Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

Spring may be coming after all
      This past Thursday was my birthday.  Daughter Barb and family visited yesterday and brought this beautiful present from them and from daughter Emily and family.  What a great way to chase away the winter grays.  Thank you all.
      It has been a long and dreary winter, and I have not even started seeds.  I hope this present will get me jump started.  If I clear out the failed cold frames, I can put these cool weather crops out now.  Be picking salad greens shortly.
      Thanks Barb and Em.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Kale Sprouts

      About two weeks ago was the first time I had heard about and read about kale sprouts, also known as Kalettes.  Developed by the English seed company, Tozer Seeds, Kalettes are a true breeding cross between red kale and brussel sprouts.  The plant grows tall like brussel sprouts, but instead of sprouts on the stems, there are miniature edible kale plants.
       Now I was interested.  The problem is that Johnnies Seeds is the only American source for the seeds, and being new, the seeds are $10.95 for a packet of 40 seeds.  Naw, for a cole crop?  Yep, I just looked at Johnnies.  Boo, hiss.
       During my internet search, I saw that Trader Joe's carries the kale sprouts, and a visit to my local store got me this for $3.50 for the bag.  They tasted alright raw.

I was thrilled to have found a supply of fresh sprouts, because I wasn't going to buy the seed without tasting the product.  Plus I had a devious little thought.  Maybe I could root the little buggers.  A search of the net resulted in absolutely no help about rooting them, but I was encouraged about the trademark issue.  They are trademarked as Kalettes, meaning that you can not raise the plants and sell them under that name, even from seed.  But you can sell them as kale sprouts, and nothing prevents you from trying to root the cuttings from the package.  You can not raise "Patented" plants from cuttings, but are allowed to do so from "Trademarked" plants, but can not use the trademarked name.
      Whoopee.  I now had a whole lot of little plants that I could try to root.  I have to say now that I wasn't really optimistic, though I had to try.

      The bag full of sprouts was dumped onto the table, and you can see three individual plants above.  Look to me like they might root in water.  Four of the little plants were put in a plastic container with a lettuce stub that I was trying to root.  The rest of the sprouts were put in a shallow plastic tray that had about 1/2 inch of water.  The tray is kept covered to maintain humidity.
       I have been checking for rooting activity but with no luck.  But today, lookey here:

      See the roots at by the purple base.  Wow am I excited.

      Beautiful.  And rooted.  Should transplant easily to individual pots.

      The rooted cuttings are from this little covered container.  They have rooted, while the others in the plastic tray have not yet rooted. This little container sits on top of an aquarium light, and I think the added warmth has accelerated the rooting.  I hope to have a large crop started soon, and it will only cost me $3.50 for them all.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Planting Time Soon ???

Morning of March 6, 2015
      The calendar indicates that plantings of peas, potatoes, and onions should begin soon.  As in outside planting.  A look at the garden this morning might suggest a little caution.  Adding to the problem is that I have not yet started any of my other seeds!  In prior years the porch has hundreds of seedlings on trays.  Yet this morning was nine degrees!

      Maybe I'll have another cup of coffee.  Then try to decide if I should at least pull out the seed supply as a feeble attempt to start this year's gardening.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Winter Squash

      We have had a very cold stretch of winter weather, with night time lows sometimes of 5 to 7 degrees. It is time to work on cooking the winter squash before it goes bad.

       There were two Marina di Chioggia squash left, this one and the one cut up in the following pictures. In this picture you can also see a butternut squash, and acorn squash and a buttercup squash.  The Marina was cut into chunks for baking in the oven along with a big ham for dinner.

Cut into three pieces
Further cleaned and ready for baking
      What a great way to have garden grown veggies fresh in the middle of winter.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rattlesnake Beans

      This was my first season of success with Rattlesnake Beans.  I think I tried them before from seed, but never got any of the starts to transplant to the garden. The tender young plants seem to have a tough time adjusting to planting out. This year I got one plant to make the jump to the garden, and it grew to be a very productive pole bean, with the mottled pods that give it the Rattlesnake name.
      Shortly before our first killer frost in late October, I picked the last pods and moved them to the enclosed porch to dry.  This morning I shelled the beans to let them dry further, for storage to next year's late spring planting.

Shelling next year's seed, December 6th, 2014

      Aren't those seeds pretty?  A trellis full of Rattlesnake Beans to get enough in the fall to shell for dried beans would be both beautiful and delicious.  Maybe next year.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Bird of Paradise

      Every year at the holidays we are graced with at least one bloom from the Bird of Paradise.  This year was no exception.

December 5th,  2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Got Away Garden

      My original garden over at the park got out of control this year, and try as we might by pulling all thistles on three occasions, we were never able to bring it in line.  I hope the winter cold will knock down the weeds and then I might be able to stay ahead next year.
      I had planted three Dr. Martin lima bean plants on a sturdy six foot tall by eighteen foot long trellis.  Brownie at the park had given me the plants, and he said they would need lots of room.  So only the three plants in such a large space.  All three survived transplanting, then were basically ignored.  Never watered, seldom weeded.  Never picked a bean because they never seemed full.  There were lots of dry pods, some even split open.  Before pulling out the three vines, I picked the dried pods.

Dry Lima Harvest
Here are some beans still in the pods

      This last shot shows the total harvest of good beans in the saucer, the not so appealing beans in the left corner, a handful of fresh green pods, and a huge mound of pods to go to the compost pile.  All those beans from only the original three seeds.  I will keep maybe twenty beans to start for next year's crop.
      We have never cooked with dried lima beans before, but sure are going to try this winter.  Anyone have a yummy recipe they would like to share?