Monday, June 10, 2013

My garden, June 7th 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

French Radish

Last week I started some seedlings for my garden:

French Radish
Iceberg Lettuce
Asian Spinach

The French Radish are sprouting like mad. They will transplanted into the garden sooner than any of the other seedlings. For this blog, I am going to discuss how to grow and eat French Radish.

These radishes are oblong, with a white base fading into a pink cap. They can grow up to three inches in length. One blogger recommends planting them with beets because the Radishes are harvested in just a few weeks, while the beets take much longer. Apparently the roots do not spit open as much as other round radish roots. The French Breakfast radish was introduced in 1879, and was popular in the Parisian Farmer markets. From my experience, these babies are very easy to grow.

I have no idea why it is called Breakfast Radish, I would never eat one of these for breakfast. But, they do look great for a stir fry, hor d'eurve or side dish. There are many online recipes for glazed radish, and sauteed radish. I do not know what works, but when harvest time comes around I will share my recipes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The sprouting garden


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thai Peppers

This is my first year planting at the community garden. I have already been making some mistakes and learning from them. (note to self: do not put out basil until June)

Anyway, I planted Thai Peppers. It is the key ingredient to Thai curry. This pepper is used extensively is all types of Asian cooking. They dry easily due to their thin skin. The chili grows to only 1.5 inches long, and .25 in diameter. Apparently, it packs some serious heat, and that heat intensifies when drying.  The plant grows low, but the chili grow pointing upward. One chili can easily season an entire batch of chili. Apparently the charm of these peppers is that they make great ornaments.

May 1st 2013 : Day at the garden

Yesterday was a pretty rough day. My two year old pushed my baby at the garden, caused a minor head wound which proceeded to gush blood. We had to call the medics. It was a horrible event.

Needless to say, they are NOT coming together with me to the garden again.

That being said, here is my garden update:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Grow Onion Sets - simple instructions

Onions are a staple in almost all vegetable gardens. One of the easiest way to plant onions is to use sets (teeny tiny onion bulbs you buy in the nursery). They are about the size of a marble. Plant them two inches in the ground when the temperature is about fifty degrees F. Choose a location that gets about seven hours of light every day. The bulbs can be planted about four inches apart. 

Onions need to grow in firm soil. Tamp them down after planting. Mend the soil with: zinc, boron and nitrogen. 

Onions are easily damaged by garden tools. You should mulch after the leaves start growing, or weed them by hand. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Burpee Sowing Calender

Burpee is a seed supply company that offers a great online feature - a growing calender. Just plug in your zip code, and poof, they will show you when to sow seeds indoors and when to sow them outdoors. I plugged in my zip code and came up with the following growing calender.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Real Day Working in the Garden

Today I planted Sweet Corn (3 rows), and garlic chives along the little thatch fence. The 10x10 square was a lot of work. I am open to suggestions and advice from any person who has managed a garden this size.

Here is what we have planted so far:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

✿First Day in the Kent Community Garden ✿

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures available, but yesterday was our first day in the Kent Community Garden.  I did put together a quick Photoshop image of what I completed yesterday in the garden.

My plot was marked and tilled, had a few weeds growing, but other than that looks okay. I put out some of my seedlings so that they can get better sunlight. While my two little boys played in the dirt ( which they enjoyed greatly), I tilled the boarders of the plot.

I planted bunching onions (scallions) along the south west boarder of the garden. I prefer using onions as my garden borders because they function as a natural pest control. Their pungent odor detracts certain unwanted critters. Gardeners advise planting carrots next to onions.Onions protect broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes. One of my little seed boxes contain Brussels sprouts. Like cabbage, Brussels sprouts in the genus Brassica and benefit from being planted near onions.

I am still working out my garden plan for this site. Stay tuned!



Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 2013 Garden Planning Phase I

my garden
I did a little shopping for the garden today at Carpintino Brothers. Before I show you what I bought, I want to show you what I made for the garden. I started making the vegetable labels for the garden. I did not think of these cute labels on my own. I got the idea from pintrest, and posted the image to one of my pintrest boards.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ornamental Rosemary Plant

Its piney branches, woody stems and earthy fragrance makes rosemary one of my favorite herbs. Rosemary is the go-to herb for chicken, fish, lamb, and potato. Gardeners know that it is more than just an herb, but it is also an ornamental plant. Landscapers have long known that due to its drought resistance, rosemary plants are a great addition to warm climate gardens. Aphids, flies and other naughty garden creatures are turned off by the rosemary plant. .

Rosemary is a long living, semi-woody perennial herb that can be pruned any way that you like, and become a bonsai in a single year. Moreover, it does not take much effort. It can reach a maximum of forty eight inches in three years. How charming to have such a great herb plant grown as an ornamental bonsai shrub!

