Saturday, May 19, 2018

Experiment

Following three hot, dry weeks we have had a whole week of gentle soaking rain with cooler temps. What a relief.

This year's garden experiment is huge! I am growing tomatoes in straw bales. So far, so good. All are healthy and some are setting fruit.  I'm following Craig LeHoullier's method. They are all grown from seed by me and gardening friends. All who attended the class overdid it. To our credit we  shared. Some are dwarf, some are heirloom, some hybrid. I am hoping for a more successful experience this year.
Tomato varieties include:
Bella Rosa (heirloom)
Yellow Pear (heirloom)
Cherokee Purple (heirloom)
Lemon Ice (dwarf)
Pink Passion (dwarf)
Mountain Fresh F1 (hybrid)
Mountain Magic F1 (hybrid)
Juliet F1 (hybrid)
Celebrity (hybrid)
Green Vernissage (heirloom)
Other garden successes include kale, lettuce, carrots, garlic, potatoes, cabbage. Green beans are forming tags.
Soon we'll be eating green beans and potatoes.
Spinach was an epic failure. I think I'm done.








Friday, May 4, 2018

Salads for supper! And kale powder!

Power to The Kale! Long live The Kale! A nod to the Brits here on the eve of a royal wedding.
No kidding. I dried a backseat (laid it out on a sheet and let the heat in the car do it's magic) of lacinto kale, blitzed it in the food processor, and have one scant cup of magic potion. It was a lot of kale, people. It is interesting dried. Not potent, a mild crunchy treat actually. It is, apparently, the latest health food craze. Whoda thunk?
And I thought it shrank down when cooked. Regret not taking a before photo. 

Salads are a big deal right now. We eat them seasonally, never buying grocery store we are, like, chuffed. The current belle of the ball is a lone spinach plant that overwintered. Scott harvests a bag of it weekly. (The lettuce harvest is more frequent.) The close runner up are the radishes. Maybe we planted too many. We eat them daily, the radishes. Truth be told, they are a lot of crunchy fun!  A great substitute for chips. Not chocolate chips y'all, potato chips.

Established herbs deserve a shout out here. All is well! The best is the parsley which is about to flower and make seeds for another year. New ones are ready to go in!

For all other harvests we wait. And plant. And plant some more. And water, because it has not rained in almost two weeks. That friends is a sad sentence carrying more meaning than non-gardeners can imagine. Sad. Very sad. On the bright side it is not humid. 😎



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Winter to Spring, Maybe

Our native honeysuckle, planted against a brick wall, has bloomed all winter. It was ready and waiting for the hummers. 
Winter is hanging on here with white knuckles. We just cannot shake it! Last night I covered tomatoes because temps fell into the 30's. Have mercy! 80 degrees one day, 50 the next.

We've started our new bed. The Serviceberry we planted last Fall survived. Yay! It is in the No Dig, Foodscape experiment bed. Watch Charles Dowding on Youtube  for details on No Dig. He's also written several books. Brie Arthur from NC introduced me to the foodscape concept. We'll see how it goes...plants already there are doing well for now.

What's planted and growing?
Spinach
Lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson, Romaine, Oakleaf, Red Sails)
Swiss Chard
Carrots (Scarlett Nantes, Red Core Chantenay)
Leeks, onions, garlic
Kale (Lacinto, Curly Dwarf)
Broccoli (DiCicco)
Potatoes (White, Yukon Gold, Red Norland, Russian Banana)
Radishes (Cherry Belle)
Beans (Contender)
Herbs (Rosemary, Parsley, Fennel, Sage, Chives, Borage, Dill, Basil
)
Tomatoes (That's another post)

The humming birds have been here since the last week of March. They feed at our native honeysuckle daily! Yay, again!




Thursday, March 29, 2018

Greens


Green Soup a la  mustard and rutabaga greens.


























Two greens have figured heavily in our meals this year. Here are the recipes I used.
https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/basic-green-soup
http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/kale-mushroom-frittata
In the case Green Soup, use any green you have but do not leave out the lemon or the olive oil.
The frittata can be adjusted to more people easily. That's their charm. Goat cheese dolloped around as for if a pizza is special.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Whacky Doo Winter

Tomatoes. I have about sixty plants. 😐
Spring is on the calendar and I, in anxious anticipation, started all manner of seedlings in all places. Fortunately small lettuces do not mind frost/freeze if covered so we re-covered, again. A gardening version of spin the bottle.
I put out broccoli seedlings and Swiss chard thinking a warming trend would begin a-a-and had to cover. Beets, you're on your own. Maybe I will cover them before the cold settles tonight. Maybe. Bright sunny days yield frost at night this year.
RobCo Master Gardeners' Spring Symposium featured Greg LeHoullier, self proclaimed Tomato Man. First, he declared tomato seeds are viable for up to twelve years. Good thing I hoard seeds. Testing his theory I found my six year olds were. I also used a modified version of his germination method and now have entirely too many of every type of tomato I planted.
Here's the list:
Celebrity
Mountain Magic
Mountain Fresh
Yellow pear
Juliet
Lemon Ice (dwarf)
Pink Passion (dwarf)
All have been separated, replanted and are thriving.
Now we wait for warmer weather. And, I will buy some more heirloom tomato seeds.
There are other seedlings up. Beets, leeks, ground cherries, borage.
Failed twice are the basil seeds.
Hm.





Monday, March 12, 2018

New Bed

The New Bed has been mapped out, filled with composted manure and a few plants put in. Not the best timing for planting. Lured to it by the warm weather we have re-covered established beds and will cover the new planting. Maybe double cover and put some of those candle heaters under tonight. And tomorrow night. A long overdue reminder: Small towns list toward boring, therefore I garden.
Recent reading and videos are leading me down the path of No Dig (Charles Dowding, UK) and Craig LeHoullier (Cary, NC). The New Bed is no dig. Tomatoes many types and varieties are up and growing under lights upstairs. Elliot Coleman's, Winter Harvest started year round growing. Future posts will refer back to these methods.

A long overdue reminder: Small towns list toward boring, therefore I garden. Apparently those whose winters are longer learn crafts, quilt and build stuff. I would lose me mind and be perpetually medicated or learn to build stuff because sitting is not for me.




Monday, March 5, 2018

oops.

I know not to brag about the weather. So help me. My garden is back under wraps with night time temps in the low 30's. The trials of gardening...