Archive for the ‘Go Away’ Category

Lettuce think Spring


2015
02.23

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Renee Shepherd

Renee Shepherd

 

I met Renee Shepherd at my first Annual GWA Symposium*. I admit to being a little star struck meeting Renee of Renee’s Gardens.

“You’re Renee! Of Renee’s Gardens! I recognized you because you look just like your picture,” I said.

She was kind enough not to say anything.

It was about that time when I realized that I sounded like I had the IQ of a seed packet. “OMG, I just told this woman who she was.” 

Then, I quickly left, praying that Renee had not read my name tag.

Growing Salad Greens

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries with balsamic dressing.

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries with balsamic dressing.

I always order way too much seed for the spring salad bowl.  Lettuces, arugula, radishes, scallions, and spinach come up by the crisper full. I love salads. Plus, I like those generous seed packets that have enough seeds for succession planting all season. I will always plant more lettuces and radishes every single week of the spring until it just gets too hot.

baby romaines

Thin small lettuces to allow room for the others to grow.

I can never have too many spring greens, baby leaf lettuces, chopped salad, wilted lettuce. Top with chive blossoms or lacy chervil leaves. Serve with the lightest of dressings.

Renee’s Garden Seeds has a big gourmet greens selection. The only problem will be limiting your salad selections to the size of your garden. I like Renee’s combo selections because the seed combination’s are a thrifty way to get a lot of variety into a small garden.

Container lettuce, “Ruby & Emerald Duet” is a perfect pairing of emerald-green baby butterhead rosettes with red and crispy mini leaf lettuce. The “Caesar Duo” romaine lettuce combo of red and green baby size lettuces. These Romaines are the foundation of the best homemade Caesar salads you’ll ever make.

Romaines also grow to crispy, crunchy leaves, perfect on sandwiches. The “cut and come again” mescluns are a jumble of color, size and texture in containers or hanging baskets. Lettuces, radish and green onions will be gone before you need the baskets and containers for their warm weather annuals.

Last spring I tried the “Paris Market Mesclun”, a mix of several baby lettuces, chicory, endive, and arugula. Small successive plantings stretched the flavors, textures and colors of this “cut and come again” mix through the whole spring.

Yes, there is a real Renee. And yes, she selects, grows and eats this stuff before she offers it to us in her beautiful online only catalog. Plus, the website tells how to plant, grow, harvest, prepare and cook all these amazing vegetables.

Renee’s Garden Sowing in seed-starting containers to transplant into your garden will get you headed in the right direction.IMG_9430

Renee’s Garden Seeds offered seed to garden writers. It’s a great way to grow and share information about what’s new for home gardeners. For example, I grew “Little Prince” a container eggplant. I was smitten. It was beautiful. The lavender blooms alone would be reason enough to grow Little Prince.

Being a garden writer and blogger is great fun because I get to share the joy and pleasure of gardening with others.

Little Prince in bloom.

Little Prince eggplant in bloom. Dozens of delicate lavender flowers become 2 – 4 ounce eggplants. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

 

 

Eat Little Eggplants

Small and tender, marinade little eggplant halves and quarters then, grill. Serve as a warm side or add other grilled vegetables for a cold marinated vegetable salad.

* GWA = Garden Writers Association

How to Grow Your Own Baby Greens

 

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained


2015
01.11

Book Review

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained  by Josh Young

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young.

This book just screams “Road Trip!” Each chapter is one of 13 myths or mysteries scattered across the state. One topic makes for a perfect day trip. Select a handful of mysteries for a weekend snooping and detective work.

The Jesse James family home is not far from his grave and close to a bank he robbed. I did not think there was a thing I didn’t already know about this ruffian. In Clay county people celebrate Jesse James.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri author Joshua Young.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri author Joshua Young.

This is where Myths and Mysteries of Missouri shines. There are Jesse James Days, festivals, carnivals, websites, marathons and parades to sort through. How much of the legend is true?

Super sleuth Josh Young has investigated how Jesse James managed to avoid capture, even while living a normal life in public. Practically every public touring cave in Missouri claims to be a Jesse James hideout. He is a local hero and his name is known worldwide.

