Friday, November 12, 2010

Blog fatigue

So... I've decided that blogging should definately be a winter sport. There is just no time in the summer for it with the garden. So from now on... I only blog in the winter. Ahhhhh... I feel better now that I've said it outloud. :-D
I will be posting my all-stars list this week. My website is still being worked on. The delay... Me. I need to submit a lot of copy and have been way too busy.
Seems like next year I will be growing a lot of new things. Discovered the joys of Groundcherries. Who knew these things were so good and didn't tell me??? Also.. Turnips. I have never tasted one in my life until last month. Another well kept secret.

Oh and Chinese Lanterns. These things are sooo cool looking. Stole the seed from a garden in France with my partner in crime Sebastien. I guess they are self seeding and multiply so plant once and forget it. Just decorative but very catchy!!
Have the garden put to sleep for the winter. Now the planning for next season.. Woot!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mirai Corn and Tomato news

A new totally cool find... Mirai corn! OMG good. Let me share some of the good stuff with you and explain..
First... It is NOT a GMO. It is self-pollinating and developed from natural breeding and selection. You can relax. hehee.

"It was bred on the Ahrens family farm in Illinois by J. David Mackenzie, a plantsman from Cornell University. As the economy worsened for family farms in the early 1990s, the Ahrenses hired Mackenzie to research new strains of sweet corn for market use. When he discovered Mirai®, he was really just trying to create a more disease-resistant variety. But one taste changed all that.
At first, the new corn didn't seem marketable. It needs to be hand-picked, which ruled out production by the huge commercial farms in the U.S. So Mackenzie introduced it instead to Japan, where small "boutique" farms are common, and many crops are still picked by hand. Within a few years Mirai® had become the bestselling sweet corn in Japan, capturing an amazing 35% of the market from all other varieties! (That's where it got its name, too. Mirai® (pronounced mee-RYE) also means "taste"!)

Once small American farms and roadside produce operations heard of Mirai's success in Japan (where it made headlines), everyone wanted the seed. But until now, the breeders have wisely released only a small amount of seed, continuing to test and trial it. The results have been spectacular -- and those farmers' markets lucky enough to grow Mirai® have been besieged by long lines all season long! It's not uncommon for folks to drive 100 miles or more to wait in line for Mirai® -- and it is especially popular with older corn-lovers, because it is so gentle on the teeth or dentures. "
(copy and paste from Park Seeds)

I was at the farmer's market today and their was a line 30 people long waiting for this corn. I had never heard of it.. but the guy in line ahead of me was raving about it. I decided to buy a dozen. Glad I did because the farmer was completely sold out in 20 minutes. OMG... it was soooooooooooo good. Then, I did a google search on it and was even more impressed. Should only be boiled for 2 minutes!! AND.... In Japan, they call it a "dessert corn" because they eat if for dessert.
The one I bought is called mini-Mirai, or "baby corn" as the customers in line kept calling it. There is also a full size yellow Mirai and a white Mirai.
If you can find this in your area, well-worth buying. You'll know what all the fuss is about. Going to grow it next season in my garden.. Park Seed and Jung Seed both carry seed for all 3 varieties of Mirai.

So, now that I've shared the good stuff, let me tell you about my new tomato cross! I have a Kumato x Absinthe cross. Calling it "Fairytale" Alan Bishop made a good point about the name... he said it made sense because Absinthe, being one of the parents, is called "the green fairy". So it's child being called Fairytale is perfect! Thanks Alan. I have personal reasons for the name but I liked what Alan said too.
Here's a couple of photos of my baby. Saving the F2 seed for growout next season.

And in other news: I will be doing a full report on the garden as soon as things start really kicking in. Also... will be doing a new blog with my friend Sebastien in France! We thought it would be cool to have a cooking and gardening blog done by two people in two different countries contributing at the same time. Will post the link as soon as we actually have time to work on the blog hehee.

