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Archive for the ‘Garden Ramblings’ Category

The agricultural community world-wide is buzzing with talk of a rare Gardening Husband sighting. This reclusive beast, who has been known to go immediately and indefinitely into hiding after any mention or even remote inference of the phrase “yard work”, has been spotted recently in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States.  One of our lucky man-watchers was even fortunate enough to catch this nearly unheard of scene on film!  Assisted only by his side-kick, Giant White Dog, Gardening Husband–by his own initiative–bravely battled the desolate land of Last Year’s Shriveled Vegetable Plants, fighting and hacking his way down to bare soil.

To catch sight of this rare appearance, keep your eyes peeled for our brave warrior, usually seen wearing a skull cap and heavy duty gardening gloves, plus a uniform usually consisting of jeans and a sweater.  He can often be seen throwing a red rubber Kong toy or dingy tennis ball to Giant White Dog in between, as well as during, bouts with dead vegetation.

Soldier on, fearless Gardening Husband!  Your deeds of good and bravery are those to which gardeners around the planet aspire.

douginthegarden

My Hero!

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  dearmothernature
yaysnow

More to come soon…

Happy snow day!

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Summer is upon us, and our gardens are starting to reward us for making it through yet another long winter of tasteless store bought fruits and veggies. Pea pods are starting to plump, holding sweet little round orbs of love.  Tomato and pepper plants are starting to grow excitedly from little baby seedlings into botanical toddlers.  Strawberries and raspberries are ripening at a mad pace–we’d even have cherries this year if the giant dog would do anything about the thieving squirrels!

The hubby came in with a big beautiful bowl of strawberries from the garden tonight, so – obviously – daiquiris are in order!  Nothing says summer like an ice cold beverage, and I love celebrating the garden by drinking it.  This recipe is kind of a daiquiri/mojito hybrid (even better!), nothing like the syrupy pink slushee drinks served at bad chain restaurants across the country.

Hooray summer!

Summer Strawberry Mint Daiquiris
(makes 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed mint (Optional–if you don’t have mint in your garden, don’t go out and buy it for this drink.  It’s very subtle, and not worth spending $5 to get the 1/2 cup you need for two drinks.  If you have it in your garden, you know you have some to spare.)
  • 2 limes
  • 3 oz. rum (or to taste)
  • sugar to taste (or none at all!)
  • ice (more…)

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While turning my beds over this past weekend, I found a small crop of carrots that somehow managed to escape last year’s harvest.  Those stubborn little things survived the winter and were just waiting for me like an impatient child. “It’s about time,” they said, “It’s been freezing out here!”

Carrots for Soup

OK, admittedly not the prettiest carrots you've ever seen, but they will make great soup!

These carrots had, indeed, frozen and thawed, frozen and thawed, frozen and thawed, over and over throughout the winter.  As a result, the skinny ones were flimsy, and the large ones were very woody in the middle.  I couldn’t possibly chop them up to put on a salad, but they had too much life left to be doomed to the compost bin.  The solution?  Soup!  Soups and stews are always a great way to take advantage of veggies that aren’t bad, but aren’t quite at their freshest, either.

Yesterday it snowed, and the temperatures dipped to a chilly 32 during the day.  It seemed the perfect time to turn my tenacious carrots into a belly-warming dinner.  I happened to also have a head of not-so-fresh cauliflower on hand, so I supplemented my carrot crop with some of that, but you could easily make this recipe with 4 cups of carrots (or 4 cups of cauliflower).  Although I think 2 teaspoons of curry powder is just about right for this amount of soup, you will probably want to add 1 teaspoon and taste it before dumping the whole amount in–we tend to eat spicy!  (more…)

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Horseradish (yum)

Fresh Horseradish

This weekend I was turning over my beds (see Lesson 2: Digging in the Dirt), and I found, as I do every time this year, my returning friend (enemy) the horseradish plant.  Hubby and I planted Horsey before he was my husband.  So yes, the plant is old enough to have a nickname.  Sadly.  Every year when we get out to work on the garden, we swear loudly at Horsey.  Why the *%#$ are you still here, Horsey??  Horsey must feel very unloved.  But really?  He is back again?  How does he do it?  I have seriously been trying to kill this guy for 12+ years, and I never really have to try to kill plants.  I am pretty good at it naturally.

I don’t actually recommend planting horseradish, because you will never ever ever get rid of it.  I supposed if you are a huge fan and really want to try, you could try to put it in a container, just to keep the madness in check.  But if you already have some in your garden, you might as well benefit from it.  This year I decided to put Horsey to good use.  I dug out as much of him as I could get (see the photo), and I made “prepared horseradish”.

Here’s how:

(more…)

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Chives are one of those things that are just a glory to have in the garden.  They taste fresh, green, herbaceous, and I put them on everything!  Today I started cleaning out my beds and discovered the chives already going full force!  Yay, spring!  Oregano is another herb that is fantastic fresh from the garden.  Last year I also borrowed a dehydrator and dried a TON of oregano–it puts the stuff from the grocery store, even the stuff from Savory Spice Shop completely to shame (and I LOVE Savory–no offense, guys).

However, chives and oregano are bullies.  They are the kind of plants that just muscle their way in to any part of the garden they want, and they stay there (until I come along).  Oregano will send roots out several feet, and little sprouts will come up all along the length of the root.  And a small 4 inch pot of chives can grow to a patch a foot in diameter in just a year or two–not to mention it reseeds itself like crazy if you aren’t careful.

For this reason, I highly recommend planting these guys in containers, rather than in your garden.  They are hearty enough to last in a pot, and they can’t choke out other plants if they don’t have any to compete with!  My chives and oregano, though, are not in containers–they are in a bed–so something had to be done.  Armed with my spade and a bunch of old plant containers, I went to battle against these meanies, and what I have left is much smaller versions of the plants in my garden, with a bunch of transplants ready for new homes (read this: if you live in Denver, get your butt over here and pick some up!)

Divided Herbs

Oregano and chives, after being divided and repotted, all ready for new gardens! I know the oregano doesn't look like much, but trust me those roots are in great shape!

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