Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter To-Do’s While the Garden Sleeps and You Know You are in South Dakota If:

Hi Everyone -

I am changing my blog and blog address over to:

www.DakotaJoy.com  Please visit Dakota Joy for this post 


and a recipe on Mexican Curry Chicken.

I hope you will join me and follow me there  

Hugs, 

Gloria

Friday, November 29, 2013

Low Fat Vegetarian Tamale Pie Recipe and “Don’t Tell Them it’s Tofu” Spicy Hash

Hi Everyone -

I am changing my blog and blog address over to:

www.DakotaJoy.com  Please visit Dakota Joy for this recipe.

I hope you will join me and follow me there  

Hugs, 

Gloria

Monday, November 25, 2013

We Won a Trip to St Pete & the Bay Area Festival of Food, Wine and the Arts!



Hi Everyone -

I am changing my blog and blog address over to:

www.DakotaJoy.com

I hope you will join me and follow me there  

Hugs, 

Gloria

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Growing Amazing Plants in Pots–My New Discoveries

Last year I did a test. I grew the same plants in large pots and also in my 20 year amended-compost enriched heavy clay soil.  Wow, what a difference!  Plant thrive in the pots as long as they received regular water.  I filled the pots with potting soil and compost and a scoop of organic plant based fertilizer.  The lighter looser soil allows for the roots to grow larger.  The potted plants need daily water which I have provided with a timer and drip irrigation system.  I have been playing with 4 timers and 400 feet of 1/2” irrigation pipe and 1/4” drip irrigation. (100 ft of irrigation for each timer) I finally happily settled on burying regular water hoses to provide a water source to the back of the garden and then connecting a 100 feet of 1/2” hose delivering the drip irrigation to the pots and also to farther-out areas that I found hard to water.  All of these pots have drip irrigation:
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I have 2 pots at the bottom on the front porch step.  These are the Tidal Wave Petunia I started in late winter.  The cactus came from my brother Juan’s California garden.  He is a master gardener. Gardening “runs in our genes”.
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The other side.
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I have Heavenly Blue Morning Glories beginning to travel up from the pots. Clematis is blooming
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Purple Tomatillos are forming in their parachute-like husks.  These are growing in large pots that sit against the hot west wall. 
The irrigation provides 10 minutes of daily water from sprayers connected to  1/4” irrigation tubing.  Eggplant, peppers and shorter growing Santiam and Glacier Tomatoes are also growing in pots.  Potatoes, bigger tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers and corn are growing in my vegetable beds.  Because our soil is heavy they take less water and still produce.
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There are 2 tomatillo plants per pot.  At least 2 are needed for pollination. The plants are taller than I am.
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Ornamental corn can be used for popcorn.  It is growing in the 2 pots in front of the little house with Illumination Amaranth.
We have a carport next to the back door. It is along the alley.  The pots have irrigation.  In June I had a "Bring a Dish Garden Breakfast Party" - We had 59 friends stop by.  It was a beautiful fun day.  We set up tables in this area and in the garden. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beautiful Summer Garden

A spring garden is probably the easiest to achieve.  You have rain and cooler temperatures.  Come summer, heat, hail and dry weather can make summer gardens a bit of a challenge.  The trick is picking the right plants for the right place.  That usually involves some “trowel and error”.  Visiting local gardens and garden tours can help you make note of what is blooming now.  I am always a bit amused that what is blooming at the time becomes the favorite flower.  Here are some of my favorites:
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I have learned to use drought tolerate plants in harder to reach areas.  Daylilies have thick fat roots that take some drought.
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There are some seriously beautiful daylily varieties.
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Yarrows, primroses, alliums
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The front boulevard gardens are thick with ground-covering  beauty. 
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Pink Carefree Delight rose really is carefree.
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Then there are junipers…I love them.  This is the back yard
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Blues and yellows!  Lorraine Sunshine with Moonglow Juniper

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Beautiful, Beautiful Roses

I always look forward to the third week in June.  It is when most of the roses bloom in chorus!  A couple of years ago I started adding good bacteria to my roses and the improvement is striking! 
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Reine de Victoria, the climber on the left is a favorite antique reblooming rose.
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The darker pink rose is Zephrine Droulin a fragrant bourbon rose that is thornless and is tolerates some shade.
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William Baffin is a tall climber
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Madame Hardy with a green eye and slightly lemony fragrance
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Reine de Violettes rose is a rebloomer is lovely and fragrant.  This rose in particular was getting weak and look at it now!
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More, and more,
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I think the single petal Sally Holmes is beautiful.  I have about 40 rose bushes.  I’ll show more later!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

What’s Blooming Today and the Yellow and Orange Bird is a:

The garden is blooming.  Here are some favorites:
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Dictamnus (Gas Plant) grows in the  front yard.  Each year it grows taller and lately it has been gently reseeding itself.  It  has a lemony fragrance and repels deer.
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In January I started pansies by seed.  They grew easily but slowly.
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Shell-Leaf Penstemon is a wildflower perennial. After blooming I cut it down to it’s base.  The leaves are a gray-green.

