Archive for the ‘Oh Grow Up!’ Category

My big break


2015
01.18

Last week, Andraè Crouch, the ‘Father Of Modern Gospel,’ died. An old memory surfaced. He was my first real live celebrity interview. It was one of those events that nudged me on to a career and an education in journalism.

David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images

David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images

I heard about his passing on NPR: Andraè Crouch, ‘Father Of Modern Gospel,’ Dies At 72

The week before the big interview, I won a competition sponsored by University of Tulsa for Best Editorial. Being on the Tulsa East Central High School newspaper and yearbook staff were my credentials.

Andraè Crouch was performing outdoors in a Tulsa park. Armed with a pencil and spiral bound notebook, I nervously approached the back stage area. Lucky for me the first person I approached was Andraè Crouch’s twin sister, Sandra.

This many years ago, it’s hard to know what impressed her most. Maybe it was the confident approach of an award-winning reporter or, maybe my quivering voice and white knuckle grip on that number two pencil.

Gospel music pioneer Andraè Crouch went on to win 7 Grammy awards. You’ve heard his work as the choir director on Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” I will always remember the day when I went from star struck teen to an honest to gosh reporter.

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.

Hardy fall vegetables


2014
11.06

Big beautiful leeks, leafy chard, sweet baby carrots are still in the garden.

chard, leeks

Pot of Gold chard, is a garden show off now that the weather has cooled. The big leafy plants are not bitter. Photo PBH

 

There are also some young kale, broccoli and, cauliflower plants still in the garden. The plants are slow-growing and may not have time to make before the cold weather settles in. I’ll harvest the young kale leaves.

Read more:  Cool season crops organic Swiss Chard

Build a bed this fall. Get a jump or the spring garden season. Try  simple wood framed easy raised bed. Build the basic garden this fall. Get a jump on next spring’s garden.

Raised beds are a quick start for new gardeners

Baby kale is sweet and crisp.

Read more:  Cool season crops organic Swiss Chard

 Kale

The baby kale will be part of Zuppa Toscana, an Italian potato soup with sausage and kale. It’s one of the many soups collected on the Bread and Soup board on my Pinterest .

Add kale in the last minutes of simmering so it will stay bright and green.

 

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Sweet baby carrots

Carrots

Little carrots still have time to grow bigger and sweeter.

Little carrots still have time to grow bigger and sweeter.

Daucus carota. There are lots of carrots out there in the garden. They are sweet, orange and about three inches long. I’m curious, they have been thinned and are growing faster than anything else.

I’ll just watch and see how long they keep growing. Carrots as a fall crop are new in my garden. I’ll sow more carrots in the spring.

A packet of carrot seed has about a gazillion seed. Buy it and you will have enough for two crops a year. There are dozens of varieties.  You can get a generous packet of carrot seed for two bucks at Nichols Garden Nursery

I pulled up some short fat carrots, Chantenay Red Core Carrot, I think. It’s an old heirloom and it is growing well in my Southeast Missouri garden. They take up so little space in the garden.  Try to grow carrots if haven’t.

There's lots of parsley in the garden this fall.

There’s lots of parsley in the garden this fall.

Parsley

Parsley is loaded with vitamin C. It’s a real asset in chicken soup. I’ll add a heaping helping in the last minutes of simmering.

Some parsley will stay in the garden because it is a biannual and will appear early in the spring. It will flower and go to seed in the second year.

Calendula

Calendula

Calendula

And finally, perky little blooms are hard to come by in November. Calendula, “Flashback” is a volunteer. They frequently self seed. Anywhere this colorful plant appears, it’s welcomed to stay. This bright orange bloom brings pollinators to the garden.

Yaya

Yaya

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Scarlet Nantes

 

Baltimore

Baltimore

More information:

Grow 2 crops of carrots this season

How to grow long straight carrots

Nichols Garden Nursery – Fine Seeds & Herbs. Has some good carrot growing tips. Plus, they have 11 varieties of carrots. several good varieties that are under $2 a packet. I may have slightly exaggerated in saying there are a gazillion seeds in a packet.

There are approximately 18,500 carrot seeds per ounce or 650 seeds per gram.

