Monday, May 21, 2012

Picking Basil, Planting Peppers, Loving Lettuce and More: Garden Update 5/21/12

Lots of beautiful basil from just two plants (I love these $10 take apart shears).

Want to see more of my garden? The new weekly Friday Farm Fix series on Farmgirl Fare usually includes lots of kitchen garden photos.

Realization of the Day:
Eating from the garden makes everything taste better, even if your harvest is just a sprinkling of chives or a handful of parsley.

There isn't a whole lot of bounty in the garden yet, but during the past week we enjoyed plenty of beautiful (and big!) salads, as well as chopped green onions on just about everything. If all goes well, it won't be long before I'm digging up the first new potatoes, harvesting the garlic, and picking my favorite Dragon Langerie (also called Dragon Tongue) beans. And the arugula and Parris Island cos lettuce are almost ready to start thinning and tossing into salads.

The weather has been crazy hot and way too dry (thanks to my super lightweight Water Right garden hoses I no longer dread watering the garden!), but we did finally get a little rain yesterday. Just about 4/10ths of an inch, but I'll take it. At least it settled all the dust.

Like what you see growing in my garden? The links included below can help you grow the same things in yours.

Into the kitchen during the past week:
Chives (Learn how to grow chives here, plus my easy herbed yogurt cheese recipe.)
Green onions and spring onions (read about why I now grow onions from purchased plants here)
Italian flat leaf parsley (here's the best way to store fresh parsley)
Lettuce (I picked the entire 4'x8' bed of my favorite Rocky Top Lettuce Mix from Baker Creek before it all went bitter from the heat; learn how to grow your own gourmet lettuce from seed here).
Red Russian kale (from a couple of last spring's plants; photo below)
Swiss chard (amazingly heat and cold tolerant; learn how to grow Swiss chard from seed here)
Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, and Nero di Toscana cabbage; one enormous plant direct seeded last fall)

And into the garden:
Four Golden California Wonder sweet pepper plants (purchased; tips for planting and growing peppers here)
Five Roma tomato plants (four purchased, one volunteer from last year I'd dug up and put into a small container)
Eight eggplant plants (purchased; the tag just says 'classic' which cracks me up)

I have several more varieties of tomato plants that still need to go into the ground (both purchased and started from seed), another four Golden California Wonder pepper plants (purchased), and a bunch of leggy little purple basil seedlings I grew from seed that desperately need to be transplanted into individual plugs (I think they're still too small to go straight into the garden, especially with this heat).

I'm also hoping to plant some more green bean seeds and am wondering if I should try direct seeding some cucumber seeds this time, since the soil is plenty warm and my first two attempts at starting them in flats (including 4 different varieties of all brand new seeds) yielded nothing for some reason. I don't think I've ever had trouble sprouting cucumber seeds before. The basil, calendula, and zinnia seeds didn't do squat either.

Twelve more garden photos below. . .

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The New Friday Farm (and Garden) Fix on Farmgirl Fare

Growing in the garden now, left to right: Dwarf Siberan kale direct seeded last fall (and mostly flowering now), one gorgeous lone dinosaur (lacinato) kale plant direct seeded last fall (and on tonight's dinner menu), and several varieties of Swiss chard (I was using up a bunch of old seed packets) direct seeded in late March. (Swiss chard is wonderful stuff and easy to grow from seed. The white on the kale leaves is food grade diatomaceous earth; you read about the many ways we use this amazing stuff here.)

Hello and happy spring! How does your garden grow? Mine is doing pretty well despite two months of seriously crazy weather. On April 23rd, eight days after our 'official' last frost date, the six tomato plants I already had in the ground froze to death during a hard frost despite being covered with buckets (that's what I get for sneaking in some impulse-purchased hybrids), and this Friday it's supposed to be 93 degrees. Welcome to Missouri!

Although I'm already feeling (and falling) behind, I have more vegetables and herbs growing in the garden right now than I have during the past several springs, which makes me very happy. Obviously I've been spending more time gardening than garden blogging.

I have, however, been documenting some of what's been happening each week in the garden in my new weekly series on Farmgirl Fare called the Friday Farm Fix.

In each Friday Farm Fix post, I share a random sampling of what's been happening around the farm during the past week, and a lot of kitchen garden photos have been showing up alongside the cute baby animals, colorful scenery, and ever present farm dogs. I often been including a photo taken inside the greenhouse too. Right now it's a Swiss chard jungle in there.

My original plan was to do a similar type of weekly photo journal post here on In My Kitchen Garden, but for now it's all happening over on Farmgirl Fare. Maybe instead I'll just do a little Friday Farm Fix announcement here each week, along with a list of what we've eating from the garden during the past seven days (lettuce! lettuce! lettuce!). Either way, for a current glimpse of what's going on in my garden, come check out the Friday Farm Fix. I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, feel like catching up?

©, seeding, sprouting, growing, weeding, harvesting, watering, and eating—and not necessarily in that order. Actually, eating should probably be listed in there twice.