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Miss J

Kitchen gardens

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one word: arugula

(or is that rocket to you Brits?)

Anyway, here in the temperate Pacific Northwest the stuff grows like a weed, and I'm guessing that it would do fine in London, too. It starts from seed tossed directly into the garden, grows quickly, and provides edible leaves and flowers almost all year long (until it freezes...mine overwinters unless it gets below about 25F).

Compelled to reintroduce arugula, if only to echo Jim's comments.

The most gratifying plant to grow, arugula is!  In warm enough weather the seeds will sprout overnight, or nearly.  And in an astonishingly short time there's instasalad waiting for you.  The thrill of this never palls--as a gardener I am far more enthusiastic than talented.

I'd never used arugula flowers before, as I have always harvested whole plants once they mature to my liking, reseeding to keep the supply coming, thus never letting any reach flowering stage.  (Controlling bolting is a constant in my Southern California climate.)

But after reading your comments, Jim, next time I was walking by my neighbor's garden with the beautiful drafts of overwintered flowering arugula, I certainly tried some and have been taking them off her hands (with permission, encouragement, even) ever since!  Absolutely delicious.  I'll be letting nature take its course with some of my current crop.

Priscilla


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ● Twitter Instagram

 

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My garden is full of the arugula flowers right now, so I'm eating them a lot, too.

I used to let my artichokes flower because they looked so nice, but after eating some late last fall decided they were too tasty to let go. I have some smaller ones forming up now (after eating the main stem artichokes a couple of weeks ago), but one of them is covered with ants.

Does anybody have a good technique for getting rid of the ants? I'm tempted to try soapy water, but thought I might check here first.

JIm


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Jim,

The ants are probably there because you have aphids. They like the sticky dew. Use Safer soap spray or home made soap spray to get rid of the aphids and the ants should go too. Just remember that a little soap goes along way in the digestive system (ie, don't ingest.)

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I think some peppers would be good (which helena also suggested), especially as I'm such an unreformed chilehead! I'm not sure I can get a large variety of chiles in the UK, though - I may have to stick to sweet peppers.

Jalepeños are exceedingly easy to grow.  All I've got to garden with is a small deck off of my condo, and I grow pots of them.  Another nice thing about jalepeños is that a girl can use just so many (even a "chilehead" like you), so one pot in your small garden should provide ample peppers.

Miss J - if you cannot find a source in UK for chile pepper seeds, I am sure many fellow eGulleteers would be happy to send you a packet, including me.  I have a Texan friend who lives in Germany.  She was so lonesome for good salsa...  I sent her my recipe and some seeds for jalepeños and cilantro...  Now she's the salsa queen of her neighborhood.

Another plant I adore is my bay leaf.  A friend gave me a small one several years back.  It just grows and grows and fresh bay leaves are so much better than the ubiquitous dried ones.  Also, when I'm invited over for dinner, I often cut a large sprig and tie it into a ribbon around a couple of packages of particularly jovial paper cocktail napkins.  Makes a great and unusual hostesss gift.  Sometimes do the same thing with rosemary or thyme or other herbs from my garden, but the bay leaves seem to be more unusual and therefore make a better gift.


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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tsquare...

Thanks...I made up a spray and blasted the ants...haven't seen any aphids yet, and I'm checking because I have a great crop of cavalo nero (aka lacinato kale) and they really go after it. The artichokes are doing fine, though.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Planted 100 saffron crocus bulbs. Or corms. Whatever.

Has anyone grown them?

Even though their lavender-colored blooms don't fit in my otherwise pink-flowered garden, I'm hoping they will earn their keep. Got my sterilized tweezers at the ready, and Penzey's Mancha Superiore as backup.


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ● Twitter Instagram

 

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Planted 100 saffron crocus bulbs.  Or corms.  Whatever.

.

Priscilla: I just finished planting a couple of hundred non-saffron crocuses (croci?)and I am so jealous of you! Where did you find the bulbs?

I hadn't come across this thread before, and as a passsionate gardener, can't help but weigh in.

First, I can buy good cheap produce locally, so I don't grow that many veg. I am mostly a "senseless beauty" kind of gardener....roses! Lilies!

Second, I live in the western burbs of Chicago and my garden faces straight west towards the boundless prairies. How I envy you gardeners in the Pacific Northwest or Great Britain.

But I planted some swiss chard "Bright Lights" smack in the middle of my flowerbed. Looked like some fabulous coleus on steroids. Ditto my basil, which absolutely thrived there. Haricots verts up a couple of five foot bamboo teepees (tuteurs, if you must!)I made myself in about fifteen minutes...they add that nice "French Kitchen Garden" touch, and that all-important architectural focus! :biggrin:


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I am mostly a "senseless beauty" kind of gardener....roses!  Lilies!

My theory of gardening is more-or-less the opposite of yours. Mine is, "If you can't eat it, I'm not interested." So Ms. Bean plants flowers and such, then largely ignores them. I end up getting stuck taking care of them, which I do minimally; the effort and passion goes into the edible stuff.

