We’ve been planting for a few weeks now. Just added some zucchini, lemon cucumbers, more tomatoes, and some pumpkin seedlings that my dad gave me. Had to zap the zucchini and the cucumbers with organic bug spray (sounds weird, right?); hoping it works because I’m tired of my veggies getting eaten.
But before I show you the garden, here is my bulb bed – very happy with how it turned out!
The bulb bed…
The iris area the newest up. The daffodils are gone, as are the tulips; the freesia (red, in the foreground) seem to hang around the longest, and are definitely the most fragrant.
A spider daffodil (?).
Aren’t these sweet?
The hubs snuck some dainty tulip bulbs into my bed…pretty, isn’t it?
Here, though, is the star of the garden – the first to be picked for consumption, and the first to be done for the year.
Yep – it’s artichoke season!
See the baby artichoke, right below the bigger one? Yeah. We’ve got nine artichoke plants. Nine. That’s a lot of artichokes…
Below are the pumpkin plants my dad grew from seed. Not giant pumpkins, just regular ones – it’s gonna be interesting to see if we actually get some pumpkins this year!
Dad’s pumpkins, planted too close together. Oh well!
When they start vining, we’ll train the vines out into the yard.
The potato bed. Yum!
Potatoes are the easiest thing to grow. Once a potato in your pantry (or fridge, or wherever) starts budding, cut it up so each bud gets a chunk of potato, and toss them in the ground, bud side facing up. I planted these about a month ago.
Here’s a mixed bed that we planted last fall – kale to the left (the insects leave the kale alone), boysenberry in the back (though Tom tried to dig that out, it’s hard to dig berries out all the way), and beets in the front. Almost time to pull the beets, the berries haven’t started flowering yet, and I’m cooking with the kale right now.
So, that’s the highlight of the garden. What do you think?
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I didn’t have photos the last time I talked about the garden, but now I do. So here, first off, is the genius door in my garden. On the left is a pink jasmine, which blooms once a year, briefly. On the right is a star jasmine, which pretty much blooms in spring and all summer.
Tom's genius idea in place. Gorgeous!
Right behind the gate, on the other side, is the beginning of my basil dynasty. On the left, sweet basil. In the middle, Thai basil. And on the right (which you can’t see in this photo) varigated perennial basil. I’ll believe it when I see it – the perennial part, I mean.
Here’s my beets and bell peppers bed.
To the right is a pot of mint; in the bed behind this one is a blackberry (marion) climbing up the wire fencing, and strawberries planted in front of it.
The next photo is taken from an extreme corner of my back yard, trying to get as much of the scope of the garden as possible.
To the left is one of the Meyer lemon trees. Straight in front are four small artichoke plants and three bigger ones. Moving to the right is a Bearss Lime tree – and beyond that, more artichokes. (The gate gets lost in this photo.) The beet and bell pepper bed, shown above, is to the right of the trash can. Behind me is another lemon tree and some squash seedlings.
Onion bed, with bee balm (small) in each front corner. Mint is to the left, Johnny Jump Ups and Buddha to the right, more strawberries and a boysenberry behind, with white sage in the pot behind the pot with the Johnny Jump Ups.
Below: My (unweeded) rose garden, showcasing the new bedroom window…
and…the rose garden, tamed through Tom’s diligent weeding work. With some brilliant shadows on the wall, thanks to the annular eclipse today.
Hope you enjoyed the trip through the garden. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll post more as things develop!
DEMON SOUL is out now…BLOOD DREAMS, a Caine Brothers Short Story available June 1st. DEMON HUNT coming this summer!
Today was the perfect gardening day. We headed out about 3pm, a bag of 65 bulbs in hand and trowels at the ready. Within 3 minutes, we realized we had a bigger problem – weeds.
Weeds, and the I-can’t-believe-I-planted-it-because-it-takes-over-the-whole-yard morning glory. The twice-damned vine was EVERYWHERE. In the apple tree. Twining around the berry bushes. Hiding behind the tomato pots in the weeds, and making plans for taking over the center of the yard. (Some of my tomato plants have wintered over…I ate a cherry tomato yesterday, fresh from the vine and bursting with flavor. Yum!)
Anyway – back to the weeds. Being the enterprising couple that we are, we roused our boys from their hermit-like hiding in their rooms, and put them to work. We have two “official” garden cans, and two cans we use to put the leftovers that we can’t stuff into the official cans. The boys (young men?) pitched in and filled both sets of cans while weeding out empty planting beds, and taking care of the weeds trying to hide the artichoke plants. (We’re up to six on artichoke plants, if anyone is keeping track.)
While waiting for the opportunity to plant, and to stay out of the guys’ way, I got the big clippers out and de-branched the christmas tree. The trunk now waits for one of the kids to saw it up, and the branches await the fireplace. Plus, the yard is a little bit cleaner.
