Monday, May 23, 2011

First Produce!

Sparkler Radishes
I harvested my first produce from the veggie garden today! Just a few radishes,and a green onion, but  hey! Look! Radishes!  I'm planning to make a cold pasta salad to go with dinner. After all, if I picked it, we should eat it, right?  I sampled and these are juicy and sweet with just a hint of bite to them. YUM!

Food or Triffid?

After weeks of cold wet weather, then a few hot sunburst days followed by hard rains, the garden is suddenly showing some promise!  We should have our first zucchini in a few days, and the first peas planted are all blooming while the second batch are just sticking their heads up out of the ground. 

Snap Peas

The tomatoes aren't doing much, but I expect as soon as we get some really warm weather we'll be dealing with a 'mater explosion, At least that gives me some time to cage the last couple additions, with huge thanks to Xhin & Dhin at Trurealty.Net (yellow pear) and to Spider & Eli, (Mister Stripey)!

Gonna celebrate "Fresh From the Garden" with Radish Pasta Salad tonight!
The Recipe

2 cups penne rigate pasta (or pasta of choice, cooked, drained, cooled)
2 large radishes: chopped
1 green onion: chopped finely
2 celery stems, de-stringed and chopped
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp poppy seeds for extra crunch
Lemon juice
1/4 cup mayo or sour cream (I use half mayo & half sour cream)

Mix all the dressing ingredients and refrigerate while the pasta cooks.
Fold the dressing into the pasta and tuck into the fridge to chill and let the flavors mingle.
Serve chilled.
For a great main dish you can toss in Dungeoness crab or bay shrimp, too, but I don't have either of those, so I'll be serving it with oven-grilled pork chops instead.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Naked Gardening Day!

So, today is May 14th, Garden Naked Day!  I'd link to the webpage but it has nekkid people on it. Most of the pictures are wonderfully tasteful, but there are a few that are full-monty, so I won't be sharing. You can google it if you're that interested.
The point is, I was rather looking forward to it! I was gonna garden naked! But today has dawned with 56 degrees and a chill breeze, with a severe thunderstorm warning, downpours, possible hail, etc, looming overhead. Since I love being cold about as much as I enjoy bowling with frozen turkeys, I had to revise my plans somewhat.
Hot Tub
They start here in the oh-so-yummy hot tub, where I will get toasty warm.

Rose in need of deadheading
When I feel I'm warm enough,  I shall leap out of the hot tub and assault the rose bush that's about six feet away from the hot tub with clippers.
THEN I shall leap back into the hot tub, where I will get toasty warm again.  This, I think, is a good plan, so let's execute it, shall we?

 Ooh! A bit chilly, but not bad. Let's deadhead the roses! Quick! Una, are you gonna help me? 

        Pasha? What about you?         
                     No? Didn't think so.

Ooh! Gotta hurry! Getting cold! 
                                                           ... Okay! DONE! 
Dead Roses
Well, mostly done.  There were a few that were a little too dangerously located for unclothed gardening. (And you can see here I cheated a bit and slipped on my flip-flops to protect my toeses from prickly things.


So, what did we learn this Naked Gardening Day?  First, always check the weather. They should hold this in, oh, August. Maybe July.

Also, cats do not care about gardening, whether it be clothed or unclothed. They also don't care about rose bushes or dead flowers, or, well, much of anything really unless it involves food, bugs, food, birds, food, clean laundry, food, and their food.

 The biggest lesson I learned, too late of course, is that when naked gardening, if you intend to, oh, say trim the rose bush? Make an exception for gloves!

Overall, I call it a successful Naked Gardening day. Now, I'm going to rush out (fully clothed!) and cover my delicate plants before it actually storms, and do the other gardening chores that fall into the clothed category. 

Oh, one final note. I actually filmed a little vid in the hot tub after, just me saying all these things I was writing, but I've chickened out of actually editing it up and posting it. What can I say? I'm a coward!  For those expecting the iris farm post, I'll have it up sometime over the next couple days.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Madness, I Tell You

Purple Iris a/Callas
Spring makes me a little crazy.

I've been thinking of ways to grow things in spaces we don't really use for anything. For example, we spent a goodly amount of the winter looking at different growing vines to plant along the front porch, researching clematis and morning glories and kiwi vine and Trumpet vine...
So what happens? We're at the gardening store, looking at vegetable seeds, and realize that Scarlet Runner beans are the far better solution. Non-permanent, non-invasive, and edible! Edible, of course, being the operative word.  I seeded a whole handful of scarlet runners in front of the porch, and hopefully we'll get nice shade over the railing and some tasty snackage!

I've asked Scott to make me a salad table like the one on the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture, website, with the hopes that we can move it from spot to spot as light changes in the backyard through the year.  We have terrible snail and slug problems, and hopefully by putting it on a table, we can use copper tape around the legs to deter the nasty slimies. 

Squash Bed
(Zuchini, Crookneck & Butter)
If he can't get to it in the next few weeks, I might try another method I learned about on DavesGarden.Com where you cap the ends of gutter pieces, drill drainage holes, and then hang them. I figure I can hang four or five lengths from the fence, and then it's easy to tack up bird-netting over the whole thing to keep the squirrels and birds out.  Or if anyone has any spare used gutter laying around they want to get rid of, message me.  Otherwise,  I can maybe find some at Urban Ore.

Caged Tomatoes
Other nutty ideas I'm toying with include growing potatoes on the driveway in burlap bags, building wooden frames to hang upside-down tomatoes in on the sunny side of the house, and building raised beds in the front yard.  I'm kind of hesitant to de-suburbanize the front, but it can't be any worse than our current shaggy lawned, tree-leave covered landscape, can it?