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Mrs. Potato Head 2

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait for Toy Story 3 to come out this weekend. I am so excited!!! Aaannd I couldn’t wait to see if my potato slips had grown potatoes.

Well, guess what?  They did.  Granted, not bushels and bushels but I considered this an experiment of sorts.  I wanted to see if the potato sacks I used would actually work. 

If you remember, this is how they started out.

They grew and grew.

until they began to wind down.  The leaves began to die. 

But, THIS is what was underneath this sad vegetation.

and these.

I couldn’t have been more thrilled! 

 Coming soon… Mrs. Potato Head 3.  Sweet Potatoes.  Feel the excitement.

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Ina and Me.

I have never met Ina Garten, but I know we could be great friends.  We have so much in common.  She likes to cook, I like to cook.  She loves Paris, I love Paris.  (except she has an apt. there and I just WISH I did)  She loves good food,  good company and so do I.  But, the main thing we share  is our love of hydrangeas.

If you have ever watched her show or read one of her cookbooks, you will have seen her beautiful hydrangea bushes surrounding her house/property. She is always making arrangements from them.  Gorgeous.  Her’s are mainly hues of blue and white while mine are PINK.

and one sweet Annabelle.

and what could be bad about that?

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Growing a little weed.

Not That weed.  This weed.  Butterfly Weed.  Asclepias tuberosa.

You would think it would be an easy plant to grow, right?  I mean,after all it IS a weed.  But, you would be wrong.  It has taken me three years to get this large of a plant.  I read “it may take as long as two years to establish from seed”. Great,  now they tell me. 

I also found out that transplanting butterfly weed can be difficult because it has a taproot.  That must be why it’s a weed.  Ever try to pull up a dandelion?  It has a long taproot also.

The first year the Butterfly Weed erupted, there were only green leaves and then nothing.  It disappeared in the fall and winter only to reappear in the Spring.  Now we’re getting somewhere I thought.  Nope.  More green leaves but not.one.single.solitary. bloom.  Oh well.   Maybe it’s  in a spot with too much shade.  They do like full sun.  But this year, it really took off and FINALLY,  blooms!!!!

It is a beautiful plant and well worth the wait.  However, it is also a wonderful plant because it is a butterfly magnet.  Hence, the name.  But you had probably already figured that one out.  The plant produces an abundance of nectar which attracts the butterflies AND the plant is an excellent host for the caterpillars.

I can’t think of any other weed I would rather grow.  No, really.

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Tammy Appleseed

I LOOOOVE SPRING!  It seems as if you can just throw seeds in a pot and they just grow and blossom with very little effort.  Remember the potato pots I started..

Yukon Gold

red potatoes

Well, here they are now……

red potatoes

Yukon Gold

Isn’t that amazing!  I hope I get some potatoes out of these.  I should be able to harvest around  June or whenever the tops start to turn yellow and die down.

I also planted some lettuce seeds in a wooden box I found in the garage.

I believe my son made this in woodshop several years ago.  (Hope he doesn’t want it back.)  It is perfect, because it has handles which will allow me to move it around when the sun begins to heat up.

That was a about a week ago.  Here they are now…

I also have beans coming up – speckled butter beans, Maxibel Haricot Vert beans and pinto beans!!!

These are the pinto beans.

These are the Maxibel Hericot Vert.

These around the round trellis are speckled butter beans.

and purple hull peas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My pepper plants are starting to grow.  These are anaheim.

My pumpkin seeds have sprouted, too.

Hoping they will climb UP the trellis.  Inside the teepee I planted Tom Thumb lettuces.  They are miniature bibb lettuces about the size of a baseball.  Don’t look too hard, they haven’t sprouted yet, hehe.

Here are the rest of peppers to put out:  some are bell peppers others more anaheim and jalapeno.

Last but not least are the tomato plants.

I have Porter planted here and a basil in front (it looks lime green but it was just the way the light was shining, it’s actually fairly green).  I also have San Marzano, Arkansas Traveler and Rio Grande in quart pots I need to put out. oy.  But, would you get a load of my peonies!  This is the prettiest they have ever been.

Tammy Appleseed is now resting.

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Not Lay’s Chips

I harvested my kale this week.  This kale is called Russian Red or Ragged Jack.  I like the name Ragged Jack as the only red, to be seen, is on the stems!

I have been wanting to make kale chips.   I decided to make them with this batch using the largest leaves.  After washing them, tearing of the stems, washing again and spinning dry in my salad spinner,  I added olive oil and sea salt.

I used about 2 tsp. olive oil to 3 oz. kale leaves.  I just sprinkled the seal salt  over the top.

then tossed together to mix.  Then I baked them in a 425 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.

