Purslane

I love spinach. I like it sautéed. I like it in salads. I like it in smoothies. The list goes on.

Spinach does not like warm weather. This year I embarked on a quest to find and grow a warm weather loving spinach replacement. I chose two options. New greens in addition to the greens that I am familiar with.

Strawberry spinach and purslane.

Strawberry spinach is something I had never heard of before. It is a warm weather loving semi-vining green that also produces berries. Very interesting. Spinach and fruit! Get out! What could be better? I just sowed the strawberry spinach in the garden about 4 days ago and am patiently waiting its appearance. I’ll keep you updated.

Purslane, on the other hand,  I had heard of. I have never grown it before – kind of, maybe. (I’ll explain.)

What I knew of purslane. It is a wild cultivated green. Similar to dandelion, nettles or poke. It is a southern thing. Supposedly very tasty. Easy to grow. Which is why it grows as a weed in many regions (like dandelion).

I sowed the seed about 10 days ago. A few days ago I thought to myself, “Self, you should really look purslane up on the net and see what it looks like so that you will know when it starts popping up.”

What I now know of purslane. It is actually a succulent with reddish stems. A herb originating from Asia. It is high in omega 3 and vitamin C.

When I saw the picture online, I just about s&!t my pants. Its common name is pigweed!! I have been pulling this crap our of my garden for my entire life! It is growing in my garden everywhere right at this moment! How did I go my whole life and not know this?! Is this some kind of conspiracy that everyone is in on?!?

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Thought of the day.

Too bad moles don’t eat snake grass.

Garden Log Stardate 05102012

It has been busy busy busy business as usual around here. I figured it was about time I posted a blog. I was in the garden for a while this morning and needed a break so I thought I’ll take pics of the garden and break for lunch.

The lilacs are blooming.  That means that spring is really here…till it changes it’s mind again.

We have two lilac bushes in the yard. Granny Cooper loved them. And Aunt Beth does. And so do I.

 

(Have you ever noticed all the weird crap in the background of my photos? Seriously. That is why I usually zoom in so you can’t see this stuff. Case In Point – mattress pad and wet suit hanging over lawn chair with a dolly. Dont’ ask.)

I did get the pots on the front porch planted. I had my minions to help that day.

If you could sleep standing up, this is it. She hopped up when I came around the corner to make it look like she was not sleeping in the sun. But she is fading again fast.

Mr. Martin did get the entire outside of the greenhouse garden area tilled up. The potatoes are in the ground. I planted four kinds this year. The blue that were so good last year, blue fingerlings (experiment) and two different types of red. I picked two different types of red so that we could taste test and see which ones we liked best for planting next year. Which I have in the mean time forgotten which end I planted which at making the whole thing completely pointless. With the exception that I hope to still get potatoes.

 We have a lot of herbs out front. These are the new chives that PopPop gave me (Don’t they look pretty!). Lemon Balm in the background. The Johnny-Jump-Ups literally jumped up over the past weekend. Irises that Nan donated. And there is the succulent of some sort blooming in the right foreground that I stole off of a rock (don’t tell the authorities) down by Somes Bar while blackberry picking.

Things in the green house are looking great. Porn Star Garlic is thigh high.

Can you see my little wine cork row marker? I would like to thank Pinterest for this wonderful idea. Maybe I can actually remember where I plant crap now that I have most of it marked. The only problem is that now I am out of wine corks. *Gasp*  You know what that means. *Smile*

Parsley.

Broccoli Babies.

Three kinds of peas. Snow peas in the front and Shelling Peas in the back….alas the Sugar Snaps did not come up so hot. Only two. Boooo. I keep watering them though just in case. Then a tid-bit of Broccoli-raab in the back left.

The Parsnips with a couple of rescued red lettuces as their neighbors. The lettuce was relocated from the wrong side of the tracks.

The Parsnips have made a gallant return. If you recall my parsnip story from last year the outcome was not so good. But they reseeded themselves and they look like they are on their best behavior so I let them be. I had to thin them out considerably. We will see how it goes this time.  ?

What is that behind the parsnips?

 Oh, that would be my irises. This is becoming a serious issue. I am harbouring flowers in the green house like fugitives. These poor things have been smashed up against this plastic for two years now, waiting for a place to call home. There is now double the amount as when they were abandoned there to fend for themselves.

Like these little helpless poppies that are hiding next to the swiss chard that I am letting go to seed. This was my fav swiss chard from last year. The flavor was just so much better than the other varieties. Soooo I am going to let it go to seed this year and save the seed. That’s the plan anyway. Meanwhile, the poppies are like the Anne Frank of the green house.

