Category Archives: Plants From Seed

Wordless Wednesday

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For more:

A rainbow of Zinnias

It’s a good zinnia growing year.

Zinnias, Zinnia elegans are the star of the summer flower show. For filler and contrast, try adding herbs, or coleus. It doesn’t always have to be leather leaf ferns or baby’s breath.

Red and gold zinnias with coleus in an antique watering can.

Red and gold zinnias with coleus in an antique watering can.

Summer-long blooms bring butterflies and pollinators to the garden. Zinnias meant “thoughts of an absent friend.” in the Victorian language of flowers.

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Zinnias and Russian sage. Cutting Zinnia, “Hot Crayon Colors” ↑ 

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Zinnias and mini marigolds. ↑ →

“Signet Starfire” marigolds. grown from seed. Little yellow and orange dwarf single marigolds keeps blooming until frost.

Shades of red:

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Red and white zinnias with coleus make a simple bouquet.

Zinnias and coleus.↑

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Zinnias and Nicotiana. ↑

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Zinnia and Coleus. ↑

Zinnias were named 1763 by Linnaeus in honor of Johann Zinn, a German professor of botany and medicine.

Pinks and lavender:

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Zinnias and coleus. ↑ Cutting Zinnia, “Berry Basket”

These crayon colored flowers are long-stemmed cutting flowers with long-lasting blooms.

To extend the life of cut flower blooms by trimming off the bottom of the stem, every few days. Replace the water with fresh every 4 days.

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Zinnias and basil. Cutting Zinnia, “Berry Basket” ↑

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Zinnias with oregano and basil. Cutting Zinnia, “Bling Bling.” These lovely cut flowers are bigger and brighter every year. Disease resistance has much improved through the years.

Pink zinnias and Queen Ann's lace.

Pink zinnias and Queen Ann’s lace.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve included zinnias in your garden, take another look. Zinnias are disease resistant rebloomers that will keep you in flowers until frost.

You might also like:

IMG_3335I got all the zinnias in this post from Renee’s Garden.

Wordless Wednesday

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Todays harvest basket 7/9/15

Todays harvest basket

July 9, 2015

zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green beans

zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green beans

Zucchini is coming on daily. So far, picking squash when it is 6 or 7″ long, is working. I see a chocolate zucchini cake in our future…

Green beans  are in a small patch we must collect a few pickings for a meal. In a couple of days, cucumber production will explode. For now, there are enough cucumbers for fresh eating.

There are plenty of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes for salad every day. The few red slicer tomatoes from My Garden Post were used for the first BLT of the season.

Summer harvest of onions and garlic.

Summer harvest of onions and garlic.

Read about the garlic and onions curing in the shade on the porch. Its garlic season

Best tomato plants for containers

is all about the first juicy red tomatoes of the season. Those early  full-sized tomatoes were grown on two foot tall plants!

Bush 506. First full size tomato to ripen, 5-oz.

Bush 506. First full size tomato to ripen, 5-oz.

 

 

Sneaky Zucchini

They’re baaack….

I’m growing three different kinds of zucchini. Before you ask why, let me just say I love zucchini. To me, it would be like growing only one kind of tomato.

As production picks up, I get creative. Chocolate zucchini cake is a favorite. Details and the recipe are on my Hub Pages.

Soon, there will be days when I wonder why I planted so much. What was I thinking? Well, it’s a test. Which is the best, the earliest, most squash bug resistant, is attractive, has the longest shelf life and, most important: best tasting.

Recipe for zucchini pickles is on my Pinterest page

Recipe for zucchini pickles is on my Pinterest page

Most of my recipes are gathered on Pinterest: Zucchini Everything – Zucchini, courgette, summer squash
baby zucchini

Baby Clarimore zucchini

Zucchini belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. The yellow variety is slightly sweeter. The round, “Eight Ball” or “Ronde de Nice” are bred for stuffing.

Clarimore is a pale green and slightly speckled. It has an almost creamy texture. Like most summer squash, no need to peel these fresh, young vegetables.

Dark green (almost black) Raven  and Golden Dawn yellow zucchini and  are the long, straight varieties we most often see when we think of zucchini.

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Pick zucchini at it’s best, 6″ to 8″ long.

I like Green Tiger, a European hybrid is named for its light-colored stripes. It has a mild and sweet flavor with a tender crunch. Green Tigers slightly nutty flavor is good cooked or raw in recipes. Not as straight and cylindrical as other zucchini and is best when served small.

 

Too many zucchini?

Zucchini prevention tips

To control heavy production, early risers can pick the flowers

Raven zucchini. Zukes are sometimes sold in farmers markets with the blossom still attached to baby zucchini.

Raven zucchini. Zukes are sometimes sold in farmers markets with the blossom still attached to baby zucchini.

for stuffed zucchini blossoms. Pick them in the early morning (or at night) when the flowers are closed. The closed blossom makes the perfect vessel for stuffing.

Try Pan Fried Squash Blossoms stuffed with ricotta, herbs and lemon. Most recipes call for deep-frying a stuffed, tempura batter coated flower. Always remove the stamen to prevent bitterness.

 

 

More blog posts about summer squash:

 

Today’s harvest basket – Salad greens

Today’s harvest basket,  May 25, 2015

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Thinning lettuce from My Garden Post (MGP)*

I’ve been snipping lettuce leaves and pulling radish and onions a few, each day, for a couple of weeks. But today I got a basket full. So, let this be 2015’s first harvest basket of the season.

