Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lettuce, Arugula & Cauliflower

I love this time of year. The weather forces me to slow down and relax more and the holidays are always fun and exciting, especially with two small children and now a baby on the way! Even the yard  seems to offer us a break with our lawn growing slower and the garden beds benefiting from the rainfall. Our lettuce & arugula are now ready for harvest. This is our first year growing cauliflower and so far so good! Our other veggies are coming along just fine. With the exception of the greens, we have to wait patiently for the garlic and onions to come in. In the meantime we enjoy all the other pleasures of this time of year.

Monday, September 27, 2010

From Summer to Fall

Overall it's been a very mild summer for us here. We've had only a handful of days of intense heat unlike Maybelline's Garden over in Bakersfield - yikes.  Perhaps that's why our tomato crop was not anything to brag about. We also got hit this year with  katydids and sadly they devoured a few of our tomato plants and reproduced like mad. There are a few more tomato plants left in the beds but I'm giving up hope on them as they are becoming quite an ugly site. I'm about to fill a few more vases of zinnias up before I yank those out too. I hate to pull them out while they seem to still be doing so well but want to make sure that I have the room for the fall garden.  The zucchini is still thriving and showing no signs of stopping so quiche is definitely on our menu this week and we have a ton of tomatillos, eggplant and bell peppers that are soon ready to harvest. Sadly we had no luck with our pumpkins this year so we'll make yet another trip with the kids to the pumpkin patch, which is always quite fun and bring four home. With the exception of the noisy leaf blowers on our street throughout the week, I just love this time of year.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Secret Garden

Just home from a fabulous time seeing my family in Southern California. It was great spending time with them. Their garden was a delight to see. New beds were built in 2009 and huge change has taken place down there. They have a composting area, grapes growing and it is definitely a place any gardener would admire. Their garden sits at the bottom of a terraced backyard and it certainly qualifies as a secret garden as a narrow stone pathway is the only way to get there. My dad made these garden beds for my mom and they are quite charming to look at. I just love how the boards sit at different heights creating a more interesting look than your standard garden bed. I've never seen green zebra tomatoes like my mom's. Her plant (yes, 1) was monstrous and there was absolutely no way we were leaving without incorporating them into a meal. I came home inspired and more enthusiastic about our garden and the fall planning is under way.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

First Cucumbers Of 2010

The kids were pretty excited to pick their first cucumbers of the year this evening from the trellis I created between their garden beds. The top cucumber is from Sam's garden bed and although he refuses to try cucumbers I'm hoping he'll give this one a try and love them from here on out.  Maggie picked about 5 of these little cute little cucumbers (bottom) off her side of the trellis. We plan to cut them in to spears and pickle them tomorrow. I'm hoping to find a easy dill pickle recipe. I think I'm going to give refrigerator pickling a try (they'll be gone in no time anyhow) Still waiting for a miracle to happen with the tomato plants - they're not as showy and full of tomatoes as they were this time last year. Leggy is the best word for them here. The zinnias & cosmos are blooming and the pumpkin plants are spilling out of the beds everywhere and are a delight to see! Already we are thinking about what/when to plant for fall.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Garden Pictures June 2010

2009/2010 Tomato Plants

Late May 2009
June 25, 2010

I planted our tomato plants much earlier last year (I think it was the 1st weekend in April) This year I waited until later (April 19) and with the very wet and cool spring, I'm glad I did. I'm still waiting for the Sun God to turn up the heat. My tomato plants are really on the leggy side this year - not as full and bushy as last year. I should follow my daughter's advice and not look at them so often. Maybe a long weekend away is calling us.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Parking Strip Gardens

Recently we had our street resurfaced. I asked the contractor on the job if he'd lift the cement from our parking strip. Not only did he do it but he also took away the concrete as well (what a nice guy!) We plan to plant lawn and crape myrtles there in the fall giving us something to look at other than the street and parked cars. I have always been a fan a tree lined streets and was told that years ago our street was once like this. While surfing the net one day I stumbled across another great garden blog called Greenwalks. It's about Seattle parking strip gardens. The pictures are lovely and I find it very inspiring. The trees and sod will eventually be planted in our parking strip but in the meantime four zucchini plants are loving the full sun out front and it makes me happy to know there will plenty to share with our neighbors.

Picture from Greenwalks

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


We love garlic and it's been one of the easiest and most rewarding things to grow. We initially had a hard time finding garlic at our local garden stores so I thought about planting garlic purchased from the supermarket but after some research found out that often growth inhibitors are used to stop garlic from sprouting and can be made from hormones or chemicals. I ended up buying our garlic from the local farmers market selecting the largest bulbs. I've read that if you plant large cloves they tend produce large garlic bulbs and so far this seems to be true. We tend to plant our garlic in the fall (Oct) and harvest now through July. When the greens turn brown and yellow I know it's pretty much harvest time.You can also dig around it and feel the size of the bulb to check before you pull it out.  I'm thinking about planting more cloves now to see if they will grow. How wonderful it would be to have this year round from our backyard! 

 Garlic Three Ways (Thanks Hungry Mouse!)

  1. Roasted garlic
  2. Garlic-infused oil
  3. Roasted garlic compound butter

From And Sow My Garden Grows

From And Sow My Garden Grows

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Messy *but* Happy Garden

Pretty exciting to see big changes in the garden. The weather has finally warmed up and the veggies are responding to it happily. The nasturtium is spilling out of the beds and onto the ground and we have little zucchini & crooknecks coming along and there are lots of little green tomatoes on the plants and today I noticed the cucumbers starting to appear as well! I love the look of a messy, full garden  and because of this, the kids often tuck seeds away with permission where ever they want. I enjoy seeing life in the garden growing in random order without rhythm or rhyme. I guess you can call me a rule breaker gardener.  I grow mint in our garden bed (yes, I do) and as you can see I have onion blooms. I've been told they need to tied off or clipped but I love their whimsical look and they attract a lot of the blooms shall remain for now. Everything seems to be growing fine and healthy and until things prove otherwise, I imagine I'll always plant like this. What rules do you break in your garden and are how does it work for you?

