Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

January 2011 already. I haven't posted since September! Time sure flies by fast. So today I will play a little catch up, as I anticipate the coming Spring!
I was really blessed with an abundance of bounty this year. I have canned, frozen, eaten so much and enjoyed every minute of it. Below are photographs of my bounty to include my prize giant Sunflower I grew this year.
For the upcoming year, I am so excited and have many ideas of new things that will share space in the garden. Currently I have sweet potatoes sleeping in their mound of straw and dirt, as well as Egyptian walking onions, and garlic. These will greet me early in the spring to kick off my 21 garden. I also have a goal to purchase a house with at least 5 acres of land to begin my own herb farm, that I can share with the public through education of how to use herbs, grow herbs, and love herbs!
Stay Warm!
Canned tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and home made Jalapeno hot sauce!
Just a little proud of this big sunflower! :)
Pesto and jalapeno jelly were some of the things I canned this year!

I may get even more adventurous and post my pictures of the garden in the snow. Which we have had tons of! Until then, sweet dreams of the Spring! ~

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Artichoke in Tennessee??

Well, I have posted pictures of my artichokes I planted last summer, then placed in the dirt basement to go dormant. I pulled them out this spring and to my delight, they burst forth with lots of growth. Here is an updated pic of my artichoke grown in Tennessee! I am so proud. :-)

Thanks Tasteful Garden for this healthy plant!
And speaking of Tennessee, did you know that our state wildflower is the passionflower? I was lucky enough to purchase this one recently and absolutely love the fragrant blooms, and harvesting the fruit will just have to be a bonus!

Happy upcoming fall gardening!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Go Volunteers!

Hello, My name is Calypso! And yes, I am an orange and white cat. This only seems natural, as I was born in Knoxville Tn 8 years ago, and they are the home of the Volunteers! However, today's blog is not about sports, it is about Volunteer plants. What is a volunteer plant? It is any plant in the yard or garden, that was not placed there by Teresa intentionally. So, wouldn't that be a weed? Nope, volunteer plants can bring great joy if left to grow with a little love and attention!
This is one determined little tomato. I am not sure what type of tomato it is, but I am hoping to find out. It is growing on the edge of the pavement, and next to the piggie pen where their dinner bowls are. I feared the piggies would eat the plant as they often do when opportunity knocks, so I wrapped it in chicken wire, and will hope for it's survival.

The first picture here is of a tomatillo plant. Tomatillo is very similar to a tomato in appearance. It grows with this cool husk cradeling the fruit. I planted some last year in this same spot, and this year being the thoughtful gardener I am, I was rotating my crops and had decided to grow lettuces here. Apparently, the Tomatillos decided they liked this location, and came back for a visit. I am happy to have them, and forsee some salsa verde in their future!

I am not sure about this sunflower, I would guess some cardinals decided to deposit it here. A deer chewed off it's lower leaves, but it seems determined to survive, so I let it.

This is my third year of volunteer cherry tomatoes in this location outside the piggy pen. These plants get so huge I can hardly stake them on the fence. But, they bring tons of fruit, and the piggies love their snacks when some of the tomatoes decide to jump into their pen!

I love borage! It is an herb that is also a beautiful plant with these blue star like flowers. The leaves are fuzzy, and have a cucumber like taste to them. However, this volunteer, is growing, and growing, and growing, and growing. I have about 4 of them and another 6 babies showing up. They are taking up quite a bit of space and crowding out my garlic. So, guess I need to harvest the garlic?? :)

Primrose, I have tried to grow these from seeds, transplants etc, and now they are growing in the crack of my walkway. I love it!

Fennel, I have tons of fennel, and it is not where I would have placed it. I love fennel, so I will let them grow. I actually had to dig up fennel and dill from my gravel walkway, as people were trampling them down daily. Now I have fennel in pots, and fennel amongst my herbs. I think I will harvest prior to seeding this year though!

I think this may be spaghetti squash! The leaves are about 18 inches in diameter, and the plant is now about 12 feet across the compost pile. I notice a few squash like plants in my compost a few months ago, and let them grow. So I will not have much of a compost pile this year, but yummy squashes!

This is the other squash growing in my compost pile. I believe it is butternut squash from last year's harvest. I had to put up some fencing in my compost pile to support this climbing freak! There are three of these vines wandering amuck and bring me lots of joy and happiness!

Now I also have noticed that since I harvested my cilantro and arugula, I have lots of babies coming up in their place. This baby decided to wonder out of the garden and into the pathway through the garden. I imagine I will be walking around this escapee for a month or so.

