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 Penny Stine
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
In spite of the extremely hard frost on Tuesday night (and the hail at my house a couple hours before the frost hit), everything survived. Of course, I give all the credit to my mom, since I called her to ask what I should cover and what would probably be OK. She warned me to put extra mulch on the potatoes that were above ground and cover some of the peas with a drop cloth. I was just as afraid that I’d break the pea stalks with the drop cloth as I was that the freeze would kill them.
Luckily, I didn’t kill them and neither did the cold. As you can see, I've got dill growing with the peas... I promised myself I'd be ruthless and not let it take over the garden this year, but I haven't eradicated it yet.
The peas growing in between the hollyhocks along the fence that I didn't cover look fine.
When I peeked through the mulch, the potatoes hadn't turned black and frozen, so I'm guessing there's no damage there, either.
Even the strawberries survived. I'm practicing companion planting again this year (when I think about it) and remembered that onions are supposed to be a good companion plant for strawberries. Hope it doesn't affect the flavor of either one. Don't want onion-flavored strawberries, but I don't really want strawberry-flavored onions, either, even if I did plant red onions.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
These tulips were given to me a few years ago and they were red. Every year they have changed colors. I know there is a scientific explanation for the changing colors - cross breeding, sometimes plants will change color depending on their genes, if they have a virus, mutations or what you are watering and fertilizing them with, but to me it is MAGIC.
"Flowers havd spoken more to me than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning."
-Lydia M. Child
Monday, April 25, 2011
Saturday before Easter and plans to work in the garden were thwarted by rain. Instead, I made our traditional birds' nests. We have made these for twenty-one years now. It all started when my daughter and I were part of a mom/tot preschool at Mesa State College. This unique program invited weary moms to come to school with their two and three-year olds once a week to get some much needed social interaction, (for moms, not for tots).
One of our moms had a special Easter party and made these delicious nests for the two-year olds. Moms were hooked. We still get together with one of those families, the Trowbridges, often. The kids will not let a single Easter go by without these treats. Even though the kids are grown, the tradition continues. I called the Trowbridges on Saturday to say Happy Easter and to make sure we were carrying on the tradition. Not to worry, they had already eaten most of theirs!
You can still make these for spring. This is a special recipe so hang onto it for years to come. You don't have to have kids to enjoy them.
12 oz butterscotch chips
15 oz Chow Mein noodles
1 cup salted peanuts
1 bag of Hershey chocolate eggs
Melt the chips over low year until smooth. Add the noodles and peanuts and stir well. Drop spoonfuls onto waxed paper and place chocolate eggs on top.
After MUCH experimentation the kids have determined that Hershey's chocolate eggs are the best for this recipe and may not be substituted with inferior eggs. They are usually very hard to find but City Market carried them this year.
By Penny Stine
Friday, April 22, 2011
OK, it's not a superhero, but it is kind of funny, if you're into sad tales of horticultural failure. I planted asparagus three years ago. When I bought it, the accepted wisdom was not to pick it until its third year. So I've been waiting.
For this??? Really? One, really tall purple asparagus spear. And one small and twisted one near the ground.
I have another asparagus plant a couple feet away that also produced one asparagus spear so far this spring. Good thing I'm not a subsistence farmer. I'd starve to death.
By Penny Stine
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I’m determined not to kill any of my baby plants this year, so I’m being careful about transitioning all the seedlings I started indoors. They go outside, but they sit in the shade. Unless there’s too much wind in the forecast, then they stay inside. Howie the guard dog is vigilant about keeping marauding rabbits away.
Last year, I fried most of my tomatoes to white little ghosties by putting them in direct sunlight on a bright, sunny day on their first day outside. So far, my babies have been out almost every day this week and they’re still alive. I also killed coreopsis, creeping thyme, catmint and lavender last year by putting them outside in lightweight seedling pots in the wind, which scattered them across the deck.
Starting on Saturday or Sunday, I’m going to place them in the sun for an hour or two.
In the meantime, in my east garden, I made the mistake of planting carrots in an area where both dill and cosmos self-seeded last year. I think I’ll be able to tell them apart, but I’m not 100 percent positive.
Anyone want to play my guessing game and try to figure out which is which?
Anyone who can correctly guess which pic is carrots, which is cosmos and which is dill wins free amaranth and zinnia seeds and (yes, there's more!!!) a summertime supply of parsley or dill!
Wow, does it get any better??