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Gardening: 2013–2015


ChrisTaylor
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I'll use this duplicate posting to add some gardening news.

 

We've lived on our farm now for 20 years this year and during that time the apple trees in our backyard have been pruned exactly once by my B-i-L about 8 years ago.  One Macintosh and one Northern Spy.  We actually have more than 20 apple trees on the property, some of them heritage apples and not too tasty by our standards.  But then no one has cared for them for decades.

 

So, just found an article in a local newspaper with instructions on how to prune your apple trees and so, that's exactly what I am going to do today.  With help from DH I hope.  Last year's crop was exactly 7 apples.  The year before was hundreds, none of them appetizing.  The year before that was a BUMPER crop and we had trouble just dealing with the abundance.  So here we go again.

Edited by Darienne (log)
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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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First of all, allow me to say I am no doubt among th

 

Any information on growing epazote welcomed.

 

ps.  I think, I hope, I pray that the snow is finally over.

The seeds seem slow to germinate. I generally sow them way too thickly. If you put them in the garden, only let one plant go to seed - they are very prolific.

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Not exactly what most folks think of as formal "gardening" but, as spring approaches, I am reminded of my mother, who died about six years ago, in the springtime, her favorite season.

 

After my dad retired, he and my mom moved to a big old farmhouse in the country.  In front of it ran a dirt road.  And every morning, in springtime, my mother would rise early and head out for a nice long walk.

 

In her pockets, she carried seeds - asparagus, strawberry, cantaloupe, and wildflower.  She strewed them along the sides of the road as she walked.

 

So that, in the summertime, she'd snack and nibble along her way.

 

And sometimes, even bring some home for the rest of us to enjoy.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Not exactly what most folks think of as formal "gardening" but, as spring approaches, I am reminded of my mother, who died about six years ago, in the springtime, her favorite season.

 

After my dad retired, he and my mom moved to a big old farmhouse in the country.  In front of it ran a dirt road.  And every morning, in springtime, my mother would rise early and head out for a nice long walk.

 

In her pockets, she carried seeds - asparagus, strawberry, cantaloupe, and wildflower.  She strewed them along the sides of the road as she walked.

 

So that, in the summertime, she'd snack and nibble along her way.

 

And sometimes, even bring some home for the rest of us to enjoy.

Jaymes - This reminds me of one of my favorite children's books, Miss Rumphius  (my screen name on the gardening forums, GardenWeb). Tasked, as a child by her grand-father to do "something to make the world more beautiful", as an adult she filled her pockets with lupin seeds and cycled the back roads, scattering them everywhere. It is a lovely idea. Your mother must have been an amazing woman. How lucky for you.

Elaina

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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I've been remiss in posting this year's entries. I'll get started with the herbs, which are the only thing this far along...

 

Chris, please, how large are those containers?  And do you have one per herb?

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I'm hanging my coriander bushes on the fence to dry in the sun and breeze. Pulled them up yesterday after a tremendous thunderstorm washed them clean and hung them upside down- root and all...

 

The fruits were plump but already they are beginning to brown and take on their familiar dry appearance.

 

Last year I let them dry in the ground which was a mistake IMO. 

 

Any ideas on what to do with the dried root- or not so dry?

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Chris, please, how large are those containers?  And do you have one per herb?

 

The containers are: 12"x12" Square White Pot, 12" Tall. And yes, one per herb (I also have my peppers in them, I have 24). They have great drainage and are inexpensive when bought in bulk like that. I then run a drip line to each of them individually. That way I can put higher-flow heads on the herbs that need more water, and low-flow heads on things like the rosemary, which might prefer no water at all!

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Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Any ideas on what to do with the dried [coriander] root- or not so dry?

 

Cut the roots off and use in Thai cooking, if they are not too woody.  If they are, they're not too good for this purpose anymore, however. (Also Vietnamese and Nyonya)

(The linked answer set also has stuff about storing them)

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Not big news, but big enough for the novice pruners.  The Northern Spy apple tree was pruned yesterday.  I fear that it is not a well tree...but we'll see.

 

The Macintosh will be pruned tomorrow when there are no in town errands. 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Just got back from the greenhouse.  I never go this early in the year.  I will always go this early in the future.  Tons and tons of gorgeous plants and flowers.  I bought too much...but oh well.  

 

It's about 50 degrees --was like that yesterday and drizzly.  My peas and greens are loving it.

 

So, today I bought:

 

4 eggplant

17 tomato

4 jalapeno

4 bell (don't read this Rotuts)

3 cayenne

4 banana

2 cukes (have a lot more in my greenhouse that were planted from seed)

rosemary

dill

cilantro

 

Trying to decide whether to go plant some now....it's pretty chilly but the plants should be ok I think....