 In the soup pot today: Washed and coarsely chopped chunks of  these Leeks, kale, carrots, onions, oregano, garlic, parsley and rosemary are simmering in a big pot destined to be a vegetable broth by tomorrow. Beef, chicken, or vegetable both will make any soup brighter, adding another levels of taste.

When cooking a chicken for chicken soup, cook it in your homemade broth instead of water. The resulting golden chicken broth is the best. Really. I mean it. Double broth may have originally come from heaven.

White flowers of the night


2014
10.14

Nicotiana

Sweet white flowers a mildly fragrant in the evening. It took two or three years before I finally got this to bloom. The seed is about the size of this period → . ←

Collecting  these seed is not easy. But they do self seed quite well.

Collecting these seed is not easy. But they do self seed quite well.

Nicotiana alata is a species of “Nicotiana” tobacco. It is also called Jasmine Tobacco. The unwieldy 24″+ stems bloom freely producing gazillions of seed. Just now, there are dozens (maybe 100s) of the tiny plants coming up around every single square paver on my patio. After days and days of rain, the ity bitty seed have washed down between the pavers. and started to grow.

nicotianan alata tobacco sweet scented bloomer in the afternoon  and evening.

Nicotiana alata tobacco sweet-scented bloomer in the afternoon and evening.

I added this to my worry list. It would be hard to pull the plants up without destroying the lush green moss. But I think the first frost will kill them off. The plant is only winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. I’m in 6A, SE Missouri.

The good news, it will be gone at first frost.

 

More night-blooming white flowers, Datura.

pollinators flock to moonflowers.

pollinators flock to moonflowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/22/23


2014
08.24

Eggplant, chard, green beans – Today’s Harvest Basket August 22, 2014

Pinks and purples make  this outstanding plant ideal for containers,  and any where you need a vibrant splash of color.

Pinks and purples make this outstanding chard and eggplant ideal for containers, and any where you need a vibrant splash of color.

Tomatoes and peppers sometimes seem to reign supreme over August. All those reds, oranges, yellows seem to take over. These are the container grown vegetables  the deck.

Peppermint stick

Peppermint stick chard has beautiful, vibrant green leaves, with bold peppermint stick colored stalks. It is pretty enough to be seen in the flower gardens and in container plantings. Peppermint stick chard is a new offering and an Exclusive from Renee’s Garden.

Peppermint stick chard is as good in the peppermint stick chard is as good in the ornamental garden as it is in the vegetable garden.

Peppermint stick chard is as good in the peppermint stick chard is as good in the ornamental garden as it is in the vegetable garden.

This variety is bolt resistant and has been growing in containers all summer.

Baby leaves have served as a substitute for lettuce in a sandwich and salad. It is best combined with other greens to make a mixed greens salad bowl. Add some of these leaves to a spinach salad.

Any dish that calls for cooked spinach will work with chard. The full size leaves make an excellent green rice casserole. Saute the chopped stems and add them to the dish.

Some variety of chard is growing in my garden most of the year. In the hottest part of summer, chard does well in the shade of taller plants. When container grown flowers are gone for the summer, poke a few chard seed in the pots for color.

Over the years, I’ve grown all seven of the varieties that Renee’s Garden offers. I like to combos in the Neon Glow and Bright Lights chard. But the one that really stands out and seems to do best in my garden is the Pot of Gold.

Those yellow stems are the color of gold finches. Plant just a few seed in the shade of caged tomato plants or trellised vines. When a little chard is handy, it’s easy to incorporate into a lot of dishes.

Green beans

I grow green beans differently than my grandmother. Her goal was to process a lot of food for winter eating. My goal is to have fresh green beans for as long as possible. Plant a few feet of the row every two weeks.

green beans are always best fresh.

green beans are always best fresh.

Here, at the end of August, I am still harvesting and planting beans. I’ll plant a few beans the first couple of weeks in September. I might even end up with fresh green beans for your Thanksgiving table.

Those late beans could freeze. That’s OK. The frost-killed plants are still good for the soil. I may have wasted a few pennies worth of seed.

The big payoff is that I’ll be picking fresh green beans, long after most folks have quit gardening for the year.

