Is it just me or are food prices going up?
I will spare you my complaining saga on that issue and instead tell you something fun. I went out in my garden today and had a field day picking the veggies that were out there. I mixed them all up, steamed those puppies and drizzled over a little bit of my special only use for special occasions Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the dish and Vialo!
I am really proud of myself not only for making a dish from scratch no recipe but one that came from the garden which was pretty cool. The only exception was that I bought the carrots at the farmer’s market for a buck but carrots are hard to grow over here in my neck of the woods or shall I say on my side of the ocean.
1/2 box dried penne nooodles
2 summer squash clean and cut into equal sizes
3 carrots cleaned and cut into equal sizes (I love carrots that is why there are so many in this dish but you can put 2 if you like)
20 green beans clean and cut into equal sizes
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Herb de Provence dried seasoning
After you cut and clean the veggies. I put them in a steamer for about 5 minutes. At this point you can add some Herb de Provence dried seasoning to the veggies. Cook the noodles during this time following the instructions on the box. When everything is cooked and settled nicely add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and allow the recipe to cool so that the flavors can marry. After that you can go to town on your “organic” delicious meal.
Well I thought I would give you a garden update as it seems that it has been a while since I have filled you in on my garden. For those of you that are new readers or for you old readers who have been dozing off in the corner, here is the “fast forward version of my garden adventures:
2010: I started my very first Victory Garden
I had a lot of fun but the soil was not ideal and the amount of sunshine my garden received was minimal to say the least. I really think plants have the will to live because I got some produce from that garden. Here is a picture of my baby “full grown at the time” green bean plant. Lack of sunshine and soil drainage really put a damper on things. Sad times.
I started my new garden and challenged readers to start their own with “Watch Me Grow Challenge”.
Our Gardens were growing and we were having such fun.
Then in the spring came the wind of 2011
Very sad day
But with the help and encouragement from you all I was able to coax my garden back to life. I always smile when I think of my friends reading this blog and helping me out.
All that work for this….
I went out into the garden today and I think a few of the green bean plants are sick. They look like this:
Do you see those UGLY yellow leaves with spots on them…grr….
Then I walked over to the gardenia and look what I saw….
Yellow leaves again..grr…
I am assumming that this problem could be related as both these plants are in the same location. Any advice? What are your thoughts? I know my readers are crazy smart so I come to you friends for some advice??
You know when you forget something and then you spend the whole day trying to remember what you forgot but you just can’t place it. Well that is how I felt the other night as I was awakened by the 40 mph wind. No, I am not embellishing the truth, I looked it up online.
Side Note: The song would “I lie to you baby” is running through my head.
So there I was 2 in the morning wide awake trying to remember what I forgot. Then it hit me. I got that sinking feeling you sometimes get when you know that it was something really really important that you should have remembered.
I forgot my plants!!!!
I quickly rolled over and whispered to my husband “hey babe are you awake?” Personally, I think that is the meanest thing that someone could ask you in the middle night but it gets better. He rolls over and nods, he knows I hate morning breathe. I very carefully informed him that the wind was blowing and that all my plants are going to die!! I got a little misty right about then. So my husband fumbles out of bed and got outside at 2 in the morning and drags my container plants inside. He fell right back asleep. He probably thought he was dreaming!
As for me, I stayed awake for another hour listening to the wind and hoping that maybe my plants would be able to stand their ground.
The next morning, I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs and into the garden. This is what I saw:
I crumbled to the ground and cried.
Soon after Mr. Snail came out and saw the devastation of my garden and immediately jumped to action.
He started pulling stuff like paint sticks and plant stabilizers out and starting tying my plants down. The wind which hadn’t calmed down since it started early this morning so this task was really tough. The wind was whipping my hair all over the place and Mr. Snail’s tools were flying all over the place.
After we had staked the rest of the salvageable plants we decided we saved about 70 percent of the garden. I will update you on the progress of the garden as it “recovers” from its night against the wind.
I thought that instead of writing one post of each of these it would be easier on all of us if I did it in one quick swoop.
Yesterday, May 1 marked the end (sad face) of our Watch Me Grow Challenge. I had a great time getting to know a few of you and even though some of you are shy and didn’t share online it was still cool to have you catch me up through emails etc. Very fun! I hope that it at least inspired you to try growing something. I will keep the Flickr Group up even though the challenge is done and I will continue to post pictures there of my garden so feel free to stop in and check it out or better yet add some pictures of your own. So thank you so very much to those who helped guest post, posted pictures, and sent emails. It was a fun challenge to do with my readers. So thank you for playing along.