Edited by Shelby (log)
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I grew some lovely eggplant from seed a few years ago. I used these, from Renee's Garden Seeds in California:

 

http://info.reneesgarden.com/seeds/vegetables/eggplant-container-little-prince/

 

 

I've bought this year from Renee's garden some Zucchine trombetta. I'm so excited. Since we moved away from Monaco, where there are called courgette trompette, we have not eaten them. I really hope they are going to come out.

 

I also managed to find some special Italian cucumbers that are from my area of origin and basically unknown in other parts of Italy. I also hope  they will grow.

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I've bought this year from Renee's garden some Zucchine trombetta. I'm so excited. Since we moved away from Monaco, where there are called courgette trompette, we have not eaten them. I really hope they are going to come out.

 

I also managed to find some special Italian cucumbers that are from my area of origin and basically unknown in other parts of Italy. I also hope  they will grow.

Franci _ What variety of cucumbers? Were they also from Renee's Garden Seeds?

I am  not sure where you are now. If you are in the NYC area you should explore the Arthur Ave. area of the Bronx - there are several stores that stock imported seeds from Italy with varieties hard to find in the US.

Elaina

Edited by ElainaA (log)

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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I brought in some green onions today.

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"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Like Shelby I made it rain at the nursery the other day. Finally got my hot paws on some real holy basil/ocimum tenuiflorum after a couple seasons of never finding it and failing to germinate the seeds I ordered from the internet. Can't wait to make some pad kee mao.

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Franci _ What variety of cucumbers? Were they also from Renee's Garden Seeds?

I am  not sure where you are now. If you are in the NYC area you should explore the Arthur Ave. area of the Bronx - there are several stores that stock imported seeds from Italy with varieties hard to find in the US.

Elaina

Thanks, ElainaA for the suggestion.

I didn't buy the cucumber seeds from Renee's garden. I got these http://www.neseed.com/Italian-Cucumber-Seeds-Carosello-Barese-p/50140.htm

But there are other varieties, I also love the barattieri. They look like small green melons but they are very crisp and sweeter than cucumbers. In the summer they are always present at the table in Puglia.

Unfortunately I don't have a lot of gardening space. I've already exhausted my space for the summer.

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This is really lame compared to most of the gardening posts here, but I planted 3 green onion bulbs with roots that I had bought at my Asian market the other day in one of my flower boxes on the deck. They are already 5" high.  :smile:  And I'm still cooking with that same batch I bought. I have 1-1/2 green onions left, and used one of the tops in a marinated salad of chickpeas, diced cucumber, and sliced grape tomato for dinner tonight.

 

I won't plant anymore from this batch. I want them as robust as possible when they go in the dirt because they have to contend with not nearly enough sunlight under the canopy of our deciduous trees. They get etiolated, which is a new word to me shared by our member huiray, that means pale and leggy due to lack of light. Very cool and succinct word for something that takes a while to explain without it.

 

I'm still driving myself crazy trying to spell it right because I already knew the French word for star: etoile, but the French verb etioler means to blanch or wilt.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Like Shelby I made it rain at the nursery the other day. Finally got my hot paws on some real holy basil/ocimum tenuiflorum after a couple seasons of never finding it and failing to germinate the seeds I ordered from the internet. Can't wait to make some pad kee mao.

 

There's always this, which I used the last time I made pad kee mao.  :-)

 

I'll be getting holy basil plantlets from one of my favorite vendors at the Farmers' Markets, as I have in the past...or from a certain nursery...in addition to the seeds (both green and red) I will start myself. (I have seeds from Evergreen)  Remember that on occasion one *might* be able to get it from Indian groceries, as it is really the same thing as the "holy basil" used in Ayurvedic medicine - called tulsi.

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I'm planting a few new things this year that I'm excited about - peas, pole beans, cucumbers, beets, carrots and chard - which are all coming up. I plan on getting a tomatillo when I pick up my tomatoes this week.  I did peppers the last two years but I don't think I'll bother - I don't use enough to give them garden space and all my stuff is in containers.  Had to replace my rosemary this year, as well as mint - I think I'm the only person in the world that doesn't have luck with mint.  I'm also waiting to see if my strawberries actually survived - they put out a few new leaves, then nothing. 

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I'm planting a few new things this year that I'm excited about - peas, pole beans, cucumbers, beets, carrots and chard - which are all coming up. I plan on getting a tomatillo when I pick up my tomatoes this week.  I did peppers the last two years but I don't think I'll bother - I don't use enough to give them garden space and all my stuff is in containers.  Had to replace my rosemary this year, as well as mint - I think I'm the only person in the world that doesn't have luck with mint.  I'm also waiting to see if my strawberries actually survived - they put out a few new leaves, then nothing. 

