Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden Happenings

I love watering days in my garden. Sure its takes a lot of time and it is sometimes heavy and hot, but I like to spend some quality time with each plant. Today I thought I'd share some pictures of a few of the things I discovered while watering today.

First, my borage has begun to flower. Borage is a plant that is originally from Syria but is now found all around the Mediterranean, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia Minor and South America! Recipes involving this little flower are found from Poland to Persia. The flower itself tastes like a cucumber. The leaves are also used, especially in Iran, to make a deep purple tea.

While watering my seedlings, I also discovered that many of the little guys had started to develope their first set of real leaves. For the most part, when seedlings sprout their first two leave look very similar no matter what the plant is. Its when their second set of leaves start to grow that they begin to resemble their mature shape. Here is a future cabbage.

Here is another one of my seedling groups. Peas are a great thing to grow because they sprout pretty fast compared to other seeds and give the gardener an early sense of accomplishment as he/she waits for the rest of the seeds to sprout. I also like that they are robust looking from the second they shoot out of the soil. These will soon be planted around my tomato cages. I'm hoping the tomatoes will shade them until the weather gets cooler. In the past I've had bad luck with my peas getting burnt up. Also, a good tip for grown peas is to soak them in water for about 8 hours before planting. Bad seeds will float on top while good ones sink. This hydration also gives them a head start once you plant them.

Now if you're really in the market for instant gratification (or as close as you can get with seeds) grow a pot of radishes. They sprout in a day or two and are ready to eat in a month. Also, when you thin the seedlings, you can eat them in salad whole, leaves and all. They taste just like mini-radishes. I'm going to try these guys thinly slices on a baguette (or perhaps an herbed bread) with a little salt and butter when they grow up! Also, you can steam the mature radish greens and treat them like you would any other cooked green (Kale, Collard, Mustard, etc.).

Lastly, all this garden happiness doesn't mean there isn't tragedy. This winter squash was my pride and joy and month ago. Lush, beautiful and thriving it was, but now, dieing. It has been on the decline for the last several weeks. I've tried more water, I've tried less. I think the soil might be to blame. My soil is about 20% good dirt, 30% clay and 50% chunks of concrete that the builders buried when they build the neighborhood. This means I try to avoid planting too much in the ground because it requires a lot of bags of new dirt and hiding places for all the garbage I dig out. Alas, I think this winter squash has come to the end of the road.

Well thanks for taking a tour of some of my plants with me. Hope all is well in your gardens!

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