My new website is in progress and should be up in October. Stayed tuned.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Morning Glorys

Passing on a cool link. I love Morning Glorys and found a great blog.

Such cool flowers. I love they way they open in the morning to see the sun.

So easy too. Unless I want a different variety, they will just pop up from the fallen seed from the previous year. I always have them climbing up a huge pole to my bird condo. Hehee.. Not a single bird family unit.. but houses many birds.
So..... if you are a big fan of Morning Glorys, check out this worthy blog. I will also put the link on the sidebar.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My favorite time of the year.

Mmmmmmmm... One of my favorite tomatoes, Green Giant. Grown it now for 4 years in a row. I couldn't have a summer without them.

The maters are starting to grow. Just highly anticipating the first ripe ones. Had a few Sungolds I snagged. All that did for me is make me more anxious for the rest of them.

So there's some critter eating all of my sunflowers. At first I thought it might be a rabbit but now I'm thinking it's something bigger. Maybe a groundhog??? Whatever it is, it's mowing down all my beautiful sunflowers. :'(

Here's a photo of my beautiful French "Peace" rose. Probably my favorite rose of all time.

So I really need to get out there and weed. Blah! I layed down so much straw this year thinking I wouldn't have to weed as much... Doesn't seem to make that big of a difference. The weeds just come up through the straw.

I've been busy making pickles, freezing zucchini and eating all the chocolate zucchini bread I make. LOL... It is so good I think I'm entering it in the fair this year.
Here's a photo of a new one I'm growing.. Mrs. Benson. Got the seed from Suze in Texas. She raved about them so I'm anxious!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Too Many Zucchini

If you are like most people you have zucchini that seem to mutate into giants over-night.. I had so many one year I was using them for target practice with my .22 hehee... Here's a recipe that will make you want to use the Zukes.
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
2 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate (2 oz. total)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 cups of grated zucchini (salted and water squeezed out)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup of chocolate chips
1 cup of chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 F ( 175 C) Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. (bread pans). Melt the unsweetened chocolate. Stir until chocolate is smooth.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix well. Stir in the flour , baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake in oven for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of loaf comes out clean.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Zucchini and making Basil Jelly

It's zucchini time again. Just trying to keep up with them can be a major job... I like to sautee them, grate them, squeeze the water out and vacuum seal them for winter. I also like to make zucchini fritters and Chocolate Zucchini bread. Just a few ideas of how to use it. This year I am growing the dark green zucchini and the grey zucchini.
Also making Basil Jelly. This is really a nice herb jelly. Goes well with Goat Cheese and certain meats. I'm posting a recipe but you can mix it up a bit. You can add different juices and even add cut fruit if you like. Some people I know make wine basil jelly. Substitute wine for the water. Anyhoo... here is the recipe.

Purple Basil Jelly
2 heaping cups of fresh purple basil leaves (or Green Basil)
2 C boiling water ( or 1 cup of water 1 cup of Apple Juice)
1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice
4 C sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)
You can also add a bit of natural food coloring if you like. Purple or Green

Wash leaves well, (if necessary), drain and place in heat-proof glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour boiling water over leaves and let steep from 30 minutes to 24 hours. I prefer to let it sit overnight, for best flavor and color.. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the clear, purplish liquid or infusion. If not using
immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Place jars and lids on rack in pan or stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.
To make the jelly, stir lemon juice and sugar into reserved infusion in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.
Ladle quickly into jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw band on tightly and invert jar on tea towel for about five to 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut within 10 minutes as they cool. If they do not seal, you can place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or place in the refrigerator.

Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Put any unsealed jelly in the refrigerator. It should keep about three weeks. Makes four or five half-pint jars.
This makes a delightful purple, licorice/herb flavored jelly that is delicious on toast or biscuits, but is also wonderful with cold meat sandwiches, as a glaze or part of a marinade, or melted down with a bit of orange juice and used as a dressing for a fruit salad.
You can also try experimenting with other kinds of basil – Holy Basil, African blue basil, or lemon basil are especially delicious!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More to come

I haven't forgotten about my blog... just been very busy in the garden. I will post pics when it is completely finished. Rain isn't helping me along..

