Garden Walk Through

Bed One:

The deer are eating my beans. I didn’t do anything about the deer this year, and for a while I thought I was good to go, but I was obviously living in a dream, courting a bean disaster. Sigh. The squash (in the background) is looking good though!

Bed Two:

These Glacier tomatoes are the strangest tomatoes. Being a determinate variety, they grow more out than up, and I read that you shouldn’t prune them – so I didn’t.  I will not be growing these next year, that’s for sure. I lost a whole bunch of them because they turned brown when they were really tiny and then just fell of the vine. I can only assume it’s either a disease or nutrient deficiency. However, I did get my first ripe one the other day. Win!

Bed Three:

The broccoli has been harvested and transplants for fall are in. Beets are looking good and more are just starting to come up. I seriously failed on my fall starts this year. I should have started my items around the first of July, but I hemmed and hawwed and ended up buying them instead. Add that to the “Things I Will Do Better Next Year” list.

Bed Four:

Yukon golds came out of this bed and my dried beans are doing pretty good, even though the potato vines had them shaded for most of their life. I have cabbage transplants in where the potatoes where. The leeks suffered the same smothering potato vine fate as the beans but didn’t fair as well, unfortunately.

Bed Five:

Giant Cabbage! Jefe keeps saying to me “We don’t eat cabbage. Why are you growing cabbage?” They’re so pretty and I am sure I can come up with SOMETHING to do with them (like Kraut Burgers!). Red potatoes were harvested and I’ve planted an arugula and mesclun mix that has started to come up as well.

Bed Six:

Podding radishes have been ripped out. All except one, which I’m saving for seed. Note to self for next year: don’t plant so many. Also – trellis. Carrots, lettuce and onions have been harvested and more carrots, lettuce and onions (scallions) have been planted for fall.

Tomato Barrels

Let me just sum up my tomato thoughts by saying that next year I will totally be doing them differently. Mainly, I will pay a lot more attention to the pruning. As in, I will actually do it.

The Corn Bed:

I may have planted the corn a little too densely, but SO FAR SO GOOD. I went out the other day and banged the stalks around to make sure the powdery male stuff (wink, wink) got spread around a little. The mexican sour gerkins got totally lost in the mass of green and while they are still alive and looking good, I don’t think one of them has even flowered. Note to self for next year on the cucs: Trellis by themselves. Scarlet runner beans seem to be totally happy and the zucchini is thrilled with the set-up.

Here’s the volunteer poppy that came up in the raspberries that I was telling you about.  Isn’t it pretty?

happy gardening

Cabbage, squash and poppies

The cabbage is so huge right now! It seems like it’s all leaves at this point, though. I can feel a tiny little head in the center so I just need to be patient. It does make me wonder about the suggested days to harvest one sees on seed packets. I am pretty sure I have gone far, far, longer than the day range suggested on about almost everything. (I’m looking at you “ultra-early” tomatoes.)

We have officially entered The Season of the Zucchini. Pinterest has a TON of ideas for recipes I need to sift through. No wasting this year!

These pink California poppies are one of my favorite things about the garden this year, I like them so much better than the bright orange poppies you see everywhere. I went on a poppy seed buying spree the other day after reading a post about poppies on A Way to Garden.  I’ve also had two poppies come up in my raspberries that I did not plant…birds, perhaps? It made me so happy…it was like a little gift.

happy gardening

The garden after vacation

I’ve been on vacation in Wyoming for a little over a week and I was anxious to see what the garden looked like when I got back. The corn is getting so tall and the squash!  Look at the squash! It’s almost as tall as the corn!

I gave myself  day to recover before I went to work and I spent a good chunk of it digging up the rest of the potatoes. I love growing potatoes…it’s like digging up buried treasure. I toured my friend Christina’s mini-farm recently and saw that she had mounded her tatties with straw instead of dirt, and my back is thinking that is a fantastic idea. Next year I’m thinking that I might try that mounding method.

