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.


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:


Herb bouquets

Include herbs in the Flower and vegetable garden


Keep a herb bouquet in the kitchen

Trimming herbs will tidy the garden and provide fragrant culinary inspiration in the kitchen. Keep a herb bouquet in the kitchen to inspire using fresh herbs in cooking. A handy sprig of fresh oregano may be just what the tomato sauce needs.

Clip or trim herbs to encourage, healthy, bushy growth. For example, a basil plant will produce more leaves if kept trimmed. Learn more about the importance of Pinching terminal buds for better plant growth.

Herbs and flowers by PBH

Cutting herbs (cilantro) and flowers like zinnias will encourage production. Plants continue to grow, trying to bloom and make seed. to seed will extend the growing season. Herbs and flowers by PBH

Herbs add greenery and fill a bouquet to colorful blooms. A handy supply of herbs in the garden will always brighten any bouquet. Replace filler like baby’s breath and leather leaf ferns with your own home-grown herbs.


A hummingbird and bees were drawn into admire this bouquet on the patio.

A herb bouquet on the kitchen counter will inspire you to use more fresh herbs. Often, cut herbs will last longer than a floral bouquet.

Later, the lavender will flavor lemonade. The garlic scapes and cilantro will be added to salsa.

Garlic scapes.

Garlic scapes.






You can never have too much basil.


Chopped fresh basil and oregano boost the flavor, turning any dish into gourmet fare.

Plant enough to use fresh, to preserve as pesto and in herb vinegar. Keep a pot on the patio or right outside the kitchen door. Read more about basil: Seed starting, growing and storing Basil

Basil flavor is best when fresh. If you keep basil cuttings in a kitchen bouquet, don’t be surprised in the stems form roots.

Discard the rooted stems and use only the leaves in cooking. (Or, plant the rooted cuttings.)

A variety of basil cuttings.

Gather basil cuttings before the first frost to extend the fresh basil for a couple of more weeks.

Keeping basil pinched or cut back will produce more leaves. Keeping a glass or jar of those cuttings in the kitchen makes it much more likely that you will use the herbs at their best.

Wordless Wednesday


Garlic scape bouquet.

Potatoes in the bag

Growing potatoes in containers is so easy

If you’ve never tried growing potatoes, containers or growing bags makes this a fun project. Flexible fabric containers will grow potatoes in the garden or even on a sunny deck. Home grown potatoes come in such variety, the tastes and textures may send you on a tasty potato obsession.


Lavender or white potato blooms grow high above the foliage.

I grow potatoes not found in the supermarkets, like fingerlings or colorful varieties. Seed potatoes in a raised bed or growing bag are easy care, usually weed and disease free. It’s very easy to control insect problems on such a small-scale.

How to grow

Grow potatoes in well worked soil or potting mix amended with compost or slow release fertilizer. Easy access to water will mean less work for you. Fill the bag with 3 inches of soil, place the potatoes, cover with 3 more inches of soil.


Young potato plants are ready to be covered with more soil.

When potato plants are 6 inches tall, cover the plant with soil, leaving only the top 2″ uncovered. Continue the process until the bag is filled with soil. Plants will produce more potatoes along the covered stem.

Covering the potato with soil keeps them from getting sunburned. Sun exposure causes potatoes to turn green and bitter-tasting. They need consistent moisture, either by rain or watering.

Harvest a few new potatoes about 10 weeks after planting, usually in early July.

At season’s end, plants will yellow and wilt. Withhold water for 2 weeks. Dump the bag to harvest potatoes. Clean and plan to use the bag again next year. I’ve used the same growing bag for three years.

To learn more about growing sweet potatoes in the traditional way: G6368, Growing Sweet Potatoes in Missouri

Used by the Andean Indians for at least 2,000 years before the Spanish Conquest, the potato, Genus Solanum tuberosum, family Solanaceae, was introduced to Europe by the mid-16th century, and reputedly to England by the explorer Walter Raleigh.

An obligatory lecture:

In Ireland, the potato famine of 1845, caused by a parasitic fungus, resulted in many thousands of deaths from starvation, and led to large-scale emigration to the USA. This is why you should only grow certified organic potatoes.

Today’s harvest basket – Salad greens

Today’s harvest basket,  May 25, 2015


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.


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.






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,


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.

GBBD May 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 15, 2015
Never waste a single day of May. It is perfection. May is the only time I think I might become a poet.


I have hundreds of peonies about to bust forth for Memorial Day. The added bonus was early bloomers for Mothers Day.

I have hundreds of this bright pink peony.

