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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Laurena Mayne Davis
Thursday, June 2, 2011
When I was in junior high, my mom, my little brother and I moved into Grandpa and Grandma’s little basement apartment on East Orchard Mesa while my father was stationed overseas for a year.
It was quite a change from Jamestown, N.D., where we’d endured the previous frozen four years.
My brother and I traded ice skates and snowmobile suits for tennis shoes and shorts, and we freeranged all over the desert, orchards and canals. My grandma was a fun companion and a real outdoorswoman. She was happiest hiking for hours, searching for arrowheads or geodes.
Spring evenings we’d grab City Market bags and paring knives and roam the orchards and ditchbanks, looking for asparagus. I couldn’t believe it. Here was a paradise where you could just walk around and lop off food growing in the wild.
Everyone will tell you, and it’s true, that there’s not near the amount of wild asparagus there used to be. So I knew if I wanted a steady supply of succulent spring asparagus like I had in my youth, I was going to have to grow my own.
Step One was to find asparagus. I got an itchy planting finger starting in March. Too early. Mount Garfield Greenhouse eventually hooked me up with two varieties: Jersey Hybrid and Martha Washington.
Step Two was to dig a trench. And I mean a TRENCH. It’s only a slight exaggeration that it looks like my neighbor’s home is about to be consumed in this photo.
Step Three was to spread out the roots, which remind me of “Predator” dreadlocks, and bury them in the trench.
Since then half a dozen delicate tendrils have sprouted, and just the other day I spotted one wild stand of asparagus in the bottom of our field. My grandma went by “GG” in her later years, acknowledging her most-recent title: Great-Grandma. When we harvest asparagus, whether wild or tame, it will always be GG’s asparagus to us.
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.
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.
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.
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.