Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Composting tool and vegetables

In the following pictures I'm demonstrating my new composting aerator tool. It consists of handles with a long metal rod which has horizontal folding rods on the bottom, designed to puncture down into the different layers of decomposing material, loosen, mix, and as a result help decompose faster by providing oxygen deep inside. Prior to having this tool I couldn't get my husband to turn the pile...well it was work...and hard on the back. I felt bad asking him to do it ...that's why it got done only once this season;however, with this new tool...I couldn't get him to give it back to me. He said he was helping me...but I couldn't get him to help "before tool." My analysis was that he really liked it. Here I am in the picture...but of course he already worked on the pile for about 5minutes.
The bottom half of the tool....and I almost bought a pitchfork instead. Whew...I don't think a pitchfork would have been as easy as this this tool was only 19.99 compared to what a new pitchfork goes for... about$50-60 dollars. So now my favorite compost bin is this black one. The green tumbler is still nice but smaller...this black one is much bigger and the pile has been running hot. One thing I don't like about the tumbler is that if you don't have the right amount of browns to greens(3to1) you can end up with lots of compost "balls".
These onions I harvested today are the product of the onion end piece I had thrown into the compost and I found sprouting and so I ended up planting them in the box. I had a picture of these growing in the snow on a previous entry. Aren't they pretty. I harvested them because the onion stalks had fallen over...and I had read that that is when you harvest them...but I found out from a farmer at the farmers market that once the stalk fall over you can keep them in the ground longer and that is when they gain size. She much prefers them this size because they are sweeter. I can't wait to try them.

Peas in the pod. Sweet as can be. They don't usually make it to the house. They get eaten right on the the garden.

We had this swiss chard for dinner. We loved it. Compared to kale, swiss chard is tender and has a mild flavor. I will plant more of this in the fall.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Garden Update

Hello it's time for a garden update. Lots of plants growing. The picture below has potato plants taking over. I've had to trim some stems/leaves because they were starting to block the sun from the peppers. The potato leaves have some holes in them and I haven't bothered treating the problem because it's not that bad. Maybe a potato box will be in order for next year.
Swiss Chard is thriving.
Just one of my tomato plants. Most of them have tomatoes with the exception of the Black Krim which I started later and the newly rooted ones which were suckers to begin with. This trellis system works really well with the squarefoot garden. So far it is holding the tomato plants up really well.

I harvested some dark rich worm castings a few days ago for some squash plants a neighbor gave me. They were starting to yellow....the castings did the trick.
Fresh cut roses. They usually last about a week in the vase changing the water frequently and re cutting. I may just have fresh roses on the table till frost.

Currently I'm in a state of happy gardening bliss. I can't help it. It's so beautiful and lush and I can't really capture all the beauty with this camera. The flowers integrated in and around the vegetable garden have really embellished it. I do however have some vegetables that I won't be planting broccoli rabe...too bitter even cooked. I'll be giving those seeds away. My cabbage has leaves but no head yet, plus I'm not really a fan of them. I will dedicate 1/2 a box to lettuce next time(like this fall) and maybe one more kale plant(six total). Kale is like lettuce...cut and come again. I have other aspirations for my garden but I'm in the brainstorming stage. We'll see what the future brings.
Till next time.

P.S I wish I could have more than five pictures per post but I haven't figured out how to do it yet.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Out in the country

Today we spent the day in the country....beautiful Nevada country. Along the way we saw curious deer that seemed to think we were interesting....they raced along our vehicle for awhile before leaping across our path. Somehow I was expecting that to happen and we were ready for it. No collisions or derailments occurred and we managed to make it our friend's ranch.
At our friends 100acre ranch the kids fed the chickens, mingled with the horses, rode the quad around the property and stopped by the creek to catch tadpoles and watched lizards do push-ups(part of their breathing process)....such a beautiful place. We had a fabulous lunch. Our friend made delicious spinach casserole. I'm sure she used the eggs from her very own chickens. I kept going back for more. In the end I was delighted to be gifted a bag of composted horse manure and ashes for the garden. Oh the things that make me happy these days.

The roosters in the pictures have no tails. Plucked out by the "females"...chickens. I thought that was interesting. I felt sorry for them. I thought they looked funny with their bottoms exposed.
Along the way we stopped by a wild horse adoption center. So many beautiful horses and colts available.

We arrived home hungry and tired. I thought it would be nice to have some soup. I needed some beans and I didn't have any canned ones. So I took out the pressure cooker and cooked a mixture of garbanzo, black and pinto beans for about 35 minutes. Then I added some kale from the garden, some pasta and seasonings. favorite soup.