Saturday, December 27, 2014

We got a white Christmas after all ...

... if a few days late!

Here's what I woke up to this morning:

Hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday. :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kale, kale, kale!!

Well, you know how much I like kale, and I even wrote about how to grow kale as one of my featured plants ... so guess what I got at the nursery this week?

The ones on the left were called "peacock kale" and have very interesting leaves.

So of course I had to plant them!

(the pansies are for another project)

I alternated regular purple kale with the "peacock" kale, just because I felt like it, and I think it turned out pretty well.  

One of my kale (way at the top of that picture, where you really can't see it) has been around since last year and is doing great!


Are you planting kale? What sort are you planting?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Harvesting my prickly pear ... (you can grow that!)

This week, I harvested the fruit from my prickly pear (with the help of some salad tongs!), following the instructions on this page (which has a nice recipe).

I found it very easy to take the fruits (called tunas) off of the plant -- they simply twist off -- but much harder to clean them properly. They tend to spin in the tongs, and I ended up having to hold them with one hand and scrub them with the other. Of course, now I'm picking tiny needles out of my fingertips, but ... ;)

If I were to do this again, I would get some different tongs (mine are like the ones in the article I linked to above) and/or wear some thick household gloves set aside for the purpose.

The fruits really are lovely once picked, and to me they taste just a bit like strawberries. I'm looking forward to making some sorbet or ice cream with them this evening.

Planting this was as easy as putting it in the ground (it was much smaller then!). I've put some landscape cloth around it so I don't have to weed it later, and eventually I'll fill it in with gravel, once I find the kind I want.

It doesn't require any maintenance, watering, or anything else. When it gets a bit bigger, I might try harvesting some of the pads and report back on them. :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Poking around my front yard ...

With my third annual Edible Front Yard photo contest coming to an end July 31st I thought I might give you a bit of a look around my front yard! :)

My daylilies around my "crazy tree" (aka weeping mulberry) are doing very well, and have more than doubled in number of blooms from last year.

We have been eating the flowers (stamens removed) in stir-fry, along with kale, garlic, sweet potato greens, and onions from my yard.

They are tasty!
This is called horsemint -- it's a relative of bee balm in the mint family, and grows naturally here in Oklahoma. I've never planted any of this yet it pops up all over. I love this stuff!

Supposedly it makes a nice tea, but I haven't tried it yet. What I really like is how it looks -- it matches the colors in my garden very nicely.
Love my lettuces!

I went crazy this spring throwing lettuce seed all over my front garden plots, and it's been coming up really well with all the rain we've had this year.
I planted this lavender long before I knew about edible landscaping, and it's been one of the best plants in my front yard -- it looks good all year long.

I use it mostly in this one recipe for stew, but I recently ran across this other recipe for lavender syrup, which sounds wonderful :D

The edible plants around my pond are doing well also.

I stuck the mint in the very back corner of the pond so if it decided to go crazy, who cares?

It looks as though the grasshoppers have taken a liking to it, which is fine with me -- there's enough for all of us!

Here is one of my sweet potato plants -- I bought a couple dozen of them and decided to put this one in a pot that we brought with us when we moved here from southern California.

Even though the soil in this pot has got to be terrible, this plant seems to love it in there!

I can't wait to see how many sweet potatoes we get from this.

Hope all of you are doing well! If you'd like to show off your edible front yards, you still have time to enter the contest. Looking forward to seeing what you've created. :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Prickly pear and dewberries, among other things ...

This past week has been fairly stormy, but I was able to get out into my garden some ... here are a few of the things that went on last week:

My nectarine tree arrived! This is a dwarf Mericrest Nectarine from Stark Bros.  My husband and I planted it in the back yard, between the pomegranate and the mulberry trees.

I absolutely love nectarines, so I'm pretty excited!

The flat to the left of the tree has a bunch of roselle hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) seedlings in them, which I started from seeds I got through Baker Creek. This is the kind of hibiscus you use in herbal tea.

I didn't get as good a germination as I would have hoped, but I do have a half dozen or so seedlings from the packet.  The roselle doesn't do well in zone 7, so these will be potted plants ... I'm going to put them in various places and see where they do best, once I get them put into more permanent containers. But so far they seem to be happy on my back porch. :)

My prickly pear has bloomed! I was surprised to see that this one was yellow - I had always thought that prickly pears had pink blooms, but apparently they come in a wide variety of flower colors.

This plant is quite funny - it sort of "shrinks" in the winter ... all the leaves droop, turn a dull gray-green, and curl up a bit ... then the whole plants pops back up and starts putting out new leaves once it gets warm again!

