Archive for the ‘Plants From Seed’ Category

Carrots


2014
07.24
Grow a variety of carrots to discover which grow best in your garden.

Grow a variety of carrots to discover which grow best in your garden.

Carrots

Grow carrots in the spring garden and again as a fall crop.

If you ever wanted to grow carrots, fall carrots are planted in August or early September in my neck of the woods. (Zone 6A, Southern Missouri, USA.)  I get carrot seed at Nichols Garden Nursery. 

Nichols Garden Nursery has a big selection of carrot seed. The seed is very affordable. That bargain price tempts me to try an assortment of carrots. Check out their online catalog, if you are tempted to grow fall carrots. July and August are the time to order seed and get carrots growing for a fall harvest. If stored properly, carrot seed can be used for up to three years.

Nichols even has few carrot selections that are under $2. Carrot seed under two bucks and it’s enough seed for at least two and probably three years. (Unless you are raising rabbits in the same garden.)

Some days it looks like my back yard is a nature sanctuary for rabbits. They eat and sleep in my garden when I am not vigilant. When I do remember to turn on the Scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler, the rabbits stay away.

ScareCrow

ScareCrow

The Contech Electronics scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler is a humane animal deterrent. The scarecrow detects and sprays any animal movement within a 1000-square-foot area day and night.

When I do not remember to turn off  that little water blast, I suddenly get hit with a refreshing spray. It’s more fun than some of the carnival rides at the state fair. Especially when it is a surprise.

Find the scarecrow locally or online just type “scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler.”

Read more about carrotsHow to troubleshoot problems growing carrots and cabbages and University of Missouri Extension, Frequently Asked Vegetable Questions is very helpful. Extension recommends planting a 5 to 10 feet per person for fresh eating. Plan to grow 10 to 15 feet per person, if you are going to process carrots for year round eating.

Bright orange Baltimore Carrots picked 6", but would continue to grow to 12"

Bright orange Baltimore Carrots picked 6″.

Baltimore carrots are beautiful, bright orange carrots. They are sweet  and crunchy. These carrots are about 6″ long.

Harvest Carrots: any time their color is bright. This is when their flavor and texture are optimum. Carrots can tolerate a light frost. Irrigate well the day before harvest to ensure the roots have absorbed their maximum capacity of water. Store at 34°F and 95% relative humidity.

All of these carrots were pulled up at one time. They ranged in size from 2-inches to 8-inches. I’ll toss the baby carrots into a mixed vegetable refrigerator pickle jar.

I like raw carrots. Homegrown and picked after only a couple of frosts, carrots are sweeter than any grocery store carrot you have eaten.

Cooked carrots have their advantages. Some of the nutrients in lightly cooked carrots are more available to the body than the raw carrots. Cooking carrots will break down the tough cellular walls of carrots, making some nutrients more useable to the body.

The first batch of full-sized homegrown carrots, are a celebration of carrot growing success. That means carrot cake or morning-glory muffins. If there are more fall carrots, they will go into  beef stew, vegetable soup, pot roast.

So, come grow carrots with me this fall. If you grew up with a clay soil garden, You’ve probably never had much success with carrots. But building a raised bed for your raised bed, well that is a carrot’s dream come true.

Carrot Boxes – The Raised Bed for Raised Beds

In this Missouri Gardener Magazine story, I write about carrot boxes. That is the secret to long straight carrots.

Build a raised bed fast!

Yaya carrots had the widest size range. All the seed was sown at the same time.

Yaya carrots had the widest size range. All the seed was sown at the same time.

If I could have left these Yaya carrots in the garden, it would have been great to stretch out the carrot harvest over a few more weeks.

 

 

 

Today’s Harvest Basket 4/17/14


2014
07.18

Today’s Harvest Basket, July 17, 2014

Zucchini, tomatoes, onions, carrots, bell peppers, cucumber

More food than we can eat. Starting to can, dehydrate, bake.