They really shrink up and become well, like chips.

Not Lay’s, but definitely good.  Not to mention good for you!!!

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Just a Hoe.

OH.MY.GOSH.  have I been busy and boy are my muscles (the few I have) SORE.  I was so excited to be out in the garden this past weekend.  It was truly lovely.  But, no time to sit around and enjoy it.   This was a working weekend.

First, I finished the edging.

Which meant tearing out the old black plastic edging.  When I was pulling it out, the top pulled off from the bottom.  Nice.

I even had a supervisor for the project.

Poor thing, she wanted to go outside so badly.

After the edging, came the sacks and sacks of compost/topsoil/bedding material to put in all the beds.  I turned it in with a pitchfork and a hoe, then raked it smooth.

I went back to the nursery several times for more compost to mix into the soil.  But it was worth it…..

Doesn’t that look much better?  I planted pinto beans, haricot vert, and speckled limas here.

In this bed, I planted my purple hull peas. Yum!

I have to say it is beginning to look much, much  better.  With the island finished and this edging that I have been working on F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  I can move on to other projects.  Like…

planting flowers and more veggies!

Oh, and by the way, Spring is definitely here.  This is how we know in Texas.

Yep, when the bluebonnets are blooming.

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Spring has Sprung?

What a crazy, busy month March was.  Was it in like a lion, out like a lamb? 

 I’m not sure but on the 18th , I took off from my day job to work in the garden.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day. 70’s.  I made several trips to the nursery for compost/bedding mix etc. to raise my beds.  I have this “island” in the middle of the garden which seemed to have sunk over the winter.  As a matter of fact, I believe all my beds have.  So, I added edging all around the bed.  I then began the laborious task of weeding.  After weeding, I placed newspaper down on the ground and added my bedding mix/compost on top.  I am hoping this will deter the weeds.  I know mulch is also used to deter weeds, but I have found with our humidity  mulch is a haven for pill bugs and snails.  It may be I just haven’t found the “right” mulch.

Now onward to the side beds. 

I have purchased some trellis supports I am excited about.  First, I bought these rectangular trellises which fold flat.  A huge bonus.

Also, purchased this large tomato trellis.  Much sturdier than the ones I have been using.

But probably the support I am most excited about is my tepee.  I am going to plant my Jack Be Little pumpkins around it and then in the center I am going to plant lettuces.   I read this suggestion and thought it was a great idea.

I am almost ready to direct seed my pinto beans, haricot vert beans, purple hull peas, pumpkins, squash and cucumbers.  (I am waiting for the soil to warm up a little more.)  My tomato plants are ready for transplanting and so are my peppers.  The peppers I am going to put in pots.

So that was Thursday.  Sunday morning, March 21, we awoke to this.

Now  we are back up into the 70’s even hitting the 80’s  one day.  The garden is starting to shape up.  My Texas Mt. Laurel is in full bloom.  The blooms smell like Nehi grape soda. 

 My hellebores have been blooming now for a while and lillies and hostas have started to really grow.

I can’t wait to get out in the garden this weekend!

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Mrs. Potato Head

I couldn’t wait to get outside to work in the garden this past week.  The first thing I usually do is put on my garden clogs.  It was quite a surprise when this little fellow ran out of my shoe.  Eeeek!

The first few days of our Spring-like days  were still too wet to dig in the garden.  But they were perfect for planting in pots.  Pots like my new “Smart Pots” which arrived and were ready to be filled.  (I got them on Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Smart+Pots&x=15&y=20)

These pots are made of a fabric which resembles a heavy felt.  Kinda cool.

The instructions on the bag indicate they can be reused.  I sure hope so.  But in the meantime I am using them for my potatoes.  I bought two kinds of potatoes.

Yukon Gold and a smaller red potato.  Being the enthusiastic gardener that I am,  I had those little red potatoes all planted in their new pots before I remembered it would have been a good idea to take pictures. Doh!  But I did remember before I started on the Yukon Gold.

So, here are the two Yukon Gold potatoes looking at you with their little eyes.  If I had wanted more plants, I could have cut these potatoes into pieces and had more potato plants.  But since these were larger potatoes, I decided to leave them whole.  Each eye will grow a plant.

 

The instructions said to begin with four inches of soil.  ( I used potting soil)  Then place your potatoes on top.  With the red potatoes, I had four potatoes which were about half the size of the Yukon gold.

Then you add about three more inches of soil to cover the potatoes.  I used this stick to make measurements at 3 and 7 inches. 

I used this entire bag of potting soil in the pot to get the 7 inches of soil.

The instructions I had indicated you can “dust” your potatoes with sulphur but I didn’t.  The sulphur was toxic to everything.   I decided it might be toxic to me as well, so I declined.  It might be necessary if you are a potato farmer in the fields.  I decided to take my chances without it.

