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 7, 2014
Julie Norman, the Sentinel's online advertising coordinator, sent me these pics of her May garden, so I thought I'd post them.
Her tomatoes (note that hers don't look half-dead)
Here are her peas.
and her lettuce... (It makes me want to start mine in pots next year. She said the good thing about growing it in pots was that she could start it way early, and then just bring it in at night. She's been eating hers for a week or longer and mine in the ground is still to small to pick.)
and look at her pretty irises. She transplanted these in the fall of 2012 and this is the first year they bloomed.
she also sent this pic of carrots, but I don't think these are carrots. Of course, mine are still no-show, so what do I know???
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Even though I’m not 100 percent convinced that it works, I tried the paper towel trick again in my quest to get carrots to grow in the garden.
As you can see, the seedlings grew quite well in the plastic bags on the shelf in the living room. If only I could make them that happy in the garden...
This time, I dug up the soil and watered before I ever placed the paper towels down so the soil was loose but moist. I decided to carefully lift the top paper towel off the seedlings after I set it on top of the prepared soil. Emphasis on the word try.
While peeling paper towels off the seedlings, I had a couple where the seedling was already growing through the paper towel. And a couple of the tiny plants separated themselves from the seed.
Eventually, I had placed carrots in multiple places all over my east garden.I spread a little bit of fine potting soil over the seedlings and then watered a tiny little bit. I probably washed them all away.
The wind’s been blowing all day today and I didn’t go home at lunch to check my carrot seedlings, so I’m hoping they’re surviving.
In the meantime - check out these carrots I pulled from someplace else in the garden! They're merida carrots and I bought them because they were an overwintering type - you planted them in July and didn't harvest them until the following spring. I only had about half a dozen seeds sprout out of a whole pkg of seeds, which is why I'm experimenting with other methods. These carrots are kind of short (duh! it's hard to grow when it's below freezing) and they were starting to get a little woody, but they were fine in a breakfast smoothie.
By Penny Stine
Monday, May 5, 2014
Generally, I’m not a cheater. My husband used to love to accuse me of it when I had a long-running winning streak at cribbage, but really, I don’t like to cheat at games, with taxes or in life. And I’m certainly not going to cheat in my romantic life - you don’t get to almost 30 years of marriage with a laissez-faire attitude toward fidelity.
But on Saturday, I cheated.
See these poor, pathetic little tomatoes… I raised them from seed. I nurtured them almost to death (that’s what happens when you over-water them), and yet, I deliberately went out looking for fulfillment elsewhere. Yes, I let my wandering eyes stray toward another plant!
I know in my heart of hearts that these little tomatoes will give me plenty of joy, happiness and delicious tomatoes, but I couldn't wait.
Not only did my wandering eyes stray, my itching fingers wrote the check to pay for these plants. I confess - I deliberately went to Bookcliff Gardens with the intent of buying at least two tomato plants and I succeeded.
I’m such a shameless hussy - I don’t even have any regrets. Because I bought two tomato plants that were already blooming and already forming tomatoes.
My sad little plants will do just fine once I get them in the ground, but they’ll take a bit of time to adjust and get growing. It may be August before they’re reliably producing tomatoes.
Since I wanted to pick tomatoes by July, I decided to cheat and just go out and buy big tomato plants.
My husband helped me set up my trellises and I got my Bookcliff plants in the ground on Saturday, but I haven’t transplanted the little plants I started from seed yet. In fact, I kept them on the back deck so they wouldn’t see me unloading my nursery-raised plants from the car. I didn’t want to demoralize them too badly.
What? Isn't everybody else concerned about their tomato plants' feelings???
By Penny Stine
Friday, May 2, 2014
Since those who know me know that I do a garden blog, I sometimes get photos from their yards and gardens. I thought I’d post a few.
Here is a friend’s peach tree - he lives in Tucson, Arizona. Back when I lived in Arizona, I don’t remember anyone growing peaches. He said the variety is called desert gold. They look pretty happy to me and much farther along than Grand Valley peaches.
I haven’t been able to tell if any of my blossoms survived and I’ll have peaches this year or not. The tree was blooming like crazy when we had the record-breaking freeze and I don’t know if my shop light hanging from the branch did any good.
Here is a mystery plant growing in another friend’s mountain yard. She works in Telluride, but lives in Rico. She sent me this pic in hopes that I’d be able to identify the weird red stuff. I guessed rhubarb. It certainly looks like the rhubarb that comes up in in my yard, although it looks like it will eventually tower over mine.
Please feel free to share recipes/ideas for using rhubarb with me. My friend was excited about growing something she could eat, but not sure what to do with it.
By Penny Stine
Thursday, May 1, 2014
I love to cook and I love to cook with stuff I grow in the garden. On Monday night, I made stir-fry and the only thing I could find out in the garden to stick in the stir-fry was garlic and onions. It’s hard to make small amounts of stir-fry, so we had a lot left over.
On Tuesday, I wanted to do something with the leftovers that made it seem like we weren’t doing the same thing all over again. I remembered that my mom used to make egg foo young sometimes. So I googled a recipe that I didn’t end up following.
The recipe called for a bunch of green onions and garlic. Why yes, I believe I did have plenty of those growing in the garden.
The recipe also called for bean shoots. I suppose I could keep a supply of germinating bean seeds on hand for such an occasion, but I don’t. I do, however, have pea shoots, so I went outside and whacked an inch or so off select pea plants.
Because I’ve got garlic growing where I don’t necessarily want it, I’m pulling up the whole plant and not allowing it to form the proper bulbs. I use both the green part and the bulb part. Garlic greens are delicious. The garlic bulbs are the red ones in this pic. of my cleaned up garden ingredients.
The recipe I didn’t follow said to use tiny shrimp, leftover chicken or pork. I didn’t have any of that, but I did have leftover ham, so I used that, along with a little tiny amount of frozen kale from last year’s garden.
The recipe included a serving suggestion of putting it on top of plain rice or fried rice. I served it over leftover stir-fry.
The result was delicious and didn’t even seem like leftovers.