More food than we can eat. I am starting to can, dehydrate, bake. photo PBH

That GIANT CARROT, the one that is over a foot long, (top right) is a Scarlet Nantes. As I pulled these carrots, most were 6 or 8″ long with deep orange color and are sweet. I just have no idea why this one foot long carrot is so big, or the others are so normal.

Sweet and hot peppers are loaded up on the peppers plants out in the garden. Today, these blocky bell peppers would be perfect for stuffing.

Carrots

All the other carrots grew as described in the catalog. Anyway, the seed came from Nichols Garden Nursery.  If you are interested in growing carrots, you still have time to order seed and plant a fall crop. Fall harvested carrots are even sweeter and they can take light frosts.

Scarlet Nantes is an heirloom. It is sweet and it stores well. The big news item here is that the seed is only $1.65. Amazing to find a reputable seed source under $2. I plan to grow these again this fall. What a bargain.

Nichols has a great variety of carrots, some that are under $2 a packet. There is also good carrot growing info on that website.

Cherry tomatoes

Under the “you get what you pay for” category, this variety of cherry tomatoes is in full production. The white cherry tomato was supposed to be Great White tomato. Oh, well. The seed was free and the little cherry has a good flavor.

The tangerine colored tomato is exactly what I expected from a F1 tomato. I grew it from seed. This Sun Gold tomato is as sweet as can be.

And the almost red cherry tomato is from a volunteer plant that came up where the Sun Gold cherries were last year. It was a curiosity. I wanted to see if it would come up like Sun Gold, but instead the tomato plant came up as a long-lost member of the family tree. It is not very sweet. I think it takes after the prolific side of the family, not the sweet side.

It’s no surprise

When I want to use up mammoth amounts of summer squash, I make Zucchini cake, zucchini pie, and salsa.

The zucchini pie was originally from an old Taste of Home Zucchini Pie  recipe.

As a herb gardener, I had to change-up the recipe a bit. My Zucchini Casserole recipe is on Hub pages. The Sweet and crunchy grape picnic salad is there too.

 

 

GBBD 7/15/14


2014
07.16

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

You can never have too many flowers.

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I love sunflowers.

So do the birds and the squirrels. The sunflower-seed-loving  gold finches are here.

IMG_0056While practically standing on my head, I took this picture. The yard is exploding in lilies. I didn’t know I had taken a selfie and until I saw me attempting to photograph this lovely orange lily after a rain.

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Thousands of unusual orange daylilies.

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I have a gazillion of these double daylilies. Their name is a mystery, I haven’t a clue. If you know, please educate me. I’ve looked and looked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yucca Plant in bloom above.

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Bachelor buttons and nicotina (L) and Coleus (R)

 

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Did I mention the food garden is blooming and blooming? This Green Tiger zucchini plant is huge, about 4′ tall.

 

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Radish seed (L)  from the white icicle radish that is blooming non stop. (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lavender flowers of Little Prince container eggplant from Renee’s Garden

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If I didn’t eat eggplant, I would still grow it because of the flowers.

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There are many more flowers in the yard and gardens that I would love to share. But I think I better go out and pick the zucchini while it is still small enough to carry.

Get ideas about eggplants on my Pin:  Ratatouille, or loads of garden vegetables ready now.  and zucchini on my Pinterest sites.

The Tomato Pages here,  on Oh Grow Up!

 

“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. What’s blooming in your garden? Share with other garden bloggers on the 15th of each month. Leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

 Thank you for visitiing my blog: Oh Grow Up!

Today’s Harvest Basket 6/4/14


2014
07.05

July 4, 2014

Zukes, cukes, and carrots

Enough cucumbers for a small batch of pickles.

Enough cucumbers for a small batch of pickles.

Cucumbers are in full production and these will become a small batch of pickles tomorrow. I pulled a few “test” carrots. Summer carrots are sizing up and the little cherry tomatoes are starting to come on.