One of my upcoming projects hopes to be building a flower bed along the edge of the garden to put the wayward flowers in and also perennial edibles, such as rhubarb. Yum.

Here is this year’s edible row of swiss chard which were all volunteers from the previous year’s crop going to seed. As a matter of fact, I have murdered 100s of them this year. These are the lucky ones.

Official lettuce bed. Bronze Arrow (did not come up as well) in the front, Arugula in the middle and Slow-Bolt green leaf in the back. We had the first thinned out plants in the salad for dinner the other night and it was awesome! I hate spending so much money for lettuce at the store. What a rip off. I’m so glad that now we can start eating from the garden.

Chinese Mustard Greens in front and Kale in back.

There is quite a bit in the ground that is not impressive to look at yet. Romaine, Cukes, Squash, Beans, Carrots, Radishes. *Sigh* I can’t remember what else. Yet there is still more to plant.

Flower starts that Savanah helped with need to go in. Plus more beans, pumpkins, melons, dill, cucumbers, basil, cilantro, sunflowers, okra (Yes, I am going to give it a go in the mountains. It is probably not going to like it at all and be a total waste of my time.), hollyhocks,  butternut squash, zukes, patty pan squash, beets, turnips and tomatillos. Don’t forget tomatoes and peppers. You will be happy to know that my indoor seeds have survived (well most of them anyway) and are doing very well. The first time in my life that I have successfully started tomatoes and peppers from seed. I will give credit to Mr. Martin because they probably would have died without him being here.

I have to say I don’t think I have ever seen anything piled up like this on Victory Garden.   ??? (They don’t have a wet suit either!)

Rain, Rain Go Away

Hello from the arctic tundra. Okay, that is exaggerating slightly….but it feels like it. The forecast for the past week and the forecast for the next week say rain and snow. Rain and Snow. It has rained for forty days and forty nights….almost. How am I supposed to get anything done? Like getting out of bed?!?

Let’s see where shall I begin to bring you up to speed? Being as this has turned into a monthly maybe soon to go to quarterly blog. Ug! I think about blogging all the time. It just never seems to get done. You would think that I would have more time to sit at the computer being in the Arctic Circle.

 I ordered most of my seeds this year from Territorial Seeds and Bountiful Gardens. The latter being a company that I have not ordered from before. They are located in Willits, which if memory serves me correctly is in the northern Bay area. Though I did not look it up and please correct me if I am wrong. The produce heirloom, untreated and open pollinated seeds. I really liked their catalog and ethics.

Instead I decided that I would get some of my little inside projects done. Like sewing. Then I broke my sewing machine. *sad face* That shot a lot of projects right in the ass. So for the past couple of days I have been working on a needlepoint thing that I started probably 15 years ago.

 

I also started some seeds indoors. Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant,Brussels sprouts, etc. FYI – I suck at starting seeds indoors. I have never been successful at raising them up and having them make it into the garden. I am a direct sow type of girl and for everything else I usually buy them at the nursery. I think that I just don’t give them enough pampering. But we have all these seeds so I thought I would give it another go. And some of the seeds are so old, I thought this way I can see if they are even viable. If not, no harm no foul. I they do come up then I can watch them wither on my table and say, “Yep, they still sprouted!”

 

 

This is what they look like. Exciting I know.

They are next to Jay’s dwarf Blood Orange Tree, which has one, one orange about to ripen.

 

 

 

I have made several trips out to the garden the past couple of weeks with the intention of planting peas. Then when I got out there I spent all my time doing other things. Pulling weeds. General clean up. Etcetera. The peas still have yet to be planted.

 

The seed potatoes are sitting on the window sill sprouting eyes. I bought four kinds of potatoes this time around. Two red (so we can do a comparison as to which we like better and then know for next year), Blue (that were excellent last year), and a Blue fingerlings. I have never grown fingerlings before.

 

I have plans, the key word there being plans, to plant several things that I have not ever grown before this year. fingerling potatoes, brussels sprouts, two specialty melons and several types of specialty greens.

 

I have grown your average assortment of melons over the years with varying results. Melons really depend on the growing season. Some years are just good for melons and some years are not. Both of these that I picked this year are similar to cantaloupe or honey-dew in flavor. One of these called Early Silverline. It is an Asian melon that is yellow-golden and oblong in shape with white flesh. The other is named Haogen. It has green and salmon colored swirled flesh. It is an adaptation of an ancient Southwest Indian melon. Both are prolific plants bearing heavy crops – thus why I chose them. I don’t even like to eat melons but the kids do. SOOO, there you have it.