Julen...I only have pics of Doux des Landes from last year. As soon as my new Basque peppers are done growing I will take photos for you. (I know you don't call them Basque peppers hahaha).

Website is being worked on by my new awesome designer. Woot! Up in October.

Hope the growing is going well for everyone else. I can't wait to have my first garden tomato of the year.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

HA. HA. HA..... I found this guy hanging around my cucumber seedlings.. literally.. I think he is veeeeeery cute.

Here are my two new meat eating plants. Woot! I never really thought about them until my friend Sebastien was talking about his. Then I got kind of intrigued... they are very cool... even my mother is fasinated by them..(yeah, she asked for her own for Mother's day)

Got the teepee up for the Scarlet Runner Beans.. I think this is going to be my garden masterpiece this summer.

Most of the seedlings are doing alright but I did lose a few :-( Grrrrrrrrrrrr.. I'm gonna try and make up some of the ones I lost at the nursery but I doubt they are going to have much of what I am looking for..

Lastly I did finally find a web designer for my web site. Will be up in October but you'll have to keep quessing about it until them.

Okay, that is just a quick up-date for now but I will do better next time LOL promise!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

LOL... I would love to say these are my lambs but they are not. They belong to my friend Lucine in France (I want them). Born over the Easter holiday.

I could do an entire post only about these lambs. They have a huge following on her Fb wall and I think they need their own fan page. Ha!

Check out how cute his little feet are! If they stayed this little I would get a whole flock but I know they grow into big sheep.

I wish I could fly over to France just to kiss them.
Thursday, I am finishing the teepee for the Scarlet Runner Beans. I think this will be the showpiece of my garden this year.

The bad news I have to report is that I couldn't get my Choc. Ghost Chilis or my Marmande Garneir Rouge tomatoes to germinate. :( Next year....... a new opportunity for them.
The tiller is tuned up and I hope this weekend to get the garden turned over for the first time this year. (That is an all day project)... Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1930's tomato farming

This video is crazy... It's from 1930. Subtitles are in French but it shows the back-breaking work of tomato farming then.

P.S. Thank You Sebastien Prunet!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Did You Know Marigolds were first discovered by the Portuguese in Central America in the 16th century?? "Marigold" is derived from "Mary's Gold", and the plant is associated with the Virgin Mary in Christian stories. Because of the flower's heavenly association it was thought to be a bringer of good luck and to ward off evil and witchery.
My friend Gerard in France sent me lots of Marigold seeds for this year. I have never started them from seed but this year I'm going to give it a shot.

Planting Marigolds amongst your tomatoes is considered "companion planting". Annual Marigolds can be used anywhere to deter Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies. They are also known to repel harmful root knot nematodes (soil dwelling microscopic white worms) that attack tomatoes, potatoes, roses, and strawberries. Marigolds omit an odor that many insects find offensive so when you plant marigolds you are actually helping keep insects away from the area you are planting the marigold flowers in. Insects do not like to be around marigold flowers.The root of the Marigold produces a chemical that kills nematodes as they enter the soil. If a whole area is infested, at the end of the season, turn the Marigolds under so the roots will decay in the soil. You can safely plant there again the following spring.

Marigolds are easy to grow and have a long flowering period. African marigolds have a upright growth and can reach a height of 30-40 inches, while French marigolds grow to only 8-16 inches. African marigolds come in shades of yellow and orange, while French marigolds are often multicolored in shades of orange, yellow, mahogany and crimson. Both are suitable for massed plantings or pots. They are attractive as cut flowers if the scent isn't a problem. Change the water in the vase frequently.