 

There is enough lettuce for a sandwich or to add to store-bought lettuce. Radish and onion from our garden make it close to perfect.

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This little bunny, maybe the third generation so for this spring, is “hiding” by the kitchen door. I can only hope this one does not like green beans.

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I mix lettuces together when sowing. This allows for a beautiful variety when thinning and harvesting.

Slow to bolt and rarely bitter, Green Ice leaf-type lettuce, it’s wavy, fringed leaves are a dark green color and crisp.

Flashy trout back lettuce, a European heirloom Forellenschluse (Austrian for speckled like a trout’s back) romaine is a prized lettuce varieties. Soft, tender, juicy.

And so, without further ado,

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Today’s harvest basket, May 28, 2015. Lettuce. onions, radish. PBH

 

 

 

 Get off your knees! MGP_Logo_2Color_356K

My Garden Post best dwarf tomatoes

Vertical Gardening with My Garden Post.

My Garden Post (MGP)* Cool Season Crops.

Radishes are easy

Radish row markers

RG pink punch round Radishes

Pink Punch perfect globes that are crisp and mild.

  • Put radishes to work in your spring garden. Because the seeds germinate quickly, plant them at the beginning and end of other vegetable rows as living markers.
  • Mix in rows or blocks of lettuces and spring greens with radish seed to help space and thin young plants.
  • Sow every two weeks throughout the spring, for an extended season. Save extra seed to sow again in the fall.
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The first garden treats each spring are crunchy and spicy radishes.

 

The star of the salad garden was Crimson Crunch. A bright red radish with snow-white flesh, these perfectly round radishes are crisp and crunchy. If I could grow just one radish, it would be Crimson Crunch.

I planted these radishes in the corner of the garden and forgot about them. When I discovered them, they were huge. Probably, they measure 1 ½ inch diameter. And, they are NOT HOT!

Watermelon radishes.

Watermelon radishes.

These are beautiful red globes are solid and crispy, not spongy. Crimson Crunch is mild, perfectly smooth and round. This fall, they grew faster, milder and bigger than last spring.

Another pretty radish that is the star of my fall garden is the imported French Breakfast. Very crisp bi-color radishes, grow quickly in cylindrical shapes and perfect ball shapes.

Black radish, Purple Plum radish.

Black radish, Purple Plum radish.

French Breakfast radish from Renee’s Garden  includes both shapes in one packet. I still have a few in the ground, mostly just to see how well they keep.

Sparkler Radish

Sparkler radishes are great dippers on the veggie tray.

When you order radish seed, order extra. They are always a good spring salad accent and I will always plant them in a fall garden. Red globe radishes have plenty of potassium, vitamin C and folate.

Because they come up so quickly, use radishes as row markers as you plant other vegetables in the garden. Mix them and plant in with lettuce and spinach greens. Peppery radish sprouts are great on salad or sandwiches.

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  • Crostini with herb butter and radish slices.
  • Add snow peas, chopped radish to chicken or tuna salad.
  • Egg salad with grated radish and chopped chives
  • Eat radishes slices with a thin layer of sweet butter or olive oil and light sprinkle of salt. 
French Breakfast

“Petit Dejeuner” radish. Thinly slice radishes and serve on a lightly buttered baguette slices.

Radishes are also the last thing out of the garden in the fall. In mid November after a couple of frosts, I picked radishes in my zone 6 southeast MO USA garden.

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DIY Carrot Boxes for raised beds

Grow straight carrots

(Plus, after you grow these carrots, there’s Mom’s Carrot Cake)

I’ve been making mini raised beds. Little one foot wooden boxes without a top or bottom and 8″ tall. It is a little raised bed for the raised bed.

Metal raised bed corners make for quick, easy assembly.

Metal raised bed corners make for quick, easy assembly.

Here’s how: cut four 2 x 8 x 12 wooden pieces. Cedar lasts longer, pine is cheaper. Scrap lumber makes me happy. I call it a Carrot Box because I made it to grow carrots.

Loosen and add organic matter or compost to the raised bed. Set the box in your raised bed garden. Fill with a light soiless mix.

Thinly sow carrot seed. Cover. Firm. Water. Details are on my hub page Grow carrots weeks ahead of the last frost.

For the best results, thin the carrots to 2″ apart.

Using a double-deep container with extra fine soil will be the key to growing carrots. It is critical that you fertilize and water carrots regularly.

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“Sunshine Orange and Yellow” carrots from Renee’s Garden. Wonderful simply oven roasted. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Rose Marie Nichols McGee at Nichols Garden Nursery has one of the best gardening blogs, The Gardener’s Pantry and newsletters.

She has good information How to raise carrots without using a spade or hoe

You might like:

How can you make a soup rich?  Add 14 carrots (carats) to it.

Mom’s Carrot Cake

with cream cheese frosting

I don’t know where the original recipe came from, but it is the best.

1 1/2 Cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 Cups white sugar
3 eggs
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Cups peeled and grated carrots
1 Cups chopped pecans
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple

Beat together oil, sugar and eggs until well combined. In a bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Add to the eggs and sugar. Mix well. Drain the pineapple, add carrots, nuts. Mix well. Pour into 9 or 10 inch tube pan or a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or check with toothpick.

Cream cheese frosting

2 (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 box powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream cheese and butter together. Add sugar gradually until complete box has been added. Add vanilla. Refrigerate for an hour, then frost cake. Use all frosting.

 

Lettuce think Spring

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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

 

Hardy fall vegetables

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.

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