Saturday, April 25, 2009

First Spring Harvest

We picked some fresh spinach from my garden for dinner last night. They were the spinach plants I started indoors in February. I wasn't able to harvest a ton and spinach cooks down quite a bit when you saute it, but man, do vegetables taste better when you know they're the fruits of your labor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


A couple of months ago, Jake's friend Brian mentioned that his grandpa, a super experienced and successful gardener, could get me some bees for my garden since there seems to have been a recent decline in the local bee population. And as you know, bees are important in a garden. After all, I don't want to have to go around artificially pollinating my squash blossoms with a paint brush. So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered 3 beautiful, fuzzy bumble bees perched on my garage wall, right by my garden this weekend. It was such an amazing and odd discovery. Last year, I probably wouldn't have even noticed them. And if I did, I would have probably run away for fear of being stung (I know...I tend to be a little dramatic when it comes to insects, especially arachnids). But instead, I squealed with delight, "Bees!!!" I just know it's a sign of good things to come.

I got my root vegetables started this weekend - carrots and purple potatoes. I also planted more herbs from my grandma (sage, rosemary, basil, peppermint, and cilantro), dill from Amy, two raspberry plants, yellow onions, nasturtiums (pretty little orange and red flowers with broad green leaves), and peas.

On a foodie note, I made a delicious lentil soup tonight from Deborah Madison's awesome cookbook called Vegetable Soups. It was a recipe for Rustic Lentil Soup with Spinach. In this recipe, before you add the water and lentils, you saute the onion and vegetables (I used Jerusalem Artichoke) and then add a bit of Dijon mustard. Then, you reduce that with a little bit of red wine. The soup ends up with this amazing rich flavor. Definitely a twist on the usual lentil soup I whip up. Then, I made a super simple and delicious dairy-free slaw-like salad. I shredded one rutabaga and one Jerusalem Artichoke. Then, I put the shredded veggies in a bowl, drizzled it with olive oil, and squeezed the juice of a half of a lemon over it all. Then, I threw in some sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, added some sea salt, mixed, and enjoyed. I think it's going to be even better tomorrow. Thank you, farmer's market, for inspiring me to try something new!

In other gardening news, I got some great garden birthday presents this year. I have to send a big shout out to all of my amazing friends for being so thoughtful and for contributing to the success of my garden with these super fun accessories. Radhi gave me a subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine and is paying for me to take another Seattle Tilth class! Stay tuned for posts about what I'm learning. My Grandma Inez gave me lots of yummy herbs to plant in my garden. Bette got me this adorable pot that looks like a giant coffee cup and saucer. Jake gave me a super cute pair of garden clogs and the book I've been wanting called The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food. Moni gave me a handy garden apron and a new pair of gloves. And last but not least, Rachel and Gabe gave me that crazy, guitar-playing frog in the picture above. His name is Hal.

Finally, I discovered another cool garden blog called Heavy Petal thanks to the fantastic blog I follow, Diggin Food. I added the new blog to my "Links" list on the side bar. You should check it out. Aren't the hand stamped plant markers so cool?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Early Birthday Presents

Actually, it was a Christmas present from Bette - a gift card to Molbak's in Woodinville. Molbak's is an amazing nursery/garden mega-store. I felt like a kid in a candy store when I finally made the trek over to the east to spend my loot. The card was intended to be for a super cool banana tree that I had seen when I was with Bette, but I kind of went in a different direction. The one area of my garden that I have not yet completed is the herb garden. Jake requested rosemary (which is actually a shrub) and I really wanted to grow a bunch of oregano, thyme, mint, dill (thanks to Amy for the seeds), basil, and chives. So, I decided to use my gift card to purchase more edibles to round off and compliment my already-growing garden. Not only was I able to buy all the beautiful herbs in the picture, I was also able to buy two beautiful over-sized terra cotta pots and two blueberry plants! They are going to be perfect in my front yard. I've had this empty space in one of my front yard beds that I've been wanting to fill with something, but wasn't sure what. It will be the perfect spot for my blueberry plants (I bought two since that encourages fruit) because of the sun it gets and the space there is for them to grow. I won't actually have fruit for a few years (they need to establish themselves), but I already feel giddy every time I look out my front window and see them. Plus, the information I got from the nursery says the foliage turns a deep red in the fall and since they're near my red Japanese Maple, the yard will look even more beautiful in the fall. Plus, all the plants are perennials, so it's really the gift that keeps on giving. Happy Birthday/Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Baby pictures!

Well, the seeds I planted two weeks ago outside in the cloche are sprouting! I was getting a little worried there for a while, what with the snow/rain mix we had last week. Also, I guess since just recently I sowed seeds indoors that sprouted within a week, I was a little over-anxious. After all, the seeds outside weren't sitting right above a warm, cozy heater like the ones inside. And I should have been a little more confident - I did plant them when the moon was in Pisces (a very productive sign, for all you voodoo planting newbies).

Yesterday, during the short time I had between getting my haircut and getting ready to go to Olympia to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Capitol Theater with Jake and Bette, I planted the little seedlings that I hardened off last week. Time was of the essence - yesterday the moon was in Cancer! I checked on them this morning and they're looking great. I think the sun and warm temperatures we're expecting today will do them good.

Finally, today, my auntie Becky, Grandma, and I were going to go to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival to see the tulips in bloom, but because of the crazy cold and snowy weather we've been having, not a single tulip has bloomed. We're going to postpone our trip to later this month, but I just had to post this picture of my amazing spring tulips (that one's for you Bette!). They may not be blooming in Skagit, but they sure are around here. I wonder if they planted under a good sign?