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 email@example.com.
By Penny Stine
Thursday, November 4, 2010
My gardens all get too much shade, which is why I have three different garden areas in various parts of my yard, all planted in search of the elusive sunshine. The one interesting thing about a shady garden is that produce takes a long, long time to ripen and you end up eating things out of season.
Remember the watermelon that grew on my gate? I meant to pick it before I left for vacation, but forgot to do it. The result was I picked it on November 1 (it survived the frost) and we ate it on November 2. How cool is that to be eating home-grown watermelon in November? This is a yellow doll variety. I got the seeds from Bookcliff Gardens and even though I need to find a sunnier spot for it next year (which is why I'm killing more grass and turning more of my front yard into garden) it was a definite success. Extremely juicy and sweet in a nice compact little melon.
True, it would have been better to eat it when it was a million degrees outside, but I'll take what I can get.
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I was on vacation last week, but the night before we left, before I could actually pack for vacation, I had pick the last of anything that was still standing in the garden, since the weatherman predicted a freeze while we were gone. I got three baskets full of green tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, rosemary, broccoli, green peppers, red peppers, swiss chard, habaneros and butternut squash.
We had leftover chili that we could have eaten, but when my husband, the chef, saw all the fresh produce, he whipped up a batch of risotto from everything I brought in from the garden and whatever was still in the fridge. The result was beyond yummy. His ristotto had a little bacon, some ham, onions, garlic, rosemary, basil, tomatoes, dried tomatoes, Swiss chard and who knows what else. (I certainly don't, 'cuz I was picking tomatillos while he was making risotto)
I took my brother in Wyoming a gigantic bag full of tomatillos, put the green tomatoes in a brown grocery sack to ripen while we were gone and put everything else that didn't go in the risotto in the refrigerator to eat after we got back. Although my practice was usually to eat whatever I picked the day I picked it, I realize that most produce that I buy in the middle of winter was probably picked several days (or even a week) before it goes into my shopping cart and eventually onto my table.
I thought that would be the end of my garden. It wasn't, but more on that for another blog.
By Carol Clark
Thursday, October 28, 2010
One of those great mysteries in life:
What is the difference between apple juice and apple cidar?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Years ago I had this question answered on a field trip to Talbott farms. Which, by the way, is a GREAT field trip to take your kids on this time of year.
While the huge billows squeezed every bit of juice out of bushels of apples, the farmer explained - there is really NO difference. It's mostly marketing, at least in Colorado, where it's technically illegal to sell apple cider.
Apple cider is just apple juice that hasn't been pasturized. Unpasturized cider ferments and becomes Applejack over time which can give you a little kick when you drink too much. Which might be the perfect way to get those kids to sleep earlier in the evening.
It's the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all.
-Laura Ingalls Wilder
By Carol Clark
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
There is no better time than autumn to bring the outside in.
Decorating your home with the nature that surrounds your home is both beautiful and economical.
Bring in the gourds, pumpkins and sunflowers. Collect brightly colored leaves to adorn your shelves and tables. Create a garden display at your front door to welcome those scary guests on Halloween night.
Fill baskets with shiny apples and let the last tomatoes turn red in a sunny window sill.
Thanks, Penny, for sharing from your garden.
"Listen! The wind is rising,
And the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!"
By Penny Stine
Monday, October 25, 2010
I don’t consider myself a rodent, yet I have this compulsive desire to can, freeze, dry and store food up for the winter every fall. It’s almost like I’m a squirrel, hiding nuts for the coming winter. Or maybe I just feel slightly nuts when I spend half my spare time in September and October freezing, canning, pickling and drying.
I have to admit, I didn’t grow half of what I stored. The apricots for jam came from a co-worker’s tree, the green chiles came from Okagawa, the corn came from an Olathe grower who set up shop in the back end of a pickup near Cottonwood Liquors and I got most of my tomatoes for canning from Rettig Farms. The green beans for my jars of dilly beans came from a farm stand in Palisade, since my own green beans were too hard to find, hidden away in the corn and morning glory.
At least I used home-grown tomatillos for green salsa, garden-produced basil for pesto, froze excess spinach, Swiss chard and kale and managed to put pattypan squash in everything we ate all summer long.
Now it’s done, so I can smile, sit back and enjoy roasted green chiles, chocolate zucchini bread, home-canned peaches or frozen veggies all winter long. Nothing like seeing a shelf full of home-canned produce to make you feel like all that weeding, watering and nurturing was worth it.
And just in case a freak snowstorm shuts down traffic across I-70 for weeks and reduces the offerings on the grocery shelves, I’ll be ready! Especially if we have a strange craving for green salsa over peaches.