Once the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes start to over take our ability to eat them fresh, they will be dehydrated for winter use.

Pickles

Mean while, one these two varieties of cucumbers are going into garlic dill pickles, and the other for refrigerator pickles.

About refrigerator pickles: Every year I make Jacques Pepin’s pickled vegetables recipe from Jacques Pepin’s Simple and Healthy Cooking by Jacques Pepin  (1994) It is an old cookbook, but I still use it, especially when I have a garden full of fresh produce.

From the garden, I’ll add the baby carrots, green beans, garlic, bell peppers, dill and onions.

This old cookbook has been used and reused until it is falling apart. The book is held together with rubber bands at this stage. I still prefer paper cookbooks over ebooks. I do have a couple of cookbooks on the Kindle, but most are good ol hard cover cookbooks.

Home grown cucumbers are the best way to avoid the slick, waxy coating on grocery store cucumbers.

Home grown cucumbers are the best way to avoid the slick, waxy coating on grocery store cucumbers.

 

White Wonder heirloom cucumber and those foot long organic Chinese cucumbers, “Suyo Long” aren’t the only cucumbers growing in my garden.

Those short little Kirby-like picklers are getting a late start, since I was trying to stretch out the production times.

Most of the white cucumbers weigh in close to a pound. Since they are just 6″ to 6 1/2″ long, that is a pretty solid cuke. They are firm and crisp, good for fresh eating and pickling. Pick them promptly right at 6″ of smaller and there is no need to peel. Wait, and the peel becomes tough and bitter.

 

 

Trellis these long cucumbers to get the straightest cukes.

Trellis these long cucumbers to get the straightest cukes.

Do you know this crisp pickle tip?

There’s an enzyme in the blossom that can make the pickle soft and unsafe to eat. Cut at least a 1/16-inch slice off the blossom end and discard.

and

Avoid waxed cucumbers for pickling. The brine or pickling solution can not penetrate the waxy coating.

I get the heirloom White Wonder cucumber seed from Nichols Garden Nursery.

Renee’s Garden has the organic Chinese cucumbers, “Suyo Long.”

Today’s harvest basket 6/30/14


2014
07.02

June 30, 2014

Sweet onions, cucumbers

Cukes and onions will be sliced and chilled in a bowl of herb vinegar and water.

Cukes and onions will be sliced and chilled in a bowl of herb vinegar and water.

Pulled a few more onions. They are really starting to size up and I don’t want to crowd them. These little onions (yellow, white, red) are great for thinly slicing and putting in the vinegar and cucumber bowl in the fridg.

The garden is creeping closer and closer to a vegetable explosion. Almost. Almost ready. Squash, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes almost ripe. ‘better wait another day or two before picking.

Snip roots, leaving ¼".

Snip roots, leaving ¼”.

 

Garlic

The garlic is in the garage, curing. Most of it is braided now. It looks like the garlic will be done before we need the space for onions.

Most of the garlic is plump and beautiful, about 2″ in diameter.  I will pickle some and add some to vinegar. But please, please do not store raw garlic in olive oil. It can kill you.

If raw garlic is stored in oil at room temperature, botulism (clostridium botulinum) develops quickly. It can be deadly. Even if raw garlic in olive oil is in the fridge for an extended period, it can kill you. Just don’t do it. Ever.

When I have all the garlic I want, I use a lot more. Last night we had a pasta side with just EVOO, garlic, basil, parsley.

 

 

Carrots

I pulled these carrots to see in they are coloring up and anywhere near picking time. No. They are not. There are several varieties. When I saw the reasonable seed prices at Nichols, I kinda went overboard.

This carrots to 2 -3 " apart for long straight carrots.

This carrots to 2 -3 ” apart for long straight carrots.

The best time to grow carrots is in the fall. So you have plenty of time to order seed and give it a try. Strangely, the carrots are not all that tempting for the gang of baby bunnies  that were born in my garden and never left.

