Category Archives: Garden

See You in a Week

I’m taking a week long hiatus from the computer. There are two reasons why:

1.) I’m visiting my grandma in Pittsburgh.

2.) I spilled an entire glass of orange juice on my keyboard and it’s annoying to type (I have to punch the keys really hard!)

Here are some fun carrot pictures to keep you entertained. They came from Miguel’s garden. As you can see, they’re much bigger and better than my carrots.

Can you believe they grew around each other like that? Very cool.

New Growth

Well, the fall garden turned out pretty great all in all. It was my first one, so it’ll only get better from here.

Here is an update on my plants and a summary of the things I learned along the way.

Broccoli

All the broccoli plants did amazingly well. The side florets also grew and we got to eat those. The ones we didn’t eat soon enough turned into pretty yellow flowers and we used them to decorate our house.

Tip: Don’t get greedy and wait for the broccoli to get huge before picking it. If you wait too long, it’ll flower and then you won’t get to eat it at all.

Carrots

A while ago, we planted regular carrots and baby carrots. These all came from different rows (which we didn’t label), so I don’t know which ones are supposed to be small and which ones aren’t. Either way, these are the most bizarre looking carrots I’ve ever seen! I think they’re adorable, but so strange. Perhaps this is because the soil was too hard and they had nowhere to go. Maybe they hit rocks and did a weird zig zaggy thing. Maybe I pulled them out way too early. Or maybe this is just what non genetically modified carrots are supposed to look like. Anyway, who knows. Weird.

Tip: Make sure the soil for root vegetables is nice and mossy. Remove all rocks. Be more patient?

Beets

The beets turned out great, although a few popped out of the ground prematurely. I wasn’t sure if I should replant those one or just dig them up. I just dug them up – they were good. All the beets were different colors – pink, red, yellow, orangeish. Pretty!

Tip: I planted the seeds in little clusters, then thinned them out once they started to develop foliage on the top. They were much happier once I did that and were able to grow bigger because they each had more space.

Spinach

Spinach was slow to grow because I didn’t plant it in a very sunny place. It’s finally getting pretty big, although not as abundant as I would have liked.

Tip: Pay better attention to sun patterns before planting.

Cauliflower

Some of my cauliflowers were very happy.

Other cauliflowers were not. They developed an odd looking mold and I had to put them straight into the compost.

I read to cover the cauliflower heads by tying the leaves together so they don’t get sunburned. I covered a few and left the others to brave the weather. A few of each developed mold, although I think the covered ones were worse. Not sure which is the best method.

Tip: If very sunny, cover (to prevent sun damage)? If cloudy and rainy, uncover (to avoid trapping too much moisture)?

Lettuce (and accidental Kale)

Lettuce is very easy to grow. I grew it last summer and had no problems. I grew it this winter and had no problems. The only issue was that we accidentally dropped kale seeds on top of the lettuce, then the kale plants grew to be huge and shaded the lettuce so much that a lot of it wilted.

Tip: Lettuce can be grown year round, but it doesn’t do well in extreme temperatures – if it’s too hot, it’ll wilt. If it’s too cold, it’ll freeze. I heard that it’s actually a good idea to plant kale seeds around your lettuce – just do it in a more deliberate, controlled way.

Chard

Chard was very easy to grow. One half of the row was in the shade, while the other half was in full sun. The plants in full sun shot up so quickly, while the ones in the shade were slightly stunted.

Tip: No tips really. Grow Kale! Grow it in full sun.

Gourds

Miguel’s mom planted gourds last year and she gave me some seeds to plant in the spring. I just planted some along the fence, but then forgot that’s where my dog likes to stomp around everyday. Stupid me – I’ll have to plant more somewhere else.

Hopefully soon they’ll look like this:

Tip: Think about traffic patterns before planting.

Orchid

My orchid was a huge success! When my grandparents gave it to me last year, it had one flower on it…but it quickly fell off and we didn’t have much hope that it would flower again. I put it in my kitchen window so it got indirect sunlight and so I’d remember to water it. I watered it just enough for it to stay moist, and I waited for a very long time. Now it has three new flowers on it (the other two have popped open since I took this picture). I gave them all names – Olivia, Penelope, and Anabelle.

Tip: Miguel’s mom loves orchids and has them all over her house. Her tip for me was to never move it. She said once it adjusts to a new spot, it will grow….you just have to wait…a while. Also don’t put orchids outside. In less you live in a tropical environment, they don’t like it.

My biggest tip is to garden. It’s fun and you’ll appreciate your food more.

Sprouts!

 

My little sprouts are all grown up! This was my first successful sprouting experience.

I tried once before using a jar and cheesecloth, but I had trouble with it. It might have been because the seeds were old, but I’m not sure.  I got this seed sprouter for Christmas and so far I’ve had great results. The only thing is, I’m almost positive it was $7.95 when I first found it online. Now that I’m posting this, I see that it’s $39.95.  Seems like a very big price jump – not sure why.

Anyway, I think sprouting is great fun and I plan to get lots of use out of my sprouter. I put it on my windowsill by my bed and every morning when I wake up I get to look at the little sprouts, give them some water, and admire their growth. I want to try all different kinds of sprouts. I think next time I want to grow sunflower sprouts. I tried those once at the farmer’s market and they were delicious.

