Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Free Plants!

I noticed that our strawberry plants are sending out runners like crazy again. It's a great way to get "free plants". I clipped some of the runners and planted them, hoping that some of them will get root bound.
This one already had roots forming!
And this one!
One more!
I was able to get four potted, I'll have to see if the roots take to the soil.  If so, I will give these away!

Sometimes clipping the runners don't take to soil well, so I also put pots of soil under the live plants, and stick the runners in the soil, in hopes that they will get rootbound.
Strawberries are such great perennials!  Not only do they grow back, they reproduce like mad!  I'd say they are pretty invasive the way they send out runners!  I'm so happy with the fruit production of these strawberry plants, that I don't even mind if they take over my entire yard!  LOL.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pumpkins and Zucchini Plants

The plants that are doing really well in the garden right now are the pumpkins and the zucchini. Not that they have produced any fruit yet, but they are nice and healthy looking.  The pumpkin plants are growing like crazy and taking over everything.
It's even growing up the picket fence.
And attaching itself to the planter holder.  The pumpkin sends tendrils to hold onto everything!  I have yet to see flowers emerging from the pumpkin plant.  I really can't wait to see an actual pumpkin forming.
The zucchini plants are in the same bed as the pumpkin.  There are lots of male flowers, but no female flower so far.  The seeds of these green zucchini plants were given to me by Charlotte, of Char's Gardening.  I have 5 plants growing, I hope it will produce lots and lots of squash for us.  I love zucchini!  I'm hoping to have enough to freeze.  Do you freeze zucchini?  If so, do you have to blanch it first, or do you just shred it raw and stick it in the freezer?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Foraging for Wild Blackberries in My Front Yard

Yesterday, I picked these berries off the "mystery" wild berry plant growing in my front yard.  I'm 99.9% sure that it's definitely a wild Blackberry.  Indeed the berries turned from bright red to a black color.  The hubs and I tasted the berries, yup, sweet and tart.  There are a lot of berries growing, but definitely not enough for jam.  So we'll just pluck the berries as we see them ripening and enjoy them as little treats.
I foraged for these today.  I love that I can forage for food in my own front yard!  How incredibly awesome.  I can't believe I never noticed this plant growing in my front yard last year.  Many of you warned that wild blackberries can be incredibly invasive.  I'll keep an eye on how these plants grow and will trim them or pull them if they get out of control.  But for now, I will just enjoy!!
I wonder if I can consider this a harvest for Harvest Monday on Daphne's Dandelions blog?  haha

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Ugly Flower Garden is Blooming

Earlier this month, I wrote about how I really hate the front flower garden because nothing was in bloom and I was waiting for the bulb leaves to turn brown so I could snip them off.  It was a hot mess and totally embarrassing!  Finally, the perennials started to bloom, so it looks a little better but actually, it still looks like crap, but at least there are flowers now.
The Asiatic Lilies that I planted last year came back so much nicer!  I really need to get and plant more of these!
I had planted some shasta daisies in the back of the garden last year, and had no idea how tall they get! They are giant!   I need to do some research about designing a perennial flower bed.  This looks just horrible!  I want to fill in the front space with some perennial flowers that will bloom and re-bloom all summer long.  I like the look of English gardens, I'm planning to add Foxgloves and Delphinium to the bed.  I think I should pull some of these lilies and re-plant them.  Perhaps plant them all in one grouping?  (sigh) Does any of you have any recommendations for good English garden design books?
In the side garden, the orange day lilies are blooming.  These were planted by the previous owner.  I really like the look of the lilies.
They look awesome!  I totally love the color!

Is This a Wild Blackberry? Part 2!

Earlier this month, I wrote about a wild berry plant that is growing along my fence line.  I saw that some of the berries have started to ripen.  Many of you said that it could be a wild blackberry, or a mulberry or a boysenberry plant. 
Also, most of you said it definitely is not poisonous.  I did a general Google search and found that in North America, there are no wild berries that look like blackberries that are poisonous.  So yesterday, we took the plunge and picked two of the red berries to try.  We thought these were ripe, but in fact they weren't.  There were so sour!  I guess they weren't ripe at all.  And since I'm still alive today, they are definitely not poisonous!!
So I decided to do a Google search for "Wild Blackberry" and found "Wildman" Steve Brill did an article about wild blackberries and they do look an awful lot like the photos he has on this page.  He says that the difference between blackberry and mulberries are that wild blackberries have thorns and mulberries do not.  He also says that, "The fruit, which ripens from mid-summer to early fall, goes from green to red to black."  I'll wait for the other berries to turn black before I pick the rest.  I'm so excited that we can forage in our own front yard!  I just hope the neighbors don't pull this plant out, since we share the fence!  Hopefully the plant will remain growing only on our side of the fence!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Horseradish Replanted

