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Yard Stick, Walking Stick, Squash?

September 8th, 2012

Early this summer I planted seeds for ‘Trombetto’ squash from Renee’s Garden over at my mom’s.

The flavor is supposed to be like that of an artichoke. We had one for breakfast yesterday morning. Not sure if artichoke is how I would describe it, but it was good. Different than the usual zucchini.

It’s a climbing vine, much like a cucumber. The fruits hang down and are quite amazing when you see them, so much different than any other type of summer squash.

I harvested these two beauties on Thursday. My mom said she had no idea when to pick them so she left them on the vine. Growing interesting varieties of vegetables is one of the fun things about having an edible garden. Each year I try to grow a few new fun things.

What’s the strangest vegetable/fruit you’ve grown?

Windowbox Sweet Peas

June 30th, 2012

This spring I ordered a packet of Windowbox Heirloom Cupid Sweet Peas from Renee’s Garden. I’ve never had much luck getting sweet peas to bloom here in the garden, so I decided windowbox sweet peas in a container would be my best option.

I planted the little seeds way back in March and waited, and waited, and waited. Just about the time I was wondering if they’d ever bloom, I spotted little buds.

They’re quite lovely, well worth the wait. I’m happy to finally have some sweet peas blooming in the garden. Next year I’ll have to grow some of my grandma’s heirloom sweet peas in a container with a trellis. I might also try some of the other colors of sweet peas that Renee’s carries!

Do you grow sweet peas in the garden? What’s your favorite color?

A Few Beauties from Renee’s Garden

September 13th, 2011

Last year I was lucky enough to win a gift certificate from Renee’s Garden in their photo contest. It was really great to leaf through the catalog this spring and choose a few lovely things to grow in the garden. I chose mostly seeds for ornamental plants since I had already ordered my vegetable seeds. After planting them early this summer we had a big hailstorm and many washed away, but a few managed to survive. I was so happy to find some of them blooming when we got home from vacation.

Cardinal Climber Vine turned out to be quite a lovely vine. It’s vigorous and it’s tiny reddish pink blooms are like miniature morning glories. I wish they had started blooming earlier because the hummingbirds are supposed to love them, but they will all be migrating very shortly. I must start these indoors next spring to they bloom earlier. I planted them at the base of the gutters on my garage and on the side porch by the kitchen door. I’m hoping they set seed so I can save some to plant next year.

The Double Rose Bon Bon Cosmos are so fabulous, much more showy than the standard ones that spring up in my garden each year. They were a beautiful surprise in the lower new garden are when we returned home from vacation. I’ll be ordering more of these for sure. I won’t bother saving seed because they’ll probably revert back to standard zinnias if I try.

Sadly, I also planted seeds for Gulfwinds, Summer Peaches and Summer Romance Alyssum along with Shirley and Falling in Love Poppies and a few different kinds of larkspur of which all the seeds got washed away. I was really disappointed because I really love alyssum. I did get some marigolds that survived.

The Signet Starfire Marigolds did beautifully in both my new front garden and in one of the raised beds in the back. I must admit I usually am not a fan of marigolds but surprisingly I really love these little marigolds.

When I was getting the link for Renee’s I noticed they’re having a 40% off sale on their “packed for 2011” seeds. I think I’ll have to take a look at the list and choose a few more beauties for my garden next year, probably a few things I’ve never grown before. One of the things I really like about Renee’s Garden is that the packets don’t come with thousands of seeds in them. I like getting just enough for a home gardener like myself. The varieties they sell are tested for small home gardens. No doubt I’ll be sitting down here in the next few days with my seed box and figuring out what beauties I want to order for my garden next summer.

Did you plant any new beauties that you were especially fond of in your garden this year?

Edible or Ornamental +free seeds

January 24th, 2011

Last fall I won a photo contest over at Renee’s Garden and they sent me a gift certificate *awesome*. What’s better than winning a gift certificate to a fabulous seed catalog? (I decide to share my winnings, see below for your chance to win some free Renee’s Garden seeds)

I was looking through the on-line catalog trying to decide what I wanted to order and I noticed that I’m definitely drawn to edible things, mostly vegetables and herbs. I have a few annual plants I start, mostly alyssum and zinnias, but I’m definitely a perennial gardener when it comes to blooming plants (or things that self-seed readily without my help).

I’ll definitely be ordering ‘Catalina’ spinach as it has done beautifully in my garden, the ‘Italian Aromatic’ sage was fab in my Thanksgiving meal, and I’m really loving my pot of ‘Amsterdam’ seasoning celery for winter soups and stews. I was also very happy with the ‘Romanesco’ zucchini, isn’t it a beauty?

So far on my list of seed to order I have:
‘All-Season’ broccoli
‘Endeavor’ kirby pickle
‘Trieste’ bulbing fennel
‘Crispy Winter Salad’ greens
‘Summer Bouquet’ lettuce trio
‘Ruby and Emerald’ container lettuce
‘Merveille De Quatre Saisons’ heirloom lettuce
‘Jewel Tones’ peppers
‘Delicious Duo’ scallions
‘Summer Perfection’ spinach
and one of the shaker cans of California Poppies to try on my back hillside, which is plagued with terribly dry lean soil. I think I’ll buy a few flowering seeds, maybe the 3 different kinds of allysum they have and some nasturtiums (also edible) and those window box sweet peas are adorable, perhaps I’ll get those to dress up my garage window!

Of course I didn’t want to keep all these lovely seeds to myself, so I’ll be giving three packs of Renee’s Garden seeds of your choice to one lucky reader. For your chance to win, head over to Renee’s Garden and choose 3 varieties of vegetables, flowers or herbs that you’d like to grow and list them in the comments below. If you win I’ll order your choice of seeds along with my order, I’ll choose a winner on Friday. We have a WINNER!
Congratulations! Head on over to Morgan’s blog Grounded and read about things like: making your own seed balls, how to build a worm bin and what life is like in Southern California.

What do you grow most of, ornamental or edible?

For anyone interested Renee’s Garden if offering 10% off your entire order until Jan 31, 2011 with code: EARLYBIRD

The First Zucchini of the Summer

July 8th, 2010

I harvested my first zucchini on Tuesday July 6th, it was a ‘Romanesco’ Zucchini from Renee’s Garden. It’s described like this: With traditional style and flavor, high yields and disease resistance, this delicious Italian favorite has creamy sweet flesh, tender striped skin, and long-holding edible blossoms. I must admit, it was very tender and quite delicious and the blossom was still attached when I harvested it at 7 inches long. Last year I harvested my first zucchini on July 16th, so this hot weather has certainly helped the zucchini out this year.

You really can’t beat zucchini for a quick and easy summer side, we enjoy it all summer long. I like to pick them small and slice them or cut them in half and saute them in a skillet, then top with freshly ground pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of good olive oil. We enjoyed this one with venison burgers topped with blue cheese and caramelized onions; a perfect summer meal!

This year I’m growing a few other varieites of zucchini as well, I’m growing ‘Ronde de Nice’ again, Burpee ‘Fordhook’ and ‘Romanesco’. I’ve never had great luck growing it, most people end up with too much zucchini, I only get a few fruits per plant. Hopefully this year will be different. At least I usually have an abundance of squash blossoms, which we’ve been enjoying stuffed with blue cheese, breaded and fried (note: we usually only eat the male blossoms because the female ones will produce fruit).

Are you usually overrun with zucchini in the summer like everyone else? What’s your favorite way to enjoy this vegetable?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.