Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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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!
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
This is a good time to get more root crops going, so I found some space near the garlic that I thought I pulled and the carrots that over-wintered. I crammed beets, parsnips and more carrots into this bed this past weekend.
The plant with the big green leaves in the center of this photo is rhubarb, which I planted several years ago and which doesn't ever get much taller. I don't know what I'm doing wrong... everybody else can grow rhubarb and mine refuses to cooperate. My husband is not too sad, since he thinks rhubarb is a waste of good garden space, but I like it.
I took a pic of the parsnip seeds because I thought they were interesting and not like any other seed I've planted.
Although I had my doubts about planting parsnips, I have to admit they are delicious when roasted with a little honey, olive oil and fresh thyme. And baked beets are equally delish.
It's way cool to have so many things already growing in mid-April. I highly recommend over-winter crops and perennial herbs - it's easier to get enthusiastic about planting if you're already harvesting something.
I'm not actually digging the garlic yet, but I do raid the greens and use them in anything I can think of - I made tuna melts with chopped green onions and garlic scape, and some of this pretty herb, which is called salad burnet and tastes faintly of cucumbers.
Seriously good tuna melts.
By Penny Stine
Monday, April 22, 2013
So we all knew the snow wouldn't last, but it was still nice to have it warm enough over the weekend to transplant the little leeks and broccoli seedlings I've been nurturing for months.
The broccoli looks pretty unimpressive, but I'm hoping once they're in the ground, the plants will take off. Saturday was a good day for it, since it was fairly cool and cloudy.
On a hot day, newly transplanted seedlings will wilt and look like they're about to croak the next day, but these looked pretty happy the next day when I went to check on them.
I'm planting two different types of broccoli this year. The green one is supposed to do well in hot weather.
This purple one is a broccoli/kale mix that sets little purple florets rather than one big head. The leaves are also edible and supposed to be good.
Don't forget, if you've started plants inside, be sure and let them transition to life outside before you plant them in the garden. A couple of days in the shade, then a day or two in partial sunshine will help them be ready for full days in the sun. And a cloudy day for planting always helps.