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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Growing hops is great for a gardener’s ego

By Amy Hamilton
Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'll admit it. I'm not much of a gardener.
If a plant is bent on dying or some bugs find it really tasty, who am I to get in nature's way?
That's why I love growing hops. They're so easy, at least some varieties make me feel like I'm not a total plant killer.

Case in point: About three years, I planted Cascade hops at the base of a trellis in the backyard and another variety, Brewer's Gold, at a trellis in the front yard.
I planted both set of hops (or rhizomes as they're called) in a mostly compost mixture, I make sure to water them excessively and occasionally bolster up the root base with decomposed leaves or some extra dirt.

The Cascade hops have traveled nearly to the tree above the garden, about 30 feet up on jute that we connected to a branch high overhead.
Brewer's Gold hops, however, don't impress me much. They're just now starting to wind their way around a few of lower trellis rungs. I swear, I don't treat the front yard any differently than the backyard ones. They also both receive about the same amount of sunlight- probably about 6 to 8 hours a day.
Already the Cascade hop vines are showing the furry first signs of hop buds. If we can get the vines down and out of the tree by harvest time in early fall, it should be enough for a batch of beer.
Yum. Making beer from the hops is a story for a different day. But if you are so inclined, Cascade hops tend to work wonders here in our warm clime. They grow abundantly enough to make it look like even the novice garden knows what she's doing. Sometimes that's just enough of a confidence boost to tackle a whole garden full of greens.


Long live the salad

By Melinda Mawdsley
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A few coworkers have asked me if I'm participating in the CSA again this year, so I thought I would take a moment to answer that question.


The acronym CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and I have been a part of the Cameron Place CSA  for three years. To participate, I pay a lump sum to the CSA during the spring ($415 broke up into three payments this year) to pick up organic produce weekly from early June until — weather permitting — late September.

The first pickups are typically very green (lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) and this season has been no different.

I'm in Week 2, and I've already got the tasty fixin's for a lettuce topped with a summer treat...radishes.


Plants with special meaning

By Laurena Mayne Davis
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

These aromatic phlox started in the scrappy Rock Springs, Wyo., garden of my husband’s grandmother, then traveled to Colorado and finally to Tennessee, where they’re flourishing in my sister-in-law’s expansive lawn.

With temperatures heating up, if you're ready for a desert reprieve, let your garden voyeurism take you to the lush South in my sis-in-law’s new and informative gardening blog, The Imperfect Gardener


A stranger in these parts

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Every year, I try to grow something I’ve never grown before. This year, I feel like I ought to be paid by the CSU Extension office, I’m trying so many new things. Can I classify my front yard as an experimental ag station? Would it be tax deductible???
Lynn Lickers got into the spirit of weird things and asked me to grow garden cress and parsnips for her. I haven’t planted the parsnips yet – you’re supposed to wait until mid-summer so you can harvest after the first frost.

But the garden cress is awesome. It springs up and is ready to pick in just a couple of weeks. It looks like tiny parsley, but it tastes like peppery horseradish. It's truly wonderful in salads or sandwiches. I’m thinking it would be tasty on scrambled eggs, too.

It would be a great crop to grow if you garden with kids because it grows so fast. Plus, if they plant it and water it, they might be a whole lot more likely to eat it and enjoy it, and anything that expands a kid's palette is a good thing, in my opinion. 
According to the seed catalog, it doesn’t do well in the heat, so I’m not holding out hope that it will remain all summer, but it’s going to become a permanent addition to my spring garden. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the seeds available locally; I got mine from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.


Ready, set, SUMMER!

By {screen_name}
Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer is finally here.

Radishes are beautiful and tasty.










The peppers are getting more leaves.



Spinich and lettuce are making delicious salads.





We are eating the snow peas faster than they can grow.

Tomatoes are having a growth spurt.

Basil is lovely while waiting for fresh tomatoes.

Brussel sprounts are looking healthy

Strawberries are ready for morning cereal.








Finally, after long bouts of fighting the cold, the wind and torrential downpours everything is starting to look HEALTHY! Just like plants in the garden, sometimes the long, difficult things we live through make us stronger in the long run.



In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer.

Albert Careb

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