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. :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Beginning of a Great Tomato!

First , I would like to say I am so happy that my artichoke I purchased from Tasteful Gardens last Spring survived a very cold winter in my dirt basement. I am looking forward to some yummy artichokes this year.

Tomato Tips!

If you want abundant and tasty tomatoes, you have to give them a loving beginning when you plant them, and they will make you very happy!

1.) Always pull off the lower few leaves of the tomato plant, and then you need to dig a hole deep enough to plant your tomato up to the lower leaves that are left. Too many people only plant them to the top of the dirt provided in the pot they are purchased in. Unfortunately, this container is a temporary home, and it has not provided room for their wandering roots. A tomato needs a strong stem and root system to provide you with great fruit.

2.) Furnish the tomato a nice basis of nutrition and protection.

a.) In the hole add a fish head (can be guts, lobster or shrimp shells), for calcium.

b.) Add 1/2 cup of bone meal for phosphorus which will make more blossoms, more
blossoms bring more fruit, and a bonus of calcium.

c.) To prevent blossom rot add 3 or 4 crushed egg shells which adds calcium.

d.) Aspirin will give the tomatoes immune system a head start, so add a few.

e.) Now throw in a handful or two of a slow release fertilizer like 4-6-4.

3.) Now you can place your tomato in it's new home and if you want to protect it from fungal disease, then dust it with a bit of RootZone, place it in the hole and gently cover with top soil and pat it in place.
4.) Now you need to water your newly planted tomato deeply and start thinking about what kind of cool trellis you can come up with to support all of those yummy tomatoes. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Sunrise, What a wonderful time to think about the renewal of the earth!

Yes, I have already begun planting yummy lettuces, and they are already so beautiful with splashes of color!

The Garlic chives give so abundantly all summer, and arrive so early in the spring!

Mr Gnome and his Mushroom side kick are gleeful over the emergence of all of this parsley!

I ate on this Swiss Chard all Winter, and now it is living in a pot happy to be outside!

My new babies awaiting their turn to play in Gerties Garden!

I am truly happy, and looking forward to the new challenges that Spring puts forth. This is only the beginning, yet I already have wonders emerging from last year. The cycle of life is a wonderous thing!

Recap and New Beginnings

We have here some of the fall abundance from my garden last year being watched over by my lumberjack nutcracker. I just finished my last butternut squash just weeks ago and it was so sad, but yummy!

My cat Calypso loves laying by the peppers on my walkway, which is weed free now and has new pea gravel I put down last week!
This was my lower garden with the wattle fencing which my squashes loved! You can see the patch of corn at the back of the garden on the left. The deer decided to make a bed there, so I didn't even get one ear of corn! (ignore the date on the pic, batteries died, and I forgot to reset the date.. oops)

Close up of some of my pumpkins and butternut!

Spring is here and I am so excited to have already begun my adventures in Gardening after a very long, very cold winter. I have posted some photo's from last year to inspire. First we have a few of the canned items I put away from my harvest. I made garlic dill pickles, canned tomatoes with garlic and basil, and pickled some jalapeno's. I had such an abundance that I was able to share at Christmas the fruits of my labors. The jalapeno peppers were absolutely awesome! I also froze a lot of my pepper crops to enjoy throughout the winter. (I do apologize again for a few of the pictures have incorrect dates due to battery recharges on my camera, and forgetting to reset the dates. 2/1 was actually in July. :O)

My fairy eggplants were absolutely beautiful!

The wattle fencing worked wonderfully to house an abundance of cucumbers throughout the summer.

I really had lots of luck with the sunflowers this year as well. The birds were very happy, and I got to enjoy their sunny disposition for months!

This was my new lower garden which housed pumpkins, spaghetti squash, okra, beans, zucchini and yellow squash, and lots of vining morning glories.

This is the front Wattle fencing with some cucumbers hanging happlily, even in August. I also had mint running around like crazy and a hummingbird vine that brought a lot of beneficial bugs and birds to visit.

This is what I have dubbed as pepper row. And wow, did I have lots of peppers. I grew jalapeno's, banana peppers, serrano, pablano, and a vast variety of green peppers. This area is along my walkway and I discovered the gravel was very beneficial in growing peppers. They like the drainage and heat provided from the gravel, and the piggies didn't bother to poke their noses through the fence to try and eat them.

This year I am already enjoying lettuces, cilantro, parsley, turnip greens, swiss chard, and arugula that actually survived the winter, and came back in full force to greet me.

I will be posting more often, as well as showing stages of plantings, tips, and recipes. My next post will show the abundance I am already enjoying, and plans for this year's garden!