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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Laurena Mayne Davis
Friday, June 17, 2011
See how pretty these sunflowers were last year? I save seeds and grow these Mammoth sunflowers every year, for the beautiful blooms and the abundant seeds. Boy oh boy do they make lots of seeds — so many the wild birds even quit eating them this winter and I gave the rest to the chickens. But for some reason I gave each and every seed to the chickens and didn’t save even a handful to plant. Doh!
I have had two forehead-slapping planting lapses this spring. About the time I realized I had no sunflower seeds saved, I figured out why my cucumbers hadn’t come up: I’d never planted them. I'd tilled, watered and examined for shoots, but while everything else came up around the cucumber patch, only weeds sprouted there. After trying to think back if I had planted too deeply or didn’t sow thickly enough, I realized I had no specific memory of putting seeds in the ground. Double doh!
In my defense, I do most of my gardening in the early morning hours before work and in the twilight, drowsy hours before bed, but still … at this rate, who knows what I’ll be harvesting this summer.
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.
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.
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.
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.