technically, it's not dead, but when I showed the experts at Bookcliff the photo on my phone, they promptly offered to replace it.
There's a second branch growing up from the ground, but Carol from Bookcliff said that it probably wouldn't be a sensation boxelder, which is what I bought last fall.
This is why I like to buy from local nurseries like Bookcliff, Valley Grown or Mount Garfield. At Bookcliff, trees come with a one-year warranty, which means that if you plant it in the fall, and it dies over the winter, they replace it.
Although I love my garden catalogs, I'm seeing why it may not be the best idea to order live plants from them. I ordered this honeyberry bush earlier this year and was pretty excited when it finally came in the mail. Except that it took much longer than expected in shipping, and I think it died along the way. I planted it anyway, and I recently have been calling (and sending pics to the staff horticulturalist) to find out what they can do to replace it.
I sent the pic last week and haven't heard back. I'm afraid if they simply send me a new one, it will also die along the way.
Valley Grown Nursery is supposed to be getting some honeyberry bushes in this year. I may just take a credit at Park Seed and go buy the plant at a local nursery. I'm sure I'll have better luck, and if I don't, they'll probably replace it easier.
By Penny Stine
Thursday, May 15, 2014
I brought a seed catalog to the office and shared it with one of my coworkers, Joy Pope, who grows a big garden with her husband. They decided to order a mushroom kit from Park Seed just for fun.
I'm not sure what came with the kit, or when they got it started, but she told me her husband picked a couple of giant mushrooms, so I asked her to bring in pics to share on the blog.
I've never grown mushrooms, but judging by this pic, and from little I know, I'm assuming you're supposed to keep the box covered in a cool, damp place.
I'm assuming it's OK to take a peek every now and then, just to see what's happening in the box.
Joy said her husband picked a couple a few days ago when they were tiny, but she told him to wait until they got bigger. It obviously didn't take long.
I may have to add mushrooms to my growing list. I'll bet you could do them in the winter pretty easily.