Of course, the gardening is largely done around here now, but I can still go outside and pick a few kinds of fresh herbs that'll make it through the winter. (Thread about winter-hardy herbs here).

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Almost forgot! I love nasturtiums. They are as reliable as zinnias or radishes. And so pretty.

This year I finally ate one, and, yes! The leaves are peppery like watercress and better textured. Buy the end of the summer I was throwing a whole naturtium, leaves and flowers, into salads. Beautiful and piquant.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Maggie, as I've stated before I'm not a very good gardener, but some things I do try to grow. I'm about to try (again) with Swiss chard, the skinny-stemmed Italian type, as part of my what-passes-for-winter-in-Southern California garden.

Bulbs are so gratifying for a bad gardener. In a former garden I grew little white crocuses with success, and believe me, it wasn't because I brought anything special to the situation. And some Priscilla gladiolas, parchment with pink edges, actually grew for me this year. Unbelievable.

So we'll see about the saffron crocus.

I ordered my saffron crocus online from Brent and Beck's Bulbs, whom I found after arduous online searching, and the transaction was fast and easy. And the bulbs, corms, whatever, were so large and beautiful, unlike the pizen little things one sees in stores.

I also have roses (all pink; don't know nothing about roses; first pruning last Jan.-Feb.; certain it was the end; but it wasn't!), and am about to embark on the plantage of a mass of different varieties of pink daffodils.

I worry I'm overreaching, but gardening is like cooking in that way, there's always tomorrow to plant something else.


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ● Twitter Instagram

 

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Priscilla: You live in SoCal? I was there for the first time a couple of months ago and my senses were ravished by all that gorgeous flowering vegetation. L.A. looks pretty dry for a gardener, but the roses didn't seem to mind! I went to the gardens at the Huntington and my daughter and her beau had to drag me out forcibly.

Gardening is all about overreaching. If you don't experiment, you don't learn. And it's an even greater teacher of patience than parenthood; there is so little we can control. Overreach! It's not about neatness and tidy rows.(Except in the cutting garden, where my neat rows make me feel Lady-of-the Manor-ish.)

Plus, I admit, it is very satifying to have strangers stop at my tiny bower in June and say "I have never seen anything so lovely! " They haven't been around much! And they can't see the weeds from there!

And thanks to the link for those bulbs.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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OK I planted saffron crocuses for the first time about a year ago, 11 months, according to my earlier post on the subject in this discussion.

There was a first weird spurt of growth right away that November, and I had a handful of blooms and enough stamens to perfectly flavor a clear fish broth we served as part of our Christmas Eve menu last year. Exciting!

And then, pretty much nothing. I thought for certain they were done finished kaput, that I drowned 'em, or starved 'em, or whatever. Everything that survives in my garden does so by some sort of grace, not by any intervention of mine.

And then, just the other day, a hundred spiky shoots, and quickly already three soft purple blooms harboring the very orangey-red stamens which are the reason for the exercise. Very cool!

God Bless bulbs.


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ● Twitter Instagram

 

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I always get excited about gardening in the spring but then my interest wanes to almost nothing in the fall. I don't understand why, there are so many things to plant (after this heat wave dies down): yellow and orange carrots, yellow,striped and red beets, peas, snow peas, snap peas, potatoes (!), lettuces. I don't care for chard, but I'm going to try broccoli from seed (romanesco).

I have at least $100 worth of seed that I bought this year. I get a little frenetic when I see something I like. Right now, Martha Stewart seeds at KMart is 40% off, so I bought a couple packets, even though I don't need them. Also, I used to trade seeds with other sad addicts at gardenweb.com

In the spring I use up space in our server room to grow my little plants. The computers keep the little buggers warm during the cool months of Jan and Feb. Next year, I think I'll plant more of the Sungold cherry tomatoes. They totally rock. My boyfriend sits on the ground and eats them right off the bush. Well, so do I, actually.

My favorites are Sungold cherry tomato, and Rond de Nice squash. What a wonderful squash that is. Productive and delicious. Also, I love the persian cucumbers. I really liked Celebrity cuke, and Summer dance cuke. It's a long Japanese variety. Next year, I'm trying Amira. Everyone seems to like it.

Next year, I won't be planting so many tomato varieties though. I planted 13 varieties and it was just too much. Sudduth Brandywine is a keeper. Italian Gold as well. I hated Pink Ping Pong. Not that thrilled with the Santa grape either.