And last but not least wild blackberries. The fields are full of them this year. I even have a few that have wondered into my garden, so I let them grow just because they volunteered to be there. I see cobblers, jams and perhaps some wine in their future.
So, I appear to be a lazy gardener? Actually, I work very hard to grow all kinds of things in the garden, and really love seeing these determined little plants popping up in such odd places. I even discovered a tomato growing in between my deck boards, and my deck is 8 feet above the ground! I have a feeling that one won't make it. I really have a hard time pulling up my seedlings to make room for them to produce, so how could I possibly pluck a volunteer plant from it's chosen home? GO VOLS!
Enjoy the weekend, and watch out for those vols!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hallooo to you! My name is Papilio polyxenes, or most likely known to you as Black Swallowtail Caterpillar. I have been hanging out in Teresa's parsley patch happily munching away all day on curled and italian parsley. Now I am ready to make my cocoon to rest a bit while I transform into a butterfly and leave this earthbound existance. Then I will have a bird's eye view of Teresa's lovely parsley patch! I love that this patch is on a two year cycle, as I may decide to lay eggs for next year!

So today was unreasonably hot, 92 degrees it felt like 97 with the humidity throw in. Working in the garden is necessary, but tedious. Here I have my scarlet runner beans eagerly climbing their teepee to the sky. They have beautiful blooms, but I wonder what the beans will taste and look like. Guess I will just have to wait and see. They seem to be doing well after a rough start with a cut worm war. Along the Wattle fence is Bantam corn, and zucchini and yellow squashes. The onions that I planted on the outer side have all been harvested and eaten, and were quite yummy!

Last blog, I posted about this volunteer squash, and boy is it an impresive monster now. I have no idea what it is, but it has oblong fruit, and is very happy living in the compost pile. The leaves are about 15 to 18 inches across. Any ideas? I will keep you posted.

Coming soon, wait, I picked these today. What? Blackberries in mid June? The fields are full this year, so I look forward to many gallons of wild blackberries, which will be transformed into wine, ice cream, and cobblers for summer yumminess. I am working on a few recipes to post real soon. Stay cool and happy harvesting!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Garden LOVES the Rain!

Today I came home and planted some squash, beans, corn, and sunflowers. I spent hours weeding through my lettuces, corn, and spinach so they can grow healthy and tasty for upcoming dinners with my friends on lazy summer weekends.

Well hello tomatoes! I had to post these again, as it has only been about 5 weeks since I planted these and posted the directions on my blog. If you happened to read my last blog you saw how small these were when I planted the, and how much they had grown. Now it's been another week and WOW! They have grown so much more! I fear the few peppers I put between them will have to be moved to a new home very soon! If you are new to my blog I would suggest looking back to the one about feeding your tomatoes before you plant them, it is simple, and well worth the effort!

I have a compost pile just below my deck out back. This is a very simple process to dump my appropriate kitchen debris, grass, leaves etc, over the rail into the compost pile. I then either plant there, or add this lovely concoction to my various garden beds. Apparently I now have a few volunteer squashes of some sort that are absolutely thriving on their own! I will keep you posted as to their progress in future blogs, as well as their identity. I do know they have little tendrils emerging, so they plan on traveling in a vertical manner soon.

This year I decided to plant corn around my wattle fence that I blogged about last year. I love this wattle fence. It is made from sticks, trees, and vines from my land, and not only incorporates recycling, but the fence is very functional for climbing plants and is very attractive to look at. I am looking forward to the corn, sunflowers and squash that will soon meander through the wood and become a work of art!

Below is one of the artichoke plants I placed in the dirt basement for the winter. I didn't water them, nor disturb them all for about 5 months. I am patiently waiting to see if I get a few chokes this year to serve at a cookout! Check out Tasteful Gardens site to order a few for yourself!

Sage is a very tasty herb to place under the skin of a chicken, or turkey and bake. YUM! It's not just for dressing!! This plant is 3 years old, and it is the first time it has bloomed. I am looking forward to the foilage, blooms and finding new uses for it, but wonder if this means Mr Sage bush won't be back for me to enjoy next year?

BUGS!! I squash them when I am able to catch them in the act of nibbling on my lovely plants. This year I decided to plant scarlet runner beans, as they have lovely huge leaves and red blossoms, to be followed by scrumptious beans. However, a pack of about 18 seeds has produced about 6 plants due to the cutworms. Also, something is enjoying munching on the leaves that have managed to not be sawed off by the cutworms. I fear I shall have to purchase more seeds soon. My plan is to wrap foil around the ones that have survived and hope the cutworms get a SHOCK when they attempt to attack again. The other plants that are in the foreground that you see emerging will be birdhouse gourd squashes, and this is my first attempt growing these. I think my bean/squash teepees are going to be entertaining for me and my guests for months to come!

I recently read about a process of planting with no weeds or digging and decided to test this in the garden (and at a friends house as well.) This is a bag of potting soil with time released fertilizer. I cut out the top like a picture frame. I then poked holes through the bottom of the bag for drainage, and planted basil in it to sample this process. The bag itself keeps down weeds, and should hold in moisture as well. I will keep you posted on the progress of a much anticipated basil bonanza!

Well, Mommy is tired after a long day at work and playing in the garden. She fed me some crunchy p-nuts (which I had to share with my roomy Sully), then scratched my belly, and bid me goodnite. I guess it's time to retire and dream of the yummies she will feed me in the morning and all summer from her very tasteful garden.