Rosemary does not require pruning to grow, however some strong cutting back will improve the look and vitality of the plant. Pruning also allows light to reach branches and needles located closer to the ground.

Friday, March 15, 2013

March 15th - Seed Germination

Today was a busy day. I started germinating my seedlings. It was a lot of work in one day because I made each one of the little cardboard beds by hand.

These babies are out on the balcony and will be hit with morning light. In about three weeks we will see some emerging baby plants. 

Learning more about seeds can help one's success with them. When you look at seeds, you are looking at their coat. The outer layer of the seed protects it from disease and temperature extremes. Inside the seed is an embryo. The seed is full of endosperm, or the nutrient that the seed needs to grow.

Seed germination is a charming process. Watching a dry, wrinkled baby seed emerge and transform is a wondrous thing. Creating plant life is truly one of my great loves in life. When the baby seed is placed in rich airy soil, the water activates an enzyme causing respiration in the plant cells to duplicate. This is why one should never plant seeds in firmly packed soil, we need water and air to reach the seeds. Soon the embryo becomes too large, the seed coat breaks, and the plant emerges, poking its baby head through the thin layer of soil above. The root emerges quickly, anchoring the seed in place and allowing the seed/embryo to absorb  more water and nutrients from the soil.

Sometimes, pre-soaking the seeds before planting will really move things along nicely. I did not do that today, but if I was planting other seeds, I would probably do it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Six Hundred Kinds of Mint

There are many things I love about horticulture. The variety of plants are far greater than what we find in the grocery store. This was something I discovered when looking for the right tomato plants to make pasta sauce.

I am looking for the right mint plant to make my extracts this year. While your local grocery store will sell you one kind of mint - online suppliers like Mountain Valley Growers sell over seventeen kinds of Mint. The Bruce Company offers pages of information discussing different varieties of vegetables. They offer some very useful information.

For example, I am interested in Banana Mint, the Bruce Company wrote: Banana Mint: Smells and tastes like banana candy. Smaller, low growing plant. Not as aggressive as some mints. Mint: 1-3' ht; prefers moist soil; full to part sun Hardy Perennial: Aggressive spreader, will take over an area if allowed to. Best grown in a pot, or contained area. Leaves can be dried, but are best fresh or frozen. Use in teas, jellies, vinegars, seasoning meat, fruit salads. Commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine.

Mint plants apparently grow rapidly and have a tendency to take over the garden. Growers suggest growing it in pots. If I have to grow my mint in pots, then I will grow them on my balcony instead of in my garden.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What type of tomato to plant?

There are so many things I have learned from Rays videos over the years. After watching the video above, I researched his specific featured tomato plants. I am still amazed at how many varieties we have. It is only a small amount compared to what we see at the grocery store. I am gearing up to start my garden, and am starting the process of finding seeds and bulbs. I decided that I will use the garden for sole purpose of producing food for my family.

 Here is a list of some of the pasta sauce ingredients I will be growing. This list will be modified in the next couple weeks.

Polish Linguisa
Roma VF Tomato
Amish Paste

Thime Rosemary Cilantro Basil
Runner Beans

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Starting Basil Seeds Indoors

Basil is my favorite herb. I grew an abundance of it last year. I made enough pesto for our family and many of our relatives. This is an herb I absolutely recommend growing. Making your own pesto only costs a fraction of the store bought varieties.


For me, this is the most difficult part. You will have to choose what type of basil you want to grow.
Here is a short list of some basil varieties. Click on any of the varieties, I linked online stores where you can buy them.

'Siam Queen'     
Licorice basil     
Mrs. Burns lemon basil 
Spice Basil


Start seeds in flats filled with equal parts of perlite, vermiculite and peat. Press the soil enough to eliminate any air pockets, then dampen the soil. Drop a couple of seeds into each container, lightly cover them with soil. Wrap plastic around the seedlings and put them in a bright area. If you have a light system in place, that is even better. I live in Seattle, and it is always dark but the kitchen light is usually on. I keep my seedlings on top of the cupboards near the lights.


Water the plants lightly, about twice daily. If you used plastic to cover them, remove it once the plants emerge.


Once the leaves formed your plant can be re-potted or put  in the garden. Word of caution. They will die if there is a frost. These are warm loving plants. To plant into the garden pinch off the bottom two leaves, turn the container upside down and gently tap until the plant slides out. Bury roots and stem to cover the spot where the leaves were pinched of. Pat down soil to eliminate air pockets.


Love your plants. I prune the leaves as the plants grow. We always have a fresh supply in the house. One important tip - never let your basil plant flower. Once it does, all the flavor is gone. It is a mean thing to do to the plant, sorry, but remove those flower buds as soon as you see them form.

Enjoy your plants and your pesto.