I took these photos to show Allison over at The Life of a Novice how I planted our horseradish roots.  It's my first year growing these roots and I was told that they are really invasive.   We bought 5 horseradish roots, and I originally had all 5 roots in a 12 inch pot.  But that was temporary until we could buy a half wine barrel. I looked high and low for a half wine barrel, and got one from the Christmas Tree Shop for a great deal, $20!  I always find great gardening deals there.  We replanted 3 roots in the wine barrel.  I just love how great the leaves look. I wonder how much fuller it will grow.  It's very tropical looking! We had 2 more roots, so we put one root each in it's own 12 inch pot.
Here's a view from the other side of the barrel.  I'm actually not sure when or how to harvest the roots, I'll have to do research about it.  If you grow horseradish and have some tips about harvesting, I'd be glad to hear about it!  Also, are these roots hardy enough to withstand Northeast winters?  Since they are perennials, I'm guessing it should be.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is It Ready?

Dad, the farmer, told us that the garlic is usually ready to pull when the first couple of leaves start to turn brown.  So we tested that theory and pulled 4 bulbs out of the raised bed today.  Two of the bulbs were a nice large size, while the other 2 were a bit on the small side.  I think we will wait another week or so to pull the rest.
The smell of the bulbs is just amazing!  Very garlicky. I'm not quite sure what is the best approach to dry / cure the garlic.  We ended up laying them on top of the rafters in the garage.  What are the best ways to hang hardneck garlic to dry? Should the bulbs be suspended upside down? How do you dry your garlic?

If Only These Were Edible...

After it rained this week, I noticed these two mushrooms growing in the yard.  They literally grew overnight and they are giant.  I put my spade next to it so you can see how giant it is!  Wild mushrooms grow so fast!  They seem to pop up overnight.  Too bad they are not edible.  They look gorgeous enough to eat.  Though I dare not to.  I don't know anything about identifying wild mushrooms but I do know that unless you can expertly identify them, they should not be eaten since most are poisonous. 
Then the next day, the cap expanded out making the mushrooms even larger.
This photo really doesn't do it justice.  It is so humongous.
Here is my boot next to it, just so you can get an idea of how large it is.  Being that it potentially is poisonous, does anyone know, can you put these into the compost??  Does that affect the compost at all?
Seeing these giant mushrooms form in my backyard makes me really want to get a kit and grow my own edible ones.  Maybe a Portabella mushroom kit like Allison uses in The Life of a Novice.  It grew a big box of mushrooms, so amazing!!  Or try this Oyster mushroom kit that Fern wrote about on Life on the Balcony. I'm also fascinated with getting spores and innoculating a log like how RuralRose grows Maitake mushrooms on Life Through the Cracks. AGWH grows Shitakes on logs on Grow Your Own Food.  I would love to try to innoculate a log and set it and forget it.  Since I can be a bit of a lazy gardener, this would be ideal!  The innoculated logs will continue to grow and regrow the mushrooms,  I love perennials so this would be totally sustainable and awesome.  Do you grow mushrooms?  Do you use a kit?  Or do you buy plugs and innoculate a log?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grapes Progress Report

To my surprise, the one thing in the garden that is growing so rapidly are the grapes.  Ten days ago, it looked like this.  This week, it has more than doubled in size!  This is our first year with grapes on the vine, so this is all very exciting to us.
At this rate, I wonder if they will be ready to eat by end of July??  That would be so awesome.
There are at least 15 grape bunches growing on this vine alone.  It's wonderful how prolific it is this year!  This vine is the Pink Reliance, of our 4 grapevines, this variety is growing the best.  It is much larger than the other vines and has the most bunches.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Carrots, Beets, Celery, and Leeks Raised Bed

