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, July 25, 2013
Every year, I try a few weird things just because I can. This year, I ordered two different cucumber seeds from Baker Creek; Poona Kheera and Sikkim.
Here's Poona Kheera:
Although the peel is extremely bitter (so we don't eat it), the cucumber itself is quite tasty. The plant is fairly prolific, too.
This is an heirloom variety from the Poona region of India.
But check this out...
This is the Sikkim cucumber, an heirloom variety from the Sikkim region of India.
Gee, it looks just like the Poona Kheera!
Actually, the Poona Kheera might be the Sikkim, and the Sikkim might be the Poona Kheera, but the important thing to know here is that these were supposed to be two different types of cucumbers, since I used seeds from two different packets.
I have no idea how far Sikkim is from Poona, but obviously, the cucumbers of each region get along just fine.
I also have lemon cucumbers growing somewhere, so I guess I'll have a lot of yellow cucumbers this year.
Next year, I'm going to read the small print when I order seeds and do more research before I order!
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I posted pics of the various trellises I'm using in the garden this year a couple months ago before anything started growing, so I thought I'd post an update. This trellis was supposed to have tomatoes on one side and green beans and malabar spinach on the other. A couple of the tomato plants are growing like crazy and starting to get quite a few green tomatoes on them. The beans are looking pretty good, too.
Since one of the tomato plants on the west side of the trellis died, I planted cucumbers, but they haven't started to climb yet.
And neither have these...
According to the seed catalogs, this malabar spinach was supposed to take off once daytime temperatures reached 90. They reached 90 in June and the plants didn't take off. Then I thought that perhaps they'd grow quickly when we had that week of higher than normal humidity and afternoon rain.
They still didn't take off.
I'm beginning to think they're just not going to do much in my garden.
Has anybody else ever tried to grow malabar spinach in Colorado?
I am kinda pleased with the way my pallet trellis looks. I was going to get a second pallet and put it up next to it, but since I had so many wire tomato cages, I decided to plant cucumbers in the middle of the cage and see if they'd climb that. They did, with a little encouragement from me.
The green beans that I planted on the rear side of the pallet and the additional cukes I planted on the front side needed no encouragement to climb.
Now I'm just trying to keep them from choking out the peppers that I put in the front of the box.
I'm also pleased with my coat rack. The beans are doing exactly what I wanted them to do, and I think it looks pretty cool.
I just hope the coat rack doesn't fall over - it is leaning more than the Tower of Pisa.
By Penny Stine
Monday, July 22, 2013
Back in May, I went to Denver to help my son work on a landscaping project in his front yard. The lawn of his house is elevated about three feet above the sidewalk, and the slope used to be covered in grass, which was difficult to mow.
We were too cheap to terrace it, so we put edging around the perimeter of the lawn, did our best to rototill up the grass on the slope and bought a few perennials and annual flowers that self-sowed to fill the slope with flowers.
It didn't look like much when we finished, since we bought tiny little perennials and seeds are difficult to see once you've scattered them.
I've been pestering my son to send me pics of his yard, which he finally did.
This sunflower hedge was his idea - he wanted both amaranth and sunflowers. I did a lousy job of scattering the amaranth seed, since it's all concentrated in one area. We bought about six different packs of various sunflower seeds. I think this will look very cool when they're all in bloom.
We also threw down some wildflower seeds. My experience with wildflower seeds is that they look good the first year, but then the diversity gives way to a whatever flower establishes itself as the most dominant. But that's OK, it doesn't require mowing.
I think this is a cherry brandy rudbeckia plant that we bought when we did the lawn makeover. It's really pretty. I may have to get one for my yard.
In addition to the sunflower hedge along the side of the house, my son also wanted to plant sunflowers in front of the house, right next to the steps going up the sidewalk leading to the front door.
The sunflowers will continue to bloom like crazy until it freezes. I told him he'd probably wish he didn't plant them when he has to pull up all the stalks and clean up the bed in the fall, but at least they're pretty for now.
By Penny Stine
Friday, July 19, 2013
Next year, I will buy tomatoes early. Oh, I'll still start my favorites from seed simply because it's a great way to keep my mind off winter, but I refuse to wait until the end of July or the first of August for ripe tomatoes.
My gardening buddy, Jan, bought tomato plants with tomatoes already on them in May and she's been eating ripe, red tomatoes for weeks. She shared a couple with me last week, and they were delicious. I enjoyed every mouth-watering bite and felt foolish for being too stubborn to buy tomatoes that I didn't start myself.
Because this is what the tomatoes I started from seed still look like. I fear that I will turn completely gray and need both dentures and crutches before they ripen.
Of course, so many of my tomato plants died at transplant this year that I ended up buying a couple plants in early June, after the good ones had already been picked over. This is one of the plants I bought in June.
I'll have to wait even longer for it to give me tomatoes.
I'll be gray, in dentures, on crutches and wearing Depends before I get my first BLT out of these!
By Penny Stine
Thursday, July 18, 2013
It's so lovely when someone catches the gardening bug. And no, I'm not referring to squash bugs, I'm referring to that wondrous sense of how cool it is to stick a seed in the ground, give it some water, talk to it in encouraging ways and have a plant that you want begin to grow. I got this e-mail from Julie Norman, the Sentinel's online coordinator, who is growing her first garden:
"Look! A zucchini! I don't remember what kind... Erin McIntyre gave the seeds to me. I fought off squash bugs and eventually raked ALL the mulch away from the plant so they had nowhere to hide (I didn't have that many but was finding 2-3 bugs a day)."
Ah... welcome to the club, Julie. Did you ever think zucchini could be so exciting?