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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Seriously good garlic

By Penny Stine
Monday, June 29, 2015

I decided to dig another elephant garlic bulb over the weekend because we were smoking a pork loin and I wanted to smoke an entire clove of elephant garlic.

As you might be able to see, the leaves had started to die back, which is a sign that the garlic is ready for harvest. As you can also see, there are three teeny-tiny cloves. I have no idea if they would form bigger cloves if I left it in the ground longer. 

 

 

 

I washed it off and then wrapped it in foil with a little salt, pepper and olive oil.I resisted the urge to use my flavored olive oil from Bella Balsamic, because my hubby prefers the plain. He’s not a fan of the infused balsamic vinegars, either, which is a real bummer.
We had the Traeger on smoke, so I just put the foil-wrapped garlic on the grill next to the pork and let it cook for about two hours.


When I took it off, I was afraid it would still be hard, but inside the skin of the cloves, the garlic was smooth and creamy. I put some in a corn and poblano chile side dish, but served the rest on a plate and we all just spread it on our buns like mayo or barbecue sauce, then piled on the shredded pork.
Seriously delicious sandwiches.  

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Ground cherries are slow to return

By Penny Stine
Friday, June 26, 2015

Last year was my first year to grow pineapple tomatillos, aka ground cherries. I loved them. They were good raw and they were great in a pie or a coffee cake. I loved them in a cucumber salad with feta cheese and peaches. I also loved just eating them in the garden.
After reading that they were notorious about re-seeding themselves and coming back, I made sure to leave some on the plants & let a few others fall to the ground and remain there at the end of the season last year. Seriously, I probably left a hundred little tomatillos on the ground.

This spring, I eagerly waiting for them to reappear. And waited some more. I also planted lettuce in the same bed, figuring that the lettuce would be an early crop that would go to seed about the time the pineapple tomatillos started to grow and take off. That strategy worked brilliantly. 

Finally, I got impatient waiting for the ground cherries to start growing, so I went to Bookcliff Gardens. They had three plants left, so I bought two of the remaining ones. When I went home to plant them, I discovered that I had one volunteer pineapple tomatillo plant coming up.

The one volunteer plant has now caught up to the two I bought from Bookcliff, although it doesn't have any fruit on it yet. The ones from Bookcliff already have a few little tomatillos on them.  

I’ve also discovered a few more coming up in other places.

 

Of course, most of them are all coming up in a clump.
I’ve transplanted two of the volunteers to a less crowded space. At first, they went into shock, but I think they’ll recover.
I don’t know why so few of the hundreds of seeds I left in the ground actually germinated, but I think I’ll end up with about six or seven plants, and that should be plenty.  

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Mystery solved

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I was out in another area of my garden and I took a more careful look at the various cole crops, and I discovered that once they got to be a certain size, it was easy to tell what they were. Look at these tiny kohlrabi! I've never grown kohlrabi before, but when I was a teenager, my mom always planted it in our Wyoming garden. She still grows it in her Nebraska garden, which gets almost as hot as we do here. 

Kohlrabi is one of those weird veggies that you don't see in the grocery stores much, but last summer when we visited my mom, she sliced one and I remembered how much I like them. Hubby also said it was tasty, so I had to grow it in this year's garden. This kohlrabi is obviously not the purple variety, so I'll be able to compare the purple to the white and see which one I like better. For those who have never tried it, it tastes kind of like the stem part of broccoli (which is actually my favorite part), but better. You can eat it raw or cook it. 

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Mysterious cole crops

By Penny Stine
Monday, June 22, 2015

Am I the only one who plants things without marking where I’ve put various veggies so that when the seeds sprout, it’s a guessing game to discover exactly what’s growing?
It’s not a problem for crops I’ve grown before… I’ve gotten pretty good at distinguishing tomatillos no matter how small they are, but these two are my current mystery.

 

I’m pretty sure this one is the Beira Tronchuda kale. I planted it in several places in the garden (and have several plants that look like these ones).
I know in this particular planting box, I did Beira Tronchuda kale on one side and kohlrabi on the other, and since they’re both members of the cole family of veggies, they tend to look alike as seedlings.


As you can see from these, however, they have a purplish/reddish color on the stems, so I’m thinking this is the kohlrabi, since I think I planted purple kohlrabi. If this is kohlrabi, I’m going to have to thin, which always breaks my heart. Maybe I can transplant whatever seedlings I pull from this location to a spot where they have more room.  

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Elephant Garlic info

By Penny Stine
Thursday, June 18, 2015

I planted some elephant garlic last fall and have been watching it to see what it does. I'm also somewhat impatient to eat it, since I read that it's delicious grilled or roasted. You're supposed to wait until after it flowers, which you can see it's doing right now, and begins to die back a bit. 

 

 

 

I was making hummus for a crowd last night and wanted to use some roasted elephant garlic in it, so I dug up one of the bulbs.There were three tiny cloves on the outside that probably would have gotten huge if I would have waited, but the roasted elephant garlic was a nice addition to the hummus. 

I'm going to be patient and wait for the right time to dig the rest. I'm curious to see how big they'll get. This one was only slightly larger than a normal garlic bulb, and I'm curious to see if they will really grow into elephantine proportions. 

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