Marigolds are grown from seeds. They like full to partial sun. Marigold seeds can be directly sowed into your flower garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later. I recommend planting Marigolds in pots and containers indoors, then transplanting them outdoors. This allows you to make the proper spacing without the need for thinning seedlings.

Sow Marigold seeds early in the season and cover lightly with soil. Water thoroughly once. They germinate easily and will grow quickly, producing their first of a continual display of blooms by mid-summer.

Transplant Marigold plants into your garden after the last frost date for your area. Spacing depends upon size with miniature varieties spaced four to six inches apart, and Giant varieties one to two feet apart. Around mid-summer, your plants will begin to produce flowers and will continue to do so up to the first frost. You do not need remove dead flower blooms, except for appearance.

So I will take lots of pics of them this year! Marigolds fall into that catagory I call "happy flowers" sunflowers. If they exuded an emotion it would be happiness.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Seed Bombs

How they Work
A seed bomb is a little capsule with everything you need to grow a plant all bundled up. The clay has lots of root-encouraging nutrients. The Worm Castings will give the seeds a nice fertilizer, good for land that hasn't been cultivated or worked on for a while. The indigenous seeds are custom made for your area. They will know how to grow given the conditions.Now all they need is a nice rain. The perfect time to throw these is right before a light rainy season. The rain will melt the clay to expose the seeds, and your seed bombs will grow.

Seed Bombs Ingredients
1) powdered clay
2) worm castings
3) wildflower seeds indigenous to the area
4) water
5) mixing container
6) stick

How to Make a Seed Bomb
1) mix 5pt powder clay, 5pt worm castings, 1pt seeds in a mixing container.
2) add just enough water to make a nice muddy clay consistency
3) roll up the mixture into little balls like gum balls
4) let dry in a cool dry place for like 3 days
5) throw them in empty fields.

This is what we call Guerillla Gardening!! Throw them in your unsuspecting neighbors ugly back yard. Around a get the idea.
Some of this content was taken from

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Come on Spring

Chance is getting huge and the cats hate him. Ha! He ate one of my tomato seedlings today and if he didn't have such a cute face I would have been mad.
Got all of my peppers sown. Mainly doing Basque peppers this year but some Ghost Chilis too.

I've started collecting my coffee grounds from Starbucks.. Woot. I think I've doubled my worm population and we all know how good worm poop is for the plants. :-p
Still waiting for the garlic to pop up. Not yet.
Hope everyone has gotten their seeds started and are getting excited for the season.

Passing on a cool global website They have a page on how to make seed bombs. When I have more time I will try to put the instructions up.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Puppies and seed starting

Here's my new little man Chancellor or "Chance" as I call him. A Border Collie maniac puppy. I haven't had a pup in 14 years. I forgot how much work they are.
Started peppers: Ghost Chili, Doux des Landes, Ancient Sweets, Piment d' Ampuis and a few more next week.
Getting psyched for the garden. Woot!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Most excited to grow list

Finally......... Time for my
Every year I am very excited about certain new tomatoes I am growing. I've lowered the number of varieties I grow so the list is not huge this year.

So here it is *fist pumps again*.

Green Doctor's Frosted-
This is a mutation from Green Doctor's proper. A green when ripe cherry. Normally the epidermis is yellow, this is a mutation to clear. The clear epidermis makes the little tomatoes look like they are frosted.

Le Mer Mix--(The Have You Got It Yet Mix )
Includes a segregating genepool and also some OP lines from Alan Bishop including:
Mer De Noms -red
La Mer (noir) - black
La Luna - Black with green stripes
Le Soliel - Orange plus various yellows and other shapes including cherries, but for the most part salladette type tomatoes.
Alan's tomatoes are always impressive. His Absinthe and Jack White are out-standing so growing this mix out is going to be sooooooooo exciting for me.