  Once the potatoes green leaves appear, then you cover them again.  This will make more potatoes for you.  I am going to be covering them with dry leaves or straw.  This will help the bags to not be quite so heavy.

This past week I received an award at work and my good friend Jacque had these waiting on my desk when I arrived at work.

Aren’t they beautiful?  This picture was taken at the end of the week when I brought them home and they were still gorgeous!  Thank you Jacque!!!!!

When I was at the nursery buying my potatoes, I found this wonderful little plant.  (I am easily sidetracked, especially in a nursery.)  It is a Heuchera, called Limelight.  I am such a sucker for plants in this lime color.  Heuchera’s are shade-loving, so I am going to put him in a pot so I can move him around until I find just the right spot.  (I don’t have too much shade in my garden.)

Happy Gardening!!!

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Where, oh where, is Spring?

Not here yet, that is for sure.  These pictures are from a week ago when we received 12 inches in Dallas.  In one day.  That has never happened in my lifetime.  In fact, not since 1913.  These pictures were actually taken the day after.  I had to work and couldn’t capture the beautiful scenery I saw on my drive home.  It really was breathtaking.

But then it melted.  With all the water from the snow, the garden is soggy.

I did get outside for a few hours this past Sunday when the sun decided to come out and warm things up a bit.  I mainly weeded.  It has been way too wet to plant my English peas and Sugar Ann snap peas.  So I am a bit discouraged.

I did have some seedlings to germinate.  

 The tallest ones on the left are Porter tomatoes, next  to those are some anaheim peppers.  The anaheim’s  were a free packet I received and wasn’t sure exactly what kind of pepper they were.  Well… it turns out they are also called Hatch peppers and are very similar to Poblanos, which I love,  so I am excited about these.

The tiny sproutlings on the right are Chinese delphiniums.  The nothings in the middle were some coleus seeds from plants I had last year.  I thought I would try them, but they didn’t germinate.

I know Spring is just around the corner.  Until then, here are some Jonquils I picked the day before the snow fell.

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It’s Seedy.

 This year I just couldn’t seem to figure out what I wanted to plant.  So I got out all my seeds (this is no small task even in the short three seasons I have gardened veggies) and began to test the seeds for viability.   I then decided I had better get started with sowing seeds which will need a few weeks to get started.   So here is what I already have: 

  • Lemon cucumber
  • Dark Green Zucchini squash
  • Cucumbers (A & C and De Bourbonne)  I have recently read on multiple sites that the A&C are bitter.  They did not do well for me last year but I am going to use up my seed and possibly have better luck.
  • Carrots (Romeo round baby carrots and a freebie St. Valery Carrot)  I have had ZERO luck with carrots.  I am going to plant them in a pot this year.
  • Lettuces – Mignonette Bronze, Tom Thumb two pkgs. of this one – oops, Little Gem, and a freebie Garden Heirloom Blend
  • Herbs – Italian flat leaf parsley, Garden Cress, marjoram, Dill, Genovese Basil
  • Wando peas
  • Sugar Ann snow peas  (These two peas are going in the ground very soon) ( As in when it quits raining.  Yep, here we go again.)

 All of these seeds above can be direct seeded into the soil.  I have also decided which seeds to order for planting this year and which will be transplants.  Please repeat after me:

“I am still a real gardener even if I don’t grow all my plants from seed. “

I was amazed last year at how many of the plants I grew from seed were readily available in local nurseries.  So, I thought this year, I would take advantage of these and purchase only seeds to be direct seeded or those I would be unable to find in a transplant or those I couldn’t help myself from buying.    

But, FINALLY, here’s the list of seeds I ordered.

  • Maxibel Haricot Vert Bean
  • Pinto Bean
  • Florida Speckled Butter Bean
  • Pepperoncini Pepper
  • Jack Be Little Pumpkin
  • Pinkeye/Purple Hull Pea
  • Arkansas Traveler Tomato
  • Porter Tomato
  • San Marzano Tomato

 I also want to plant some onions and potatoes (more on that later).  The Jack Be Little pumpkins I am going to plant using a teepee. I am also going to use a teepee for some of the beans.  I must BE Jack in the Beanstalk as I have nowhere to go but up.

I sowed some Porter tomato seeds which I had, a few bell pepper seeds, some Chinese blue delphiniums and coleus.  I will be buying my pepper plants, hot and sweet instead of sowing the seeds this year.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to  GET ORGANIZED.  No matter that this is my  number one resolution every  year.  But this year I will have help.  My sister and niece made me this very cute box to hold my seed packets. 

 

Thanks, Lori and Britney.  I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

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