Once the weeds were taken care of, we could plant. Out of the 65 bulbs, hubby planted probably 35. Don’t ask me what they were – I know he planted 10 purple Echinacea, but I don’t remember the other two…and of course, two of the three weren’t bulbs, they were rhizomes. The third was definitely a bulb, however. So all of the rhizomes got planted – but we’ve got 30 of the bulbs to still scatter. I’ll do my best to get them in the ground in the front this coming week…
The air was crisp, cool but not cold. The sky was impossibly blue, and the sun gentle on my face. Doing the work – weeding, planting, getting my fingers deep into the soil (which I did!) – was somehow life-affirming. Rejuvenating. Not to mention, damned good exercise. I didn’t get the writing done that I had wanted, but the time outside in the sunshine was very well spent.
SPEAKING OF WINE…(weren’t we?)
The other thing I did this weekend was to taste some Rieslings. I’ve got one more to go, but to my surprise I’m enjoying them. I thought they would be too sweet for me – but for sipping wine, they are spot on. I look forward to the discussion on them this week!
Another wine note – a winery contacted me and asked me if I’d like to taste and review a bottle of wine they’re just putting out – a new blend. After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I answered back but of course! And they have sent me a bottle of the wine, without me paying a dime. Very cool, what? Unfortunately I haven’t had time to taste it, what with this weekend being dedicated to tasting Riesling (thanks to Kathy Bennett, lol). However, I got to taste another wine on Friday that will go well review-wise with the donated bottle, so I look forward to bringing those thoughts to you.
Now, its almost time for dinner. The NY and San Francisco game is 17 to 17 with 30 seconds left in the game. JoePa has died. Hubby is gearing up for another week on Christian Slater’s new show, BREAKING IN, which also stars Megan Mullaly.
May your coming week hold love and laughter, and – as a dear friend of mine always says – “seek joy, y’all”. Seek joy, indeed!
~ Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet? ~
Artichokes are silly. What I really want to know is who was the first brave soul to try to eat one? And did they use melted butter, or ranch dressing, or hollandaise sauce for dipping, or did they just start munching away without bothering to even cook it?
I caught a TV show today as I flopped on the couch, exhausted from the gym. It was some famous Italian cookbook author showing what to do with artichokes. I finally got up, got my notebook and a pen and took notes, since I have a forest of artichokes in my back yard – no kidding.
Now, I’m a good cook, but I often look for shortcuts that mostly involve the microwave. Not the pressure cooker, because the damn thing scares the bees knees out of me if you get my drift. (I think fear of the pressure cooker was passed down to me from my mother’s very DNA. Her mother apparently had a traumatic experience with one…) My best friend swore by her pressure cooker for artichokes, but it’s so totally against my grain that I found a shorter short cut in the microwave.
Normally I trim the stem so it’s flat, I cut the tops off so I don’t poke myself, then I wash them and, still dripping, pop them into a ziplock bag without closing it all the way. Then I put them in the microwave, hit the “fresh vegetables” button, and away they go.
(By the way, before I had a fresh vegetables button, I’d cook them for six minutes, twist them around so the inside was to the outside, burning my hands in the process, and put them in for another 4 to 5 minutes depending on size. )
But the lovely Italian chef wanted me to peel the fairly long (2″) stem until bright green showed. Then, after trimming as above, she suggested cutting them in half and putting them in a large pan. Add chicken stock, water, fresh chopped mint and parsley, and garlic and then cook away until they’re done. (I didn’t ever hear a time. Just “until they’re tender and cooked”. Um, okay.)
The theory went that, after you cooked them that way, the tough hairy choke would just pop out with the slightest pressure from a spoon. I’m sure it would; I’m also sure a lot of the nutrients of the artichoke would get left behind in the water it’s cooked in. But of course she had a suggestion for that as well – use that liquid as a kind of sauce over the artichoke.
And that’s where I kind of lost my patience with her. I mean, come on. Artichokes are a delivery system, pure and simple. They deliver either melted butter to your tongue, or freshly made hollandaise sauce (I’ve got an easy-peasy recipe, if anyone wants it). Maybe a ranch dressing. The nub of the artichoke is a bonus bit of tastiness.
Yes, the way I make artichokes means you have to physically cut out the choke; but really, it’s not so bad; just be careful with that sharp knife, especially if you’ve been drinking wine. And then you have more yummy artichoke to dunk in whatever butter may be left. (Not that I favor salty, yummy, melted butter with artichokes. Not at all. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin.)
Artichokes, if you live in a temperate climate, grow like weeds. I planted a couple of plants several years ago. If you knew me, you’d know that often things die in my garden because I forget to water. Hey, it gets hot here in summer, and when it’s over 100, I don’t go outside except to slip into an air-conditioned car. But these babies, once they’re established, don’t need any kind of regular watering. My garden is proof of that; if they did, I wouldn’t have a single artichoke plant out there by now.
The biggest of my plants is a globe artichoke, and it’s threatening my Bearss lime tree. It’s also spawned smaller plants. Those smaller plants are quickly growing big. We’ve taken eight artichokes off the plant this year so far and there are still four left. And that’s from one plant – we’ve now got six that produce, which makes my friends very happy.
So that’s my wisdom for today. Artichokes are silly. Hard to kill once established. And very good with hollandaise sauce! (Or butter. Seriously.)
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Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? You can find it at Crescent Moon Press or Amazon.com. Happy Reading!