Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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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!
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.