I have hundreds of this bright pink peony.


Iris are just finishing up for the season.


May is perfect and there are flowers every day. These are just a few of my favorites. And, in May, they are all my favorites.

color spires

Proven Winners – Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ – Perennial Salvia

This Perennial Salvia was a trial plant last year. It is available now at garden centers. Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’


New blue perennial salvia Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’

Look for this plant

Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ Perennial Salvia

color spires

The dense clumps make for good cut flowers.

Color Spires® is a perennial Salvia. You may have to rethink what you know about the annual salvias that must be planted every summer. There’s room for this new Proven Winners introduction in the garden or, it is beautiful and lush in containers.1_gal_color_spires_crystal_blue

‘Crystal Blue’ produces a full mass of light blue flowers in late spring/early summer. The humming birds and butterflies are attracted to this rounded clump of spiky blue blooms. Thick flower stems rise above the dense, rounded clump of textured green foliage and remains attractive all season.

This second year in the garden has moved up Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ on the list of favorite salvias in the garden. I love Salvia and now that there are such hardy and beautiful perennial varieties, I plan to include Color Spires® Perennial Salvia in several garden spots.


Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ Perennial Salvia

Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ Perennial Salvia is the asset you have been looking in your blue flower garden. True blue flowers are hard to find and this one will be around for years to come. Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ Perennial Salvia will also blend into the blue garden beautifully.


Color Spires® ‘Pink Dawn’ – Perennial Salvia


There are three colors:

  • Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ Perennial Salvia
  • Color Spires® ‘Pink Dawn’ – Perennial Salvia
  • Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ Perennial Salvia

Since my back yard is the neighborhood bunny park (Like a dog park but for bunny rabbits.) All the Color Spires® are rabbit and deer resistant. These Salvia are drought tolerant and heat tolerant.

Is in the garden centers now. It is exploding with lavender blooms. Lush and full with textured medium green leaves. I’d have to say they thrive with neglect in my garden.


Color Spires® Chrystal Blue Perennial Salvia

‘Crystal Blue’ Salvia is the first of its kind, most perennial Salvias are darker purple, so this is incredibly unique to have a light sky blue Salvia.

At 18-24 high and about the same width, it is a neat, orderly plant. A pretty focal point in a perennial cutting garden, a butterfly garden, or all blue perennial bed.

This is a reminder of what every gardener knows. Be Patient. Don’t give up on plants, especially those perennials. That first year, your newly planted perennial is busy establishing roots.

It just keeps getting bigger and more beautiful every year.


More new blue

Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ – Butterfly bush – Buddleia

lo_behold_blue_chip_jr_buddleia-2093A small version of a butterfly bush that blooms all summer. Attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, but deer resistant.

Growing only about two feet tall with silver-green leaves, this butterfly bush is small enough for container planting or in a perennial garden. The Blue Chip in my sidewalk border has not had any insect or disease problems. No need for deadheading or pruning.

MPG The best dwarf tomato plants

MPG Best dwarf tomatoes

My Garden Post

Dwarf tomato plants are ideal for small garden spaces and container gardens on the deck or patio.

MGP tomatoes. Dwarf tomatoes for My Garden Post. Tiny plants bursting with classic home-grown fruit and flavor.

Bush 506 Container Tomato produces 9 ounce fruit-growing 18 -24 inches tall.

New Big Dwarf tomato. Photo:

  • This dwarf bush tomato plant will only reach 18-24″ tall and has a medium-large sized red juicy fruits. They are great for container growing as the plants stay compact and have thick, upright stems and they produce loads of 9 oz. fruit. One of the few full-sized tomatoes designed for container growing. 62 days Plant from The Tasteful Garden


New Big Dwarf Heirloom Tomato (This heirloom was “new” in 1915.)


The plants are “Dwarf” but the tomatoes are 8-12 oz. beefsteak. 60 days! (Plant from The Tasteful Garden The thick, sturdy stem of this small plant is strong enough to handle the weight of regular sized tomatoes.


“Litt’l Bites” Cherry Container Tomato

tomato-cherry_bites-02A sweet, cascading bite size tomato Early and compact, just 20 inches wide and 12 inches tall. (Seed from Renee’s Garden Exclusive.)

Dwarf tomato plants grow 24" tall.

Dwarf tomato plants grow 24″ tall.

Tomato success tips:

  • Keep tomatoes picked to encourage continuous production.
  • Watering schedule will need to be adjusted as the days get longer and hotter.
  • With little root space available in the planter, plants must be supported with good potting soil, once or twice daily water and regular diluted fertilizer or extended release fertilizer as recommended.

