By Penny Stine
Monday, March 11, 2013
I did a quick inventory to see what survived the cold winter this past year. Not only did the garlic I planted last fall do just fine, but the garlic I thought I had pulled did well, too.
Look at this bed! I really thought I went through in July last year and pulled every last bulb out. Obviously, I missed a few. I'm pretty sure I was raking this patch with a salad fork, trying to make sure I cleared it of garlic, because I planted beets and carros here last July. I was hoping for a fall harvest, but they weren't very big, so I just covered them all with straw as a mulch and decided to leave them there all winter. I'll probably uncover and pull a few this weekend to see how they look.
I've been slowly expanding the number of herbs I grow, and I was pleased to see the burnet and lovage (which I planted sometime in the middle of last summer and which are supposed to be perennials) looking just fine. I sampled them both, and they tasted like dirt, with a faint hint of something else. Not sure how to use either one, but I'll figure out something!
Rosemary is a tender perennial and can grow quite large in places like Texas or Mexico. I bought this one at Bookcliff last summer, and it was supposed to be a hardier type. I can't tell by looking at mine if it's alive or dead. While I'll grant you that it looks pretty dead in this pic, my lavender looks equally lifeless, and I'm sure it's alive. I have been giving the lavender and the rosemary (and everything else that looks alive out in the garden) water all winter.
Same with this kale - it looks kinda dead, but I'm guessing if I cut it back, it may
come back to life, especially on the stalks that still have a little green on them.This is a blue dwarf kale. I also have a red Russian kale patch that looks half-alive, too, so I'll trim both back this weekend in hopes of prompting the kale to come back to life.
Still not picking the spinach yet, but if this week is as nice as the forecast is promising, maybe I'll harvest the first few baby leaves this weekend just so I can say I did.
Here's another reason not to rototill everything into the garden at the end of the season. This is chamomile, which I use to make tea. There are two kinds of chamomile - the Roman chamomile is supposed to be perennial (and not sweet enough for tea) while the German chamomile is an annual. I'm pretty sure this is German chamomile, and it's obviously not dead. One website said it's a self-sowing annual.
In our climate, I have become a big believer in year-round gardening. True, I wasn't outside doing much for a good three or four months, but there's no reason not to plant in the fall around here for an early spring harvest.
Oh, and I had to take a picture of this. Yay! Happy spring!
By Penny Stine
Friday, March 1, 2013
Look! I picked up my shiny green badge yesterday afternoon! I also picked up my gardening buddy's badge, so now it is official. We are not just master gardeners, we are advanced master gardeners! Now we're equipped with enough knowledge to really kill some plants.
To maintain our voluntary status, we have to do more continuing education as well as volunteer hours with CSU extension.
For anyone who's interested in earning their own shiny green badge, I say go for it. Unlike gardening books and magazines, everything you learn in the program is taught with an understanding of our weird micro-climate here in the Grand Valley.
To be honest, you're inundated with so much knowledge during the apprentice year that it's impossible to take it all in (at least it is if you're also trying to do a full-time job, keep a hubby happy and grow a gigantic garden).
Plus, you get an opportunity to meet like-minded souls, who think it's entirely reasonable to turn your living room into a greenhouse every spring.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I might be jumping the gun a little bit, but I just can't help myself. Besides, peppers and herbs take forever to grow in my house because we keep the thermostat down so low.
So, yes, I succumbed to temptation and started seeds indoors. They may get too leggy, but I don't care. It was a wonderful thing to do last weekend, when it was too cold to do much else.
I meant to only start peppers, herbs, leeks, celery root and petunias, but I soaked all the plugs that came with my nifty bio-dome from Park Seed and wasn't sure if I could re-soak them again in two weeks when I wanted to plant tomatoes. So I planted tomatoes, too.
In addition to the seedlings in the bio-domes, I have some in a spare room under grow-lights. I'm starting seedlings for a couple friends who don't have southern-facing windows in spare rooms, which is why it looks like I'm entertaining thoughts of starting a greenhouse rather than simply growing a garden.
I'll probably start a few more tomato plants and put them under the grow lights, but I'm going to wait a week or two.
Nothing like the recent snowstorm to make you want to plant something!
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I took this photo when I was coming in the employee door after an interview. I expect these little crocuses will be blooming in a matter of days. Yay!!! Spring is coming!
By Penny Stine
Monday, February 18, 2013
I grew these interesting spaghetti squash last year. They started out green, and I used the first couple while they were still green. I still had about five when winter started, but by then, they were turning this pretty shade of orange.
I was down to my last two and decided to use one over the weekend.
Yes, they look like pumpkins, but they're stringy like spaghetti squash. The orange shell is also hard as a rock and the only way I can cut it with a knife is to microwave it first.
I meant to take photos of every stage, but stuck the one I was planning on eating in the microwave before I took a photo, so I took a picture of this one instead. It's been hanging out on my canning shelf in the garage for several months.
I had to microwave the squash for nine minutes before I could cut it with a knife. It still wasn't cooked all the way through, but I halved it and scooped out all the guts and seeds.
To cook it, I put a little water in a 10 X 15 pan, then put the halves cut-side down on the pan and baked it for another 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, I sauteed onions, garlic and yellow peppers. Then I decided I wanted more color, so I added chopped kale and a shredded carrot, along with some scrimps.
I scooped out about three cups of cooked spaghetti squash (it was less than an entire half), added those to the shrimp and veggies and stir until it was all mixed nicely. Then I added maybe a half cup of pesto (or maybe a third cup) and a couple glugs of heavy cream and stirred it all again.
It was very tasty.
I scooped out the rest of the squash, put it in a freezer bag and stored it for next time.
I saved the seeds to roast them, but I'm going to plant one just to see if the seed is still viable after being microwaved for nine minutes. Inquiring minds want to know!