Tag Archives: sunflowers

August Harvest

Cleaning Up the Small Garden

Both the big garden in the back of the yard, and this small garden are all out of sorts. I have taken on a couple of extra consulting jobs to save a little extra money before school starts, and the garden got the short end of the stick.

This morning I started working on catching up. Here’s the small garden as of this morning. The grass in the front-right is where Sophie threw a handfull of grass seed into the carrot plot.  The bare spot front-left is where the onions were supposed to be growing.

Small garden before
Small garden before

We have been eating carrots for the last two weeks and they don’t seem to be growing any more, so I decided to pick them all, clean out the weeds, and plant a new crop of spinach.

Here’s the carrots, we also found a few tiny onions that were struggling to live.

Bowl full of carrots
Bowl full of carrots
Small bowl of small onions
Small bowl of small onions

Our initial crop of spinach went to seed really quickly, probably because of how hot it was earlier in the summer. We only got a couple of small salads out of it. I cut some of the dried seed stalks and put them in the basement near the dehumidifier where it would be relatively cool and relatively dry.

Today when I went to use them they were nice and crispy. It was and simple task to rub them off the stalks into a bowl.

Dried Spinach Seeds
Dried Spinach Seeds

I rubbed them off into a bowl, winnowed them a little bit so that it was mostly seeds, then planted them. I also planted a new crop of lettuce and swiss chard (someone gave me the seeds) along the path to the spigot.

Spinach seeds ready to be winnowed
Spinach seeds ready to be winnowed

The little garden looks pretty respectable again.

Small garden all cleaned up
Small garden all cleaned up

 

Other Harvests

Despite the lack of attention, the garden has been doing pretty well. We have been eating as many beets as our kids can stand — about once a week. Here’s the final harvest. There’s no more in the big garden now.

 

The final beets
The final beets

We have had a couple small bowls of green beans (and purple beans), but today was the first big harvest.

First big bowl of green beans
First big bowl of green beans

We have been picking the cherry tomatoes every 3 or 4 days for the last two weeks and end up with a bowl about this full each time.

Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes

The two big sunflower in our garden were volunteers, and they were doing great at first — they grew to about 8 feet tall. The minute the seeds got ripe enough for birds to eat, the birds attacked them, and now they look like this.

The birds ate all the sunflower seeds
The birds ate all the sunflower seeds

I’ve still got a little bit of extra contract work to finish up next week, so I won’t even pretend that I’ll have lots of garden news. After those two gigs are done, I should have a short reprieve before school starts in September.

Happy gardening!

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Horseradish and Other Vegetable Progress

I was gone last week at a conference for work, and I feel like the garden is getting away from me! There is weeding, thinning, planting and other work to do as soon as possible. It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks here.

Horseradish Root

I love horseradish sauce on my meat sandwiches, and decided that it would be a good perennial addition to the garden. Caroline picked up a horseradish root at the grocery store, and the boys helped me plant it in the garden the next day.  I forgot to take pictures before and during planting. The root was about 1 foot tall and already had some small green buds on top. as can be seen in the picture.

Horseradish Root
Horseradish Root

Beans

We planted the same Purple King pole beans as in previous years. The boys helped me take back the bean patch from the creeping charlie and cover that had popped up this spring. We only finished planting this one little strip so far. I’ll get to the rest this week.

One patch of pole beans
One patch of pole beans

Garlic

The garlic I planted last week is now 3 or 4 inches tall. Hopefully it will get along well with the rhubarb.

Garlic Sprouts
Garlic Sprouts

Sunflowers

These sunflowers sprouted from the seeds I collected from the sunflowers we grew last year. The seeds seemed so small I wasn’t sure if I had collected them too soon, so I planted extras in hopes that some would sprout. I’ll need to thin these out this week so they’re not competing with each other.

Sunflowers to be thinned
Sunflowers to be thinned

Spinach and Peas

The spinach and peas are both coming along. The spinach is coming in nice and thick.

Spinach Growing
Spinach Growing

Not all of the peas sprouted (possibly due to squirrels?) so I’ll sow some more pea seeds in the bare spots this week.

Growing Peas
Growing Peas

Flowering Rhubarb

One of our rhubarb plants is flowering. This fall I’ll collect its seeds and start them inside next spring. Most rhubarb related websites seem to discourage planting rhubarb from seed saying that most rhubarb these days are hybrids and that the seeds won’t be true to type. That may be the case but I’m willing to see what will sprout.  I’m not picky about the color or size of the rhubarb, as long as it tastes good. This rhubarb plant was grown from seed and the stalks are good. Hopefully its seeds will also produce something good.

If your rhubarb is flowering and you aren’t collecting seeds, you should cut the flowering stalk so that it doesn’t waste energy on flowers and seeds. Cutting the flowering stalk will give you more edible stalks.

For the curious, the rhubarb flowers smell like some kind of unpleasant industrial soap.

