Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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By Penny Stine
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Every year, I try to grow something I’ve never grown before. This year, I feel like I ought to be paid by the CSU Extension office, I’m trying so many new things. Can I classify my front yard as an experimental ag station? Would it be tax deductible???
Lynn Lickers got into the spirit of weird things and asked me to grow garden cress and parsnips for her. I haven’t planted the parsnips yet – you’re supposed to wait until mid-summer so you can harvest after the first frost.
But the garden cress is awesome. It springs up and is ready to pick in just a couple of weeks. It looks like tiny parsley, but it tastes like peppery horseradish. It's truly wonderful in salads or sandwiches. I’m thinking it would be tasty on scrambled eggs, too.
It would be a great crop to grow if you garden with kids because it grows so fast. Plus, if they plant it and water it, they might be a whole lot more likely to eat it and enjoy it, and anything that expands a kid's palette is a good thing, in my opinion.
According to the seed catalog, it doesn’t do well in the heat, so I’m not holding out hope that it will remain all summer, but it’s going to become a permanent addition to my spring garden. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the seeds available locally; I got mine from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
By Carol Clark
Friday, June 10, 2011
Summer is finally here.
Radishes are beautiful and tasty.
The peppers are getting more leaves.
Spinich and lettuce are making delicious salads.
We are eating the snow peas faster than they can grow.
Tomatoes are having a growth spurt.
Basil is lovely while waiting for fresh tomatoes.
Brussel sprounts are looking healthy
Strawberries are ready for morning cereal.
Finally, after long bouts of fighting the cold, the wind and torrential downpours everything is starting to look HEALTHY! Just like plants in the garden, sometimes the long, difficult things we live through make us stronger in the long run.
In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer.
By Melinda Mawdsley
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I'm back in the garden for Summer 2011. By garden, I mean two pots of herbs and a large pot of wildflowers.
Why not more? Talk to the three neighborhood cats that peed on and ate my sunflowers last year, killing them and frustrating me beyond accurate — or appropriate — words.
However, knowing that those cats were still around, I upped my supply of herbs this year. I'm growing basil, cilantro and rosemary. And quite well. I have found herbs to be relatively easy to grow here and wonderful additions to summer favorites: salads, fish tacos and bruschetta. Fresh herbs are the low-calorie, nonfat, tasty alternative to most anything else, especially ranch dressing.
But, because I'm competitive and refused to be foiled by felines, I found a packet of wildflower seeds from my friends' wedding last year and planted those.
FYI, this pot was full of old soil and dead leaves from last fall and winter.
In other words, I'm not really trying to garden this summer, and I'm already doing better than last year when I actually tried.
Note to self: plants don't need to be babied. When in doubt, plant herbs, wildflowers and get out of the way!
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I was in foodie heaven last night. Got home late, went out to the garden and picked a boatload of kale, some peas and some mint. (I had more peas than what are in this photo - these are the ones we didn't eat.) While my husband grilled some pork chops, I roasted the kale and tried a new recipe for the peas (which called for the mint).
The results were truly delish. Roasted kale has become one of our favorite things to eat in the summer and the peas were equally tasty. I meant to take photo of them before we ate, but because it was late and we were hungry, the photo didn’t stand a chance. Both were incredibly simple to make.
Kale, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes
Cut the stem off the kale. Spray a large cooking sheet w/non-stick spray. Toss the kale with the olive oil and spices. Roast at 350 degrees until it’s brown and crispy (maybe 5 or 10 minutes). May have to turn the leaves over to brown both sides
Sautéed peas with mint
Peas, olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, salt, pepper, 3 tbsp chopped mint
Saute peas and garlic in olive oil for 3 – 4 minutes. Long enough to cook slightly, but don’t let them get overdone. When done, toss with salt & pepper and chopped mint.
If you’ve got a garden and you haven’t planted kale, you need to repent and change your ways. Seriously, it’s the most ridiculously easy thing to grow. Although it’s supposed to be a cold weather plant, it doesn’t mind our heat and produces all summer as long as you keep cutting and don’t let it go to seed.
For all the eagle-eyed gardeners perusing this, yes, that is lettuce growing with the kale. I have no idea how it got there.
As for the peas, it’s probably too late to plant any more now. This year, I tried 3 different kinds. Although I like the yellow climbing ones for their looks, I think my favorite for taste is one I got from Park Seed.
It’s called Norli snow pea. Unfortunately, it appears to be done blooming and making any more peas for me. At least every plant produces plenty of peas.
I also planted some Sugar Ann peas, which are still blooming and making new peas. I didn't take a pic of those, so you'll have to use your imagination. Those are the ones I'm sharecropping for the Man. Or the Woman, actually. Lynn bought me the seeds and asked me to grow them for her, so we share the bounty.
By Penny Stine
Monday, June 6, 2011
I’ve been trying to establish a wildflower area out by our mailbox for a decade. It’s still an ongoing process, but it’s finally looking the way I envisioned it when I first scattered the packet of wildflower seeds.
Happily, the grass killer I blogged about earlier in the spring worked! While it did a splendid job eliminating the pesky grass, it didn’t touch any of the flowers or the strawberries. It didn’t touch the weeds, either, but they blend in. Sort of.
I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of perennials, trying to find ones that thrive with infrequent watering and constant neglect. A few years ago, I discovered mallow. This is an amazing plant. I bought two tiny little plants at Bookcliff Gardens. They didn’t do much their first year, growing just a bit and blooming only at the end of the summer.
By the second year, they started spreading. Well one of them did, anyway. Originally, I bought one lavender one and one with dark purple flowers. The lavender one still doesn’t do much, but the dark purple one is already flowering. I don’t think they’ve ever bloomed quite so early.
And they spread all by themselves! How cool is that?
I never used to do much with flowers, but decided to add a few to my vegetable garden last year. Now I realize that blooming flowers are better than therapy for me and love the way it looks, especially early in the summer when squash, beans, melons and tomatoes are tiny.
Speaking of vegetable gardens, check out this blog from Julie, who works in the Sentinel's online department. She may not be a dirty gardener, but she recognizes a good garden when she sees one.