Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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By Penny Stine
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I’m determined not to kill any of my baby plants this year, so I’m being careful about transitioning all the seedlings I started indoors. They go outside, but they sit in the shade. Unless there’s too much wind in the forecast, then they stay inside. Howie the guard dog is vigilant about keeping marauding rabbits away.
Last year, I fried most of my tomatoes to white little ghosties by putting them in direct sunlight on a bright, sunny day on their first day outside. So far, my babies have been out almost every day this week and they’re still alive. I also killed coreopsis, creeping thyme, catmint and lavender last year by putting them outside in lightweight seedling pots in the wind, which scattered them across the deck.
Starting on Saturday or Sunday, I’m going to place them in the sun for an hour or two.
In the meantime, in my east garden, I made the mistake of planting carrots in an area where both dill and cosmos self-seeded last year. I think I’ll be able to tell them apart, but I’m not 100 percent positive.
Anyone want to play my guessing game and try to figure out which is which?
Anyone who can correctly guess which pic is carrots, which is cosmos and which is dill wins free amaranth and zinnia seeds and (yes, there's more!!!) a summertime supply of parsley or dill!
Wow, does it get any better??
By Carol Clark
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Friday night was our first night for roasting marshmallows in the fire pit. The moon was almost full with not a cloud in the sky. It was a little chilly but warm by the fire and it made me excited for camping.
The moon was officially full Sunday evening but it was cloudy. Indians named the full moons and today we carry on that tradition.
April is the Pink Moon. According to the Farmer's Almanac, this name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for April's full moon: Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.
By Penny Stine
Monday, April 18, 2011
Because I plant in plots and clumps (as opposed to neat, tidy and well-marked rows), and don’t write anything down, I’m often pleasantly and mysteriously surprised when I see something sprouting in the garden.
I tend to forget where I’ve planted things, although I’m usually pretty good about remembering that I planted something in that particular area.
But I’ve got something coming up in an area that I don’t remember planting anything...
I’ve gotten free, aged horse manure from a co-worker for the last two years to add to my dirt, and I remember seeing a certain weed that I hadn’t seen before in my tomato patch, where I had used the manure. This tiny little plant looks vaguely familiar, like it might be the weed I inadvertently imported from the friend’s manure.
The good news is that if it’s a weed, it’s not coming up anywhere else, just in this particular corner. Which is why it could also be something I deliberately planted.
As for these little seedlings… I know I planted something, and they look somewhat cabbage-y, but they could also be radishes. Or Brussels sprouts that never came up from the seed I threw down last year?
Can anyone tell me for sure what either of these are?
I wrote this last week but forgot to post. After a couple of days growth, I’m more certain that the second pic is a radish. Still thinking the first pic is a weed – it’s growing way to fast to be something I actually want!
I planted radishes, carrots, lettuce, radicchio, quinoa, perilla, broccoli, kale and a flower called love-in-a-mist on Sunday, but of course, didn’t write or take note of where I put anything. That just means that as everything starts to sprout in a week or two, it’ll be like Christmas. And yes, I know I plant odd things, but what's the point of growing a garden if you only grow what you can find at your local grocery store?
By Penny Stine
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I wrote a month or so ago about my dislike of grass and showed a photo
of my wildflower area being overrun with grass. I sprayed a Fertilome product all over the area, and sadly, the grass did not wave a white flag of surrender in an unmistakable sign of its impending demise.
However, when I've tugged at the grass, it pulls fairly easily out of the ground, and doesn't seem as prolific as it was a month ago. Now, you can actually see the strawberry plants, iris, penstemon, thyme and yarrow. And the one lone daffodil wishing he wasn't so all alone by the mailbox.
When I sprayed back in March, I killed some of the grass that was starting to emerge, but there's another type that hadn't yet recognized the beginning of its growth season. It's finally starting to emerge and come to life.
Bwah ha ha... just in time for me to kill it.
Whaddya think? Did the grass killer work???
When I'm not getting all Rambo on the grass that dares grow where it shouldn't, I've taken a couple pics of my happy spring garden.
Every spring, I wish I would have planted more bulbs in the fall, but every fall, I'm usually burned out on gardening and don't want to spend any more money or time on the garden. Last fall, I actually bought a few more bulbs and got them planted.
I also planted spinach last fall, which seems to work well, since it's only mid-April and I've already starting picking and eating it. Although the tender, tiny leaves are tasty, eating it makes me feel worse than Rambo. Because it's not just baby spinach, it's preemie spinach. And that just feels wrong...
I planted the peas sometime in early March. So far, so good.
By Carol Clark
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Miss those fresh out-of-the-garden, juicy, for-the-love-of summer tomatoes? Those big beauty's are why I started gardening. I can't get enough of them during those few short months of the year when the world is full of ripeness and you can sink you teeth into a beautiful tasty tomato still warm from the garden.
Fresh salsa is a summer staple on our dinner table. Fresh tomatoes with cilantro and just a bit of hot pepper. Canned salsas are never as good, with their watery consistency and bland "off" flavor. You can imagine my excitement when I found the next best thing to fresh hidden in my six-hundred page volume of "Cooks Country Cookbook".
While the pale, hard, tasteless tomatoes in the produce department are bringing four dollars a pound, this recipe takes a fifty-cent can of diced tomatoes. Add a few fresh ingredients and you have salsa that is better than any restaurant in town.
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 small red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons canned pickled jalapenos, drained. (I used a fresh jalapeno).
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
Pulse the onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, jalapenos, and salt in a food processor until roughly chopped, about five 1-second pulses. Add the tomatoes and pulse until chopped, about two 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer and drain briefly. Serve. The salsa can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days. Re-season to taste before serving. OH YEA BABY!
"Summer's lease hath all too short a date."