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.