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 Carol Clark
Friday, July 2, 2010
"God shed his grace on thee" — Katharine Bates
This photo was taken in June at my Aunt Margaret's house, right down the street from where I grew up. Loma - Q Road - Heaven. Looking back, we had many 4th of July celebrations at her farm home with loads of food, homemade ice cream, oodles of cousins and magic charcoal worms that grew on the sidewalk when we lit them. Playing with fire was always the highlight and there was always the sparkler dances in the lawn while we waited for the big fireworks. It is still a favorite place for me to visit.
I was 12 when I had to move from the farm. My mom and dad had to drag me off to the big city (Grand Junction) crying and throwing a fit. I still miss this beautiful place and feel home sick when I have to leave.
Remember to create your own Indpendence Day traditions for the children in your family. Have a garden party and don't forget the charcoal worms.
By Laurena Mayne Davis
Friday, July 2, 2010
What’s in a name?
Names of supersweet sweet corn http:// news.illinois.edu/ii/03/0807/sweetcorn.html are almost as sweet as the juicy kernels themselves. You may be familiar with Olathe Sweet sweet corn. But a supersweet corn by any other name tastes as sweet.
On a longtime corn-growing friend’s recommendation, I’ve planted for the last three years these cavity-inducing varieties. Seed corn was purchased at Greenfields:
Peaches and Cream
Because this isn’t Better Homes & Gardens, this is what our corn patch looks like now:
It’s up the kids to go through and hand-weed the grass we don’t want, (timothy, foxtail, orchard, etc.) out of the grass we do want: supersweet sweet corn. Because corn is a grass, it likes sunshine, water and nitrogen. And it doesn’t like to compete for any of those.
Once the first weeding is done, we’ll keep our corn well watered and fertilized. In no time at all we’ll be sharing, grilling, freezing and canning sugary-sweet ears of Bodacious, Precocious and Peaches and Cream corn.
By Geri Anderson
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I am generally willing to try something new. So one year I ordered four fruit bushes along with two sets of strawberries from Gurneys http://www.gurneys.com
This is the South Dakota nursery I have had great experience with over fourteen years and three distinct growing regions—planting beach roses and an apricot tree literally on the beach in Massachusetts, a fruitless pear and bleeding hearts in the Humidity west of Houston, Texas, and strawberries, rhubarb, hasta, etc. here.
Anyway, my first spring back in the valley I ordered a red currant bush and three blueberry bushes--as I'd come to love blueberries when living on the East Coast and in Texas. However, sadly I discovered the error of trying to raise blueberries in a desert climate—they like an acid soil and lots of humidity, and no matter what we did to try to create these attributes, the blueberries suffered—but the currant has done well. It’s grown to about 4 feet tall.
Its fruit is tiny and tart. According to Gurney’s, red currants are “juicy and quite tart…traditionally used for jellies, jams, and cooked desserts”. The currants have a small seed in some of the fruit (or maybe it’s simply that the seed is large enough to be noticed in some fruit..?)
They grow on tiny stems, with many fruit branched off the main stem, rather like grapes do (in miniature). Here’s about a fourth of the crop, on a saucer. I harvested about 5 cups, cleaned, and this would be my fourth growing season.
Okay, so the plant thrives and the fruit is currently ready--and pretty. What next? What does one do with currants? I scoured my cookbooks....and, I am going to try them in two recipes, as I am not in the mood for making jelly. So I will blog and let you know the verdict:
Currant Pie or
Red Currant Muffins!
Does anyone have childhood memories of currant desserts? Can anyone else attest to its flavor in homemade jams and jellies? I know one lifelong resident fruit grower tells me they made currant jelly last year, and "Currant jelly is the best there is!"
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I have confessed to being very green when it comes to gardening — meaning I have no idea what I’m doing.
When I decided to become a “gardener,” I began my education with the internet by Googling every gardening site I could find. I was looking for simple answers to what I thought were simple questions. What I got was information overload.
Did you know there are at least 58 varieties of tomatoes? There are tomatoes that are better suited for salads and some that are great for burgers. Some tomatoes are more acidy and some sweet. Do I like acidy tomatoes? Do I want staked tomatoes or a vigorous bush variety? Honestly, I just want tomatoes that smell and taste like tomatoes — unlike those mock-matoes you get in the store. Yes, they are red but that is about as tomatoey as they get.
Tomato plant: The homegrown variety
Thank heaven for gardening friends. I am very grateful there are so many real gardeners out there who are willing to share their secrets with me. There is no real competition among gardeners except for the friendly kind. Real gardeners love to see things grow whether they grow in their garden or yours. Now when I have questions, I turn to my newfound friends who are willing to teach me what they have spent years learning.
They didn’t laugh at me when I killed my first plants but instead gave me advice and encouragement as I planted a new one. Because of them, my family and I can look forward to fresh tomatoes in our salad and on our burgers. Thanks.
By Penny Stine
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I neither read the book nor saw the movie, so I hope any die-hard fans of “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” will forgive me, but the name stuck somewhere in the back of my mind and I wanted to borrow it.
Seriously, though… what’s up with this?
I thought marigolds were supposed to be a bug deterrent, not an appetizer for the main course, which seems to be all of my basil plants that are scattered throughout my garden. Most of them now look like this:
But to show that whatever is munching my marigolds and basil is an equal opportunity devourer, it’s attacking the zinnias, too.
I don’t usually spray or use any kind of herbicide or insecticide in my garden. It’s not that I’m a die-hard organic kind of gal, since I rarely buy organic produce at the store, it’s just that it would be one more thing to learn about and one more chore, and I find myself already overloaded.
Anybody have a clue what’s eating everything in my garden? I haven’t actually seen any type of creepy-crawly out there, but whatever it is also ate a couple of squash and melons right when the first came up and destroyed them.