How Much Do I Love You?

Gardeners across the country will positively drool over this post. I am sorry if it causes any discomfort but I just have to brag a little bit.

My garden is my haven. I spend a lot of time communing with dirt, albeit only few precious moments at a time between other tasks. Especially weeding, I do not care for weeding and only working on it for a short time keeps me from getting cranky so having other jobs helps to keep me with a positive outlook on life. Continue reading

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Good From The Garden

kale, chives, cilantro, walnuts, and strawberries.With kale, chives and strawberries are readily available in the garden, I used them as the base for a delicious quinoa salad.

Chopping the kale up into bite size pieces and mixing in the snipped chives into 2 cups of cooked quinoa was how I started.

Then I added the walnut pieces and sliced strawberries and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro that popped as volunteer plants left over from last years planting and tossed it all together with a tablespoon of olive oil and some delicious balsamic vinegar.

A fig/vanilla flavored basalmic vinegar.I used a sweet, vanilla fig balsamic vinegar that I found at the local Garlic Festival held in North Plains last year. It is one of my favorites and I plan on purchasing more again this year.

I mixed it all in and served it right away, however the flavors would have mingled if I would have popped it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Quinoa salad.

 

Kick Back And Wait For The Weeds

A collective sigh emanates from all the gardeners this time of year as the garden gets planted.

Rows of planted vegetables in the garden.I have put in potatoes and tomatoes in the rows of tires. Seeds of carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, peas, beans, beets, onions, spinach, lettuce (many varieties) in the rows marked with stakes, and a row of cruciferous plants in the form of cabbage, broccoli and kale. I even put in a couple of mounds of cantaloupe with the hope of getting a fresh melon or two. I’m still on the lookout for some plants of lemon cucumbers, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts since the time for germinating seeds has passed.

Now the gardeners that have gotten their beds planted can kick back and enjoy a break before the real work of keeping the weeds at bay until crops can be harvested.

Very Last Hold Outs

Granny Smith apples on tree. The little Granny Smith apple tree is the final hold out with fruit still clinging to the branches along with a few stubborn leaves.

Until most of the leaves dropped off, I had no idea that this little tree had so many apples hiding.

Granny Smith apples make delicious pies, cobblers and baked apples filled with cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins. With the harvest season lasting until the 1st of December this year it will be a hard transition to not have fresh fruit right out of the garden.

Good thing I have a cupboard full of dried fruits and vegetables ready for the nibbling.

First Frost Of The Season

Since we are a little higher than the Willamette Valley the possibility of frost comes early around here. September 15th is when I start watching for the chance of frost on what is left of the garden vegetables.

This year surprised me and the first tinge of frost was seen on the morning of October 3rd. The zucchini and yellow crookneck squash with their tall leaves saw their edges curl from the frost and the basil browned from the tips to the stalks. It signaled the end for the beans that had been still producing. Only a couple of the tomato plants had their edges nipped during the coolness. The vines on the cucumbers and spaghetti squash are completely dead, and I have already started on caning the spent raspberry stalks that produced in the early summer and those late bloomers that recently fruited.

Now begins the garden cleanup in earnest. This makes the cows in the show barn very happy because what gets pulled out of the garden gets dumped over the fence for them to scour through to pick delightful tidbits of fruit and vegetables.

Cruciferous Corner

In previous years, I had the cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts planted well out into the garden area. This year I planted the starts where the old strawberry patch had been. This area is closer to the shade of the filbert trees and is protected from much of the morning sun as it sits in the shade of the shop.

Cruciferious vegetables growing in garden.I have always kept broccoli plants after the initial harvest of the large head so it could produce small flowerettes, this year the harvest lasted well into August.

The cauliflower produced nice, solid heads and we have only worked through half of the cabbage so far since each head is more than a pound and closer to two.

The Brussels sprouts are just about ready to harvest and will be good to have with Fall meals.

Overall this area seems well-suited to grow these hearty vegetables and I have already decided that I will try this spot again next year.

Power Tilling

A John Deere tractor with a tiller mounted on the back makes a first swipe through the weeds to work up the garden space.Mike made good use of the tiller that is attached to the John Deere tractor to work up the main part of the garden.

To the left is lawn, to the right is the garden space with cover crop and weeds (mostly weeds) growing after the unimaginably wet winter and the hard crust of compacted earth. By using the tractor to work the ground, the task to finish with my small rototiller takes many hours out of my hands.

There is still a danger of frost in our area for a while yet, so planting this space is still a ways off. But it makes me very happy to see the weeds turned over and the ground getting ready to be planted again.