I still feel a little frazzled and need to catch up after being away for so long. The poor garden is a MESS and I haven’t even thought about fall and winter gardening yet. Thankfully I have a three day weekend coming up so (finger’s crossed) I can get some garden work done.  It’s good to be back!

happy gardening

The Mushroom Patch

Let’s mozy on over to a different area of the yard and I’ll show you my mushroom patch. We finally got around to renting a chainsaw to cut up the massive trees that fell during the ice storm back in January and I wanted to use some of the logs to create a mushroom habitat in my shade garden.

You need a hard wood for mushroom cultivation and luckily the tree that fell was a maple. You want to inoculate the logs when the moisture content is still fairly high in the logs, so older wood that has been sitting around for a while might not be the best option. I should have sealed the ends of the logs with beeswax to seal in moisture, but I opted not to because I am lazy. I bought a little bag of Oyster Mushroom plugs from Provisions Mushrooms down at the farmer’s market which I stored in the fridge until I was ready to get to work.

The first thing I did was mark my drill bit with tape at the depth of the plugs so I would know how far to drill. I drilled holes in a diamond pattern about 4-6 inches apart.

Plugs get inserted into the holes.

Then smacked with a mallet. This was my favorite part. Whammo!

I have seen that the plugs are sometimes sealed with beeswax, but again…lazy.

I still have a few more logs in my stack to inoculate, but it really could not have been easier.  So hopefully, in a about a year, the mycelium will have spread throughout the logs and I’ll see fruiting! Yay for mushrooms!

P.S. Thank you for all of the awesome potato advice and recipes! I’ve got a lot of work to do.

happy gardening

It’s Potato Time!

My potatoes have completely taken over their beds. I was even planning on putting two rows in one bed initially and I am so glad I didn’t do that. I was recently talking to a friend of mine while he was giving me a tour of his garden and as we were looking at his potatoes he mentioned that he was going to dig some up for “new” potatoes. “That’s a great idea!” I said.

So…here I am, this past weekend, digging into my beds thinking that I’ll just harvest a few tiny little new potatoes to steam up or something. And then I latched on to these:

These look “done”, don’t they?  I couldn’t believe it! I am going to have a gajillion potatoes because these are just from one small section of one bed. Don’t get me wrong, this is what I wanted, but I find myself all of a sudden unprepared for how to keep them. Part of me is thinking that I’ll just keep them in the ground and dig them up as needed – but I need the bed space for fall and winter harvest, so that might not work and I am afraid they might rot or something.

I could can them, I suppose. Thoughts?

happy gardening


There is just something so magical about harvesting food…I am not eloquent enough to even try to put it into words. It’s simply one of my favorite things in the world.

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Now that’s officially summer…I am starting to harvest “spring” veggies. The snap peas are going crazy. I don’t think I told you this, but I initially had two rows of peas, but accidentally mowed down a large chunk of one row when I was harvesting mesclun greens. Oops! I’m so glad I did that now. I don’t think I’d be able to keep put…I’d have snap peas coming out my ears.

I also harvested some of the podding radishes! They are the lumpy bean looking things. Here’s another pic:

They sort of look like a pepper as well, don’t they? They are very tender and SPICY. Hoo-boy.

The poppies are blooming! Love the poppies. It seems like it’s time start planning the fall garden…are you thinking about that yet?

happy gardening

Green and Grain Pie

The mustard is blooming and the bees LOVE the flowers. Have you ever had a mustard flower? They are as spicy as all get-out and I can see why the bees go crazy over them. They pack an itty-bitty wallop and I love them.

I am growing Ruby Streaks mustard and the leaves are a beautiful dark red and feathery. I harvested both mustard greens and some kale I planted to make one of my favorite “greens” dishes. The great thing about this dish is that you can use any green you have in your garden or fridge. You can even swap out the grain as well. I usually use quinoa (technically not a grain, but whatever) but decided to make this dish with millet. The KEY however, is dill. I used dill I had dried from last year, and I’ll totally be making this again when the dill in my garden is a little bigger.

