Gardening in the Blind


Harvest Feast
June 27, 2009, 5:46 pm
Filed under: Cantainer Gardening, Herbs, local eating, outdoor gardening, Uncategorized
Broccoli Raab (or Broccoli Rabe spelling differ but plant same)

Broccoli Raab (or Broccoli Rabe spelling differ but plant same)

I think the best thing about growing items is the fact that you can spend time harvesting things.  The garden is doing well for me this week.  I have harvested Broccoli Raab, Romaine Lettuce, Peas, assorted herbs, and some butter lettuce.  I think that it will be a light week at the farmer’s market tomorrow.  That is a good thing.

My felt like Smart Pots.

My felt like Smart Pots.

I ordered some more smart pots a couple of weeks ago and I finally have them after a Fed-ex issue.  I have 6 5-gallon pots and 2 10-gallon pots.  When I get another bag of soil I will finish planting all of them.  But so far I have planted 1 carrot, 1 pac choi, 1 butter lettuce, 1 radish and 1 sweet mixed greens mix in the smaller pots.  With the two pots that were empty due to harvesting of romaine lettuces and the one large smart pot I planted bush beans.  It is kind of late for them, but I figured the weather has been so weird why not try.  If they work out (I have never grown beans in pots before) I am going to be in for it!  I will have the pole beans in the front (one tepee) and the back (2 tepees) and the bush beans already planted.  I see a potential for a lot of dilly beans in my future. 

The last large pot I am planting as a bed of arugula.  Deron should enjoy that imensely.  That is the great thing about lettuces and radishes and carrots in general.  You can plant them anytime throughout the season.  The last small pot will be filled with a different radish.

Looking at cabbage bed to the far bed of beans

Looking at cabbage bed to the far bed of beans

My garden looks green from a far.  I like to look at it from this angle.  It isn’t to close to see any of the pests that are attacking the plants.  The one one good thing about the rain has been that everything looks so green.  It is so deceiving.  When you go to walk on it trust me, you can squish through the water and new little sink holes.



Who’s the prettiest of them all
June 26, 2009, 2:32 pm
Filed under: Herbs, outdoor gardening
Beautiful Potato flower

Beautiful Potato flower

OK, after making you suffer through pictures of my pests and now pets (toad) I thought I would show you some pretty pictures for a change! 

The first is the potato plant.  This is on my early potatoes.  It won’t be too long until I harvest them.  Just a few weeks.  I am so excited as it is the first time that I have ever grown/harvested potatoes.

Surprised purple flower stalks

Surprised purple flower stalks

Next up is something special.  I threw some wild flower seeds down in the front.  This was before I mulched the space.  I am not even sure if it is a wild flower, but Gwen my wise gardening friend once told me, it is only when I don’t like the looks of something that it is a weed!  These are diffidently not a weed in my book.  You can also see in the background of this picture the clover that is flowering.  I know, I here it all the time, I should pull the clover out, but I again like the look of it and it’s flowers are highly attractive to the bumble bee.

A happy white cosmo flower

A happy white cosmo flower

I then will show you what I think is the all time happiest flowers around.  I can’t help but crack a smile when I see a cosmos flower in bloom.  When I lived in Quincy, I lined the walk way with them.  By the end of the season everyone was coming to take pictures.  They grew to be huge.  I was lucky that the walkway was large enough to handle the intrusion.

My Anise hyssop in bloom

My Anise hyssop in bloom

This one I was kind of excited over.  I purchased this plant – Anise Hysop at a Sturbridge Village visit.  Deron and I go to Sturbridge Village a fair amount.  I think it is simply due to the fact that it is only about 20 minutes from our house.  If you haven’t been or don’t know much about it, I highly recommend it.  It is worth a visit at least once.  Anyway, this plant is actually part of the mint family and I have to say I was excited to see the flowers on it.

2nd wave of peas growing up.

2nd wave of peas growing up.

So after looking at plants and herbs, I now show something a little happy.  After picking and shelling peas the other day, I took a picture to show you the second wave of peas starting to plump up.  My rule of thumb about when to pick peas is when I slightly squeeze them and they don’t give much then they are ready to pick, otherwise they need a little more time to ripen up.

One of my growing Kale plants

One of my growing Kale plants

Lastly, this is the one that I am most excited about.  Some of my friends think I am the only one on the planet that loves Kale.  I admit it freely.  I love it!  So I thought I would show you a picture of one of my growing kale.  I have over six of them currently growing in my cabbage bed.  I can’t wait.  Next year I am going to plant some when I plant my peas outside.  That way I can have some all summer long!