Flowering Rhubarb
Flowering Rhubarb

Tomatoes and Peppers

The tomatoes and peppers are still under lights in the basement. The tomatoes are starting to reach the lights.  I need to start hardening them off so they can live outside, or raise the lights some more. 4 of the 18 tomatoes didn’t sprout.

Tomatoes under lights
Tomatoes under lights

6 of the 18 peppers are coming up. This week I will replant in the cups where they didn’t come up yet.

Peppers
Peppers

 

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Planting and Transplanting 2011 Round 2: Flowers, Carrots, Watermelon and more

On wednesday we started the gardening day by planting Ryan’s garden. He wanted watermelon more than just about anything, and so we planted 4 seeds of [planlink p=74 title=’Moon and Stars’] watermelon. We had started some of these inside, but they got too much water (oops.) and died. His second most desired plant was corn, but we’re planting his corn at the community garden.

After the watermelon, we planted 1/2 an envelope of [plantlink p=75 title=’Sweet Treat’] carrots.

He then went off to play while Caroline and I transplanted more peppers and tomatoes. Mostly the same as yesterday, but also some of the [plantlink p=’76’ title=’Golden Girls’] and [plantlink p=77 title=’Beefsteaks’].

The garden by the house
The garden by the house

Once the tomatoes and peppers were transplanted, Ryan came and helped plant lettuce along either side of our paver path.

Here they all are, staked and ready to grow. Ryan’s watermelon and carrots are in the 3×3 foot square in the right corner of the garden.

Lettuce will grow on either side of the path
Lettuce will grow on either side of the path

Calvin has been asking for his own garden the last several days. He felt bad that Ryan got a garden and he didn’t. So we gave him the flower garden. He helped sprinkle the [plantlink p=78] across the butterfly garden strip. We also sprinkled the milkweed seeds I collected last year, and the freebie packet of marigolds (I’d link to it, but I can’t find it online. It is “Marigold, Burpee’s Best Mix”).  Calvin was plenty happy with this, and was satisfied with how much he’d helped in the garden for the day.

American Meadows: We got the bulk of our flower and lettuce seeds from American Meadows. They have a limited selection of seeds — you couldn’t buy everything for your garden there — but for most seed types you can buy in 1/4 lb, 1/2 lb or multiple pound sizes. I didn’t need farmer quantities of lettuce and flower seeds, but I didn’t want to have dozens of little paper envelopes sitting around either. American Meadows was one of the few places I found to buy in semi-bulk, and the instructions that came with their seed bags were terrifically in depth. I’ll definitely use them again.

Flowers now planted in the butterfly garden
Flowers now planted in the butterfly garden

Ryan came back from riding his bike to help some more, and so we went to fill up the front yard garden beds. We have wild strawberries in the front part of these beds, and we should get blackberries some time this week, but that leaves a lot of empty dirt for weeds to grow in. So, we planted the rest of the carrots, a row of bush beans, and the rest of our spinach seeds as ground cover. We also planted a row of [plantlink p=79] seeds right up against the house.

I planted sunflowers as a kid, but only the little black ones the birds liked. Those were the only seeds at our local hardware store, so those were my only option (I don’t think we even got a seed catalog at my house!). I’m excited to have big sunflowers that are going to make big seeds!

Ryan came to help directly from riding his bike, and didn’t want to take his helmet off. He kept it on till he went inside an hour later.

Ryan planting bush beans
Ryan planting bush beans

Taming Aggressive Spreaders

In our backyard raised bed we planted [plantlink p=80], [plantlink p=81],[plantlink p=82], [plantlink p=84] and green onions. The mint and oregano are both supposed to be terribly aggressive. One online forum writer claimed that mint can break through thin plastic pots and send roots down more than a meter before going sideways to find a place to pop up.

Oregano in a can
Oregano in a can

I don’t know exactly how much salt (if any) that sort of story requires, but I have heard that it’s a good idea to plant oregano and mint inside of #10 cans with their bottoms cut out. Supposedly this will force the roots downwards instead of laterally and at least slow their spread. If my yard smells like a minty pizza in a few years, you’ll know that this information was incorrect and insufficient to tame their spread.

Opening the bottom of the oregano can
Opening the bottom of the oregano can

Rosemary apparently doens’t like Minnesotan winters, so I simply buried the rosemary can in the ground. I’ll pull it up in the fall to take it inside.

The green onions were just grocery store green onions which we put in a vase, and let them send out roots. I’m assuming that they’ll take to being transplanted. I guess we’ll see!

Green onions in a vase. They sprouted roots!
Green onions in a vase. They sprouted roots!

And that’s it for planting until the community gardens open up or my berries arrive! Still on the urgent list is to weed the butterfly garden. There are tons of little green sprouts. I should pick them before the flowers start growing or I won’t know what’s a weed and what’s not!

Happy Planting!

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