This year, I tried Annie's Granny seed mat method to plant my carrot seeds. It did really well. Here you see it at the top of the photo.  Yes, there are some spots were the seed did not germinate, so I had to go in and add more seeds where there are empty spots.  I can't wait to pull the purple carrots to see how they taste!!  Below the carrots, the beets are growing well too.  However, again, they are some empty spots.  In fact, they were worst than the carrots, so many of the seeds didn't germinate. I ran out of beet seeds, so I filled in the missing spots with radishes.
In this photo, (a bad photo, I'm sorry) are leeks and Utah celery.  The leeks are doing well, but wow, do they grow S L O W L Y.  I'm so impatient!!  The Utah celery seeds were given to me in a seed swap from Food Garden Kitchen.  I'm really loving growing celery because celery is part of the dirty dozen list, (fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides).  Knowing that I can grow organic celery and not have to eat pesticide in my food, is pretty awesome.  Does anyone know, is there a way to preserve celery, either by freezing, canning, or drying?  I wonder if I can put celery in the dehydrator.  Have you done this before?

Coming Back to Life

Back in March, I received a package in the mail. It contained a 2-in-1 Asian Pear tree, a Christmas gift from my brother's family. I was so worried when I first planted it.  It didn't look so hot, the leaves became all droopy and slowly all the leaves fell off the tree.  I babysat it for the last 2 1/2 months, watering it everyday.  Then, in the last few weeks, I noticed that there were leaves forming on the branches.  I was so happy that it bounced back to life!  Here are the before and after photos.  I can't wait until the tree is big enough to produce Asian Pears.  I just hope the tree survives the winters here!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

White Radishes: Easter Egg Blend

Since I had one year of gardening under my belt, this year, I decided to flex my gardening muscles and try some different varieties of the veggies I grew last year.  It's nice to change things up a bit.  I decided to try Easter Egg Blend of Radishes from Botanical Interests.  In the seed packet comes a mixture of red, white, rose-pink, purple, and bi-color (red top, white bottom).  I decided to pull some of the radishes, because the greens were getting so bushy and I didn't want the bulbs to get woody.  I am so loving the white radish!  It kinda looks like a teeny tiny turnip.
Even though the Easter Egg Blend is supposed to be a mixture of colors, surprisingly, all the ones I pulled were white!  So strange!!  Also, some of the bulbs didn't size up even though the greens were nice and bushy.  I wonder why that is?  Even so, nothing goes to waste on this plant.  The entire thing, except for the root part on the very bottom is eaten, greens and all.
I wrote last time how I loved to eat radish greens.  Many of you asked how I eat them.  Normally, I just like to saute the greens in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper.  But I've heard that you can also make pesto or soup with radish greens.  I haven't tried those recipes yet, but I want to!  So next time you grow radishes, don't discard the tops... Eat them!
Check out what others are harvesting at Daphne's Dandelions.

2011 Harvest Totals:
Radishes - 12 ounces
Strawberry - 6 pounds
Garlic Scapes - 2 pounds

My Love of Gardening

On this Father's Day, I thought about how my love of gardening originated from my dad.  I've written about this before here, here and here. Growing up, I remember my dad always had a garden.  He loves to grow flowers, vegetables and fruit.  I realize now how similar we are!  In May, he gave me this jar of seeds he saved from the Mao Qwa Squash that he grew last year. I told him that I didn't want to take all of his seeds, but he said he had another jar equally as big.  LOL.  I took the seeds, (even though I'm not a fan of the squash) but I decided to grow a few of these plants in the garden, for my dad.  His yard is really shady, so he doesn't have a lot of room to grow edibles.  Hopefully the plants will produce lots of squash for him.  Hope you all had a great Father's day!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Organza Bags for Isolating Blooms

Ever since I learned about heirloom tomatoes, I've been pretty obsessed with them.  It's opened a whole new world for me, especially since I grew up only eating Beefsteaks and Romas.  I had no idea there was another whole exciting world of tomatoes out there!  Even today when I'm in the supermarket, it's sad to see how there are so few varieties of tomatoes available.   I'm now on this crazy quest to taste as many heirloom varieties as possible and hone in on the ones that I like the best, so that I can save seeds and continue to grow them.   I'm growing 22 different types of  tomatoes this year. Since I want to save tomato seeds, it'll be important to me to isolate the blooms so that they don't cross pollinate.  I want to get true seeds.  That means I was on a quest to buy organza bags so that I can bag the blooms and prevent any cross pollination.  A fellow garden blogger, Garden Hoard told me about these organza bags on Ebay. At $4.29, it is an amazing price for 100 bags, plus free shipping!  You cannot go wrong with that!   I received my order of organza bags last week.  They are amazing!  Now I just have to wait until all the plants start flowering!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Here they come!