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They are beautiful.
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Dianthus, Clove Pinks have a beautiful scent.  I want more of these. 
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In a previous post I showed a picture of this bird and asked if anyone could identify this beautiful bird.  Grandson Eric called and shared with me that a bird expert friend identified it as a Western Tanager.  I think I saw two different birds in the garden.  I took this picture through my kitchen window.  Hopefully I can get more pictures of this beautiful bird.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beautiful Ground Covers Instead of Mulch

I love ground covers and love even more the ground covers that hug the ground and bloom. Some ground covers can be invasive.  I define an invasive plant as a plant that easily travels with underground roots and needs a shovel for removal.  Think apple mint! ugh! (the sound you make as you repeatedly remove the plant)  But these ground covers are well behaved and beautiful.
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Bressingham thyme is one of the first ground cover to bloom.
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The yellow ground cover is Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort).  The white is Cerastium tomentosum (snow in the summer)
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Wooly thyme hugs the ground. It is a pretty gray green.
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White flowered Galium odoratum (sweet woodruff) with varigated iris.  The sweet woodruff can weave through this part of the garden protecting the soil from weeds.
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Today I used the telephoto lens to catch this bit of gold.  Yes there are gold fish, but look carefully.
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A warbler (I think – let me know if you know) stopped by for a bath.  I think the goldfish head to where the fish bathe because of insects that wash off the bird. They are smart fish.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Joy of Compost - Growing Potatoes and “Wrist-lings”

A cool cloudy morning was the perfect time to tend the compost. I have two compost boxes.  I put plant and vegetable matter on the top of the box, adding some soil on top when needed.  The soil on top prevents any smell.  I work with one box at a time, adding to the box for a year or so and then letting it finish.  By mid-spring of the next year I have a full box filled with garden-ready compost.  It does wonders for feeding the soil.  As I scooped it into the wheel barrow, I could identify mango and avocado pits and an occasional fruit label.   I marvel at the process and I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the food we have eaten and for the miracle of this cycle of life.
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After emptying the compost box, I tip it over and reset it back into its spot. I make sure that soil seals the bottom edges all around.  I don’t want to leave any space for mice to creep in.  The  compost boxes also have a sliding door at the bottom to access compost as it is developed.  I don’t turn this compost, only water it once in awhile.
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This is two of my  beds where this year I am growing potatoes.  It is early in the season and they are just coming out.  First I mulched them with straw and then compost on top.  This loose straw/compost allows potatoes to grow and keeps the sun off of them as they grow.  One side has Yukon Gold the other has Majestic Purple.
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As soon as we get more straw I will add more straw and more compost.  The green stems and leaves will grow up through it, hopefully producing a deeper layer of potatoes.  After the flowers appear I will dig around and rob a potato or two or three, leaving the vine to grow and make more.
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Every once in awhile Ted grabs my camera and takes a picture of me.  This one he said was one of me in my “natural habitat”. (garden clothes, coffee cup in hand, checking something online).   So why would I post a picture of me with no makeup in a funny hat?  It has garden merit:  Gardening is a contact sport.  Twigs, branches and thorns can cause cuts and scratches.  Even with long sleeves, there is always the open bit of skin between gloves and wrist.  Before throwing out worn socks I cut off the feet and use the cuffs to   snugly protect my wrist.  The hat was my dad’s gardening hat.  It works wells for cool mornings and I can remember him and his love of gardening.

Monday, May 27, 2013

How Quick the Garden Grows–See Verbascums

Everyday the garden changes.  I said to Ted that if we lived in a milder climate I imagine the garden cleanup would be less.  As it is we spend  most of 5 cold months unable to garden.  When the soil finally thaws I have lots of clean up in preparation for the gardening season.  Plus, this is the time to move plants and make changes.  In the past I have shown such a tiny portion of the pictures I take.  Most pictures that I do not show have hoses, shovels, wheel barrows and what not in the background.  But this year I decided to let you see how things look on their way to “picture perfect”
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Today was cool and lovely. A great day to work in the garden
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Years ago I started Verbascums indoors.  To my delight they reseed.  They like to grow in between cracks.
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They have leather-like leaves.
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In front of one of my deep vegetable beds
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I was surprised to see one in white.
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I have collected rocks at the base of a very large elm tree.  The clove currant was probably sowed by a bird and is growing as often in nature at the base of a tree.
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Last week I mentioned to Ted that I wish I had bought my window boxes in a brighter color instead of the loden green.  His immediate comment was that I should buy what I wanted.  What a concept!  I immediately went online and ordered 3 window boxes from Gardeners Supply.  Ted suggested we match some of the window trim with the color of the window boxes….Who is this man and what happened to my Ted!  Today he painted the window trim.
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Check it out! I think the hummingbirds will love it. Tomorrow I hope to plant the boxes. This is a job in progress.

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The garden is growing.