 

I picked several new greens to plant this year because I LOVE spinach. But spinach does not like our sudden morph from winter to summer in this part of the world. We go from snow (spinach says good) to heat wave (spinach says reproduce and I am out of here folks!). So I am in search of a summer friendly spinach replacement. I found a cool thing called Strawberry Spinach. A plant that is more heat tolerant with spinach or lambs quarters like leaves that also produces a fruit at each leaf axil that is like a strawberry or mulberry. Intriguing, no?! AND purslane. Purslane loves hot weather!

 

Then I am going to experiment with a few things that I have grown before just not in the mountains. Like okra. I love okra and okra is super easy to grow if you live in Texas or Arizona or Missouri. But not the mountains with cool nights and a short growing season. It is just that I dearly miss not having okra in the summer. Going out to the garden and snipping a few pods everyday. Everyday. Till it is like having a bomb in your garden. You have to reset the timer everyday or else it will go off. Then you skip that one day and the next you exclaim, “Holy Mother! I was only gone for one day! And now there are mutant sized okra pods in my garden! Help!” ………….moving on.

 

I am now the proud care taker of orchids. I always wanted an orchid. My Valentine gave me two this year. Now I have to learn how to take care of them. I did just learn that an acquaintance of ours has many and she gave me some pointers. In the month that they have been in my care, they have put on more buds and are blooming beautifully. I was told that is a good sign that they are blooming, otherwise they would be dead by now.

 

 

 

This is a blurry picture of both together. You can see how tall the one is. I now refer to this small section of counter top real estate as My Zen Area. Orchids, Candles, Wine. What else do you need?

 

 

I hope to post some more pics in the near future. I have had a hard time getting pics recently for some reason. It is like a camera dry spell.

 

My husband does not especially approve of my cardboard gardening technique but the dirt underneath is beautifully grass free. I just read an article about perennial edibles and I would like to get some of those in the ground. So prep for that will be this year. We will see if it actually materializes. This particular article recommended to prep your site the year before with, you guessed it, cardboard! I would like to get in some rhubarb and a new asparagus bed for starters.

 

Signing off on the gardening front. Peace out!

 

 

Springful Thinking

I ordered my seeds this morning. YEA!! I always have really good intentions about what and how much I am going to plant. We’ll see how much really manifests this year. Picked out a couple of things that I have never grown before. Stay tuned.

Yesterday was soooo nice in the morning. I went out to the garden and pulled some weeds from around the garlic which is coming up nicely. Shoots are about 4-6 inches tall. And pulled weeds from around the microbaby kale, radishes and chinese cabbages of various varieties that I don’t recall exactly what I planted. Things are starting to pop up that I sowed in the ground couple months ago.

There is a spot all ready to be turned over and have potatoes put in the ground thanks to my husband and boy children. They moved the compost pile that was there to a new location to finish cooking so that left a lovely bare patch of dirt.

My stupid chickens finally decide to get with the program and lay some eggs again. We have been babying them. They now have a red heat lamp on all the time and a fluorescent bulb that comes on for four hours after dark to give them more daylight hours. I have three dozen eggs to sell today and will probably have another dozen by the end of the day. That is not counting the ones that I keep for us to eat. Of course I am sure that I don’t make enough off the eggs to cover the electricity needed to create the spa-like atmosphere.

Now they are all fighting over the ONE nest they deem worthy of using, which is not even one of the nest boxes. It is a corner that they have picked out. There is always someone carrying on and squawking to use it next. High demand. Yesterday there was such a commotion when I was in the garden that I actually walked over to see what the problem was. One hen was literally sitting on top of another hen on the nest. Guess the first one wouldn’t move quick enough. So I need to clean out the coop…okay I need to have my kids shovel out the coop so I can rearrange put down some new straw and see if that makes anyhen happier.

Oh Brother.

I should finish weeding the garlic but I probably won’t today. It is not nearly as nice out there today. Yuck.

Fall winds down

The garden is winding down for the season. I have not been very diligent about blogging recently. *Sigh* Just don’t seem to be in the mood. I think I need some of those light therapy glasses. I think I am mourning summer and have really had to force any sort of motivation. Not that I haven’t accomplished anything recently. I don’t think that is really in the realm of possibilities around here.  I just have not been accomplishing as much as I would like to (never happens anyway) and I’m not very enthusiastic about any of it I’m afraid. I’m still killing snakes (as Claudia would say), I just seem to lack that snake killing gusto.