Back in April, I did a plant exchange with Bucolic Bushwick.  One of the plants she gave me was a Sungold Tomato.  The day has come, fruits are forming!  Check out the baby tomatoes growing, this photo was taken about 1 1/2 weeks ago!
Here are the same tomatoes today.  I am anxiously waiting for them to change color so I can try these beauties!  I've never tasted Sungold Cherry Tomatoes before, but everyone raves about them.  I am so beyond excited!  I plan to save some seeds if I like this cherry tomato.  (Annie's Granny left a comment stating that Sungold is a hybrid, so seeds collected will not be true to the parent plant. I guess I won't be collecting seeds afterall.)
This was my first experience trading plants, and I must say it's awesome!  It lets you try out a variety of plant that you don't already have.  If you can trade plants with your friends, family, neighbors, definitely do it!!!

Hello Lovely Peaches

The peaches are looking great. They are getting much larger on the tree and it's so exciting!
Just look at these beauties!  They are about the size of golf balls right now.  I wonder when they will be ready to harvest!
I hope I have enough peaches to make jam!  Oooh, peach jam is my favorite!  We've been spraying the tree with organic pesticide every week.  As you can see, the leaves look like swiss cheese from the bugs.  Some of the peaches have also been attacked by bugs.  I just hope the organic pesticide keeps them at bay.  I can't wait to try one of the peaches! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hibiscus Show

The hibiscus is putting on a show. I love this plant!  When it flowers, it really puts on a display.  I was so worried about this plant when it was indoors over the winter, it was plagued with aphids.  It has bounced back so well!  It grew all new leaves and not it's flowering!  Woohoo!  One of the great things about hibiscus, is that this plant will flower all summer long, like it did for us last year.  It really is such a beauty!

It's Now an Addiction

I was in Home Depot the other day and I saw a big sign that said, "50% off all bulbs". So I bought this.  OMG, it's gone so beyond obsession of peonies to an addiction that I can't stop.  I mean, I did afterall plant 7 herbaceous peony roots already in my yard since last year.  Did I really need to buy more peony plants?  (Hehehehe.)  But seriously, can one really pass up $5.00 for 4 bareroots?  Nope.  Sorry.  It's too hard to pass up.  I just hope these roots will grow, since they have been sitting in these packages since the beginning of the year, when I bought a similar package.    If they don't, at least I only spent $5. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is this a wild blackberry plant?

This year, for the first time, I noticed some berries growing along my fence line. It looks an awful lot like my Navajo blackberry plant.  It's actually growing behind the Navajo Blackberry, but I know it's not a runner because the "mystery" plant has thorns, whereas the Navajo is thornless. Since I know next to nothing about wild edibles, I'm wondering if maybe some of the knowledgeable garden bloggers out there might know.  Do you think it's a wild blackberry plant? It looks like the same type of leaves of the Navajo plant, except it has little thorns on the stems.  And here are the berries that are forming.  They definitely look like a blackberry or raspberry of some sort. 
Here's another view of the leaves and berries.  I can't wait to see what color the berries will be when they ripen.  Since I know nada about wild food, I'm a little scared to try the berry, in case it might be poisonous.  I had tickets to go on a wild forage tour with Steve "Wildman" Brill in Central Park this past Saturday.  In the tour, he teaches you about edible plants, and he covers berries in his tour.  I was hoping to show him a picture of my wild berry plant and ask for his advice.  But since it rained on Saturday, the tour was canceled, and so I won't be able to ask him until I book another tour with him.  But maybe one of you know.  What do you think based on these photos?  Is it safe to eat?
And this is what the entire plant looks like.  It's not very large at all, but it sure has quite a bit of berries on it.  Oh please let it be a wild blackberry plant!  That would be so so so so so COOL, because that will mean I can forage in my own yard!
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Book Recommendations