Category Archives: garden

Winter Garden

This is what the garden plot looks like at the moment. It’s hard to tell from the photo but there are TONS of tomatillos composting there. That plant will never go extinct in my yard. I just cut out a recipe that uses tomatillos and I guarantee that I will not remember it at the end of next summer.

I keep telling myself I’m going to get out there and do some tidying up but whenever I have time or I’m in the mood, it’s raining or worse. When it’s decent enough to get some work done either I have something else I need to do or I would rather sit in the house and drink hot chocolate.

On Saturday there was a lovely sun break but by the time I was ready to change into my work clothes it was pouring again.

This is out in the middle of the berry patch. I’m not sure who Jamie is — maybe a grandkid from next door.

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Introducing the 2015 Pumpkin Crop

I had one more the size of the biggest one but I gave it away. And look, two acorn squash volunteers. There were a couple more out there but they didn’t have enough time. Everything really came on at the end when it was too late.

Some of these guys are going to make the big sacrifice so we can have pie for Thanksgiving.

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Minds of Their Own

Years ago these flowers magically appeared in my yard. I liked them and encouraged them. I had a big patch in what had been a sorta ugly corner of the garden. Then they wanted to grow in the lawn, which I discouraged. Then they ditched the sorta ugly corner and now have sprung up in the middle of the garden.

If this was a story about magic flowers, I would be anxious about the next chapter, are they friendly flowers or are they up to something?

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Little Squash

When I visited California, Mom was busy picking bales of squash and zucchini.

I said, Why did you plant so many?

The plants took up a huge section of the garden.

Mom said, That’s two plants. Two.

That’s why I’m afraid to plant squash.

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Garden Update

I have a lot of gorgeous dahlias that I love, but this is my favorite, year after year.

Tomatillos are weeds, right? Mom gave me a bunch of fruits one year and I composted a couple and I’ve had a hearty crop pop up ever since. These are filled with bees right now so I believe I’m doing my duty for bees.

Look at my lemon cucumber vines. These are the heartiest vines I’ve had in years. There are a couple of flowers but it’s hard to be optimistic that I’m going to get any cucs before it gets too cold.

I have two acorns on my acorn squash volunteer. That vine is the craziest healthy vine I’ve ever seen. It’s shooting across the garden in every direction. This squash is nestled in some other plants but it looks healthy.

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Slow Roasted

I had to do something with the tomatoes I scored so I opted to roast them using this recipe.

You cut the tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and herbs and slow roast at 275 for 5 hours. Since my oven is a sentient being with a stubborn streak I kept a close eye on mine and ended up turning the oven to 200 after three hours and then off an hour after that.

The house smelled amazing. At least I thought so. I asked Bob and he said: Smells like tomatoes.

They aren’t kidding about the parchment. I wasn’t very thorough and I had some scrubbing to do around the edges of the pans.

Very delicious. I ate a ton from the tray and now I’m sorta full right before dinner.

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The Tomato Report

Now that the PACNW has been transformed into a new blistering hot paradise, you’d think I would finally have an amazing tomato crop.

But no. I do not. Although that’s mostly my fault since I had illnesses and then back troubles and then had the project of August. Gardening slipped to a super low priority.

The plant above was purchased at the grocery store. It may not be clear but it is only about 18 inches high. It hasn’t grown even a tiny bit. I planted them right when we had that 10 day streak of 90+ temperatures and my plants freaked out.

I bet that single tomato is all I get.

The above is the second plant I got at the grocery store. This one produced a surprise red tomato that I happily picked and then noticed it was completely rotten on the bottom. I thought the grocery store ones were bred so that any doofus with some dirt in her yard could successfully grow tomatoes.

I am either mistaken or worse than a doofus.

This is a volunteer. Sprouted up of its own free will. It has produced two so far and you can see two more on there.

Colleague is going to Hawaii tomorrow. He said he was yanking his plants and composting everything. I said, bring me what you have.

That is 11 pounds of tomatoes. He was going to compost 11 pounds of tomatoes.

I showed those to a lady in the elevator on the way home and she was jealous. I was afraid she might knock me down and steal them for herself.

Tomato processing this weekend.

