Friday, April 30, 2010

Those Nice Folks at Burpee

Today I received my last plant shipment from Burpee...well, almost the last. They sent my Blockbuster and Godfather peppers, my Health Kick and Big Mama tomatoes. But they didn't send my Honeybunch cherry tomatoes, instead I've got Porterhouse? (Check the link KM, I think you're going to like these!)
I called right away and a lovely Burpee associate named Irene checked the stock on the Honeybunch and promised to send out another set right away. She also told me to enjoy the Porterhouse tomatoes. I realize they wouldn't have expected me to ship 'em back, but still, I think I'm going to really enjoy this screw up!

Mama Bird

Seriously? Like it wasn't bad enough last year when she built a nest in the tree right next to the walkway?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

One More Cup of Coffee...

There's not a whole lot of coffee drinking that goes on over here at the Gardens (it only takes one cup to overcaffeinate me, and it ain't pretty), but when we do brew a pot I save those grounds for my hydrangea.

A bunch of acid loving plants really enjoy their joe when you work some used grounds into the soil - hydrangea, blueberries, roses, rhododendron and azaleas. I hate azaleas. And I have three awful scrawny ones left behind by the previous owner. Think it will help if I give them a little caffeine?

Monday, April 26, 2010


Rhubarb! I love the stuff, but all I really know is rhubarb jam or pie. My mother makes a great cobbler with Jiffy cake, but I wanted to try something new. Good thing I've been pawing through my thousands of recipes clipped from magazines!

Rhubarb Crisp
1 small orange
1lb. strawberries, hulled & sliced
10oz. rhubarb, sliced
1/4 c. sugar
1Tb. cornstarch
1/3c. old-fashioned oats
1/3c. brown sugar
1/3c. whole wheat flour
3Tb. butter

Preaheat oven to 375 degrees. Zest orange and divide into two medium-sized bowls. Squeeze 1/4c. juice and reserve. In one bowl, mix fruit and sugar. Mix cornstarch into orange juice and add to fruit. Combine well. Pour fruit into a 9" pie plate. In second bowl with orange zest, combine oats, brown sugar and flour with butter. Cut the mixture into coarse crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Bake 45 minutes. Cool until filling sets, about 45 minutes and serve slightly warm.
I think the only thing I would change about this, is add 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

This recipe gets 4 stars from both myself and my father-in-law.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A-Mulchin' We Will Go...

D'you think 10 yards will be enough?
I'm going to mulch the pathways of the veggie garden, which is all you've heard about so far. Here at Reservoir Gardens, we also have a large front bed of ornamentals (Burning Bush, Weeping Cherry tree, Lilac bush, Lupine, Azaleas, etc.), the bed around the mailboxes, the base of the maple tree, the beds in front of the house, the base of the Lilac tree in the High Yard, the Hillside that slopes into the backyard, and the area around the Fire Patio.

We didn't have enough last year to mulch to the appropriate depth and we didn't even get to the Hillside. We also didn't mulch the pathways of the garden. And to be fair, the Fire Patio was so overgrown, we just let it go last year and tried not to burn the place down. So, this year we doubled our order from Bakers and it arrives tomorrow.

HUGE thanks to the husband for attacking the overgrown Fire Patio--wish I had before and after pics... The shot above shows the area at its best from last year and that's pretty rough.

On another topic, what do you know about Irish Moss?? We need to put in a pathway from the drive to the house. We've got a ton of large irregular slate, but we need something to fill in the gaps other than scraggly grass.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Garden Grows... Yes, glass. I wish I had a picture of all I found while I was "pre-weeding" the garden. Pretty sure the yard was a hangout for beer-drinking teens during the 18 months the house was empty before we moved in.

Decided that next year I will pre-weed before I hard to find the little buggers when they're not sprouting! Pre-weeding finished on Saturday morning and by noon all the pathways and 3'x3' squares were cordoned off with twine.

Onion sets are down, peas are down (so late with those!), radish, carrots and spinach are down. The garlic cloves are down in the herb garden.

What else does my garden grow? Here's the complete listing for this year...

16 Vegetables, 22 Varietals
Spacemaster Cucumber
Big Mama Tomatoes
Health Kick Tomatoes
Purple Rain Eggplant (if I say Prince eats these, do you think my husband will?)
Bush Blue Lake 47 Green Beans
Beananza Green Beans
Tall Utah Celery
Blockbuster Peppers
Godfather Peppers
Cherry Belle Radish
Danvers Half-Long Carrots (a local favorite?)
Sugar Snax Carrots
Baby Leaf Spinach
RSVPea Peas
Butterbush Squash
Hollow Crown Parsnip
Onions - Red, White, and Yellow
Heirloom Small Sugar Pumpkin
Prizewinner Hybrid Pumpkin

Yep. The rhubarb's the only original item left in the bed. Though I wouldn't be surprised if a few of those strawberries snuck back in, they sure were hard to dig up. The asparagus? That scary looking root octopus now resides in my folks' backyard. I wish him well.

I've made big plans this year. I've ordered quality seeds from Burpee instead of the 3 for $1 packs at the discount store that are leftover from last year's stock. I'm planting a lot more items and keeping things a little closer together (faux square foot gardening), because the weeding last year was ridiculous.

Think I'm overdoing it? Yeah, me, too. I've never grown half of these things before and I don't even like some of them. No idea what I'm doing. Between the Burpee site and a copy of Month-by-Month Gardening in New England (thanks KM!) I hope I can learn enough to make all this work worth it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

2009 in Review

Last year there were 11 items in the garden. The asparagus, strawberries, and rhubarb were pre-existing. The strawberries ran rampant and didn't produce much. The asparagus...well, we discovered that's not on a vegetable we want on our menu. Some of the rhubarb is still in freezer packs...d'you think that's okay to eat?

We planted iceberg lettuce, radishes, spinach, carrots, green beans, peppers, tomatoes and pumpkins. Everything lived and produced (except for the lettuce), though the pumpkin succumbed to a case of powdery mildew when it was only the size of small balloon and still dark green.

Oh, and weeds. Lots and lots of weeds. Hubby hated pulling them up, but he did a lot more of it than I did. I've got some plans on how to take care of that this year. And it all starts with getting my butt outside this afternoon to finish pre-weeding the garden.