They are crazy about Haricot verts. But that is another story.

 

Today’s Harvest Basket 6/29/14


2014
07.01

June 29, 2014

cucumbers, squash, onions, tomato

Good thing we like cucumbers. We are picking them everyday.

Good thing we like cucumbers. We are picking them everyday. Five picked today.

The little 2″ diameter tomatoes are “stupice”. They produced the first tomatoes of the season, a month ahead of my usual tomatoes.

Yes, eventually we will have too many cucumbers. Soon I will make refrigerator pickles and keep a bowl of cucumbers and onion slices in herb vinegar all the time while we have them.

  • Organic Cucumber, Chinese Suyo Long
  • White Wonder heirloom Cucumber

There are two more kinds of cukes I am growing this year. One is the little Kerby-type, which got planted late. My all-time favorites, an English cucumber, which I am just wondering about and will go looking for tomorrow.

Eventually, I’ll can a few garlicy dill sandwich slices and peppery spears. Plus, if I could only make one pickle, it would be the famous bread and butter pickle.

Uncle Ebb got a few white cucumbers on a sales trip, he shared them with his mom, my grandmother.

She grew the white cukes and saved seed for some years. White wonder are very crisp. don’t let them get big because they get bitter and need to be peeled.

Nichols Garden Nursery offers seed for white wonder cucumbers and stupice tomatoes.

A packet of 25 White Wonder seed from Burpee is $3.95.  Nichols offers White Wonder cucumber seed about 45 Seeds for $1.85.

Stupice heirloom tomato will be your first tomato of the year.

Stupice heirloom tomato will be your first tomato of the year.

Stupice tomato

Bred in the former Czechoslovakia, stupice is lunchbox size.

Cold-tolerant tomatoes ripen red slightly oval. They get better and sweeter as the weather gets warmer.

Today’s Harvest Basket 6/18/2014


2014
06.19

June 18, 2014

Parsley, mint, onion, ity bitty carrot.

Fresh parsley  + mint make the best tabouleh.

Fresh parsley + mint make the best tabouleh.

I always grow more parsley than we can eat. It is because of the rule of three. Grow one for me, one for others, one for the wildlife. Tabouleh is made with ingredients from my garden plus bulgar, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a bit of olive oil.

When tomatoes are producing, stuffed tomatoes are a good lunch.

When tomatoes are producing heavily, stuffed tomatoes are a good lunch.

Tabouleh will have a lot of parsley and mint in tonight’s dish. Next week when we have TONS of cucumber, the recipe will be heavy on cucumbers. Finally, when the tomatoes are the star of the garden, there will be a lot more tomato in the recipe.

About that carrot, it was harvested because I was thinning the carrots to encourage  them to grow straight and tall. When we have enough for carrot cake, I’ll share my recipe. But, it looks like it could be awhile before we have fresh carrot cake.

Take a jar of cool water to the garden. Plung herbs and leafy greens in cool water to prevent wilting.

 

This mint is called chocolate mint. It tastes nothing like chocolate. The stem is chocolate colored.

It is one of my favorite  mints because it has a pure mint flavor. It is a very bright, clean taste.

I keep it from growing out of control by using it at least once a week, clipping a generous portion to put in sun tea.

I buy mint from Richters Herbs.

Richters has a huge selection of herbs and a stunning variety of mints.

Today’s Harvest Basket 6/14/14


2014
06.15

June 14, 2014

Bucket of lettuce, green onions, hot pepper

Today's Harvest Basket 6:14:14

Picked the most of the garden lettuce today, and thinned more green onions.

 

Organic, French Red Leaf lettuce, “Redina”* Big beautiful rosettes of ruffled red leaves  Tasty, eye-catching and disease-resistant French lettuce is lasting a couple of weeks longer than most.

