Thursday, July 16, 2009

dehyrating some herbs

This potted tomato plant was a sucker on one of my plants. I had failed to spot it growing out from the soil, no wonder the main branch wasn't growing as quickly. Usually I kept my eye on the area between the mainstem and the side shoots ready to pinch off those suckers, but this one ecaped my sight and I'm glad it did. I rooted and planted it and now my friend has a yellow pear tomato plant of her own.
Last evening my child harvested some vegetables for dinner. The one swiss chard leaf was hers. I asked her if she wanted more than one...shes like no mom... ones enough. So I steamed it and sprinkled it with olive oil, lemon and salt. She said it was her favorite.

This morning I decided to dehydrate some herbs from the garden. I filled three trays with spearmint leaves. Under a couple of leaves I found some eggs attached. I didn't kill them or dispose of them as I would have in the past. I held on to them to placed back in the same area. Hopefully when they hatch they will be insects that are beneficial to the garden.

I also harvested some basil(purple variety) and filled two trays. I hope the bushes will grow back and give me enough for a second cutting. I placed my five trays in the dehydrator and set the temp. at 105F. When they are completely dry I will transfer them to labeled mason jars and have them available for cooking. I love to make split pea soup with lots of basil, pepper and salt. Simple yet delicious.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

another garden update

Lately I've been planning out my fall garden...not that I'm through with my spring/summer that is far from the truth. We've been enjoying generous helpings of kale and swiss chard....and when I felt that I couldn't even think about having them for dinner again. I would snip them off and give them to my neighbors. The lettuce...I've been most impressed with. So delicious...I couldn't think of having store bought lettuce after having fresh ones from the garden. And that is why I'm planning my fall garden. I used to think a short garden season was such downfall...oh...not true because I get to look forward to all the cool season crops.
Anyways. I'm planning to dedicate a whole box 4ftx4ft to lettuce. Yes we'll be able to have many varieties... plenty of tom thumbs, bibbs, mesclun baby greens and deer tongue red.
Everything else in the fall garden will have a 1/4 of a box dedicated to each vegetable.
Yesterday I purchased a bag of soil to start my seedlings and within the next couple of days I will be starting my broccoli.
My mesclun greens shaded with a cloth to keep from bolting.
Three corn "heads" coming through.
Tomatoes on the vine. I counted over one hundred tomatoes on the vines. We've been harvesting 2 or 3 tomatoes every couple of days. I think we'll be bursting at the seams with tomatoes here pretty soon. I'm planning on making some sun-dried tomatoes.

We'll be having the ones towards the bottom for dinner this evening.

The broccoli rabe plants I had drying by the bench have completely dried. When you shake the pods the seeds rattle inside. I harvested many to fill a small packet. I placed the dry arrangement in a vase and it's still loaded with seeds. So if any of my local neighbors would like some let me can come by and get some pods.

By the way I got the template for the seed packet in the picture from a book called "You Grow Girl" by Gayla Trail. A chic modern gardening guide book with lots of gardening crafts ideas .

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I've been feeling guilty again for not blogging all the work I've done in the garden. Part of the reason....I changed my password and then when I went to sign on a few days later, I realized that I had forgotten my password after a few tries. So with a few quirks here and there and some distractions ...I never made it back to my blog till now. So here I go:

Spring has gone along with my broccoli rabe and peas. The pea stems and leaves went into the compost, but the broccoli rabe has a new life for now. As you will see it is hanging upside down drying and loaded with dry seed pods which I will pass on to friends. The stalks are too pretty to discard yet...I will place them in my tall blue vase to display as a dry arrangement. For now my vase holds arugula from my friends garden that has bolted. I also plan to harvest those seeds.

I recently made a propagating pot to root cuttings. I used a small clay pot and a larger glazed one(you can use a plastic one if you like and it can have drainage holes, mine doesn't though), some vermiculite and a pencil eraser head, cuttings and water. I plugged the inner clay pot with an eraser head and it sealed it perfectly. You don't want the the water draining out of the want it perspiring out through the pores of the clay pot. Then I add some rocks to the bottom of the bigger pot and then some vermiculite enough so that I can still place my clay pot inside it and filled the area around the clay pot with enough vermiculite. I then saturated the vermiculite with water using a watering can and made sure it was moist and I filled my clay pot with water. I added rosemary, lavender, petunia and chamomile cuttings and it's been about a week and the cuttings still look healthy. I'm very pleased with this system because I don't have to be so vigilant about watering it.

Lately I've been reading "Inner Gardening...A Seasonal Path to Inner Peace" by Diane Dreher and I must say I've been enjoying's romantic and intellectual. She shares bits of her life and those around her , lessons about gardening and cultivating friendships and more, the history of gardening including poems, quotes and more. This book makes me want to reach out to my friends more often.

broccoli rabe

Arugula arrangement.

Propagating pot

my garden helper