 

 

 

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/11/14


2014
08.12

Today’s Harvest Basket August 11, 2014

Squash and tomatoes, plus a fruit jar full of herb cuttings. Mint and parsley will go into tabouleh.

Today's Harvest Basket 8: 11: 14

Mint in upper right, Italian flat leafed parsley in lower left.

Baby zucchini

The monster zucchini are now under control. I’m picking them at 7″ or so. Sliced lengthways and brushed with a hint of roasted garlic olive oil, these little tender squash and so, so good on the grill (or roasted in the oven)

In August, when the garden is in high production, I can easily be a vegetarian. That big yellow tomato weighs about a pound and a half.

Late blight has taken over most of the garden.

Late blight has taken over most of the tomatoes in the garden.

Yellow tomatoes

I hope to get one last flush of tomatoes before the plants succumb to late blight. Each of the tomatoes in this photo weigh well over a pound.

Heirloom tomatoes do not have the disease resistance that many hybrids do. But I challenge you to find a sweeter or prettier tomato than Gold Medal.

They are susceptible to late blight. I had the same problem a couple of years a go when I planted them.

But wait till I slice one open for you. Lovely meaty, yellow flesh with a splash of red radiating from the center.

Gold Medal Seedling

Gold Medal Seedling.

Generally speaking, it is not true that yellow tomatoes are less acid than red tomatoes. However, this big yellow tomato is less acid than most tomatoes.

Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia hybrid


2014
08.09

Look for this plant

Coming spring 2015

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Proven Winners Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia photo PBH

This dark and rich red petunia is a hummingbird magnet. Look for this new Black Cherry bloomer next spring.

Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia

Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia photo Proven Winners

Black Cherry is self-cleaning, meaning no deadheading. All hanging baskets require regular watering to thrive. Plan on watering daily during the hottest part of the summer. Or, consider setting up a simple irrigation system.

Start with a slow release fertilizer when you build your baskets. Give the new roots plenty of moisture holding soiless potting mix.

Black Cherry makes a beautiful in a hanging basket. It slightly mounds in the basket and then tumbles over the edges, spilling nonstop blooms  over the basket Spring to first frost.

Proven Winners sent Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia and several other plants for trial. I love the rich colored flowers that draw butterflies and hummers all summer. Once these petunias are available locally, I can imagine a row of these hanging baskets bringing birds and butterflies to the patio.

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Indigo Charm photo Proven Winner

Black Cherry Petunia hybrid is one of the newest Proven Winners Supertunias®. Make a note to look for Black Cherry in the spring. I am also looking forward to seeing the new Supertunia Indigo Charm. Here is a preview.

Last year I had a trial sample of a Torenia hybrid that was meant for shade. Once I found a shady place for it, I kind of forgot about it.

catalina_grape-o-licious_0

Grape-O-Licious Wishbone Flower PBH

New this year

is a plant Catalina® Grape-O-Licious Wishbone Flower (Torenia hybrid) I learned just what a valuable landscape plant this is when I visited the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.

This plant is so much more versatile than I imagined. It was planted in shade, but also part shade and part sun. This low growing annual spreads out along the sidewalk, as a beautiful groundcover and splash of color that could compliment an endless variety of gardenscapes.

 

 

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Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. PBH

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Catalina® Grape-O-Licious Wishbone Flower Torenia hybrid

Look for new Wishbone Flowers this spring

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/4/14


2014
08.06

Today’s Harvest Basket

August 4, 2014

Leeks, peppers, Roma tomatoes, white cucumber.

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Just dived into the garden to grab leeks.

These are Lancelot Leeks. I just go out and pick the leeks as I need them. Leek starts were planted the same time as onion starts. Onions were harvested in July, but leeks can just stay in the ground. I like not having to store the leeks in the refrigerator taking up space for months.

The leeks I harvested today will be used in a herb vinegar.  Using a well seasoned herb vinegar will bring back a taste of the garden flavors at the peek of garden season.

Leeks bring a suttle onion flavor to any dish.

Leeks bring a subtle onion flavor to any dish.

 

Leeks

Lancelot Leeks. They get 12 – 16 inches tall with blue-green foliage. My leeks have not had any disease or pest problems. They are always tender. While they are small, they can be used as scallions.