Heirloom leaf lettuce “Garden Ferns,”* Sweet flavored, long lance shaped leaves with juicy texture. Perfect shape to mix with other lettuces in mixed spring greens.

These tender leaf lettuces are best with the lightest of dressings. Choose fresh lemon juice or herb vinegar to combine with olive oil.

Dressing: 2 parts lemon juice (or herb vinegar) and 1 part olive oil.

Spring greens mixed with onions and radishes.

Spring greens mixed with onions and radishes.

 

Make it your own -

Acid – Choose fresh squeezed lemon juice, or white wine vinegar. Make this you secret recipe with a herb flavored vinegar, like chives or tarragon vinegar. Try rice wine vinegar.

Oil – Olive oil is the classic choice. Add a couple of drops of sesame. This oil must be stored in the refrigerator. Using bacon drippings will make a wilted lettuce or a hot bacon dressing.

 

 

 

 

Bring a bucket of cold water to the garden.

Bring a bucket of cold water to the garden.

 

Cool Idea: Bring a bucket of iced water to the garden when you pick lettuces. Warm days tend to wilt lettuce, spinach, chard.

As the weather heats up, lettuces will bolt, or go to seed.

Complete the circle: If your lettuce is an heirloom, let some of the lettuce go to seed. Collect a few seed and plant them next spring.

 

 

* “Redina” and  “Garden Ferns,” lettuces are exclusive to Renee’s Garden

Today’s Harvest Basket 6/12/14


2014
06.13

June 12, 2014

Cabbage, lettuces, onions

We are still getting lots of rain and spring temperatures.

We are still getting lots of rain and spring temperatures. Photo by PBH

It is a joy to still have a variety of lettuces and beautiful salads from the garden. I just step out the kitchen door, and across the drive to my kitchen garden.

We call the vegetable garden the circle garden because it is the interior of a circle drive. The space was originally full of rocks and trash. With a lot of time and work, the garden had become very productive. You can find plenty of earthworms in each of the raised beds.

Bug proof cabbage

I planted four little cabbage plant stars in four different places in the garden this spring. My hope was to raise a head or two of cabbage before the worms and slugs moved in. Because I don’t spray, cabbages and broccoli are always a disappointment.

But this year, one of the cabbages just seemed to be bug proof. It amazed me so that I took a photo of the big uneaten cabbage leaves.

Big uneaten cabbage leaves.

Big uneaten cabbage leaves. photo PBH

The cabbage in Today’s Harvest Basket will become cole slaw. I make it with a vinegar dressing and not the one with mayonnaise.

Dressing: whisk together

  • 1/4 cup white wine herb vinegar
  • 2 pkts stevia (or 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, celery seeds, ground black pepper

Shred veggies, toss in large bowl with dressing.

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head of cabbage, finely sliced.
  • 1 carrot, grated

If you have fresh cilantro or dill and parsley, chop and toss in a few fresh herbs

Make it your own by adding shredded rainbow carrots, bell pepper, red pepper flakes

 

 Lettuces

“Garden Ferns” leaf lettuce is juicy and still producing. This tender lance shaped leaf lettuce is an excellent addition to any salad.

“Redina” organic, French Red Leaf lettuce.  Very large rosettes of frilled & ruffled deep red leaves.

I get these beautiful leaf lettuce seeds at Renee’s Garden.

 

 

 

Today’s Harvest Basket 5/31/2014


2014
06.04

We have lots of radishes and green onions that I picked yesterday. So today’s harvest was half a dozen types of lettuce and some wild Russian Kale.

I pulled up all the Pak Choi today. It had gone to seed. Spring is over in the garden. Let the summer begin!

Todays Harvest Basket 5:31:2014

A variety of lettuces make the best salad.

Think this is a lot of lettuce? Not me. The season for homegrown leaf lettuce is much too short for me to tire of it. Same thing with Asparagus. The season is too short.  Too short.

I got my seed from

Renee’s Garden

Nichols Garden Nursery

 

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