Thursday, May 27, 2021

Green and Growing

Last weekend, I was talking to a blogger friend who has also drifted into silence on his blog, and we agreed that we missed writing and then we further vowed that we would blog again. So here I am! 

Let's start with all the green things. The plants are hard to distinguish in the photos. If you're local, come for a tour: we can safely do that again, praise the Lord! My loosestrife did not come back in the cute little olive pot, so I pulled a spider baby off a houseplant and a piece of creeping Jenny from the tree well and poked them in there. It's only been a couple days, but they don't look dead so I'm hopeful.
The big pot has lemongrass, purple basil, apple mint, petunias, marigolds, and creeping jenny. I love mixing edibles and flowers. The nasturtium seeds are germinating unevenly for the second summer in a row. I think I need to buy more and sow more heavily to get a decent amount. That parsley overwintered and surprised me. 
We are making a pea gravel patio in our backyard after talking about it for years. It's coming along and we are using it in its half-completed state, eating supper outside most days on our new dining set before the mosquitoes get going. 

We also made a rain garden to absorb the runoff from our roof after my husband piped the spouting under the patio. Our city has a runoff problem that is polluting nearby waterways, so this is one way we are working at it. We followed directions to blend the soil with compost and sand and dig the bed out to encourage absorption. The native plants can handle soggy roots if needed. We planted a redtwig dogwood, black-eyed susans, Joe Pye weed, turtle heads, and another shrub whose name I don't recall. I loved this project! 
I planted kale last fall and was pleased by the harvest and thought it was done, but it appeared this spring. Bonus! Or maybe that's what kale does? I still have a lot to learn about growing food. 

My sugar peas are just starting and we've been harvesting spinach for a few weeks now. I transplanted 4 tomato seedlings to nurture; we get volunteers every year from the heirlooms planted years ago. It's thrilling, but maybe not advisable for crop rotation and soil diseases.
 We grew okra for the first time last year and it was a huge success: easy to grow, nutritious, popular with the fam. The seeds my husband saved did not germinate, however, so I just bought seed (not really easy to find in the north) and we're trying again. 

The red and black raspberries are going nuts. I lost my hold on a container of organic berry fertilizer this January and whoops, they got overfed. 
The rhubarb is also turning into a bush! That is a little swamp white oak tree next to it, which is finally taller than me. It is a slow growing tree, but I was just reading this spring how oaks are the backbone of the regional tree ecosystem, so I'm pleased to be part of that. 

My family gives rhubarb the side eye, but I love it, so I'm still figuring out how much I can realistically use or preserve and whether I should give it away. I did already freeze some to use as a tart element in winter cooking instead of lemon: got that tip from a friend who also likes to cook with local food. 
How are your plants doing? And how are you? I missed you and plan to keep writing here!

19 comments:

  1. Welcome back!

    Your garden is looking so productive, and so early in the season! Love the variety. The pea gravel outdoor dining room is a wonderful idea. Maybe you could extend the al fresco season with one of those screen tents?

    My rhubarb is thriving as well. Besides a rhubarb crumble (yum!) I use a lot of it making 'blubarb' jam. It's so good! Blueberries and rhubarb. I've also made blackbarb and raspbarb. You'll have plenty of berries if you want to give it a try. Also, if you are a jam maker, do you use Pomona's pectin? I have given up the old way of making jam - just too much sugar! All my jam is very low sugar now and honestly, delicious.

    Wishing you a happy growing season!

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    1. e, I love berry and rhubarb desserts! I've also made rhubarb/citrus marmalade. I did use Pomona's and (I blush) it was not sweet enough for me. So I reverted to the old methods. I mean, I do use jam sparingly and I don't sugar my fruit otherwise, so I think I'm still healthy enough, haha!

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  2. Wow are you garden projects are really coming along! We added a whole new area in our backyard after we tore out out old Cold Frame that was rotting you should check out my blog! So it's great to grow food! We're just getting started with some of ours in the next week or so. We had a really cool and wet May so I started seeds inside

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  3. Do you have any strawberries? My favorite rhubarb recipe is strawberry rhubarb pie. I bet raspberry rhubarb pie would be good too!

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    1. Our local strawberries are just coming in! I don't grow them, but you bet I am buying them up. Hoping to go pick our own at a local farm, too. And yes, I will be making strawberry rhubarb crisp for sure.

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  4. It is so nice to "hear" your voice again! I think we all missed your centeredness and common sense as well as "visiting" your family. I just cook rhubarb with a bit of water to start and some sugar - I like it tartly sweet. Personally I like it just like that but it is also good mixed with a good plain greek yogurt. Just an idea.

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    1. :) :) This is a good idea, and I agree, I don't like it super-sweet.

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  5. Glad to hear from you again; I missed you! And glad your silence didn't mean something bad happened...

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  6. So glad to read a new post!! Your garden is beautiful and inspiring.

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  7. I'm glad you came back, Margo!

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  8. So pleased to see you back, I was worried that COVID had got into your household.

    I love rhubarb, and I bake it with orange juice, or with apples, and stash it in the freezer for eating with my breakfast muesli.

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    1. Oh, it totally did, despite our caution and following all protocols. I had COVID in February (a mild case) and my entire family tested negative. I don't think we spread it to anyone else, and now all the adults are vaccinated and the teens get their second vaccine today, so we are hopeful. . .

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  9. Glad you are back. I have missed "hearing" you.
    Try rhubarb punch. 1 cup chopped rhubarb, 1 cup water. Cook on medium heat till rhubarb is mush. Then blend and chill. I mix half and half with any clear diet pop for a delicious drink on a hot day. You may add a little sugar or sweetener if you wish. Should you feel so inclined it is quite tasty with a little gin.

    Looking forward to more posts from you.
    Chris S in Canada

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    1. Chris, I did make something like that and we are calling it pink soda and pretty pleased! Adding gin is a great idea :) Maybe even some mint, too. . .

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  10. Ooooooooh! This post makes me so happy. I've missed your thoughts and happenings. Understandable, given all the chaos and uncertainty and strain so many experience in the past year+ though.

    First off, that patio project sounds fantastic. What a wonderful space for you! I love eating outdoors! At least until it gets blasting hot.

    You have so much garden goodness going on, too! Hooray for peas and greens and raspberries! We mostly give away our rhubarb. Neither of us LOVE it. Its okay, but mostly as desserts and I don't use it regularly enough. People are always pretty happy to take some though! I hope your garden continues to grow well this year!

    Have a wonderful day!

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  11. Beth, thanks for the garden love - your garden is amazing, too, and I always love reading what you're doing there!

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