Josh Young’s book separates the notoriety from the nonsense about Jesse James, Jim the Wonder dog, and the Horse Whisperer Tom Bass. Young’s book is a great jumping off place for armchair historians and road trip warriors.

Find Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained on
Amazon,  Barnes and Noble,  Books A Million Buy an autographed copy at Long Creek Herbs

A Myths and Mysteries Series. Paperback, publisher Globe Pequot Press, 208 pages.

Wildflower Wednesday 6/25/14


2014
06.26

Little lilac asters, I think.

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IMG_4631Though they look dainty, these small flowers survive in the shallow and poor soil of the glades in the Ozarks regions of Missouri and Arkansas where I took these photos.

Often they are hugging the rocky hillsides and ledges along the highway.

I like them, they are tough, appreciate dry conditions and show up in the fall after much of the color is gone from the trees. At a time when fewer and fewer blooms are around for pollinators, bees are always hovering.

IMG_4720I collected some seed and tossed it out in a gravely spot near the drive. Who knows if it will grow. It is the little weedy thing I wouldn’t notice until it blooms this fall.

Gail at clay and limestone, Wildflower Gardening In Middle Tennessee hosts Wildflower Wednesday.

To share your wildflowers, join in a Celebration of all Wildflowers on the Fourth Wednesday of Each Month.

I always learn a lot from Gail’s posts and she is kind enough to allow my humble submissions to join the party.

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4’x8′ Community Garden in Owasso, Oklahoma


2014
02.14
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Organic Tomato “Heirloom Stupice” photo: Renee’s Garden

“I’m looking for some bush type cucumbers and green beans. My community garden is small and last year my cucumbers took over. This year I want to start with multiple color potatoes and Bush green beans.  

Question: best place to buy? Where to look? Best tomato plants? My tomatoes last year were way to big.  Looking for the old fashion bush type plants that produce without getting six feet tall.”

The 4×8 raised bed can produce a lot more food than you imagine. Because the cost of shipping and handling can be more costly than the seed you ordered, I’m sticking mainly with one seed company.

First, here are my suggestions for the crops you said you want to grow.

  • Potatoes – Try these small patch potatoes from Renee’s Garden. If you are ordering onion starts or seed potatoes, do it very soon for best choice. Renee’s Garden
  • Bush green beans – Seeds you can find locally at big box store or garden center. Plant a few seed every 2 or 3 weeks for a continuous supply of fresh green beans. Don’t plant them all at once unless you are planning to can or freeze green beans.

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    Mascotte dwarf plants, 6″ long, thin green beans. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Mascotte – dwarf, 16-18″ tall plants. Continuous yield of crisp, medium green skinny, stringless 6″ long beans. 50 days. New. AAS Winner. Harris Seed or Jung Seed

Blue Lake – long time home gardeners have probably grown this old favorite. 6 -6 1/2” pods mature early and all at once. 58 days. Heirloom. Renee’s Garden, Harris Seed, Jung Seed

  • Tomatoes – Plants you might find locally at big box store or garden center. Space plants 2 feet apart

Celebrity - Compact plants produce heavy yields of medium sized tomatoes on disease-resistant plants. 75 Days. AAS Winner.

Jet Star - An indeterminate, 4′ – 5′ tall plants produce big yields of low acid, bright red 8 – 9 ounce fruits. 72 days. Heirloom.

  • Cucumber – Consider adding a trellis for long straight cucumbers that take up little ground space. Or grow bush cucumbers.

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    Cucumbers photo: Renee’s Garden.

“Bush Slicer” – disease resistant, dwarf bushes, produce 6 to 8″ long fruits. Keep picked for continued production of tender, crisp, sweet fruit. Cut cucumbers – do not twist fruits from plants. Renee’s Garden

 

More suggestions for a small space gardens.

You will have room for more vegetables by choosing the plants ment for small space or container gardens.

  • Squash – bush type varieties of summer squash are easier to see, watching for size.

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    Container grown zucchini is easy to pick. Check every other day to keep squash size in control. photo: Renee’s Garden.

“Astia” zucchini - French bush variety perfect for small space gardens. Non-rambling, early bearing and productive. Renee’s Garden

  • Turnips – Plant in both spring and fall.

