Tiny Beginning Summer Harvest

One use of a pantry stock of dried beans is to plant them. If intended for sprouts, the pantry version should actually be used instead of seeds from a seed packet, because the latter are often treated to prevent spoilage and enhance germination. As one of the easiest garden plants to sprout and grow, plain dried beans germinate just fine. In fact, our vines had been pretty well neglected. Yesterday I checked on them. Here are the results! I may pan-roast them or just chop them up and add to a stir fry. I think we will have a lot … Continue reading Tiny Beginning Summer Harvest

Flower Pressing

During the lockdown and stay-at-home orders, a lot of us suddenly found ourselves with a lot more time at home. A forced slow down. When it comes to art in our lives, we particularly enjoy art that we made ourselves or that was made by a local artist or a friend. We have a couple of lovely small canvases from friends. We have a large digital collection of nature photos and landscapes from our travels and day-to-day life. This spring, we tried pressing flowers, a catmint (catnip) flower and an iris, with mixed results. Pick flowers Allow the flowers to … Continue reading Flower Pressing

Backyard Berries

Raspberry and Blackberry. These are hardy and productive, and they can create large wild brambles. They can be susceptible to viral diseases, especially if they receive too much moisture. I have seen conflicting advice regarding applying mulch. The biggest thing I have found helpful: Know your varieties. Many plants grow by producing a primicane, or first year cane, that just grows the first year, then becomes the productive cane the second year. The deer ate the top off of the primicane last year, which led it to send out a bunch of lateral branches. The lateral branches are the ones … Continue reading Backyard Berries

Tomato Heaven

Late frost. Very late frost. Goodbye, promising young vines planted in too timely a fashion. So, we bought seedlings. Lovingly, I planted those. Plenty of room. Then, three of the original tomato plants re-sprouted from the roots. I planted Early Girl, Best Boy, Better Boy, a yellow heirloom variety and cherry tomatoes. Oh dear. We are going to be in tomato heaven! Next up, summer squash apocalypse. Continue reading Tomato Heaven

Hazelnut Delight

One of the few nuts that grows here naturally, is enjoyed by our family, and forms shrubs rather than a single, tall tree: hazelnuts. Also known by the less catchy “filbert,” the hazelnut bushes will form thickets if allowed. They thrive in the saturated ground here. I planted some rather spindly specimens last year. They never really grew, and presumably spent last summer putting down roots. Then the winter killed them. Then—quelle surprise—in late spring they put out some blooms, and now have fully leafed out! Not dead after all. The songbirds seem to like them, too. For the gardener … Continue reading Hazelnut Delight

Start Seedlings

This is so easy. Even I can do it! In temperate climates it is well worth starting tomatoes, peppers, and basil indoors to maximize the growing season. A packet of seeds is usually $1-3 and if the seedlings fail you can always buy seedlings, which are usually only $3-8 each. This year I decided on a couple of different tomato varieties, a mild jalapeño pepper, and of course summer basil. The basil will truly last all summer if you cut the tops before it flowers. It helps to have a grow light, but isn’t necessary. If the seedlings get too … Continue reading Start Seedlings