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How does your garden grow?


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With the blessing of an early Oklahoma spring, I already have stuff coming up. I have already harvested the first tarragon, my mint is getting big enough to start picking, the tomatoes are going in the ground with wall o waters this weekend. Have you started planning this years gardens, if so what are you planting?

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I've *just* started planning the garden since our last frost date here is May 15, and I usually plant a week or so later, because it does snow after that. I'll start turning and enriching the beds during those warm days in April that lull newcomers into a false sense of "winter's over", but nothing goes in the ground until late May.

I will probably set out the tomatoes with Wall o' Waters in April also (assuming the garden centers have in the 1 gallon plants by then), but since they grow in pots on the deck (or the deer will decimate them), they have their own warmer little microclimate.

I just noticed the chives are starting - I am going to have to split and move several clumps because they grow SO well here, but it means that chive flower butter will soon be on the menu!

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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  • 2 weeks later...

The parsley is coming in, the mint is big enough to pick, the chives are doing well, especially the garlic chives. My Kale is beautiful this year. And this weekend is the beginning of the Herb Festivals that happen every year in the spring in this area. That means I can pick up some curly leaf parsley, some basil, some dill, and what ever else I see that interests me. The tomatoes went in the ground this week with 'Wall o Waters'. It is supposed to get cold tonight, but I don't think we will have a freeze.

To add to the garden, we have turned in some soil we picked up at the mushroom farm up near Miami, OK. Maybe we will have a few volunteers?

And I made 6 half pints of orange marmalade yesterday. The oranges look a lot like kumquats, but have a different flavor. It took 167 of those suckers to get the 6 jars that I did get. I hope everyone appreciates the labor when they are eating their english muffins later this year.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just did my first outdoor gardening activity this past Sunday: I bought a little Jiffy peat pellet greenhouse and started some seeds indoors! 4 pellets of zucchini, 4 of pattypan squash, and 4 of cantaloupe (a new experiment for me this year). It's nowhere near too late, since I can't plant them outside for 4-5 weeks yet. I figure at best I get a jump on the season, at worst I sow the seeds outside and get my usual harvest in September. Some of the seeds are already germinating, so I have great hopes.

I'm planning to go to Homeowner Hell later today (nickname gleefully stolen from Dave Barry for any large Home Center) for bags of peat and poop for the outdoor beds. Just because I can't plant anything in them for several weeks doesn't mean I can't prep them so when planting time does come, all I have to do is stick plants and seeds in the ground and run the drip lines.

I also plan to get tomato plants - I have wall o' waters and a due south facing deck (making it surprisingly useless in the summer) with a sheltered corner, so I can get away with it. The tomatoes wouldn't stand a chance if I planted them in the yard - I have to baby them along as it is. But the rest won't be ready until the third or fourth week in May.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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This picture gives a pretty good idea of the state of my garden:

gallery_15557_1141_54085.jpg

Those are zucchini on the left, cantaloupe in the middle, and yellow pattypan on the right. (The zucchini were planted a couple of days later.) They've pushed the roof right off the mini greenhouse, and I have a feeling I'm going to have to repot the strongest ones before it's time to plant them outside.

(I also wanted to play around with image gullet and see if I could make it work!)

Hope everyone else is making progress on their gardens! (Is anyone else?)

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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We built a garden enclosure last weekend and I tilled in some manure. I am waiting until this weekend to plant anything because we've had some wacky weather in Albuquerque lately. I'll just do tomatoes and herbs, but I can't wait to get started.

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We built a garden enclosure last weekend and I tilled in some manure. I am waiting until this weekend to plant anything because we've had some wacky weather in Albuquerque lately. I'll just do tomatoes and herbs, but I can't wait to get started.

It sounds like you've made a great start - what kinds of herbs are you planning?

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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We got the plants in the ground this weekend and I think the enclosure's going to work well. We have two big dogs and one of them loves to dig and chew plants, so if plants are exposed, they're gone.

Here's what I planted:

Tomatoes:

- 2 Brandywine

- 3 Roma

- 1 Patio Prize

- 1 Celebrity

- 1 Bush-type Early Girl

I try to plant an assortment of tomatoes so we get some variety. I just try to stay away from anything that's going to vine too much, as I don't have that much space. The only thing I won't plant are cherry or grape tomatoes; I did that 3 years ago and the darn things took over the garden patch. We had way, way more cherry and grape tomatoes than we could eat (I was desperately foisting them off on neighbors) and almost no large tomatoes at all. I am hoping to get enough of a tomato crop to put some up over the summer.

Marcia, as far as herbs go, I put in:

Basil (4 regular, 2 Thai, interplanted with the tomatoes and some marigolds to keep bugs off the tomatoes)

Thyme (2 varieties, English and a smaller type)

Rosemary (2 varieties, Arp and Tuscan Blue)

Marjoram

Culinary sage

Chives (regular and garlic)

Spearmint

Lavender (I forget which type)

Summer savory

I am waiting for my nursery to get in some oregano, tarragon, dill, parsley and cilantro; they were sold out on Saturday morning when I went to get the plants. The nursery was a madhouse when I was in there!

