Category Archives: Look for this plant

Harris Seeds

Trial seeds

Romaine lettuce fresh from the garden in mid June. It takes very few plants to get a meals worth of green beans. Photo by PBH

Romaine lettuce fresh from the garden in mid June. It takes very few plants to get a meals worth of green beans. Photo by PBH

Harris Seed allowed me to trial 5 seed verities of seed, my choice after I reworked on my garden’s landscape with the help of the professionals from the Drake’s 7 Dees garden center. Later this summer, I’ll report on them all. For now, I want to tell you about these green beans and this beautiful Romaine lettuce. I’m telling you about these two vegetables because you still have time to grow a crop of beans. I’ll plant Kruger lettuce again this fall.

Lewis green beans – These beans are tender and fast growing. The plants  are loaded with beans. Lewis green beans are beautiful long, straight and easy to pick. The beans did not have any disease or insect problems. There is some very minor insect damage on leaves. But the damage is so minor, it’ is not worth treating.

Kruger Romaine lettuce –  This improved Parris Island Cos type is tall and medium green with no insect or disease problems. Kruger out-lasted other varieties and only bolted a full two or three weeks after other lettuce turned bitter. There is very little waste and needs little trimming.

This is the first time I have grown Harris Seed. They sell seeds, herbs, plants and garden supplies for home gardeners and professional growers. They have provided quality garden products for more than 100 years.

Todays Harvest Basket 6/15/2013

Greens and beans

Kale,and lettuce. Mid June and not bitter.  6/24/2013. photo: PBH

Kale,  green beans and lettuce. Mid June and not bitter. 6/24/2013. photo: PBH

It is surprising to find salad greens and kale that are not bitter in mid June.  It’s been a beautiful early summer with plenty of rain and sunshine. So, my guess is that the lettuce and the kale are still tender because they are growing fast and picked as soon as they are mature.  A few days later, the lettuce still in the garden bolted and was very bitter.

Little kale leaves went into the salad bowl. Larger leaves were sautéed with garlic and cooked in a pasta dish with sweet red onions. Since kale is a super food loaded with nutrients. The next seeds of kale will be planted for fall harvest.

Poppies

Hungarian bread seed poppy

Hungarian Bread Seed Poppy. photo by PBH

Original recipe published as Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing in Taste of Home April/May 2012, p59 The original Taste Of Home Poppyseed dressing. 

They’re Back! Zucchini season

The management and care of home grown zucchini

small zucchini

Space saving summer squash. Container grown zucchini from Renee’s Garden. photo courtesy Renee’s Garden

People are paying premium prices for squash blossoms at Farmers Markets. If you grow zucchini, (or any summer squash) you have access to one of the most popular summer food trends anywhere.

Stuffed, fried squash blossoms are a gourmet delight. It also solves the problem of too many zucchini. Eat those gorgeous flowers before they become a squash problem.

I have a gazillion recipes for zucchini on Pinterest. My favorite is chocolate zucchini cake. I sprinkle the top of the cake with mini chocolate chips before baking. I make two cakes in 8” square foil pans. One to eat as soon as it is cooled. When the second cake is completely cooled, cover it with foil and put it in the freezer. It’s a no-frosting-needed kind of cake. Perfect for picnics, the foil pan makes it very easy to bake and take.

You’ll have to try to believe it, but the zucchini pickles are great.

For all the joking about squash gone wild, I honestly have never had too many zucchini. I love it and only plant what I and the neighbors will eat. Then there are the squash vine borers that will suddenly end the steady supply of zucchini.

Save any extra seed by taping the packet closed or put it in a ziplock. Keep it in a cool, dry, dark place until next year.

Renee’s Garden has a little bush variety that can grow in a container. They have a quick return when you order seeds. There’s still time to grow a zucchini or two.

Obligatory zucchini joke

I have good news, and I have bad news. 

One day two zucchinis, were walking together down the road. They stepped off the curb and a speeding car came around the corner and ran one of them over. The uninjured zucchini called 911 and helped his injured friend as best he could.

The injured zucchini was taken to emergency at the hospital and rushed into surgery. After a long and agonizing wait, the doctor finally appeared. He told the uninjured zucchini, “I have good news, and I have bad news. The good news is that your friend is going to pull through.” “The bad news is that he’s going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life.”

Why are my superbells dying?

photo PBH

Cherry Star Superbells photo PBH

 DYING PLANT ALERT

Why are my superbells dying? I water them every other day…they always seem to be dry?
They are in a hanging container that lets them drain well.

I live in California and they receive full sun all day.

Please help.

Thanks,

Blanca

Hardy and steady blooming plus these bloomers are self cleaning.

Hardy and steady blooming plus these bloomers are self-cleaning. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson.

My gardening friend, this is what I think.

Of course, I can’t see the problem, but my guess is that your container is too small or you should add some organic matter to the soil. Something like peat moss, core, grass clippings, shredded news paper. In CA, you should not have to water every other day.

The soil does not seem to have much water holding capacity. If, when you water, the water goes straight through the hanging basket, the water is not being absorbed by the soil or basket liner. That’s good, it tells us that the problem is:Proven-Winners-Logo-116x150

A. Too many plants in too small of a space.
B. poor quality soil mix.
C. You need a better and probably a bigger basket.

So, decide if you want fewer plants in your basket or, buy a bigger basket for all the flowers (Or divide the flowers making two baskets.)

Don’t give up on the Superbells, I have some that have overwinter and lived to bloom another year. They serve me well when other flowers are suffering the summer heat.

Soil quality it is important to give your plants the best home. So invest in a good soiless potting mix. I usually mix my own. But some times it’s just easier to buy

Organic Container Mix from Gardeners Supply loaded with peat moss, perlite. They also have a self watering variety that might solve your problem.

I am a great believer in starting with a good base of moisture holding, well draining potting soil.In my gardens I’m replacing peat with core. It’s cheaper, more readily available and a good environmental choice.

PWSupertuniaWatermelon

Watermelon slice was a butterfly magnet last spring. Photo PBH.

My advice is to start all over. Using the plants you have. Giving then a better or bigger root space will allow them to thrive.

Please let me know of your success and how you solved the problem.

Getting these reliable Superbell bloomers off to a good start and you will  have summer-long success. Patsy Bell Hobson in SE Missouri. email: Patsy64068@yahoo.com

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