Leeks are the earliest crops in my garden and they are the last to be harvested. Plant leek and onion starts in February or March. Starts are small transplants. Poke a pencil or chop stick in the ground, then drop the little leek plants in the hole. Leave the top just barely showing above  the ground. Gently firm the soil and water.

Leeks are related to onions, chives garlic and shallots. If onions are just too strong for you, leeks may be a good replacement in recipes. I’ll dig up the leeks this winter as we get into cold weather and soup season.

You can keep them in the garden, just heavily mulch after it gets cold. They are long keepers and can stay in your crisper for a month or two. If you don’t thin you will use them up by then, Just freeze them for later use.

Freezing leeks is easy.  Cut off the tough green leaves. Trim and save only an inch or two of the green part. Trim off the roots, wash, slice  lengthwise or chop and blanch for 1 minute in boiling water to set the color. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry leeks on cotton flour sack or paper towels.

When the leeks are dry, put them in plastic zip bags. Dried leeks will freeze in loose pieces.  They will be much easier to use when frozen.

Use leeks, still frozen. Add the leeks to soups, stews, roasting vegetables. The best known recipe is potato leek soup, which is wonderful using frozen leeks.

Beautiful Italian Tomatoes

"Italian Pompeii"

“Italian Pompeii”

These paste tomatoes are from Renee’s Garden.  I grow them almost every year. Pompeii grow well in my big containers. I’ve been growing these for years. This season was the first time I’ve ever had a problem. Early on, this plant got blossom end rot.

It rained so much this spring, I was thinking of building and ark. Once things got back to normal, no more BER. As you can see. they are beautiful. All of the tomatoes are over 4 ounces, some are over 5 ounces. They are meaty paste tomatoes that I freeze. This winter I’ll have time to slow cook them into a rich tomato sauce. There are more ideas like this on Renee’s Garden site.

Plum Tomato “Italian Pompeii”

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/3/14


2014
08.04

Today’s Harvest Basket August 3, 2014

squash, cherry tomatoes, peppers

spaghetti squash, peppers, cherry tomato

spaghetti squash, peppers, cherry tomato

The new torpedo shaped peppers look a lot like big ol’ jalapeno. The fun thing is the peppers look like they would be hot but they are not. The walls are thinner than a bell pepper but every bit as sweet.

They start out as shiny, clover green peppers. They gradually turn dark and finally turn red when fully ripe. There is not a hint of heat in the Felicity pepper.

Raspberries

Sweet red raspberries are coming on. They are so fragile, so easily crushed, that the raspberries never made it to the harvest basket. I hand carried the berries inside, gave them a quick rinse and put them in a ramekin in the refrigerator.

Chilled raspberries were served to the chief hole digger and raspberry bed builder tonight. And, OK. I admit it, I may have had one or two.

We planted 5 raspberry plants last year. This year, I am reaping the rewards. These delicate and sweet berries are the first, and it looks like more are coming.

first harvest raspberries

First few Heritage raspberries.

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/3/14 v2


2014
08.04

August 3, 2014
Zucchini

The big zucchini best used as an ingredient in compost.

The big zucchini best used as an ingredient in compost.

Just Kidding.

This is the zucchini that got away. It’s so big it stretches from end to end of the harvest basket. These monster squash  are seedy, not good and almost impossible to cut. Pick these giant squash as soon as you discover them. Otherwise, the plant will have accomplished its job and stop producing little zucchini.

Get rid of this squash. Bury it in your garden, chuck it in the compost, or, if your neighbor leaves his car unlocked, put it in his backseat, on the floorboard. It could be weeks before he discovers it and by then, you will have forgotten about it. That perplexing look on your face will help convince him you did not do it.

There are more and better zucchini (and eggplant) ideas on my Pinterest Courgette and Aubergine (zucchini & eggplant)

FYI

Zucchini Heaven tells about the best zucchini cake on the planet.

This salsa recipe uses a lot of grated zucchini: Enchilada salsa with zucchini

Homegrown and homemade Ratatouille

eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers

Ratatouille home-grown and homemade  – my version of Julia Child’s classic vegetable stew. You can grow every ingredient in this French classic. Double the recipe and freeze half for a cold and snowy day.

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