“Mikado” turnips, Japanese baby globe-shaped roots with white flesh and mild flavor. Nutritious tops make fine cooked greens.  Renee’s Garden

Before you plant these seed, there is plenty of time to plant lettuce, spinach radishes, green onions in the space where tomatoes and peppers will be planted after the ground is warmed enough, 50° F.

Also, you can plant peas, bush snow peas or spring peas.

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Companion plant Italian basil near tomato plants. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Add Herbs. Buy a few starter herb plants to tuck into empty spaces. 2 or 3 parsley, 1 basil, 1 dill.

When your tomatoes are in full production, use the tomatoes and parsley to make Tabouli. Add dill to vinegar and marinate cucumbers. Sprinkle torn basil leaves over tomato slices or stir into tomato sauce.

 

The Owasso Community Garden consists of 34 – 4 x 8 raised bed gardens, 15 of which are American Disabilities Act beds, located south of the Community Center in Owasso, Oklahoma. Facebook

I am starting container grown tomatoes from seed.

My small space tomato choices:

Stupice – richly flavored fruits on 5′ vines. Great tasting 2” fruits and perfect for container growing or small space gardens. From the Czech Republic, pronounced ”Stu petes”. (Stupice may win the neighborhood first tomato contest.)

tomato-superbush3

Super Bush. photo: Renee’s Garden

  Super Bush – Continuous producer of 5 ounce   fruits on 3 foot tall plants. Good choice for containers and small gardens. Hybrid, disease resistant. 

Both tomato varieties are from Renee’s Garden

← This is the photo that convinced me to grow Super Bush.

 

BUILD A BED

Use concrete blocks to build a raised bed. Quick, easy, lasts forever. Grow a theme garden. This one is a spaghetti sauce garden.

A 4′ x 4′ raised bed is big enough to grow enough produce to make fresh spaghetti sauce and freeze or can a few jars for winter.

Build a spaghetti sauce theme garden in a 4′ x 4′ concrete block raised bed.

 

Becky’s Flowers*


2013
11.25

delivered Sunday November 24, 2013

Flowers by the yard

Quilt

You can almost smell these quilted roses.

Quilt by Ludmila Uspenskaya

Because your flowers aren’t just the every day florist’s bouquet, I’m sending you flowers that are quilted. These flowered quilts are on exhibit at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah KY.

quilt bouquet

A giant mixed flower bouquet looks like a painting on the wall, not a quilt.

Not all bouquets come in a vase. These are fiber art. Sometimes it takes just as long to quilt a bouquet as it does to grow one.

Becky, wrap yourself in a blanket of flowers and friendship. My you find some warmth and comfort in your fablic bouquet.

Quilted flowers

The detailed floral creations are a bloom with details.

Paducah transforms to Quilt City USA® each spring when 30,000 international and domestic quilters attend AQS QuiltWeek™ 

The National Quilt Museum is located in the heart of Historic Downtown Paducah; 215 Jefferson Street, Paducah, Kentucky 42001.

For more travel information about Paducah, visit the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

*Becky Funke is in a hospital that does not allow flowers in the rooms. So, not to be deterred, I’ll send them on Pinterest. You can stop by her CaringBridge site to leave well wishes and get updates. The girls, her 3 beautiful daughters, keep the site up to date.

Tailgating on CBS


2013
11.06

Great weather, good food, Perfect for Tailgating in Fayetteville Arkansas

A few more photos from Fayetteville Arkansas:

Still BFFs

Still BFFs

Cheering for both teams is easy for these friends.

 

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Faithful fans never miss a tailgating opportunity.

Faithful fans never miss a tailgating opportunity.

 

See more photos here:

CBS tailgate fans

 

Gone Girl filmed in Cape Girardeau


2013
10.12

Read about the huge film crew that accompanies the Gone Girl actors and staff. It’s here, Gone Girl in Striped Pot in the little boutique travel magazine I sometimes write for. There really are some great writers at  Striped Pot. But I digress.

Gone Girl courthouse

Just across the street from The Bar.  photo: pbh

There are a lot of security guards around town. They are protecting the movie sets and all the paraphernalia that travels with a film production. Mostly the guards are well equipped with paperbacks and soft drinks. But at least they won’t shoot you if you stick your finger in the “snow”.  (Although they are very sharp and would never let you get that far in damaging any of the set.) It’s 70 and sunny here in Cape. So seeing the snow covered courthouse lawn just makes me smile.

