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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Transplanting bulbs

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

As part of my plan to plant melons, peppers and pineapple tomatillos in my former flower bed, I needed to figure out where to transplant the tulips and daffodils and other flowers in the bed. I realized I had the perfect spot around this new little tree.

We made the 8X8 boxed, no grass area around the silver maple tree that used to live in this spot in an attempt to keep it from dying. The lack of grass was supposed to help get water and oxygen to the roots and prolong its life.

As you can see, it died and we replaced it with a sensation boxelder tree. They grow well here and are gorgeous in the fall.

I took the pic after I’d already dug up the shasta daisy and separated it into four pieces to plant in each of the corners.
Although I plan on digging up the daffodils (which are about done blooming) and the tulips (which are a little slower), I’m going to wait a few more weeks to let the leaves do more photosynthesizing before I inflict the trauma of moving them.

In the meantime, I looked around my yard to see if I had some other bulbs that would look well in the new bed.

These day lilies do OK where they are, but it’s a little too shady for them to show off.

Plus, they’re in my side yard, so no one ever sees them. There are a couple of irises mixed in here, too. So I used my shovel and other implements of destruction (gotta love Alice’s Restaurant) to dig them up.

Because I’m giving them time to recover, I’m hoping that these flowers will bloom this year in their new spot. If not, it will be really pretty next year.


Saint Patrick’s Day potatoes (only a few weeks late)

By Penny Stine
Monday, April 7, 2014

On Saturday, I spent several hours moving various plants around my yard. I was also brutal with some invasive species, pulling them with the same vicious abandon I normally reserve for weeds. Yes, that’s how much the columbine and love-in-a-mist have spread all over the garden; I’m treating them like bindweed.

In addition to the columbine which I’ve yet to pull, this bed was also full of garlic greens and small onions. I had planted some garlic from seed several years ago (before I learned from my master gardening class that you’re not supposed to do that), and it never formed decent bulbs underground. (which is why you’re not supposed to plant from seed, I suppose)

One must have gone to seed in this bed, because I had little tiny garlic coming up everywhere.

As you can see, I pulled a lot of them. I wanted to make room for the red-veined sorrel (which will probably also become invasive).

I made a pesto out of the green parts of the garlic, adding a bunch of spring onions, an anchovy and some olive oil. I added it to mashed potatoes. It made them a little strong on the garlic flavor, but we had company over for dinner on Saturday, and no one seemed to mind.

It did make for some St. Patty’s Day colored potatoes. Better late than never, I suppose. 


Would the wind just stay away?

By Penny Stine
Friday, April 4, 2014

Look what the storm a few days ago did!!!

My poor trellis. I would just pick it up, but the day before it toppled, it was swaying pretty badly and when I checked on it, I found that the various pieces of the trellis didn't fit together quite the way they orinally did a few years ago when my husband built it. I’m going to have to recruit his help to make it steady enough to stand up again over the weekend.

And yes, we’d better get cracking on that.

See the peas that have started coming up.

I’ve got all kinds of garden chores to do over the weekend in addition to righting this fallen trellis, so I’m hoping that the 40 percent chance of thunderstorms tomorrow get stalled until after 5 p.m. 


Julie’s frittata

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I brought in some of my excess spring onions the other day and shared them with Julie Norman, who used them in this tasty looking frittata.

I’m really hungry as I’m writing this and am tempted to lick my monitor… I don’t think the flavor will be the same.

I did not add in the giveaway onions to my total garden tally for the year, but so far, my garden has cost me $155 and I’ve eaten about $75 worth of stuff from it. Not bad, considering that $100 was for irrigation water (which I would have had to pay whether or not I grew a garden, but included just because) and the fact that January, February and March aren’t really big harvest months in western Colorado. I also included the cost of some flower seeds that I bought because flowers are part of the garden, even if I'm not planning on eating them. 

I fully suspect that by the end of the year (if I remember to actually keep this up and record it every time I go pick a cucumber or a sprig of basil) I will discover that my garden saves me a boatload of money.  


Is it a weed or a garden plant?

By Penny Stine
Monday, March 31, 2014

I’m always looking for plants that will tolerate shade, and if I can cook with them, then that’s even better. That led me to experiment with sorrel. After buying the seeds, I did more research and discovered that I probably have sorrel the weed already growing in my garden, and I treat it like a weed. 

The sorrel seeds I purchased were red-veined sorrel. They’ve been growing in my living room garden all winter, but I recently moved the planter outside to let everything fend for itself. Now that I’ve started planting things outside, I find that I’m no longer interested in a few pots on a shelf in the living room.

I hate to start randomly eating weeds, but after looking at pics of common garden sorrel, I took a nibble on some that was already growing in my garden (another sign that it's a weed - it's hardy and is always the first plant to appear in the spring) and it tasted like the sorrel in my living room. 



The sorrel never got very big in this pot, as you can see. 

I’m going to leave it out all week and water it, and if it’s still alive, I’ll replant it in a shady corner of my garden. 

It may taste the same as the weed, but it's a bit prettier. 

Sorrel is used in soups and salads. It tastes a bit lemony. The tart taste is due to oxalic acid, which is toxic in large amounts. I’m not too worried, spinach is also high in oxalic acid and we eat it almost daily in late April and May.

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