Know to Grow…

I’ve been gardening for years now, but this year, for some reason, I am obsessed.   It’s always been enjoyable to me, but it has lately developed into a real passion.  (If you’re going to be passionate about something, it may as well be something important, right?   Food is pretty important.)

I will take a moment here to make my disclaimer–I am not what you would call a foodie, per se.  While I love and appreciate fresh, organic food, I am not above eating Cheetos and Ding Dongs.  This may be horrifying to some (and probably rightly so), but I’ve got to be honest.  Would it be better to cut back on the junk?  Yeah.  But my point is that I’m not perfect, and certainly don’t expect anyone else to be.  However, I do feel that if you eat food, you should have at least a basic understanding of where it comes from…

What truly startles me is when I hear that a good deal of American adults believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows, or when my uncle relays a story of how a woman he talked to saw green beans on the vine and didn’t know what they were.

I’m sure I take for granted what little knowledge I have.  Though I’ve lived in the suburbs for most of my life, I’m very fortunate to come from an agricultural family and have access to enough land for gardening.  I’m no expert myself, though, and am always trying to learn more.  My dream is that everyonewould develop a genuine interest in gardening.

I would encourage everyone to grow something.   I know some don’t have the space, but if possible, if you have a little porch or patio, do some container gardening.  Try a few herbs.  A tomato.  Anything!  The experience of watching something go from seed (or seedling) to something you can eat and enjoy is amazing but hard to convey with words.  Don’t know how to get started?  Take a class or ask your master gardener!  (You can also ask The Garden Girls andwe will help in any way we can.)

I’m excited about going to Composting 101 on August 7.  The class will be taught by Master Gardener Connie Gaston and held at the Wichita Public Library (Main Branch) at 223 S Main.  It’s the first in a series of Fall Gardening Classes given throughout August; you can see the rest of the classes here; they are totally free, but they do ask that you register if you plan on attending.

You can also stop by the Sedgwick County Extension Office at 21st and Ridge and they will help with agricultural questions or concerns.  In addition to classes, they offer soil testing, have lots of information on their website, and more.  

Let’s learn and grow together.

Garden Update: July 9

(Unfortunately, this is a photo-less post.  We’ve been working a LOT in the garden this week, but I didn’t think to take pictures!  Next time for sure.)

Things you learn when you actually read a book: parsnip seeds need to be cooled before they’ll grow.  So much for that experiment!  (I’ll try again next year.)

I planted some zinnias that are coming up nicely, and some white marigolds, which aren’t doing so well.   At last count, I had about 7 sad, tiny plants trying to survive, but I’ve been keeping them watered and still have hope!

The okra’s getting bigger, but not blooming yet.  Cucumbers are setting on, but one shriveled up and the rest don’t seem to be getting bigger…yet…

We have, however, been enjoying some tomatoes!!  And of course, snatching cucumbers from our neighboring garden plots (don’t worry, they don’t mind.)

The potatoes are pretty much gone–either sold or eaten by us.   Zucchini and yellow squash are still going gangbusters.

We planted some winter squash a few weeks ago–butternut and spaghetti.  So far, the plants are doing well.

Fall plans: we want to try peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and turnips.  We may also throw in some rutabagas, even though we usually don’t have much success with them.  I’d love to plant some herbs that could be taken indoors; it’s just, you know…a matter of doing it!

In defense of the potato.

I’ve heard several people now either ask if there’s any difference between homegrown and store-bought potatoes, or have the gall to simply state that there is no difference.  (WHAT?!?)

If you fall into the latter category, either you’ve never had both, or its entirely possible that your tastebuds are not be working properly.

We’re not even going to address the fact that homegrown potatoes are better for you, the earth, etc.  Today, we’re just talking about flavor.

Planting a row of potatoes

If you’ve only had commercial potatoes, it’s understandable that you might question whether there’s even room for a difference.  After eating those things you find in the store, you’ll begin to think of potatoes as bland, mealy, and insipid–so perhaps insipid is the defining nature of a potato?  I’m here to tell you that it is decidedly not so.

Homegrown potatoes, i.e. those grown usually organically, on a small scale, and usually with love and care, are creamy, smooth, flavorful–I am happy enough to eat them plain, but slap some butter on and WOW… 

So if you’ve never enjoyed a homegrown spud, make a point to get down to your local farmers market, farm stand, or even grow your own (they are fairly easy to maintain if you have the space, or even if you don’t–do a quick search and you’ll find many ways to grow potatoes without a lot of land.)

Okra, flowers, and…parsnips?

Over the last couple of days, I planted some more seeds–including parsnips!  Yes, I know it’s late in the year, but I figure I haven’t got much to lose.

Yesterday, I planted more okra, in addition to the plants we have coming up now.  The day before that is when I planted my test row of parsnips, along with pink crepis, two varieties of zinnias, and gilia globe.  I’ve never tried the crepis or gilia, and suspect it’s also late in the season for those, but again, it shouldn’t hurt to try!

Right now, the garden’s looking relatively weed-free and we were able to till earlier this week.  I think we’ll do another sale next weekend…

Welcome! Spring/Summer 2017 Plantings

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Planting radishes…

We (The Garden Girls) are a mother and daughter gardening team in southcentral Kansas.  We’ve been gardening for years, but are not so great about keeping records.  So, I, the daughter half, have decided to start a journal, and figured it may as well be online!

 

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Lovely little lettuce

We mostly plant vegetables, and some herbs and flowers, but I’d really like to expand into more flowers and herbs in the future–it just seems I never get around to it!  (Story of my life.)   We have several garden spots that we maintain, some are our own, some belong to others.

So what’s in the garden right now?!

In the “big garden,” we’ve planted red and white potatoes, red and white onions, beets, and tomatoes: Jet Star, Lemon Boy, Boxcar Willie, Pink German, and some others. Cucumbers, squash, and okra are coming up nicely so far.  We had some orach, New Zealand spinach, collards, and bib lettuce, but all of that has bolted by now.  (I’m hoping to save the seeds!)  Also going to seed: Cherry Bell radishes, one giant onion from last year, and a row of huge parsnips from last year…

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Onion blossom

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Parsnips out of control!

At our tiny suburban home garden, we have green beans, tomatoes, rhubarb, and…marigolds!  Along with some other things, as well.

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Some of my favorite flowers, the marigold.

We plan on planting some zinnias and winter squash soon.  I also have the crazy idea of planting parsnips now from some of the seeds that appear to be mature…I’m sure they won’t be ready to harvest this fall, but I figure I’ve got nothing to lose.

Last weekend, we had a lovely times selling some of our produce alongside the road, and hope to do that again soon–stay tuned for updates!

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On the banks of potato creek…