Anyone else planting yet?

ETA: I do have a question for any herb experts out there. I had a French tarragon plant that I put in a container with some thyme last year. The thyme died over the winter, and I thought the tarragon had too, but in the same place I planted the tarragon I now have a plant growing with long, thin leaves. It kind of looks like tarragon, except the leaves are a lot longer than the leaves I had on the plant last summer. I pulled a leaf off and it smells very aromatic but doesn't taste like much, and I don't have enough of a "flavor memory" to remember what fresh tarragon tastes like since I haven't had it in so long. Does tarragon come back? Or is this a weed? I would hate to pull it up and then find out I had just uprooted a nice healthy tarragon plant.

Edited by designchick88 (log)
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our tomatoes are almost 30 inches tall with blooms. The cucumber is starting, I planted pole beans last week, the herbs are going crazy, basil is a bit slow, but the chives, the rosemary, the sage, the parsley and the dill are very healthy. So is the Kale. I will try to remember to post pics of the tomato house next week.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm way, WAY behind in gardening this year, due to a completely unexpected but highly necessary emergency gall bladder removal two weeks ago. I have finally managed to prep two beds, I've lost a number of seedlings :sad:, and worse, a rabbit seems to have moved into the neighborhood. Any good ideas for bunny removal, short of waiting for the neighborhood cats or coyotes to dine upon it?

In good news, the chive plant is about ready to burst into bloom, which means only one thing: grilled steaks with chive flower butter. Which will be followed shortly by the thyme plants blooming, which means grilled steak with chive and thyme flower butter :biggrin:.

I also found that the sprouted garlic cloves I planted last year or the year before to help keep the deer away didn't die, just went dormant, and it's all divided and sprouted. I pulled up some, chopped it up, and added it to a sauteed cabbage dish. It was surprisingly pungent. I can't wait to keep trying it throughout the season.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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our tomatoes are almost 30 inches tall with blooms.  The cucumber is starting,  I planted pole beans last week, the herbs are going crazy, basil is a bit slow, but the chives, the rosemary, the sage, the parsley and the dill are very healthy.  So is the Kale.  I will try to remember to post pics of the tomato house next week.

I'll look forward to seing the pics.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just noticed that our tomatoes have the first blush of pink on them. Would it be too obvious to just stand there with knife and towel in hand waiting for the perfect moment to harvest the very first of the season? Maybe next week if the heat holds up. Life is good.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Our tomato plants are now 8 feet tall and producing exceeding well. Also, I just put 8 two-cup packs of pesto in the freezer and now plan on giving away the rest of the basil that needs to be cut. The single cucumber plant that we have is producing enough to more than supply all our needs. I have it growing on the side of the tomato house and that way, they do not end up dirty. So far the new tomato house is working quite well. We have not had a problem with the tree rats trying to steal all of the tomatos. I wish I could take an adequate picture of the tomato house to share and will keep trying to get a decent shot to share.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I am very jealous. Up here in Jackson we're rooting for our first tomato--there are lots of flowers, though, so we're hoping that we'll get lots and that we'll avoid a frosty evening.

My peas and grean beans are going strong, my kale is loving it too, and there is cilantro growing everywhere! I must've mixed it into the soil...we've had lots of salsa and I used some tonight for my pad Thai from Teton Thai (outstanding).

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I'm afraid that if I mention the garden is doing well, something will fall from the sky or crawl through the fence and ruin it.

The first wave of lettuce/mesclun mix is about done, and the second is poking its little green heads up through the ground. The salads have been extraordinarily good so far.

The cilantro is outstanding. Nothing in a grocery store, no matter how fresh, comes close. I get high just from the scent when I brush against it.

The chives are, as usual, taking over everything. The basil is large enough that I'm taking some leaves from it. The thyme, sage, and mint are going great guns. The green onions are young but growing steadily. The carrots have been thinned, and the nasturtiums are about to flower (yum!).

The zucchini and yellow pattypan squash are starting to flower. The tomatoes are flowering, too.

So far, the failures have been the green beans and the marigolds. Something has been eating them both, preferentially. Yes, we have something that likes marigolds. No, I don't know what.

And in the non-edible category, the dahlias are doing very well. They don't flower until late August or so, right about the time I really need some color. They're the full sized ones, 2 feet tall and 8" blossoms, so when they bloom they BLOOM.

I wish it would rain some more - just a little bit would help things along!

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Tomatos, Monday, I harvested 200 tomatos off of our 20 plants. This is a mix of Brandywine, Brandy Boy, Early Girls, Salsa and Cherokee Purples. Today, I picked another 75. So I am now putting 2-cup packs of tomatos in the freezer. All I do is cap, deseed, roast until the skin comes off (I think this also bumps the sugar and flavor) and then drain off all the extra tomato water. So when I go to make marinara, there will not be too much liquid to simmer off. Then all that extra tomato water, I drink as a refreshing beverage, it is natural, sweet without adding any extra sugar and delicious.

Our one cucumber vine has been very prolific. It seems the more we pick, the harder it flowers and produces more fruit.

The "Biker Billy" jalapenos are hotter than all get out. thank goodness.

