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, 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!
By Penny Stine
Friday, February 8, 2013
It hit 45 yesterday, so even though the forecast said snow, I decided it was time to plant. I'm learning that cold-hardy plants are exactly that, so I'm making use of the winter sunshine. Plus, I'm experimenting to see just how cold-hardy some plants are. Not only that, but it allows me to use all my garden spaces.
First, I had to pull up the dead broccoli stalks. Broccoli didn't do particularly well in that plot, because even though it likes cooler weather and will tolerate some shade, nothing really likes the amount of shade in that particular bed.
I have this tree in the front yard, which does a marvelous job of shading my house in the summer, but also prevents some garden plots from getting much sun.
They get plenty of sun now, since the tree has no leaves.
It makes a nice place for Howie to maintain his front yard vigilance.
So this is what I'm planting.It's an Asian greens mixture from Renee's Garden. It has a mizuna and wild kale seeds, along with something else that sounds mysterious.
The seeds all look like kale.
Although I could dig five or six inches with my hand shovel in some areas of this bed, there was another spot not a foot away where the ground was frozen solid. So I planted in three separate areas, and I'll plant the rest as soon as the ground thaws.
Yes, it's crazy to be planting in early February, but it made me happy to do it. Will post pics of whatever comes up.
By Penny Stine
Monday, February 4, 2013
Yes, we'll get more snow, but in the meantime, I've got pics of tiny plants coming up. If that's not a sign that spring really is around the corner, then I don't know what is.
When I was out doing a quick garden stroll over the weekend to see if I needed to lug a watering can around, I saw all of this and decided to post the pics.
This is a red mustard plant. I planted it last year and it re-seeded itself. I wasn't going to grow it again, because it seemed like it came up and went to seed too quickly, but that's because I waited to plant it until April last year. I think I'll enjoy it more this year.
If you cook mustard greens with a little bit of bacon, garlic and onions, they are delish. On the other hand, if you cook gym socks with bacon, garlic and onions, I'd probably think they were good...
These are the little mustard greens that are starting to emerge in another part of my garden where there was mustard last year.
I had to get his photo. The snow melted in this bed about three days ago. Is that amazing that the seed emerged so quickly or what? Looking at the diversity and design of plant life makes me appreciate and marvel at God's creativity.
Having a winter garden also helps me make use of all my beds that are shaded by deciduous trees in the summer, because they're full of sunshine right now.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
My garden has been buried under four inches of snow for a month. When it first snowed, I hoped that the little spinach seedlings that came up so bravely in November (or is that brazenly?) would hang in there for a few days. After it became a few weeks and then over a month with temperatures below freezing, I just assumed that my poor spinach had died.
But when I went to check after the snow melted, look what I found!
In fact, it actually looks like it grew a little bit under all that snow. I probably won't be eating fresh spinach by March, but maybe by April.
Sadly, the broccoli that I left standing isn't looking so good. Deer wandered through my yard at 4 a.m. several weeks ago, but even they weren't interested in the frozen broccoli.
My other cold-hardy crops are a mixed bag. This is kale. I think it lived through at least one previous winter. I don't think it lived through this winter, although if I cut back all the frost-bit stuff, there might be something alive.
This kale, which is only four feet from the frozen plants, looks like it might survive.
Yes, it's extremely tiny, but that's because it was in the shade when the trees had leaves. Perhaps it will thrive in the late winter/early spring before the trees get their leaves.
Regardless, it's kind of cool to see the effects of the freezing weather on some of the garden plants. And pretty amazing to see that spinach. It's a strain called Winter Giant from Territorial Seed. So far, it's living up to its name.
By Penny Stine
Monday, January 21, 2013
I've been trying to think of a reason to appreciate or enjoy the cover of cold that's sitting on the Grand Valley. I thought I had it when I started thinking about squash bugs, which overwinter as adults.
I figured there were probably some squash bugs calling my compost bins bed and I hoped that our month-long deep freeze was killing them. In fact, I mentioned that hope to other people in my attempt to be a little ray of sunshine instead of my cold, whiny self.
Then I thought I should check with the authorities. Or the authority, as is the case. I e-mailed Bob Hammon, the CSU extension agent who is also the bug guy. Sadly, Bob assured me that those little buggers are extremely cold-hardy and are probably burrowed down deep, biding their time and waiting to come out.
Curses! I've given up being a little ray of sunshine.