Marmande Garnier Rouge
This is a selection of Marmande that was sent to me by my friend Gerard..
Red fruit from 1-1.5 lbs. slightly corded. A variety of Marmande which was found at the market in Savigny sur Orge in Essonne in the year 1960 by Mrs Garnier who gave it her name. Cultivated year after year by Mrs Garnier and Patrick Saint Aubin, collector at Montlhéry.

Spudatula Black
A cross of Black from Tula with an unknown potato leaf variety, from Bill Malin of Hillsboro, NM. Last year I grew Bill's Spudakee Purple, a PL version of Cherokee Purple (also on the list this year) and it was sooooo good even in a horrible growing year. I've heard raves about Spudatula Black so I can't wait!

I have no photos for any of these yet but will try to post as I find them or grow them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2010 Growlist

Here is my 2010 growlist for the moment. There might be some minor changes but these are solid. I will up-date with any new varieties. In the meantime, I have started 10 Chocolate Ghost Chili's *fist pumps*. I can't wait to see these guys. I'm guessing this is a cross between the Ghost Chili and a chocolate pepper. Maybe a mutation??

Looking for something called a Bergamot Orange. A cross between an orange and a lime. I'm going to get in touch with my produce guy at one of the stores and see if they can find some. One of my French peeps made me go on a mad search for these. Thanks for driving me crazy Sebastian!

Trying to decide if I should get this Border Collie. It's soooooo tough. I want him so bad but I know what a job it will be. Yeah... that's him shoving the other puppies out of the food bowl. *sigh*
Happy seed starting everyone!

Black Cherry
Sun Gold
Green Doctors Frosted
Marizol Gold Cherry

Green Giant

Marmande Garnier Rouge
Aker's West Virginia
Granny Cantrell's German Red PL
Old Bess
Old Virginia

Goose Creek
Olive Hill
Hege's German Pink
Cowlick's Pink BW
North Carolina Pink
Mrs. Benson

Spudakee Purple
Spudatula Black
Liz Bert
Cherokee Purple Improved
1884 Purple
Chocolate Stripes
JD's Special C-Tex

Orlov Yellow
Swedish Golden Beef
Oleyar's German
Arancia (Thanks Randy for all the seeds)

Pamplemousse du Grand Pere
Le Mer Mix

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Praying for Spring

Hee Hee...I love this pic. I pretend that the little boy and his dog are praying for spring and tomatoes. It's that time of year where in my head, I start counting how many more months until I can eat a garden tomato. :(
Almost done with the growlist which I promise to post immediately upon completion. Doing a few germination tests on seeds and ordering from the greenhouse and garden suppliers.
I am starting all pepper seeds Feb. 1st. Especially our little buddy the PPdew. He needs a very long growing season. Also growing a little round cherry from my friend Chris Fowler, and the Chocolate Ghost pepper seeds he also sent me. Yep! You heard me right. I said Chocolate Ghost. hahaha... ( you can read about it there but I wouldn't get too excited, they don't ship to the U.S.)...Growing out from a hybrid Ancient Sweets (This should be interesting) still sorting thru which other peppers are going to make it to the garden.
I know one thing that wont be out there this year.... potatoes. Tried last year and it was a big bust. I am not the spud Queen. I'm leaving the potato growing to Idaho. of the things I'm most excited about is my "Scarlet Runner Teepee"... I am building a huge, walk in teepee (with help of course) and it is going to be covered in Scarlet Runner Beans. How cool is that? It is going to be my hideout LOL. I mentioned it to my friend Sergeant Major, and being a former member of the Army Corp of Engineers, he has taken over construction details. pays to have smart friends.
On a sad note, I lost my little garden buddy Boo this winter. It was an accident and it was my fault. I still think I hear her in the house. It's like you forget for a second, then you hear what you think is her, and then you remember...... :(
Sadie doesn't have any tomato boxes to sit in lately so she has taken to Christmas boxes. LOL

Happy New Year 2010 to all! Hope it's our best year ever!
May it be full of tomatoes and greasy beans.