Let's Get Dirty

A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.

Send stories and pictures of your horticultural adventures to letsgetdirty@gjsentinel.com.

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Survivor: Grand Junction

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I’ve noticed that most of my tomatoes are big fans of Gloria Gaynor. Every day when I take my garden stroll, I can almost hear them singing, “I will survive.”

They went from tiny and helpless to green and growing.







Well, most of them, anyway. I have one sungold hybrid tomato that hasn’t decided whether life in a pot on the patio is worth living.


Likewise, my pepper seedlings haven’t made their mind up, either. For the most part, they’re still where I planted them, but they haven’t taken off. I was hoping that we’d get an entire week of temps in the 80s and everything would grow a foot.
It’s already Wednesday and the peppers are still in a holding pattern. Unless the hybrid early season peppers undergo a complete transformation, I don’t think they’ll produce peppers in 45 days like the Park Seed catalog promised.


On a positive note, I used compost from my own bin (since I don't have any critters making compost for me like Laurena)  when I planted this year and now I have tiny tomatillos and amaranth sprouting in many places I wasn't planning on growing them. Guess it’s true that home compost bins don’t get hot enough to kill seeds.


Blank slate

By Laurena Mayne Davis
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In the weeks leading up to the wind and the rain that temporarily halted all but the hardiest of local gardeners’ efforts, it was a real who’s who of garden contributors around my house.

Mind you, I was the only one running the shovel and the wheelbarrow, but everyone played a part.

For those interspersed warm spring days are the times when I fling open coop, cage and pen doors, and scoop and scoop and scoop.





Oreo and her two suitemates did their part to fuel the compost pile.








Jacque and her fellow hens gave and gave and gave.











Miss Fancy and her mother, Little Bit, went above and beyond.










After weeks of scooping, shoveling and rototilling, I have a fertilized, loamy blank slate.








Now it’s up to the garden gnomes to stand guard against pests.


These roots are made for walkin’

By Penny Stine
Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sorry for the bad pun, I just can’t help myself. But seriously, these oddly cool onions are called Walking Onions. They’re perennial onions, which I planted (and didn’t harvest at all) last year.

They didn’t do much last year, but since there seemed to be more bulbs underground at the end of the summer than what I originally planted, I dug up one and transplanted it a foot away from the original.



Robert Smith, who used to work as a sales rep here at the Sentinel, told me about these onions. When I saw them in the Park Seed catalog, I had to try them.





I’ve been cutting some of the green tops to use as green onions, and I believe they’ll get an oniony ball on top (maybe slightly bigger than a golf ball) that can be harvested and eaten like an onion by mid-summer. I thought those little white things on the top were the oniony ball, but it turns out they just hold more green onion-type growths. Eventurally, the onion falls over and establishes more walking onions nearby.

I read that I can also dig up the bulb and eat it, but of course, if I dig up the bulb, it won’t keep growing and doing the cool walking onion thing on top.


However, since multiple bulbs seem to form at ground, I’m thinking I’ll be able to dig up a few of them while still keeping enough to have them continue self-perpetuating.




You’re supposed to plant them in a fairly empty bed, since they like to walk all over the bed and plant other onions, but I couldn’t resist planting red onions and garlic in the walking onion bed. I figured they’d all get along.




I’m not sure where the lettuce came from. I don’t remember planting it, but maybe I can make a tasty salad out of leaf lettuce, garlic scape, red and walking onions and the strawberries on the other side of the fence. That, or I'll knock the socks off anyone who gets near me with onion/garlic breath. Don't worry, Sentinelonians, I'd only have it for dinner, never when I'm home on my lunch hour. 


Mud Season

By Carol Clark
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A short weekend trip to Breckenridge found us back in the throngs of winter. It snowed morning, noon and night Friday and Saturday. I just kept thinking, "THIS IS MAY!"




Although I love this little mountain town, I am happy to say, I am a full time resident of Grand Junction.








I found this little sign on main street. There was no grass at all under this sign. Just a very few blades about two feet away.







That wasn't the only witty sign we saw in Breck. This bumper sticker was on a gate near Main:








We had fun watching the snow fall by our fireplace in the Lodge, eatting at Fatty's and shopping. Lodging is actually affordable during mud season.


The shop owners all responded, "Ohhhh Boy!", when asked if they were sick of the snow. One Fatty's patron resounded that he was sure it wasn't going to stop snowing for another two months.













I am happy to say I am back home with my tomatoes growing in the garden and the hummingbirds at my feeders. There's no place like home.


What we’ll do for decent tomatoes…

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I’ve been nurturing tomato seedlings for months. I ordered special tomato types from Tomato Growers, I’ve been growing them inside and tried to make sure I transitioned them properly so they wouldn’t croak their first day in the sun.
The good news is that the sun didn’t kill them. Of course, that could be because the sun has been MIA for the last several weeks rather than due to my skill as a gardener.
The bad news is that some critter has been chomping on my tender little tomato seedlings once they’re in the ground.

I’m not sure what’s getting them. We don’t have deer in the neighborhood and I’ve never seen rabbits, either. I did smell a skunk the other morning and we have our share of creepy-crawlies that probably appreciate the salad bar I’ve been arranging every Saturday.





I’m trying not to get too upset, after all, I started eight different types of tomatoes. I’ve still got five Sungold cherry hybrid patio tomatoes in pots that the mysterious chomper hasn’t discovered and six Roma-type tomatoes along a trellis that are doing fine. So I’m pretty sure that even if I only ended up with one each of the Jetsetter, Sioux, Aunt Ginny’s, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Virginia Sweet and Royal Hillbilly, I’d still have plenty of tomatoes.
However, I’m not letting them go without a fight. My mom told me that her cousin told her that spreading cornmeal around a tomato plant will protect them from ants. Since I have seen plenty of ants around my tender little darlings, I decided corn meal couldn’t hurt. So now my remaining tomato seedlings are surrounded by corn meal.


Since I had leftover seeds of a few varieties, I decided to go ahead and sow the seeds directly in the ground and see how long it takes the direct-sow seeds to produce. If I discover that they produce as many tomatoes as the ones I’ve been fussing with for months, I think I’ll give up my living room greenhouse.
I’m also trying to keep track of the tomato types so I’ll know whether or not I like certain varieties. I’ve learned that permanent marker isn’t so permanent with constant irrigation and sunshine, so I’m tying different colored bits of yarn to the tomato cages.


This tomato cage tells the whole saga: Originally, the maroon and white yarn signaled a Virginia Sweet tomato. But the seedling disappeared one night, so I planted some Royal Hillbilly seeds, as evidenced by the blue yarn. Now, I have to hope I don’t lose the scrap of paper where I wrote which yarn color corresponds to every tomato type.

Page 88 of 119


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