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Crazy Late Garden Update

Pumpkins! You can practically see them pushing out of the dirt.

Yay, thanks for the update Photoshop. Just what I need, to set aside time to do a tutorial since apparently the three functions I use are now outdated and who knows what happened to them? I can’t wait until the kids today are old and start complaining about how everything changes so fast. (Kidding, I can wait.)

I am behind on everything. I have so many photos sitting here and notes for posts.

I’m not working on the same writing project that I was at the beginning of the year, but I am working on a different one. I spend so much time sitting at the computer that I now schedule breaks to keep my spine from fusing me into a hunchback.

Here’s the current project of forever which I have promised to first readers the first week in August so it’s actually the project of August:

I think I mentioned that my double whammy illness this spring destroyed my gardening mojo. I kept thinking next weekend I would get some work done and then I would go out and pull a few weeds and plan to do more the following weekend.

I finally found the tomato seeds I’d saved and planted them. And now it’s the end of June and all I have to show for myself are these tiny sproutlets. I have a volunteer in the garden that’s more impressive than this.

I went to the grocery store and picked out two plants labeled as fast growing and productive. Might as well get science behind me.

This morning I finally prepped the soil for tomatoes and pumpkins. So my pitiful little garden will be in. There are some greens sprouting, as well, although at this rate they will probably bolt before they do anything meaningful.

These are the pumpkins now and ready to go outside. I will sprout some cucumbers for my annual exercise in failing to grow cucumbers and set those out next.

I wasn’t even planning on digging potatoes today. But I was weeding and I pulled a weed and there was a potato, just the size to sit in my palm. I gently prodded the dirt and two more appeared. By the time I was done digging this one mound, I had all the potatoes you see in this basket.

For pure entertainment value, there is nothing better than potatoes in the garden. The things I planted were tiny and shriveled and didn’t look like they would amount to much. Potato salad coming in our future.

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The Rain Came Down On Me

That stupid crud really hung on. Both Bob and I felt like it took another half-lap and smacked us again on its way out. At this point we’re both down to an intermittent cough. And we still need to go to bed early. At least I do.

I have done a little bit of work in the garden. I had a huge pile of wrinkled potatoes and I resisted the urge to plant them all. We aren’t big potato eaters. There are lots of daffodils out back and I’m getting a few tulips. (Photos to come, obviously.) I see a few dahlia sproutlets out front which is ridiculous. I’ll be curious to see how that situation develops.

No major stories to tell at the moment. I’m trying to finish up our taxes today so I can cross that off my list.

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The Miracle of Professional Landscaping

You know this funny hedge thing that I do every year and show before and after? Well since I so royally tweaked my shoulder working on the hedge last spring, I decided maybe it was time to pay someone to work on the hedge. I’m talking about the big hedge, photos below. But I also asked if they could do this little hedge.

Look how amazing it looks. I was all impressed and raving and the landscaper was like, aw shucks. We have lots of practice.

This is what it looked like last time I did it. I told him how terrible it looked when I do it and how I can’t reach the top and he said they used a ladder so they could make the top look right. He and his crew are my new heroes. I wished I had baked some cookies to give them.

Here’s the side. When the landscaper looked at it he went: WOW.

Here’s a close up of how out of control it was.

He suggested we whack it back more regularly. Like maybe annually. He told me if we do it more regularly they can make it look better.

And after: amazing!

This is what I look out at from my window. I have so much more light now. There is still some major growth on the neighbor’s side of the fence.

And here’s the backyard. Before. I considered asking them to take out that giant yellow thing. But I don’t want to deal right now. Maybe next year.

And after. Beautiful.

He seemed apologetic about how much he had to charge us. I thought it was completely reasonable. And there was a crew so it didn’t take too long. My yard has never looked better on this side.

***

We had a big wind storm and my compost bin blew over so I ran out to take a photo. The wind tore my glasses off. I looked around but it was blowing so hard the wind was groaning. I realized I could turn into one of those sad public service announcement stories about how not to wander around outside in a major wind storm so I went back inside.

The next day I found a piece of someone’s roof in our backyard and all the leaves were gone but no glasses. I’ll probably find them this summer. Or maybe my neighbor will.

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