And for dinner, I am roasting some beets (from the farmers market) and making a salad with our baby green beans, some goat cheese and walnuts and serving that with a bowl of minestrone. Vegetables are soooo good.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a quick update:

The first wave of lettuces and cilantro is pretty well spent. We've been eating fabulous salads - I pulled out about half the ready to bolt lettuce last night and made Mom's wilted lettuce salad. It tastes like summer. The third wave will go in ground as soon as I finish pulling out the first. And find more cilantro seed. I love fresh cilantro - if you walk by and just brush it a little, the scent is enough to get you high :-). Even fresh from the store isn't that wonderful.

The second wave of lettuces and cilantro are up enough to pick some as garnishes. The green onions are small but harvestable - if all goes well, I won't be buying green onions again until October.

The cherry tomato is covered, and it looks like I might start getting tomatoes sometime before Sept. 1 this year. It remains to be seen, but I'm hopeful.

The nasturtiums are not only beautiful, but tasty. The basil is doing very nicely, but its pot keeps drying out. Oh, well, a little stress is good for flavor.

The zucchini are not quite into full swing, which means we're eating them as fast as they're producing them. I expect this will change as soon as the pattypan starts producing. Fortunately, we are blessed with neighbors who think fresh zucchini from the garden is a gift :-).

Thyme, sage, and chives are all doing amazingly this year. Even though I chop back the plants every fall, they're HUGE. Nice flavor, too.

Knock wood, so far the harvest this year has been better than the total of some years. I'm counting myself lucky and well fed.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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  • 1 month later...

Two of the three plants are starting to produce quite nicely - the third had some frost damage back in April despite the wall o' waters, so it's not doing as well. The cherry tomato plant is loaded, and they're fantastic - they are so flavorful, they taste like TOMATO.

The deer hit the tomato plants twice, so I put up a light barrier over the metal cages, held up by clothespins. It works wonderfully - it lets in 90% of the sunlight, helps hold in heat at night, and best of all, the deer can't see the tomatoes, so being dumb, they don't know they're there.

The zucchini and pattypan squashes are also starting to produce in quantity - I am blessed by neighbors who actually WANT gifts of fresh zucchini, so they got all of yesterday's harvest, since tomorrow or Monday I'm going to be harvesting that amount again. I also gave them a lot of the basil - I haven't used up all the pesto in the freezer yet, so I'm not making any this year - along with carrots, tomatoes, and a big herb bouquet - the sage and thyme are becoming shrubs.

I still haven't been to any of the Farmer's Markets, and to be honest, I probably won't - they're all so darned EARLY in the morning. I'm just not a morning person :-).

Thanks for asking!

Marcia.

Edited by purplewiz (log)

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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  • 3 weeks later...

Since our first frost is uncharacteristically late (Zone 5 is usually around 9/15, but we haven't had any yet!), I'm still harvesting tomatoes and zucchini and pattypan squash like nobody's business. I can see that the plants are starting to poop out, but as long as they keep producing, I'll keep harvesting.

The deer, who left the garden mostly alone during most of the summer, are gearing up for their annual rut - which means they're acting dumber than usual. The stupid things are eating my cucumber vine leaves - they might as well eat the newspapers out for recycling. They also ate some of the zucchini plant leaves - not the zucchini, mind you, just the leaves.

The carrots, which were wonderful last year, were not so wonderful this year. Some kind of slime rot got to about half of them - half were picture perfect, half were rotting away. I took all the carrots about two weeks ago to save the good ones. Those who likes carrots say the good ones are very good indeed. (I hate carrots. I grow them for my husband. Love knows no bounds.)

The cantaloupe experiment was a mixed bag. Yes, I got two cantaloupes - each roughly the size of a tennis ball:

gallery_15557_1141_10814.jpg

I had to harvest them earlier than I wanted to because the vines had died - I think the deer stepped on them as they were eating the nasturtiums. And the marigolds.

So I brought the little things in, and they kept ripening. I was always told that melons don't ripen once they're off the vine, but these sure did - got yellower and softer and started smelling good. The taste was kind of bland, and the flesh was skimpy - they were mostly seeds and rind. But what the heck, I was pleased to get something from them.

I made cilantro mint pesto with the last of the cilantro (there's never any end to the mint, no matter how hard I try to pull it all up), the deer got the last of the salad greens, the green onions are holding their own, and even though they're not edible, the dahlias are putting on an incredible show.

From here on out, it's harvest until it freezes, then start the long, laborious process of pulling up and bagging dead plants, and putting things to bed until spring. Every year I do this I learn more about what grows and what doesn't, and overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results of this year's gardening.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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  • 2 months later...

I'm reviving this thread because I just received the first 2006 seed catalog, which makes me think maybe I ought to plan ahead a little bit this year.

There are lot of temptations - new greens, delicata squash, cucumbers, multiple varieties of basil. As I was paging through the catalog, I kept thinking "would deer like that? how about rabbits?". It's a funny way to select things, but that's one of my primary criteria for deciding what to plant - will it attract pests or be a last resort if we have a rough summer?

Anyone else starting to plan for warmer days?

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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