You might also want to try BushSteak Hybrid Tomato a Burpee Exclusive with compact (20-24″) plant. compact (20-24″) plant.

Get the best price here:


  • You can buy My Garden Post from this Oh! Grow Up Blog. We both benefit. You save money and I get credit for your order. Use this code: 50offMGP at checkout to get $50 worth of savings for My Garden Post with Drip Irrigation.

My Garden Post sent the original post to me free of charge so I could demonstrate how easy it is to assemble, install the irrigation, and grow lots of food in a tiny space.

My Garden Post  $50. Off. Use the coupon code: 50offMGP 

MPG Diary May 6, 2015. Tomatoes. III PBH

Grow a salad in a hanging basket

Less weeds and insect damage

Hanging Baskets for 3 seasons

  1.    Spring salad greens
  2.    Wave petunias, giant leafy ferns, tumbling begonias, cascading coleus.
  3.   Dwarf green beans and radishes, baby carrots or turnips.

Merlot lettuce. This rich dark Merlot colored lettuce holds a color all season.

Mix it up.

Brune D'Hiver Lettuce is tender, mild little lettuce that works best with other mixed lettuces. It's tender leaves and mild taste can not carry the salad by it's self.

Brune D’Hiver Lettuce is tender, mild little lettuce that works best with other mixed lettuces. It’s tender leaves and mild taste can not carry the salad by its self.

Mixed lettuces make the most colorful baskets.


Mixed salad greens are simple. As radishes grow and are harvested, giving more room for the lettuces to grow. Slim and tender young green onions can be pulled at any time.


Lettuce and flowers.

Pansies and lettuce

Pansies and lettuce.

Pansy flowers are edible and a colorful addition to your salad bowl.

You might like Wilted Lettuce


MGP Advantages of vertical gardening

Cool season crops

My Garden Post is Easy Gardening

MGP is off to a good start. Look at this lovely lettuce and the other bug-free salad greens.

The top three planters in the My Garden Post are growing salad greens.

The top three planters in the My Garden Post are growing salad greens.

I am loving my new My Garden Post (MGP).

Vertical gardening doesn’t get easier than My Garden Post. I planted a salad bowl garden in the top three planters.

The post and planters are mounted on five casters that makes it easy to move in for cool nights and out on the deck in the morning to find best sun exposure. MGP is solid and sturdy, no chance of tipping or spilling.

Lettuce, radish, green onions.

Lettuce, radish, green onions.

The planters are positioned at a comfortable height for planting, maintenance and harvesting. The dwarf tomato plants are sturdy and green. I removed the first tomato blooms to encourage plant and root growth.

An assortment of colorful lettuces are thriving in the smaller pots. It will soon be time to thin the lettuce for a first spring salad. Consistent watering and extended release fertilizer will allow more plants and herbs to fit in each pot.

Merlot lettuce.

Merlot lettuce.

Tending MGP is the easiest of all container gardening. No stretching, bending or reaching, I’m happy for no dirty hands or knees. Planters are positioned for easy access when it’s time to replace the cool season lettuces.

All the plants have better air circulation, which makes them less susceptible to mildew and other fungi. There is far less exposure to soil born insects and diseases with container gardening.

Flashy trout back lettuce.

Flashy trout’s back.

You still have plenty of time to order a My Garden Post. The MGP Drip Irrigation System guarantees no worries about the drought and watering even in August.



The draft tomato plants in the bottom two planters are are green and healthy, just waiting for warmer weather.

The dwarf tomato plants in the bottom two planters are green and healthy, just waiting for warmer weather.

The First Thing

in the planter is, Better Than Rocks.


Cut BTR to fit the planter and reuse it every year. For My Garden Post planters it will keep the soil from running out of the drainage holes and create lighter containers.

  • Use less soil,
  • prevent over watering,
  • buy it once and use it for a lifetime.

I have some Better Than Rocks product that I’ve been using every year for 10 years. BTR is eco-friendly, 100% recycled plastic. See their cool site. Order online at Better Than Rocks.

Get the best My Garden Post price here:


  • You can buy My Garden Post from this Oh! Grow Up Blog. We both benefit. You save money and I get credit for your order. Use this code: 50offMGP at checkout to get $50 worth of savings for My Garden Post with Drip Irrigation.

My Garden Post sent the original post to me free of charge so I could demonstrate how easy it is to assemble, install the irrigation, and grow lots of food in a tiny space.

My Garden Post  $50. Off. Use the coupon code: 50offMGP 


MPG Diary April 30, 2015. Lettuce, radish onion.II PBH

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