From New Album 6/6/10 1:38 PM

From New Album 6/6/10 1:38 PM

From New Album 6/6/10 1:38 PM

From New Album 6/6/10 1:38 PM

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

23 Tomato Plants

No more tomatoes! My new mantra. I keep saying this but found myself yesterday at our local nursery resisting the urge to stick more tomato plants into my cart. I was alone and was enjoying the moment. I fought off the lemon boy and black krim tomatoes successfully from making their way into my cart but the black cherry tomato plant had to come home with me. This summer I definitely want bruschetta with a variety of cherry tomatoes. We have 4 cherry tomato plants now going strong. I've read wonderful things about the black cherry tomato from fellow garden bloggers and apparently they are pretty prolific growers. This makes 23 tomato plants for us this year.  What kind of tomatoes are you growing this year??

  1. Ace
  2. Celebrity
  3. Cherokee Purple from seed x 2
  4. Heirloom Brandywine from seed x4
  5. Super Steak x 2
  6. Beefsteak x 3
  7. Green Zebra
  8. Abe Lincoln
  9. Giant Belgium
  10. San Marzano x 4 by seed
  11. Sweet 100 Cherry
  12. Red Currant Cherry
  13. Black Cherry

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Butterfly Bush ~ Buddleia

Our butterfly bushes are in bloom and they are beautiful! Butterfly bushes are easy to grow and take care of. They are vigorous growers and evergreen if the winter is not too severe. They come in a variety of colors, attract hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects to your garden. They are hardy plants and seem to take neglect pretty well and can handle being transplanted if you need to uproot them and move them. I rescued mine from someone who was pulling them out of her front yard. I actually came home from her yard with 2 and they handled the transplant well. I ended up digging one of them up and it's doing well now at my sisters house. I have a Black Knight and also have a Pink Delight. The Pink Delight I purchased bare root from Home Depot at around the same time I transplanted the Black Knight. They both are standing at nearly 10 feet tall or taller now.

From And Sow My Garden Grows

From And Sow My Garden Grows

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2 Down

Tomato blight on 2 tomato plants here and *thankfully* it's the San Marzano. I say thankfully because we planted 7 San Marzano and happily I can say that these two were not from my seeds but were purchased at a local nursery. Mine look green and healthy :) Thanks to Farmer Fred's latest post I convinced my husband they have to go. We plan to replace them with 2 more San Marzano if we can still get them and hopefully this will be the end to the blight on our plants this year. I am really looking forward to our first San Marzano tomatoes. They sound pretty amazing.

From And Sow My Garden Grows

From And Sow My Garden Grows

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Square Foot Garden ~ Update 1

From And Sow My Garden Grows

From And Sow My Garden Grows
  White Lisbon Onions (green onions)

From And Sow My Garden Grows
Lettuce Rows

Making some progress on our square foot garden. As you can see, seedlings are appearing. The radishes broke ground fast (first time planting them) and will need to be thinned soon. We are also growing for the first time white lisbon onions (aka green onions at the supermarket) I have heard both the radishes and the lisbon onions are pretty easy to grow. We have had quite a wonderful combination of both rainy days and very warm sunny days lately and of course everything is coming up pretty quickly because of it.  Happy to have the rain. As you can tell from the top picture, the drip system has yet to be installed. We shall see how much we can knock of our to do list this weekend. The list is always long and the weekend is always full and fast. I vote for three day weekends :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Make Sure You Do Some Research First

I was very excited about the foxgloves I planted today. They have a gorgeous look to them and look spectacular in a cottage garden. I was certainly disappointed to read that they can be lethal if ingested (all parts of the plant) and that they are at the top of the list of poisonous plants for both humans and animals. Of course with two small children and a cat, I plan on returning them. It got me to thinking... most products that are poisonous have warning labels on them. I have yet to see any warning labels on plants stating that they are poisonous.  I watch my cat nibble on everything in my yard. I watch my kids pull petals off plants and leaves and make pretend soups and such from things in the yard. Although they are beautiful - they are not welcomed here. Be aware, read up and know what you are about to plant.  

Just one of the many things I read about Foxgloves  scary to say the least. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Green With Envy

 Jackie's Tomato Plants

  2 of our tomato plants

I just adore our neighbors Jackie & Dudley. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful people in our lives and even luckier that we live on the same street as them. I know that if I need anything that they are just steps away. I consider them the "safe house" on our street for our kids if ever there were to be an emergency and they have done everything for us from taking in our mail and checking on our kitty while we are away (They have even watered our garden before we had drip system) They have helped me in scary situations as well and came to my rescue when our son had a bad injury & Jackie not only  took me but stayed and sat with me in the emergency room once when I thought I had been bitten by a black widow and there is so much more -  I could go on and on. Jackie's tomato plants astonish me year after year. I'm not sure what she's doing over there but I have been following her lead the last few years. We planted within days of each other this year and already her tomato plants are about three times larger than mine! She has been planting her tomatoes in the same spot for years - what about all this crop rotation stuff I've read about?? Her method always seems to be the same. She plants directly in the ground (not raised beds) and she mixes chicken manure & miracle grow mix to the soil prior to planting.  She waters deeply by hose maybe every other day depending on heat and occasionally feeds them with liquid miracle grow. Perhaps it's the deep watering, the miracle grow, the location. Perhaps it's just Jackie and her gift with things. Now to me, this makes perfect sense.