I know she plans on posting some recipes involving fresh pickins from her scrumptious plantings.

Bon Appetit! Wuv, Choppers!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's Happening in the

Pork Chop says welcome to my mommies page! She grows lots of yummy things, and I get to eat some of them too, even when she doesn't want me too. I stick my big ol nose right through the fence, or I use my ever so slight overbite to grasp the tender leaves and pull them right through chicken wire. I am such a clever boy, and I know my mommy loves me bunches! Right? What's not to love about that?

Fava beans are really easy to grow, nutritious, and have very unique snapdragon like blooms. Everyone should poke a few in the ground just to watch them grow. These specimens came home with me from Carmel California in December. They are not particular about soil, but you need to keep them weed free, and support them with a round cage of chicken wire. The pods are very large and heavy and will tend to make them lay on the ground. I am excited to harvest these yummy treats in a month or so to make a hummus or just saute them and add to a salad!
Chianti anyone?

The Grand Rapids lettuce is liking these cold spells we have been experiencing recently with quite a temperature fluctuation. Friday May 7 it was almost 90 degrees, and then last night they were talking about possible frost?? I had to fight a lot of weeds but have managed to get a nice patch going. I also have several other beds with mixed greens, and spinach.

If you read my last blog, you would have seen this strange empty frame, better known as a potato box. As you can see, in one month the potatoes have been happily reaching for the sky. It is now time to add a few more boards, some straw, and leave only a few inches of green showing . In another month these will reach the top of the box, and I will repeat this process. The potatoes will form under the straw, and after they bloom and the petals fall, I can disassemble the box for easy, dirt free access to potatoes! This is one of my favorite contraptions in the garden!

I recently wrote a blog about how to start your tomatoes with a solid food foundation, before you set them in the ground. This is a picture from that blog when I planted these Roma's only a month ago.

Now here they are today! All grown upish. Notice how green and healthy they are. No miracle Grow necessary, just a few key ingrediants from your local garden store, your kitchen, and your medicine cabinet with do. I will be excited to pick my first delicious Roma's and serve them in salads, roasted, or perhaps in a garlicky pasta sauce.

I started a small strawberry patch, which will grow over the next few years. Here are my first arrivals just ripening, and I am hoping to beat the bugs, slugs, rabbits and other critters for a taste. Strawberries send out baby plants, very similar to the houseplant spider. You can plant these and expect a bigger crop each year. Keep them moist, but off the ground and mulched, and you and your neighboring critters should enjoy lots of lucious berries!

I think that rain we have been promised is moving in, so I shall be moving on, into the house that is.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Potato Box made of Cedar. I have my potatoes in the ground and they are already poking through the straw. I will continue to keep straw around them with about 3 inches poking above the straw, as I add boards to the bottom until the entire box is complete. Then the potatoes flower, drop their flowers, and I remove the boards and get my potatoes, without digging!
I just started a new strawberry patch. I know I won't get much from it this year, but next year! The chamomille is poking up through it's winter cover of leaves, and it has produced several offspring. I shall have soothing tea all summer!

Texas Tarragon, is a bit licorice in flavor, and yummy in lots of dishes! It is emerging from it's winter bed, and is now about 3 times this size. How beautiful this plant is!

Well today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day! I love the Earth, so I wanted to pop in and tell everyone how much I love the Earth! First of all my nickname is Dirty Gertie. When I am digging and playing in my garden, I tend to wear a lot of dirt from head to toe. I don't mind sitting in the dirt, pulling up weeds, running my hands through the dirt, talking to the worms and other helpful critters that live in the dirt.

My contribution to Earth Day was to volunteer at Earth Fest in Knoxville. This was a fantastic event with tons of free plants, trees, ideas, information and fun. I was working a recycle booth helping people properly dispose of their cups, cans, forks, paper, and even chewing gum. I came home with knowledge, grasses, and a Tulip Poplar tree, our state tree, to plant in the front yard. We had beautiful weather, and tons of people. I plan on being at this event again next year!

Today I planted some peppers, flowers, and fennel. It is supposed to rain all weekend, so these will be happy new plants. I also harvested some swiss chard, parsley, asparagus and various greens to saute and eat for dinner. I love that my garden gives all winter, and in the spring I can dive right in to eating wonderful fresh nutritious food on a daily basis. I love knowing that there aren't any nasty chemicals to invade my body from my organically grown yummies!

Right now my camera is charging, so I can't really post recent photo's. My artichokes are double in size from my last blog. I have pepper row ready to go and still have some bell peppers and tomatoes waiting to get their spot in the garden. My onions are happy, and there are volunteer squashes of some sort coming up in my compost pile. I will save them and put them in a new home soon!

So, rain is coming, guess I will see what The Tasteful Garden has for sale so I can plant every inch of my gardens with delicious fruits that come from their dance with the earth!! Have a wonderful weekend, and when you can, get out and PLANT something. :-)