 

My strawberries seem to have survived.  But I am responding to affirm I am someone who managed to kill off a plant of mint.

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My strawberries seem to have survived.  But I am responding to affirm I am someone who managed to kill off a plant of mint.

Not sure yet, but I think I too may have killed off my mint!

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"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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I've bought this year from Renee's garden some Zucchine trombetta. I'm so excited. Since we moved away from Monaco, where there are called courgette trompette, we have not eaten them. I really hope they are going to come out.

 

I also managed to find some special Italian cucumbers that are from my area of origin and basically unknown in other parts of Italy. I also hope  they will grow.

 

Oh Franci, I hope they grow and produce lots of wonderful courgettes and cucumbers! I can tell you that I have had extraordinary results from Renee's seeds. I have bought her seeds for several things - tomatoes, beets, chard, crookneck squash, radishes, eggplant, Scarlet Runner beans, hot peppers, various lettuces (I'm especially fond of the "Ruby and Emerald Duet" which really is lovely grown in containers). I've had very high germination rates and the plants have almost all done well and produced as described.

 

The courgette trompettes sound lovely, I think I will try growing them sometime! They sound much tastier than regular zucchini. 

 

We are back in Canada for the summer and although the conditions here on Vancouver Island are very good for growing a variety of veggies and fruits, we have done major construction on the house and must now redo the landscaping. I am trying to think of ways to incorporate gardening, but we have another problem - deer. Herds of deer. I can't even think of gardening until we secure the yard from the deer. I may resort to using chicken wire around a narrow bed. Bu that will have to wait until the landscaping is planned out. So I don't know if I will be able to do much gardening this year, other than a few pots on the deck.   

 

All I have for edibles right now are a couple of hazelnut (filbert) trees and a neighbouring apple tree that hangs over our yard. We lost a couple of crabapple trees and a rosemary and lavender border with the construction. We also lost some potential gardening space due to expanding the back deck and the front driveway, so I'm a bit more limited. I should have done a winter garden when we were in AZ over the winter. I've had great success with that before. If I can't garden here this summer, i will try the southern winter garden again. 

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As a lifelong urbanite, I'm always amazed by the pics of Shelby's garden. It's a field with a horizon line:biggrin:    

 

The severe drought persists here, so I think not twice, but three times or more, before buying any new plants. I've kept the containers on my sunny (but small) front deck, replenishing the marjoram, oregano, and thyme. I'll buy some new basil plants to complete the herb set. My drought-resistant culinary lavenders are doing well and setting bud. So is the kaffir lime tree and the kari leaf tree (Murraya koenigii).

 

SpringGarden2015_3568.jpg

 

A family photo of some springtime plants on my front deck. In the lower center of the pic: leafy sorrel, marjoram (which has already been cut back), English thyme, and an unusual mounding form of oregano (Origanum vulgare 'Compacta Nana'). On the right side of the pic, culinary lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Royal Purple'), lemon verbena, kaffir lime tree, and Parma violets. The small blue flowers in the center-ish of the pic are a type of N. American wild iris, named Blue-Eyed Grass. I'm in love with it. The yellow flowers are California poppies, which seem to be going dry right now, like the rest of the state.

 

Meanwhile I've pulled up all the plants off my back deck, due to the water shortage, keeping only the large shrubs, including some camellias and a Mediterranean bay shrub (Laurus nobilis). I've planted a drought-resistant groundcover to hold down the soil. Someday I'll think about landscaping that area again, after the drought.

 

But I did succumb at the nursery and bought a couple cowslip plants. They're English wildflowers with medicinal-culinary properties and mentioned in folklore. Girls used to make balls of them, and toss them around with a rhyme to spell out the name of their future husband. Fairies are supposed to hang out around them. (I haven't seen any yet.) If I had a field of them, I could make cowslip wine. Instead, I'll enjoy them until the deer or the drought knock 'em off.

 

Cowslip_3539.jpg

 

I've started clipping excess growth on my herb plants and making a fresh potpourri from them. The clippings dry on shallow bowls on my dining table (which often looks more like a reading table).

 

Potpourri_3548.jpg

 

Left to right: a potpourri of marjoram, thyme, oregano, rose petals, violet; a tiny nosegay of Parma violets; some dried culinary lavender. I acquired the storybooks at the Bay Area Storytelling Festival last weekend (very enjoyable), and picked up the cookbook on sale during my last visit to SF. --Not a recommendation for the cookbook, BTW, I'm still going through it.

 

Happy Spring, everyone!

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