Second,I am kinda embarrassed to admit this but I officially quitting Daring Bakers. I tried Daring Bakers because it was part of my 27 Before 28 List but have decided that even though I tried it, I wasn’t baking the challenges before the deadline! I enjoyed the recipes and the challenges but I was a slacker. Oh! The Shame! So I officially ended my participation in Daring Bakers. Good news: I can still cook and I get to check one more thing off my list. Awesome.
Transplanting has always been a bit intimidating to me. Still mortified by the “incident” in May 09. The “incident” was that I had spent all this time growing my seedlings only to watch them die in a day. Sadness. Sometimes annoying things like that happen in gardening, my advice, don’t take it personal. So having learned much since 2009, or at least I tell myself that, I set out to transplant.
Now, before I go any further this is the critical difference between my mishap in 09 and today. This year I decided to “harden off” my plants rather than just planting them in the ground. Melanie did a fantastic guest post on hardening off plants here. Check it out before you continue on to this post. So with my plants nice and sturdy, it was time to transplant!
How to Transplant New Seedlings
Step 1: Have a plan. Sounds easy enough right? Many of mistakes in the past are caused by my inattention to the seed packet details. Who knew reading the directions were so important?
Step 2: Plant in clusters not rows. My planting in clusters you are allowing your self more planting space and in doing so allowing your plants more space to grow. What I mean by planting in clusters is that you can plant two plants in a row 5 inches apart but the next row doesn’t start directly below the first row plant but rather in the gap between the top two plants.
Step 3: Be gentle and don’t harm the roots. If you are using peat pots you can just plant the whole pot in the ground. The peat when it breaks down is actually a good nutrient for the plant and the soil. Right on! If you are like me and don’t want a “pot” in the ground, I know I’m weird, then be careful when you are unwrapping the newspaper and be sure not to break the roots.
Step 4: Plant and water. The best way to water your plants, that I have found, is through a drip system which waters plants at the root level rather than from the top. If you are watering by hand, which I did for several years, be sure to water at the base of the plant rather than the leaves. Believe it or not you actually do more damage than good if you water from the top. By watering plants from the top you can break fragile leaves and even worse stems, you can cause bacteria and mold to grow, and worst of all it is a vacancy” sign for bugs like aphids. I think I need a whole post about my dislike for aphids.
Happy Gardening Everyone. Don’t forget to keep us informed on the progress of your gardens via flickr.
I am sorry that you are living in a cramped little peat pot. I am excited to tell you that I am making a special place in the yard just for you. Imagine this: a place where you can stretch out and reach for the sun without the fear of snails munching on your newly established leaves, plenty of sunshine, and butterflies. I know last year was tough with hardly any sunlight and soggy soil but this year is going to be fantastic just wait and see. I am working on this new home for you all this weekend. Hope you love it.
The only snail that doesn’t want to eat your leaves.
I have had my seedlings growing for about two and a half weeks now and I went out to take a look at them yesterday and realized that the roots are growing outside of their little pots. Oh my poor plants! Stuck in a crib when I should have moved them to toddler bed about a week ago!
Lesson Learned: Keep a close eye on your plants or they may grow legs and run away from you!
Since my plants have “true leaves” it is time to start hardening them off. Translation: “hardening off” means gradually giving your plants exposure to the environment that they will be permanently reside. Therefore, I will be taking my plants out into the great outdoors and letting them have full exposure to the sun for one hour a couple of days and then three hours for a few days and gradually increase the sun’s exposure so that when I transplant my seedlings they won’t go through sun shock (I made that word up) and die. This procedure is only necessary if you baby your plants by starting them inside like me!
Watch Me Grow Challenge
Here’s how to play along (and I do hope you will)
It must be from a seed. No cheating a buying a transplant (otherwise known as a half grown plant).. It has to be from a seed. Don’t be scared it will be fun.
*Take a picture of your little baby seedling
That right, from day one. We want to see it grow!
Flickr asks that you set up an account to join a group but it is free so no worries. Right?
*Watch our gardens grow from now until the end of April
*I made a button for this challenge so if you “dig it” then pin it on your blog!
(so cheesy to rhyme, but it just felt so right)
You just copy the code in the little drop down box under the “Watch Me Grow” button and copy into a text widget on your blog. Viola. You are so fancy!
I hope this challenge encourages you to plant something anything.
Growing your own food is so easy but you have to start somewhere.
Hopefully we can challenge and encourage and learn from one another.
You might even make a few new friends along the way!