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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Peas Porridge?

By Geri Anderson
Friday, July 23, 2010

I remember the ryhme about  peas porridge, and while  I don't know how good Peas Porridge is. . .But fesh peas from the garden--ooh, I can't describe how very yummy they are.  Yesterday evening I picked peas, shelled them, and gently cooked them.  Add bit of butter--oh - FABULOUS!

I wish I'd planted two rows...

From another gardening site here's more info about garden peas: http://www.flower-and-garden-tips.com/gardenpeas.html

I'm told it's best to plant them early, but I tend to plant them when the garden plot is ready, about Mother's Day.  Maybe because mine get some morning and late afternoon shade, and I keep them watered often, they bear well.

However, I found an intriguing idea for planting them early that I hope to try next spring, from which I quote: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/

RE: Best way to grow peas         (But I couldn't re-find it via the forum's search, had to use Google.)

Posted by justaguy2 5 (My Page) on Fri, May 9, 08 at 12:20

Anney (and others),
I too have found peas take seemingly forever to germinate in the spring. I think if you look up optimal germination temperatures for 'cool season' crops you will find that with the exception of lettuce, almost every one of them germinates poorly or slowly in cool soils.

I used to think it quite odd that a plant grew best in cool air, but did poorly in cool soil. I mean, how could such a plant survive in nature with those requirements?

Then it dawned on me. These aren't really 'cool season' plants, they are 'fall season' plants. In other words, they do best when germinated in warm soil and grown out in cool air.

Thankfully there is an easy way to replicate nature. Germinate the seeds indoors and immediately plant them outside. A very simple, reliable and fast way to do this is the 'baggie method'. Take a wet coffee filter or paper towel, wrap the seeds inside and put in a zip lock baggie and place somewhere warmish (normal room temp). Germination occurs quickly in such conditions and as soon as it takes place the seed/plant can be put in the ground, no hardening off necessary since it hasn't yet acclimatized to the warm, low light conditions.

This is easier said than done with some plants like carrots whose seeds are so tiny, but for peas it's a piece of cake.

So, I want to try that for early planting.  I also was surprised that peas can be grown in a large container, with netting to climb on.

   Peas porridge hot

   Peas porridge cold

   Peas porridge in the pot

   Nine days old.      [Ugh!--I'll eat my peas fresh from the garden, please!]

         Traditional Mother Goose Rhyme

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Garden party gluttons

By Carol Clark
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Throwing a beer party for the earwigs and slugs in your garden may seem a little generous for those leaf loving gluttons, but it can help to save your plants.

To say we have an earwig infestation is putting it mildly. Last year we used a spray bottle of water with a couple drops of dish soup. Spraying this on our plants makes those nasty vermin move; unfortunately, they just move over to the next-best tasting plant. Furthermore, once our sprinklers watered the garden and washed the soap off, their midnight dinner parties were back on! Because I don't like sharing produce with uninvited guests I resorted to a poison made for kitchen gardens. Making me feel a little uneasy while eating our well scrubbed veggies.

Well, this year I learned to attract those lush slugs with a kegger. Filling empty shallow tuna cans with beer and burying them at ground level in my garden did the trick. Saturday night was the first "woodsie" with cans in each garden bed filled with a little Bud Light. The next morning it looked like a frat party gone bad, several dozen earwigs, zillions of tiny sugar ants, and a cricket all dead or passed out at the bottom of the can. I figure this is a fairly painless way to die.

I have discovered vegetable oil works as well. It's just not as fun as having an opened can of beer you have to finish. So, we will continue these evening get-togethers until the problem drinkers are taken care of.

"I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name
No one recognized me, I didn't look the same."

— Ricky Nelson

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Art thieves in the garden?

By Penny Stine
Monday, July 19, 2010

This year, I was determined to create a whimsical, fun and beautiful garden, which is why I created pathways, planted more flowers and tried to find garden art for one of my gardens. Yes, one of my gardens… I actually have three separate garden spaces in various places in my yard, created as I search in vain for the perfect spot to grow tasty things to eat.

I got this way cool piece of old farm equipment from a friend whose family used to run a dairy farm in Loma. Her husband collected old farm equipment, trucks, hand tools, gadgets and other treasures for years. I’m pretty sure it’s a potato digger (or it could be a planter); either way, it was meant to be pulled behind a plow horse. I thought it would look cool in the garden with pole beans and morning glories trailing all over it.

When I had too much corn seed for the two spots I was originally going to plant corn, I threw the seed in a border around the planting bed with the potato digger.

Then God made everything grow.

Now I can’t find the potato digger anywhere. I’m sure it’s still there since I trip over it every time I’m walking down the pathways, which seemed plenty wide enough when I made them in April. They’re still large in the shady parts of the garden, but where the sun shines brilliantly, the garden has taken over. Just the way I like it.

Next year, I think I’ll try cantaloupe in the planting bed with the potato digger and I’ll look for an old door or something equally tall for the pole beans to climb. Not sure where I’ll plant corn.

Anybody have photos of other interesting pieces of garden art to share? E-mail them to letsgetdirty@gjsentinel.com.

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Smell-O-Vision

By Laurena Mayne Davis
Friday, July 16, 2010

GJSentinel.com can bring you the sights and sounds of the garden, but not the aromas.

Until we get our own version of Smell-O-Vision, you’ll just have to imagine what it smells like to walk by and crush in your fingers the leaves of this common mint:

Or Russian sage:



Or whiff the wafting sweetness of honeysuckle:



What do you plant in your garden for aromatherapy?
 

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Super Kale

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gardeners like to talk about what works and what doesn’t, which really helps in overall successful gardening. I learned about kale from a friend of mine who grew it and said it thrived in our hot weather all summer, in spite of its reputation as a cold weather plant. She said it was good in salads, soups, pastas and all sorts of other foods.

So I bought some seeds and planted it for the first time last summer. It came up quickly and gets big enough to eat within a month or two. How cool is that? This year, I planted it in several places throughout my gardens, using it as a border plant and a filler of empty gardening spaces.


It grows in sunshine among the broccoli, dill and potatoes.

Kale in the Sun

It grows in part shade as a border.

It’s a strong, sturdy leaf that’s not very good to munch on out in the garden (unlike pea pods or cherry tomatoes), but I googled recipes and experimented and found several ways to use it. Kale is the nutritional superman of the garden, packing a boatload of minerals and vitamins in every bite.
Here are my favorite ways to use it:

Roasted kale
4 – 6 cups of whole kale leaves
olive oil
salt
pepper
garlic powder
red pepper flakes

Wash the kale and cut out the tough stems. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. Spread kale across the pan, toss with olive oil and seasonings. Bake at 350 degrees until the kale is brown and crispy. You may have to turn it so it gets done on both sides.
That’s it. So simple and so yummy.

Kale and tomato salad
4 – 6 cups of torn kale leaves
3 – 4 tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 -2 avocados
red peppers, black olives, yellow peppers, green olives, cucumbers, green onions or anything else that’s in the fridge or garden and looks promising to throw in a salad
feta cheese
olive oil, juice and zest of a lemon, a dash of balsamic vinegar for the dressing, salt & pepper
whatver chopped herbs you’ve got in the garden, especially basil, chives, thyme

When using raw kale in a salad, it’s important to put something acidic (like the tomatoes) in the salad and to put lemon or lime juice in the dressing and let the dressing sit on the salad for 15 minutes before serving. The acidity cuts the natural bite of the kale. Because kale is a thicker leaf, it holds up well without getting wilted in a salad.

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Page 111 of 117




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