gardening


Look at this amazing garden tote my mom made for me. I feel very chic loading it up with zukes and artichokes. She is an incredible knitter–and actually makes me stuff that I wear. Way to go, mom!

Look at the cool handles!

My mom knitted this tote bag for my vegetables

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lettuce

…is delicious. I planted 13 cloves last fall, just pulled them up and they are full-on gorgeous. Lesson learned: Plant a few cloves every three weeks or so, then you’ll have them around. I am loaded with garlic now, not that there will be a problem eating them. Also, I found out that they are not like onions, i.e. don’t wait until all the tops die down before you harvest. The greens on these guys were just starting to turn brown when they were ready to pull.

On the other hand, try not to be impatient like me and pull them up before the bulbs have divided into cloves. You can tell by gently pushing the soil from the top to see how they’re coming along.

Last night I threw some of the fresh cloves into beets and artichokes I was roasting and they really delivered —  super tender, hotter than store-bought and keep the vampires at bay, which is nice.

Garlic curing in the pantry

Garlic curing in the pantry

beets

artichokes in the front garden

The artichokes (I’ve got eight of them, grown from seed) are taking off. They like the cooler weather, it seems.

Cheddar cauliflower

Cheddar cauliflower

I just got back from Thanksgiving in VA with the fam, and things are happening in the garden. For an obsessive like me, who can’t get enough of checking the beds to see if anything has sprouted, leafed or fattened even the slightest bit, it’s delightful to be 3000 miles away for five days and return to some REAL action.

Check out my single cauliflower.

It’s of the “Cheddar” variety, which explains the orange hue. I tried a few rows of seeds, which germinated but were soon devoured by unknown bugs. I was enlighted by Tara at Silverlake Farms that I needed to check the leaves daily for “little green worms” (check.) and “tiny, off-white larvae” (check.). And that I needed to pick them off by hand and squish them. That seems to be working. Will try the seeds again, but it looks like the cabbage family plants, grown organically, are higher maintenance than I knew.

Some of you have asked about growing lettuce. Once you start growing it yourself, you will see what a horrendous rip-off store-bought lettuce can be. Home-grown is crunchier, tastes better and the fancy/exotic “spring mix” type greens are just as easy to grow as a delicious head of butter lettuce. The big plus I’ve found is that you get what seems like 100% germination. It all comes up. The first batch takes about 50-60 days to fully mature. Then you just cut the leaves off (without pulling the roots) and it just grows back.

This year I’ve got “Tom Thumb” (big, green, almost spinach-y leaves), Buttercrunch (soft leaves, big tight, crunchy heads) and “French mix” which is a blend of differently colored and shaped greens including romaine and chicory. I’ve also got a row of arugula for spice. Last year I grew our lettuce in one of those wooden window boxes, set on the ground. This year, with the wider, raised beds, I’ve got even more. So…anyone out there with an avocado tree want to trade?

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