In the garden I am working on pulling out all the dead summer veggies – tomatoes, squash, etc. I did get a bunch of garlic in the ground. Planted some greens that hopefully will come up inside the greenhouse. The soil temp is still warm enough for germination, if it just hold out a little bit longer. There are about 50 million (rough estimate) baby swiss chard coming up volunteer from where it went to seed this summer.  

And I did pull up all the parsnips. I think some will be edible, somewhere like caveman clubs, and one in particular was so straight and pointy and petrified that Matt made me cut the stem to about a length of three feet and the children now fight over who gets to throw the spear in the yard. *big sigh* Live and learn on the parsnip front.

I do have one pic for you. The purple potatoes are so wonderful and absolutely beautiful. They have the best flavor. Sweet. Creamy. Starchy. We will be sad when they are gone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1

Today was the first day that it resembled fall. As if Mother Nature knew that today was October 1st. It was overcast grey and windy.

 

Everyone really just wanted to stay inside.

 

The chickens didn’t mind.

 

Especially when Savanah and I threw all the apples that were undesirable from under the tree into the pen for them.

 

We picked an entire bucket from the tree. Which barely seemed to make a dent in what is still on the tree.

I then filled the crock pot with apples to cook down for apple butter. Which barely seemed to put a dent in the bucket. And I have a big ass crock pot. As a matter of fact when I bought this crock pot, Issac (that would be Heather’s Issac) made fun of me because I was so excited that it would hold two whole full sized chickens. I have said it before and I will say it again….it is the small things really that make me happy.

In addition to fruit; the vegetable siege continues.

 

I missed a couple of days picking squash. Those of you that have grown squash know what this means. You get mutant huge squash. Which I think I will try to make some sort of cream of squash soup with these patty pans. They are the size of a small plate. The zukes are probably going to the chickens.

 

There are still more tomatoes.

 

and more

 

and more.

 

I also pulled some of the carrots. They look awesome. I put some in the soup that I made for dinner. Along with a couple of the bell peppers.

 I harvested the onions.

 

Yes, this is them. The entire harvest. Just so you know that there are quite a few failures out there amongst the tomato/squash jungle.

But they were the perfect amount to chop for dinner as garnish for the soup. YUM!

This is my closet. I thought I would share. Not at the fact that it is crammed to the hilt and I can barely get clothes in and out.

 

But something more interesting…

 

Look closer…

 

He greeted me this morning as I was getting dressed. Everyone really wanted to stay inside today.

 

Out of Control

 

 Things are getting a little out of control around here…

 

 

 Wait, there is more over there…

Problem Solved, Kinda

The corner of my mouth has been cracked open for about three weeks now. I put all kinds of stuff on it and just about the time I get it healed up; it splits open again. I was stumped as to what was causing this. Stress? Weather change? Drooling in my sleep?

Until………. just the other day when Jay and I were having lunch, it hit me!

I was putting bite in my mouth and when it hit my lips the light bulb went on. I said, “Oh! I know why my mouth is cracked open!”

I have not had this problem for about 6 years. I suddenly remembered that I used to have this problem every summer. (Is Claudia laughing yet? Because she knows what I’m talking about.)

The reason I have not had this problem is because I lived in Arizona for 6 years and I did not grow tomatoes while I lived in Arizona. I grew tomatoes while I lived in Missouri.

You see there is no point in eating tomatoes with every meal if they came from the store. Tasteless. But fresh tomatoes, that is a horse of a different color.

Claudia and I used to both eat so many that I would have cracked open lips and she would have canker sores in her mouth. Would we stop eating them? NO. Will I stop eating them this year? NO. Will I grow and eat yellow tomatoes because they have less acid? NO. (For those of you who were thinking of suggesting it.) They taste like crap to me. I like the acid. That is what makes it a tomato as far as I’m concerned. And that is why the heirlooms are my fav. They have an even higher acid content which makes them even more delicious!

What was I eating for lunch the day I remembered why my mouth was cracked open? Sliced tomatoes.

What did I have for lunch today? Sliced tomatoes.

What did I have with dinner tonight? Sliced tomatoes.

 

Pictures for previous post…says it all, don’t you think?

 

 

 I bought a SD card reader for my computer. So now I can retrieve the pictures off the camera still. Guess the new camera will have to wait a little while. Besides, I think I want a bicycle first. With a basket. For my little dog, too.

 

 

 

 

This is one of the heirloom tomatoes I put in this year. Prudens Purple. They are pretty good. Still waiting for the Brandywine to ripen.

 

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