Green pests, white pests and others
June 26, 2009, 1:54 pm
Filed under: outdoor gardening, Pest control

There was a break today from the rain in the morning.  Unfortunately I spent some of the time running some errands in the car.  I have not been able to spray any plants with my garlic oil, peppermint oil or NEEM due to the rain we have been getting.  So I sported a lovely gloved look with long sleeves and went out to hunt the pests.

Green cabbage pests on the front cabbage.

Green cabbage pests on the front cabbage.

First up was the green things crawling on my cabbage heads out front.  These are not friends of anything.  They have chewed random holes through the leaves all over and would eventually kill the cabbage.  I have individually pulled them off the plant.  Most of the time they were squished by a mere touch.  I call them cabbageworms.  It is hard to believe that these creatures will grow up to be a white butterfly about 2″ long with black spots on the front wings.

This beatle was on my tomatillos

This beatle was on my tomatillos

Moving to the trash can to get rid of the worms, I notice my next problem on my tomatillos.  I think this was kind of a transition to one of the other plants nearby as the tomatillos did not show any signs something eating it.  I think this is a cucumber beatle but I am not 100%.  I relocated it to the furtherest point of my gardens but still on my property.  The eggplant nearby is not doing well and is being eaten up quickly by something.

Mating bugs slightly out of focus (sorry)

Mating bugs slightly out of focus (sorry)

The last pest I wanted to share with you happened when I went to finally take a picture of the potato flower to show you.  I was admiring them when I notice anyother couple of bugs mating on my potato plant.  I quickly disposed of them.  I can’t wait until it stops raining so much so I can spray some NEEM and Garlic oil on the plants again.  When I was able to do this, I found a big difference in the pest population.  But until then, I will be out in the rain with dirty gloves trying to save my plants removing one insect at a time.  I just hope I don’t remove good ones because gosh knows I really really need them!



Growing up
June 25, 2009, 3:41 pm
Filed under: outdoor gardening, Tomatoes

With no break in the weather I am pondering the idea of making my very own “Cold-frame” to cover my tomatoes at least in the bed.  I am just waiting for the blight to appear on all the tomato plants due to the rain.  It is not going to be a good year for them I am afraid. 

Finally a picture of one of my toads!

Finally a picture of one of my toads!

But the potatoes are making up for it.  They are growing faster then my weeds.  (Quite the challenge since I have not been able to get out in the rain to weed in a while.)  My small pot of early potatoes have flowers that have even opened up.  I am amazed at the plants trying to cope with no chance of drying out.  On the first day of summer it was a down pour.  It seems our spring has come late and thus our summer late.  With that comes late produce.  This weather is weird for us here.  With all the rain the funny part is that we are only .3% above normal.  It certainly seems like it should be much more. 

My beans seem to be hanging in there.  I was outside last night to find that some of my pole beans had climbed so high that when I was standing to look at them, I didn’t need to look down.  In a couple of cases I needed to look up!  My 10′ poles are quickly going to be too short!

My dill has not bolted.  That is a first for me.  I find that every year they do nothing but shoot straight up and bolt.  Now if it can just hang in there for a while so I can use it when I make dilly beans with the green beans that I will get someday!



Vegetable update
June 21, 2009, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Cantainer Gardening, local eating, outdoor gardening
My pole beans growing like a weed!

My pole beans growing like a weed!

It seems there are a few plants that really enjoy this weather.  My pole beans are one.  They are growing like a weed.  They are stretching up more each and every day.  I am excited to think that I will indeed have some beans I hope this year!  You can see the bush beans growing past them.  It should be fun and even a bit of a challenge to use all the beans that I am growing.

My little peppers trying to grow....

My little peppers trying to grow....

My peppers are not doing so swell in this water, but that hasn’t stopped one lonely Cayenne pepper plant from trying.  They have recovered from the pests and now are trying to grow a bit.  Now if we can get some sun someday it might actually work out for my dear little cayenne peppers trying to grow.  But it looks doubtful at best for a break and some sun.

Harvested Peas

Harvested Peas

Yesterday I realized my peas located near my house were really ready for picking and the plants were ready to be removed as they were almost dead.  So I pulled the plants and one by one picked all the peas off them.  Harvesting peas was exciting, but I realized what my mother-in-law and my husband was saying.  This was 2 4′ rows of peas and it barely produced enough for us to have for dinner once.  But I know that I will have another dinner when I pull the last two rows that are in my raised beds probably in a couple weeks.

