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
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Everyone loves wildflowers, so doesn't it sound lovely to have an area in your yard that's a designated wildflower area? Yeah, I thought so, too, when I scattered wildflower seeds out by the mailbox/irrigation cistern about 12 years ago.
Ever since then, I've been trying to tame my wildflower area. Two years ago, I planted some iris bulbs that a friend gave me out there. Last year they looked OK, this year they were fabulous ,especially since they were blooming before the weeds got huge.
Because they were included in that first packet of wildflower seeds, I get sunflowers and cosmos out there every year, which look pretty good at the end of the summer. I also gets lots of grass and weeds, which is pretty common in a wildflower area. Every year, I add more perennials or self-sowing annuals to the area in hopes they'll overpower the weeds and grass. It hasn't worked yet, but I have discovered awesome flowers like the one above, which I think is a purple mallow and which seems to reseed and spread all over the place.
I'm transplanting morning glories and amaranth to the area, in hopes that they both will reseed and spread themselves all across the area, too. If I can't get rid of the weeds, I may as well hide them behind nuisance flowers.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
I like color in my garden, which is why I tolerate this plant, called Love in a Mist. I think I'll re-name it invasive love, since it seeds itself and spreads everywhere. I've been yanking it out before it flowers - not because it will go to seed, but because once it flowers, it's too pretty for me to pull.
This is also giving my garden nice color this June. I bought a seed mixture that was supposed to have multiple colors, and most of the columbines are either yellow or white. I think this is the third year for the flowers, and it's the biggest and best they've looked.
Here's a color I didn't expect. I went out this morning to pick some kale for my morning smoothie and I saw this pretty pink leaf. It was on one of my Russian red kale plants. I guess it's a pinko kale... and that's an incredibly corny joke that only someone who remembers the Cold War will get.
I threw it in the blender with the rest of the kale and Swiss chard and then added cucumber, honeydew, mango and pineapple. It was pretty good. I have no idea if the pink kale tasted any different from the rest, nor do I know why that particular leaf was pink, but it looks kinda cool.
By Penny Stine
Friday, May 31, 2013
While there are many who would agree that my gardening obsession is a bit much, specifically, I need help in knowing what to do with this mustard, which is now coming up in several places in my garden. (It's the pretty red-leaved plant.) It's also strong and a bit on the hot and spicy side - think horseradish rather than habanero. I'm not from the south; I have no idea what to do with mustard greens. Or reds, as the case may be.
I also need suggestions for these, which are chamomile flowers. I could probably pick this amount of chamomile flowers every day. Yes, I know I can make great tea, but it's only May and the plants continue blooming through October. I don't drink that much tea.
Let me know if anyone has a suggestion for either one. I don't think combining them is an option...
By Penny Stine
Thursday, May 30, 2013
I posted the pic of the redneck trellis in my front yard a couple of weeks ago, which is a pallet, anchored by two corner-pieces that I think are used in framing a building. Last weekend, in addition to pulling endless weeds and planting hundreds more seeds, I set up a few more trellises.
Yes, this one is rather low to the ground, which makes sense because it's really a shoe rack that we weren't using. I'm hoping the cucumber that I planted near one end will grow along and through the shoe rack and eventually wind its way up the blue spruce tree.
Although seriously, why I want cucumbers in the blue spruce is a mystery. That tree hurts when you get too close! I'll be picking cucumbers in kevlar.
This is one of the trellises my amazing hubby built for me a few years ago. Every year, I move them around the garden to a new spot, with a new veggie growing on it. This one will have winter squash on one side and malabar spinach and pole beans on the other. I hope. The winter squash may get heavy enough to knock the whole thing over, but my husband is an engineer and he was pretty meticulous about designing a trellis for me that would be strong, could be dissembled at the end of the season and would last for years.
And last, but not least, here's my favorite new trellis. My amazing hubby thinks it makes our yard look even more rednecky, if that's possible. It's a coat rack the neighbor was selling at a garage sale. I planted pole beans all around it.
I have tomato cages I didn't use this year and I also have morning glories coming up in places I don't want them. I'm going to dig up the morning glories, transfer them to areas where I have a bare patch, and give them a tomato cage to climb. More trellises!
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I spent all day on Saturday working in my garden. We were gone for two weekends in a row, which gave the weeds, grass and other random things plenty of time to throw a party and invite all their friends to my garden. I think I see golden amaranth in this pic, as well as one tiny morning glory sprouting and lots of little elm trees. I hate elm trees. My neighbor has a really large one, so I've got thousands of baby elms sprouting in my yard, garden, flower pots, cracks in my sidewalk and everywhere else.
Before I weeded, I decided to go pick all the carrots and beets that were still in the ground from last year. I was alarmed to discover that the garlic was falling down and looked like it was dying!
Then I remembered, oh yeah, that's what it does. You have to let it die on top so the bulb underneath gets a little bigger. These particular ones died so thoroughly that I had a hard time finding the bulb last year, which is why they're growing in this bed again this year.
This is the garlic I intended to grow this spring. (in front and to the right of the columbine and catmint) It hasn't begun to die back yet, nor has it formed the curly scapes. I planted one variety of softneck and one hardneck. I can't remember where I planted which ones, but I'll be able to tell by the scape. Hardneck forms the curly cue scapes (which make wonderful pesto) and softneck doesn't. Softneck is supposed to store longer, which is why I planted both.
We use a lot of garlic, so I'm happy to have it in four different beds this year. Plus, it will keep the vampires out of my garden! Now, if only it would keep away the aphids.