Home Depot didn't have any more of the nice colored gravel that I started this with, so I'm looking for something similar to finish filling around my plant.

My dewberries are ripening, and I spent part of an afternoon last week picking them on the front yard side of the fence. I got almost two quarts of berries, and I haven't even started on the back side of the fence yet!

And just the other day, I picked our first bit of salad from the front yard ... which was a first for us! Go, edible landscaping! :D

So ... how was your garden doing last week? Anything interesting to show us?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Today's garlic harvest

I was out pinning up the dewberries and pulling some weeds when I decided to pull some garlic. Here's what I have for today:

Most of this is fairly young volunteer garlic, but some of these have formed decent heads already. I'll probably braid those for later.

In the meantime, I see some garlic chicken in my near future ... ;)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My cherry tree bloomed!

Remember my cherry tree?

Well, it bloomed for the first time ever ...!

Here's a close up of the flowers ...

I'm so excited!

Will we get cherries this year? Let's wait and see ...!

Monday, March 17, 2014

My day at the 2014 Oklahoma Gardening School

I had a great time this past Saturday at the Oklahoma Gardening School, hosted by the Myriad Botanical Gardens. It was held in the beautiful Devon Auditorium and was very well attended.

There were a small number of vendors, a continental breakfast provided, and several authors were there doing book signings, including Rosalind Creasy and Dee Nash. I got to meet both of them and they were lovely people. It's so nice to meet others who know what you're talking about and are EXCITED! to discuss issues surrounding home edible gardens.

(and who don't think you're nuts for wanting to take photos of plants!)

The title of this year's event was "From Chard To Chickens: Rethinking The American Kitchen Garden".

The first speaker was Tres Fromme, Landscape Design and Planning Manager at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, whose talk was titled, "Delicious Designs: Harvesting Creativity For Your Garden".

Not only was he an engaging and funny speaker (I'm suspecting he would do quite well as a stand-up comedian!) but he showed us the most gorgeous slides of the various edible gardens that he's worked on. 

Some quotes:

"Most gardens are not one-night stands"

"Show me a garden that's finished and I'll show you a dead gardener"

"Plants don't make bad design, people make bad design"

"Most garden designs need a good editor"

"Gardening is the slowest of the performing arts"

I really liked that one, because I had never thought of gardening as a performing art. But of course it IS, especially if you've got your work in the front yard ...

Another point he made that I really liked was to look at plants and garden objects and ask yourself what their purpose is -- and also ask yourself if you can create multiple uses, especially for garden decor items. An example he used were waist-high movable garden pots with wide lips that doubled as counters for outdoor cocktail parties -- that could be pushed to the sides of the patio to use the area as a dance floor!

Wonderful talk, I really enjoyed it.

The next talk was by Brian Pirtle, Manager of Cedar Spring Farms, who talked about vegetable gardening in Oklahoma, with specifics on varieties that do well here and month to month garden care.

After that we took a lunch break, and I went over to the Park House restaurant in the Botanical Gardens, and I had the most delicious herbed rotisserie chicken I've ever tasted. If you're in Oklahoma City, I highly recommend you visit there.

The next speaker was author and garden photographer Rosalind Creasy, who if you don't know you should. ;)

The author of 14 books on home edible gardens, she talked about how she started doing edible landscaping in 1973, and shared over two dozen beautiful photos of home edible gardens.

Some quotes:

"America is the only country in the world with a lawn industry"

"Landscapers used to be for the ultra-rich, who were the only ones that could afford to waste land by planting something which wasn't useful"

A comment she got from someone in Germany: "You mean Americans have to be told to put edible plants in the front yard?"

"If you don't like your neighbors, don't put edible plants in the front yard" (because they'll be stopping by!) ... although she also said, "Most Americans wouldn't know an edible plant if they fell over one"

"Edible landscaping isn't just putting corn in the front yard -- an edible landscape pleases the eye"

(which I agree with wholeheartedly!)

She loves putting flowers in the vegetable garden for pollination and companion planting purposes. She also talked quite a bit about the variety of brightly-colored edible plants, such as "Graffiti" cauliflower (which is bright purple!), "Pesto Perpetuo" variegated basil, and "Indigo Rose" tomato (which is such a dark purple as to be almost black!)

The last speaker was Samantha Snyder, a garden talk show host, who spoke on pest management, and then there was an question and answer session with the speakers.

I had never been to one of these before but I thought it was very enjoyable and will certainly go to another of these. If you'd like a copy of the handouts, just comment below with your email and I'll send them to you.