Harvested Swiss Chard from my front yard

Harvested Swiss Chard from my front yard

I harvested my Swiss Chard that was growing in my buckets in the front.  I purchased more purple cabbage to replace it in the front.  My broccoli rabe has come in great.  I am going to pick the first wave of them this week and reseed where they were.  I will have another wave probably ready in a week to  two weeks.  My early potatoes have blossoms on them.  That is exciting to think in about two to three weeks I will be harvesting them as well.  Such excitement yet so little at a time.  My list is growing of what to and not to grow next year.  It should be interesting to see where I finally end up.  I am still supplementing my harvests with the farmer’s market items.  I will probably need to do that continuously throughout the season.



Raining and Gloomy Except Today!
June 17, 2009, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Indoor Gardening, outdoor gardening, Pest control

Today is beautiful.  I think anything would be beautiful as long as the sun was out and rain was not about.  I looked up the weather report to see if we were going to get a patch of sunny days so that my plants would grow, but was disappointed when I saw on the 10-day forecast that besides today, it is rain all the way through. 

On the flip side, some of my peas are ready to harvest.  If I manage to get home this week at a reasonable time (It has yet to happen.  I was watering the potted plants and window boxes last night at 9:30.) I want to try to get a picture of the large toad that is living behind my peas next to my house as I try to gently pick the peas without disturbing him. 

It just dawned on me, why am I insisting on calling the typically “ugly” animals I find in my yard men but the cute rabbit or the beautiful dragonfly must be female?  Maybe there is something more to it?  I don’t know.  I will work harder to not be gender specific when I am talking about my helpful friends (although I don’t promise miracles.  It is very hard to break my habits!).

I free-cycled (see website under green for more info) a lot of items this past weekend including cuttings of my oregano.  When one of the two ladies came to pick them up, I gave her a tour of my garden.  It was then that I realized when I opened my door to the backyard that it was kind of impressive.  It was very green and lush.  It made me feel good to think that all of it was here because of me.  Well except the weeds, I will let mother nature take credit for that!  I have since given tours to my neighbor, her friend and her friend’s friend.  I guess for once I am indeed a bit popular.  At least in my own small block in Auburn.

My potatoes are huge.  I need to hill them when I get home tonight.  I am afraid that I am going to run out of container for them.  I just decided that when they are full, that is it.  All I can do.  I will try to take pictures to update within the next couple of days, but be forewarned the weather outside is gloomy for a few days.



Yesterday was the coolest day yet!
June 14, 2009, 8:10 am
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, local eating, outdoor gardening
My herb pot is out of control.  The green below is Mint (huge patch)

My herb pot is out of control. The green below is Mint (huge patch)

I am not referring to the weather in the title either.  Not only did we go to a very cool nursery (see previous post for info) we went to a farmer’s market and strawberry picking. 

The idea that I can just show up at a farmer’s market and get the freshest greens around make me overly happy.  We purchased 2 heads of lettuce, 2 bunches of arugula, 1 bunch of garlic scapes and a bunch of Kale.  After I paid a little over $8 for all of that I stepped back and realized that it all came from the CSA farm that I belonged to last year.  Too funny.  At least I know that the produce is 100% organic and yummy!

Our lonely strawberry waiting to be picked

Our lonely strawberry waiting to be picked

Deron was desperate for pick your own strawberries.  So, I found a farm near us – Charlton Orchard – that was picking.  So we went and were greeted by a young girl with a box in hand telling us where to go for picking.  I remember thinking that we really didn’t need that large of a box.  Boy was I wrong.  My husband wanted to do some serious picking.  $28 later, we had a heaping box of strawberries.  Now at first this didn’t effect me much.  I know how to can.  Although I had not made jam for at least three years, I could do it no problem.  I got home, dug out my recipe book for jams and set to work.  I started slicing the strawberries.  It takes 4 cups of sliced strawberries for 1 batch of jam.  I have sliced 16 cups (4 cups for our dessert last night) and still have at least 4 more cups to slice. 

Now this is the thing: Each time I make the 4 cup recipe, it is 7 1/2 pints of jam.  I made the first batch last night, I am making the remainder today.  I don’t know where I am going to put all these jars.  I guess Deron and I really need to reorganize the kitchen and pantry sooner then later!

I will take pictures of all the jars when I am finished.