Salad Gardenby Angie

27 Mar 2011
4:03 pm

The heat wave in January that I posted about didn’t last, and it’s been very cold and wet here. However, I’ve still managed to make some progress in my backyard! In addition to my herb garden, I now have a little “salad garden” right outside our back door. Between the two containers, I have 6 baby romaine, 6 sierra lettuce (a variety of red leaf), 6 sugar snap pea plants, and one each of arugula, sorrel, and stevia.

Confession time… At the nursery, i actually went over the whole table of lettuce-like seedlings and tasted each one so I would only be buying things I would actually eat. I just pulled off little leaves near the edge – in a couple of cases, I picked one that was starting to come off anyway! And, yeah, I ate them right there in the nursery. They’re really good about organic growing and no pesticides on veggies and stuff, so I don’t think I’m in danger of dying… There were only two that I tasted and didn’t buy, one of which was radicchio, which I now know I REALLY don’t like. I wanted to get spinach, too, but they didn’t have any seedlings. I may start some spinach from seed.

It’s funny – growing up, I somehow thought that all kinds of lettuce just tasted the same – like a whole lot of nothing. Like it was just a neutral canvas for THE REST of the salad to sit in. The only considerations were how green it was (Mom says greener is healthier) and how crispy it was (Dad likes it crunchier). I guess my taste buds are finally growing up!

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Tomato Surpriseby Angie

26 Mar 2011
4:03 pm

I have a wonderful, darling friend named Kjelene who thought of me on Friday when she heard that a nursery in Sunol was giving away free tomato seedlings. She drove down and picked up a bunch for herself and several friends, and came by my house to share the bounty. She dropped off seven little seedlings, each about 6-8 inches tall with an inch or so of roots, all packed into some wet potting soil in a plastic sandwich bag (I wish I had taken a picture). They were unlabeled, too, so besides knowing that they are all heirloom varieties and that there were a variety of sizes, colors, and types available… I have no idea what I’m getting!

It’s still pretty cold, so I really should have waited until next week to put them into the ground, but they just looked so miserable in their little plastic bag that I couldn’t help myself: the rain had stopped and the sun was shining weakly, so I spent that evening planting them all in a row. I’m glad my soil was already prepared, since I had turned it over twice and added some manure, peat moss, and topsoil already – it was perfect for planting. I pulled off the lower leaves and planted them quite deep, so now they’re just tiny little things poking out of the ground. It’s not likely to freeze anymore, but It’s still cold enough that I’ll be covering them at night for another week or so. I got pretty creative… between garbage bags and plastic drop cloths, they should be nice and snug. With so many plants this year, I’m going to try a year of severe pruning and training. It will mean fewer tomatoes, but I’ve been reading that it’s good for the roots and makes for higher quality fruit. I look forward to lots of canning this fall – who wants to come help??? 🙂

For my Dad’s benefit – at his request – here are also pics of my perennials: The strawberries are starting to get their buds, and my raspberries are doing great, too; you can’t really tell, but there are several new shoots mixed in with the strawberries. My poor little artichoke plant is kind of hanging on for dear life. I think it must just not get enough sun in its little corner: the fence blocks it from both the south and the west. I thought it had died completely last fall, but since it seems to be hanging in there, I’ll give it some more time.

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Waking Up The Gardenby Angie

22 Jan 2011
4:01 pm

My garden has been dormant for the last several months (as has the blog – sorry about that!), having been abandoned in the middle of the harvest season because of my surgery in October. From the surgery up until our Thanksgiving trip to Atlanta, I kept looking outside, meaning to get back out there, as soon as I felt “up to it.” Well, when we returned from Georgia, the frost had come and completely demolished what was left of my struggling plants. It was very demoralizing. I never even got up the gumption to winterize everything, so the backyard has looked awful all winter.

Finally, this week, I’m getting back in the groove. The weather has been gorgeous – hovering between mid-40s and mid-60s during the day, with lovely clear skies. I can hardly believe it’s January! Over the past few days, I’ve pulled down all the dead plants from last year, pruned and tied back my raspberries, thinned the strawberries, weeded the herb plot, built a compost container, and turned over the dirt in my garden strip along the fence. Whew! THIS is what it should have looked like all winter. Now, though, it’s time to set up some trellis lines, clean up the lawn, and get some peas, lettuce, spinach, and carrots in the ground!

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Jennifer’s Gardenby Angie

16 May 2008
9:05 am

On Tuesday our Gardening Group met at Jennifer’s home to help plant her vegetable garden.  Her husband built grow boxes last year in their backyard; now they are filled with watermelon, squash, and zucchini seedlings.  We also planted tomato plants in containers, and potted some herbs and flowers as well.  We had a great time!