Here are three links about sprouting that I found to be useful:

  1. Living-Foods.com has a pretty helpful sprouting guide, with explanations for various methods of growing sprouts.
  2. Sprout People is a very comprehensive site that provides sprout growing information and sells all kinds of sprouts from mung bean to fenugreek to leek. I think I might buy some seeds from them. They provide information for growing hemp sprouts, but they don’t sell them because selling a live hemp seed is illegal in the U.S. This is what they say about hemp seeds: We  don’t sell Hemp because it is still not legal to even have (much less sell) a seed of the genus Canibus which we can germinate, in the U.S. ABSURD! Hemp is a plant that could replace fossil fuel to power our vehicles (bio-diesel) and make plastic – AND it enriches the soil (unlike corn (think ethanol)) which depletes soil. Hemp is easy to grow organically and so would be a great crop that would reduce agricultural poisons and – in a far more perfect world – could begin to bring back family farms! This is a great seed and we’re happy to offer some information and we will sell it – if we are ever allowed too!
  3. Some of the pictures on Sprouting.org are pretty blurry, but they give a good idea of what different types of sprouts look like.


My First Garden Broccoli

I picked the first broccoli from my garden today. Actually it was a little overdue. I held off a little longer than I should have because the idea of picking it made me kinda sad. After all that nurturing, I’d gotten quite attached to the little guy.

Out of respect, my roommates and I had a broccoli cutting ceremony.

Then we positioned the broccoli at various angles and took turns photographing it. I was thinking how amusing it would be for someone to walk in on us doing this. I have an odd fascination with photographing plants and food.

Notice that the broccoli head has already started to loosen, exposing some bright yellow flowers. Ideally, broccoli should be harvested before this occurs…when the plant is still nice and dense. It is pretty like this though – maybe sometime I’ll let all the flowers bloom so I can have a nice broccoli bouquet.

I thought the broccoli might taste funny because we picked it too late, but it tasted perfect. I steamed the broccoli florets for about 5 minutes, added some Earth Balance, and a dash of salt.

Apparently, once the central broccoli head is cut off, the smaller broccoli shoots on the side are stimulated to grow.

Now I have that to look forward to…as well as my other baby broccoli plants that are still forming.

Garden Update

My garden has turned into quite a monster–especially now that we’ve been having so much rain.

When I got home from vacation, I counted 22 ripe jalapenos on this one plant!

The oregano is spreading all over the ground.

The tomato plants are going crazy and crowding out all the other plants. I’ve had to attach them to lots of different stakes and poles. I also had to relocate 2 of the basil plants so they can get some more sun.

And there are enough tomatoes for me can make salsa, tomato sauce, eat, and give away. There are several different kinds, although I don’t know what each type is called.

My favorites are the tiny orange ones. They seem to be the sweetest and the most abundant. The yellow, pear-shaped ones are also pretty sweet.

A Thai woman I know gave me some seeds from the Thai long green beans she grows in her garden. She told me that they would grow to be a foot long. I thought she must be exaggerating, but she wasn’t kidding! wow. I took these photos about a week ago, so they’re even longer now. They’re way over a foot long and some are draping on the floor. They aren’t quite ripe yet either, so they’ll probably only get longer!

You can see how long they are in comparison to my face.

And I found a good edible necklace alternative. Instead of candy necklaces, now I can have green bean necklaces! yay!

Wow. I can’t believe it. My green beans started like this:

and now they look like this:

Unfortunately, most of the tricolor bush beans that I loved so much got eaten by snails and pill bugs. I was gone for a week, so I wasn’t able to catch this in time. But I harvested them a couple times already, so maybe they were on their way out anyway.

I think this little guy was munching on them too.

My black eyed peas are finally ripe enough to eat. I had no idea they grew in pods like this until I started growing them in my garden. It makes me realize how little I know about vegetables and how they are grown. Everyone should start a garden. There’s a lot to learn.

Here are some new additions to my garden family:

cilantro. I figured I use this herb the most, so it’s stupid not to be growing it myself.

dill.

Pineapple mint. I bought this plant in Florida. It smells delicious. Once it gets a little bigger, I’m going to use it for mojitos and fruit salads. I planted it near my other mint plant and I think it is much happier now that it’s in a bigger pot (and not stuffed in my bag on the airplane anymore).

I also did some decorating and I made a little walkway leading to the garden.

These guys hang out in the garden.

And my grandma gave me this fairy lady. She watches over the herbs and helps them grow.

Garden Update

This is for you, Stuart. Thanks for getting my garden started. I’ve been taking good care of it and everything is growing really well. The tomato plants are massive and I cut a bunch of bamboo poles to tie the branches up. You’ll notice that a lot of the food I’ve been making comes from the garden.

I created a separate “garden” category, so all future garden updates will be posted there.

Our first tomato

harvesting the vegetables

cutting and eating the vegetables

I’m sad in this picture because you’re not here to eat the vegetables.

Garden Update

A couple weeks ago I posted pictures of my garden, and since then we’ve had a lot of rain. Everything is growing amazingly and I’ve already eaten one of the jalapenos. If you compare these new photos to those in my last post, you’ll see how much everything has grown.

My Garden

Rainbow Chard

Kale

Black Eyed Peas

Eggplant

Green Beans

Jalapenos

Lettuce

Oregano

Unidentified Pepper

Sage

Squash

Thai Long Green Beans

Thyme

Basil

Mint

Tomatoes