Green and Grain Pie

1 cup cooked grain, like quinoa or millet
1 bunch mustard greens (1 lb-ish) chopped, and thick stems removed
1 bunch kale greens (1 lb-ish) chopped, and thick stems removed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c chopped fresh dill, or about 3 Tbls dried
1/4 c feta cheese (1 oz)*
1/4 c goat cheese (1 oz)*
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Olive oil, salt, pepper

* UPDATE: I realized that I forgot to explain these asterisks. Very simply, use swiss cheese, or all goat cheeze, or feta, or any cheese!

Preheat oven to 350 °. Prepare grain as you normally would if you do not have any leftover. For me, it’s a 1:2 ratio of grain to liquid. Bring grain and liquid to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low so you have just a simmer. I have found that most grains are done in about 20 minutes, so set a timer. Let grain sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the recipe, then fluff with a fork.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan, add onions (not the green onions) and saute for ten minutes. Remove onions and set aside. Add greens pan and cook until wilted. Remove greens from pan into a colander and squeeze gently to remove excess water.

In a large bowl, mix onions, greens and grains. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until blended. Put mixture into an oiled pie plate, or large ramekin. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Enjoy!

happy gardening

Arugula Pesto

I went out to harvest some arugula and saw this little fellow hanging out catching some rays. I am so thrilled to see ladybugs in the garden, although it makes me wonder if there are aphids roaming around as well. I haven’t seen any so far, but I am on high-aphid alert.

One of the first garden mistakes I made this year was to sow the entire packet of arugula seeds in one go. This means it all came on at once and I didn’t get much of a chance to harvest any of it before it bolted. D’oh! The plus side is that I have enough plants flowering to harvest seed from, AND the leaves are actually extra peppery right now thus making them perfect for something like pesto. All is not lost!

There are a bajillion pesto recipes out there these days, but what the hell….here’s another one:

End of Season Arugula Pesto

  • one bunch of over-the-hill arugula OR…radish tops! (try it, you’ll like it)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, possibly more
  • 1/2 cups nuts. You can use pine nuts, I used almonds
  • garlic clove
  • parmesan, grated

Whizz the first four ingredients in a food processor/blender until relatively smooth.
Add parmesan and salt to taste.

I usually make pesto on the weekends in order facilitate dinner during the week. All you have to do it boil some pasta water and you are set. I added bacon to my pasta, because, well…why not? It was hanging around and I couldn’t let it go to waste.

Three cheers for home grown food!

happy gardening

Weekend Project

Coming along, aren’t they? Most tutorials I have seen have you cram the form full of succulents so that “Ta-da!” – you have a finished product, but I think I’d like mine to last a bit longer than the 6-9 months usually stated. Or…maybe it’s that succulents are not exactly cheap and I figure I’ll just pick up a few here and there and fill them in over time.

Here’s how they were put together:

I too the hanging chains off of the baskets and filled the them with floral foam and potting soil. Then I did a fancy trick by placing a piece of cardboard over one of the halves, flipped it over onto the other half, and then yanked the cardboard out. It like that tablecloth magic trick – you gotta do it fast and with confidence.

I wired the two halves together and wrapped the whole shebang in sphagnum moss which was secured with fishing line. This part was probably the hardest and the most frustrating. I read after the fact (of course) that I was supposed to soak the moss ball in water and let it sit overnight. I did give it a good soak, but dove right into the next step.

I made a bunch of “U” shaped segments out of the wire to help secure the succulents to the orb, and when I went to poke a hole in the moss and inserted a succulent, I quickly realize my wire was too thin to do any good. It bent too easily so I tried to tuck the succulents under some of the fishing line to secure them. My advice if you decide to do this is make sure you have a thick wire for this step at least. Reattach the hanging chain to the top of the sphere before you start adding the succulents.

I am going to do each sphere with a different color scheme. One is more of a yellow and red, and the other is more of a grey-green and purple. Here are a few of the how-tos that I referenced when making these:

Have fun!

happy gardening