Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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By Penny Stine
Monday, May 6, 2013
I worked like a crazy woman to get all those little tiny plants that I've been blogging about in the ground on Saturday. Actually, I gave about two-thirds of them away to my friends with whom I share the cost of our online seed catalog addiction. I planted the rest.
First, however, my husband, who is an all-around wonderful guy, helped me carry out all the trellises that I use. He built them for me a couple of years ago and I like to experiment and put them in different places in the garden.
I decided this one will go closest to the street, where it gets the most sunshine. Tomatoes are planted on one side and melons on the other. I'm hoping the melons will also grow up the netting. I think I planted honeydew, tasty bites and one called American green on this netting, but I wouldn't guarantee it. I'm going to throw some giant marigold seed around, too, in hopes of creating a colorful jungle that makes the neighbors wonder what I'm up to when they walk by.
I also planted tomatoes on one side of this particular trellis. There's one tomato on the other side and one melon, and room for other climbing vines that I'll start from seed. I just haven't figured out which climbers to put on the other side of this trellis. I've had tomatoes here before and was disappointed with how they produced, but I think it's because I was too severe in how I attempted to train them to climb the trellis. I've repented and promise to let them do as they please this year. Plus, I used a lot more Mesa Magic in the soil, so I have high hopes.
This is a new trellis. Yes, it's actually a pallet. My husband told me it made us look like the Beverly Hillbillies, but I assured him that it would be all the rage for homeowners everywhere when it was covered by a cucumber vine.
I have one more trellis in a small garden area out back that will be home to this interesting climbing spinach vine (it's called Malabar or Ceylon spinach) as well as winter squash. I'm planting both from seed this year and won't plant either one until the soil gets a little warmer. Malabar spinach is supposed to thrive in hot weather, so I'll be curious to see how well it grows. And whether or not my husband and I like it.
I also planted a bunch of herbs, some summer squash, peppers and celery root. Looking at these photos, it doesn't look like I did much, but I managed to do it all day!
By Penny Stine
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Since it was supposed to freeze last night, I brought all my seedlings in to spend the night on the kitchen table. I carried them all back out this morning around 5:45 and noted that the thermometer on the deck said it was almost 40.
I wasn't going to bring them in again tonight. The earlier forecast said it would get down to 37, but I just checked NOAA and it said 31. Dang! Guess I'll be bringing all these plants back in... They're going in the ground this weekend, but in the meantime, I'll tuck them all back in tonight in the house. It would be so sad to kill them now.
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I planted an overwintering variety of spinach from Territorial Seed company in three places in my garden. I've been picking spinach for the last few weeks. Right now, I'm picking about this much every other day.
We eat a lot of spinach.
What's weird is that in this particular bed, the spinach looks awesome. This bed gets shade all morning and then sun all afternoon.
These beds get sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon (which I thought spinach would like) and they're already going to seed!
With spinach, you can prolong its life by pinching the seed formations off and continue picking the leaves, but these leaves are pretty tiny.
I'm glad I had the seed planted in three different beds, because if I had just planted it in the beds where it's now going to seed, I would have blamed it on the seed. Now I have to find something else to blame it on.
Shade? Not enough soil preparation or compost?
I honestly have no idea, but I was really hoping the shady spots would prolong the life of the spinach, not cut it short.
This is why you learn something new every year.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
We went camping over this last weekend, so no gardening chores for me. When we got home on Sunday, I decided it was time to start transitioning the rest of the plants that I started from seed.
I had the trays on plant shelves in two different rooms with southern-facing windows. It took me almost 10 minutes just to move all these plants outside. Since it wasn't supposed to get anywhere near freezing, I've left them outside since Sunday.
This table on the deck is an ideal place to transition the plants. The deck faces north, so the plants are in the shade until late afternoon when some sunlight from the setting sun (which is veering toward the northwest) dapples through the trees.
Although the wind doesn't usually whip around too much on the deck, there's a forecast for high wind today, so I moved all the trays to the floor under the table this morning. I'm planning on moving them into the sunlight tomorrow morning (at least until lunch time), but then I'll probably put them inside tomorrow night, since the forecast says it could get down to 33. They will fill my dining table, but I really don't want to kill them now!
By Penny Stine
Friday, April 26, 2013
I've been using my Vitamix blender every day since it was delivered to my doorstep. We usually do smoothies for breakfast.I almost always try to add spinach or kale, just to make sure we're consuming those great leafy green veggies. Plus, my spinach is producing like crazy and I can pick enough for a couple smoothies every day.
Although I rarely follow them exactly as written, I like to look at smoothie recipes to see what interesting combinations other people come up with. I found a mango mint recipe that sounded good. My husband is not a mint fan, so I decided to try it on a morning he was out of town. It's still a little early for mint, but I found this much, which was probably about a half-cup of loose mint leaves.
I've been putting pineapple in every smoothie because Sprouts had them on sale for 98 cents a piece, and they're supposed to be better than oranges for a cold. I don't have a cold, but I do have a lousy ear infection that won't go away.
Plus, I had to put in the mango because it's a mango mint smoothie. I did not grow either the mango or the pineapple, but wouldn't it be cool if there were mini-pineapple trees that would grow indoors?
I also added a kiwi, because they have a ton of Vitamin C and I had one in my fruit basket. Btw, when making a smoothie in a Vitamix, it's not necessary to peel the kiwi.
After the usual 15-second blend, it was liquid enough to pour. It was also delicious, with enough mint flavor to notice, but not enough to overwhelm. I'm thinking that even my husband would like it, mint-hater that he is. Well, he's not a mint-hater, per se, he just thinks they belong in mojitos and nowhere else!