There are lots of curious onlookers, like me. It is our tiny glimpse into the world of  film making. (the gardener in me is happy for rain todays. The film crew, not so much.) This is a big deal for Cape. Our little town is no more than a river boat stop between St Louis and Memphis.

The book, Gone Girl, is a “page turner.” I even received  the marathon reader badge at Audible for this book. It’s not the kind of book I would not normally read without a recommendation. But, this thriller by Missouri writer Gillian Flynn has put her on my watch list. I’ll be looking for her books from now on.

The movie stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, and Neil Patrick Harris. There is a full cast list here. I went flying to the page to see who was playing other roles in the story.

“Gone Girl” is expected to be released in theaters in late 2014 or early 2015.

 

Looking for frost flowers


2013
10.07

I wrote about amazing frost flowers in Missouri Gardener.  Just click  Have you ever seen a frost flower?

I suspect they are the work of garden fairies out visiting their friends and family, the woodland fairies.

I suspect they are the work of garden fairies out visiting their friends and family, the woodland fairies.

 

Yellow ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) and white crownbeard (Verbesina virginica) can create frost flowers. White crownbeard is known as frost beard.

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You have to get up pretty early in the morning to see frost flowers.

They amaze me. When neighbor Bill told me about them, I thought he was pulling my leg. So he went out, armed with a camera along with his deer hunting buddies. He came back with photos to prove they exist. I’ve never seen one. You can only find them in that precarious season between fall and winter.

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Delicate and light, I have friends who said she ate them when she was a kid during the Great Depression.

Scout out the area while you can still identify the green plant known as ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia)

frost flowerIt happens when there is a freeze, but before the ground freezes.

It’s not likely that I will ever see one, as soon as the sun touches them, they vanish.  And, I’m not real sure I want to be out in the Missouri woods during deer hunting season. Deer Season is an event in Southeast Missouri, just about as big as Thanksgiving.

It doesn’t matter where the bouquet comes from


2013
05.11
the neighbors hydrangea. My May day gift from the LBND,

The neighbor’s hydrangea. It was my May Day gift from the LBND.

So many neighbors unknowingly donate flowers to teachers. Walking to school creates all manner of good character and thoughtfulness. For example during the peak of bloom season, Mrs Adams recieved bouquests from me all the time.

It didn’t improve my grades, although I had high hopes. Mrs Adams was well prepared to receive fistfulls of roses. And she had a variety of coffee mugs in her desk drawer. Each mug could hold a number of roses at various heights.

Lilacs came and went to quickly, I barely got a sniff. But now, the roses are about to explode into bloom. For a little while, they will be lovely. Then the Japanese Beetles will move in.

I have a trap to try this year. A trap laced with beetle pheremones. You will get the report as so as I know if it is worth it.

BE PREPARED

When cutting Hydrangeas. Follow a few simple guides.

Spontaneous gift: When you are presented with a bouquet, from the LBND (the Little Boy Next Door) Recut the stem under running water and trim at a 45 degee angle. Remove all greenery that would be under water,

Cutting your own bouguet.

Take sharp scissors or pruners out to the garden when you plan to cut Hydrangeas. Also bring a bucket of cool water to plunge your flowers in as soon as they have been cut. Cut stems at a 45 degree angle.

Remove any greenery that will be underwater. Change to water every few days. Your Hydrangeas will last up to 2 weeks.

And remember Never waste a day of May.

 

 

I’ll be back to Drury Hotels


2012
12.17

I love it when somebody else makes the oatmeal. And the coffee.
Oatmeal Drury

I’ve written about Drury Hotels before.

Good News, Drury Hotels Lost the Bathtub

Value added at Drury Hotels

But tonight, they won me over again. Jeff and I have been been married for 30 years today. When Jeff answered the door, a special roomservice arrived.

Champagne with glasses AND fresh baked cookies.

Champagne with glasses AND fresh baked cookies.

St. Louis-Drury Inns & Suites near Forest Park, 2111 Sulphur Ave. St Louis, MO 63139. How cool is that?

Last time I was here, I told Bri one of the things I like about this chain is the customer service. Everyone in the hotel is a Good Will Ambassador. Every staff member has a smile and a kind word. I like that.

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