I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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There's this place I JUST GOTTA tell you about....it's Le Jardin du Gourmet in Vermont. This place is 5star, for real. They have the most incredible variety of herbs and veggies you have ever seen stateside. And they have this ingenious way to try out stuff. They sell a sample pack for 30 cents, so you can try something. Their website's at www.artisticgardens.com, and their catalogue is free. Enjoy! :cool:

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This is an addendum to the previous post. After writing it I went to the website and the seed packets are 35 cents, not 30. That's what I get for using the postcard from my fridge. But then, I spent half the day on Alexa, under gardening catalogues, and I don't think I got through 1/3 of the first site-very fascinating content. There's such a plethora of new places that are more available to everyone now. I'm so thankful that everyone who's posted on the gardencentric threads has been so enthusiastic. Gardening has always been a big part of my life, but when I got too ill apprx. 21/2 years ago, I became unable to garden-such a bummer! I turned our inside space into a jungle, but starting lemons and avocadoes from seed just ain't the same. Anyway- I've already enjoyed the cooking, eating, pig pickin,chicken pluckin, everything, and now that folks are so enthusiastic about the garden principle of fine food, I am really looking forward to outdoors and fresh fruits of my own labor. Thanx ever so much eGullet people (incoming pun) You are the salt of the earth!

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Because it is warmish/ muggy out and feels like one badly needed day of false spring in my area ..and because it is President's Day Weekend and time to plant the first crop of peas ..I think in most of the US and Southern Canada? am I right?

I am bumping this old topic and hoping someone can share in my hope there is a light at this crappy winter tunnel!!!

I planted sugar snap peas this morning and noticed my garlic is about 2 inches high there are buds forming on most of the fruit trees...

just like my hopes for spring :smile: anyone else strolling out into the garden yet?


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I'm kinda bummed about this year: because I'm moving mid-summer I can't do a garden. I will have to live vicariously through all of you. I love fresh peas! Right off the vine. Yum. Anyone have pictures of their gardens to post?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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We are running full blown here in Zone 10 Florida. I've got tomatoes, collards, turnips, mustard all going full blast. The pepper plants (perennial in the ground here) are blooming and setting fruit again, so spring is coming.

I've already sown southern peas, up and blooming, and the last tomato transplants go into the ground tomorrow. I stagger seed starting for tomatoes from August to December and pull slicers up until late June, early July. All I can grow in the Summer heat and humidity are cherry type tomatoes, but am giving Arkansas Traveler (that supposedly sets well in the heat) a run this summer as I have an excess of seed. We shall see.

Most herbs go year around as well, but I have a dickens of a time with dill for some reason. Always have. Basil and cilantro are practically wild.

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Because it is warmish/ muggy out and feels like one badly needed day of false spring in my area ..and because it is President's Day Weekend and time to plant the first crop of peas ..I think in most of the US and Southern Canada? am I right?

I am bumping this old topic and hoping someone can share in my hope there is a light at this crappy winter tunnel!!!

Little early yet here in Michigan I'm afraid...I'd have to shovel through a couple feet of snow just to get to my garden areas-lol. Shops are just getting their seeds in, so I did break down and buy some tomato seeds to start inside in another 5-6 weeks. I was very disappointed they didn't have much else out yet other then seeds & few starter sets, so I couldn't even start planning & dreaming, since this is the first year I've done much gardening in over a decade.

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I wish I had a green house ..I would never come inside I think if I did! and a potting shed as well ...I will take pics of my garden and post it for sure and would love to see others?

I am planting herbs and flowers all over that reflect the moon this year especially sage and silver thyme.....it glows a beautiful silver in the dark when the moon is full ...so pretty! I need ideas for more herbs that reflect like that

what do you have growing inside? ...I have some lemon grass and ginger in pots they make wonderful house plants I also planted some raw peanuts to see what would happen ...I had a piece of taro growing for ages ..it was stunning then the root just rotted


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I planted 13 varieties of tomato seed last week, and I noticed little green shoots just this morning. :wub:

Also some poppies, anise and blue hyssop, rosa bianca eggplant, and a couple other things.

Nothing outside--still a couple inches of icy snow out there.

But the cardinals are singing away, so spring must be on the way.


sparrowgrass

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It is 10 above, and the ice is still growing on the inside of my windows, the ground, still under 3 feet of snow, is like iron, and even the little red squirrels don't show themselves.

And yet it is comforting, to already, be thinking of a spring garden, must mean winter is almost half over.


"It's like Betty Crocker and Charles Manson had a love child" - Anthony Bourdain

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My cilantro apparently re-seeded itself, I have three little cilantro plants growing nicely spaced apart. I'm hoping my basil will follow suit. The oregano & thyme were left unfazed by a couple of hard frosts. I've got onions planted where I had the corn last Spring. Lettuce that I had given up on is about 2 inches high. I have to improve one of my lassagna gardens. My sister gave me some strawberry plants so my work is cut out for me tomorrow.

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Here's a picture of the onions planted in a freshly re-done lasagna bed. I'm still learing how to use my digital camera so please excuse me if the pictures are hard to see.

gallery_56234_5723_2645.jpg

Here's where the cilantro re-seeded itself.

gallery_56234_5723_4783.jpg

It seems that Spring has arrived early so I guess I'm behind starting my tomato seeds.

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