Monday, April 20, 2009

Garden Update and Shout Out to my FIL

My in-laws left yesterday after a 10 day visit and we’re sad they had to go. They’re very easy-going people and self-sufficient guests. I never feel like I have to entertain them. Sonny always has such a great time with them too. When Hubby and I had a date night, they did breakfast-for-dinner night, complete with pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs. Sonny’s friend was over that evening and he actually said," I wish I had grandparents like yours."

I have to give a big shout out to my FIL. He built me another planter box. A large planter box. One that holds 1 cubic yard of soil. I planned to have the soil delivered, but when I told him they couldn’t do it until later this week, he offered to go pick it up. He shoveled a cubic yard of soil into 17 bags, loaded them all into my Highlander (and they said it wouldn’t fit but he showed them!), then emptied it all into the box just so I could get my plants into the ground over the weekend. He also mowed our lawn, front and back. Didn't I tell you the man has skilz?!


My brand-spanking new planter box!!

This weekend was nothing short of perfect—warm and sunny. I got my vegetables and herbs in the ground on Saturday, and I swear they have already grown an inch or two! Here’s what I’ve got going so far: several varieties of tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, sugar snap peas, cilantro (2 varieties), basil (3 varieties, including Thai sweet basil!), thyme, mint, fennel, peppers (3 varieties), cucumber, baby lettuce, and carrots. I can barely wait!



African basil



Thai Basil. I have mixed luck starting from seed, but they had starts at the nursery! Yay!



Vietnamese cilantro. Tastes similar to regular cilantro, but I thought I'd try growing something different.



Cilantro. I actually have several of these going because I use the whole plant, including the roots.



Mint. Mojitos here I come!



Thai hot pepper. As if I wouldn't grow chili peppers!



Sugar snap peas. One of the easiest and best yielding crops I've ever grown. They like the cold so I stick the seeds in the ground around early March. Sooner or later they pop up.


So tell me, what are you growing?

23 comments:

Mary said...

We have a real deer problem here. I'm limited to growing herbs and tomatoes on my deck. It's frustrating because we have enough land for a real garden but can't keep the beasties from feasting on our labors. I'm glad you had such a nice visit with your husband's parents.

dp said...

Mary, a former employer set up a community garden for the employees and deer were a problem. They ended up erecting a 6-ft Cyclone fence around the plot to keep out them out. Wasn't the most beautiful thing to look at, but it worked.

I'm short on space as well. I following the square-foot planting method, so in each square I can plant a particular amount depending on the crop. My planter boxes give me 32 squares, which I mostly use for tomatoes, peppers, and larger plants. Most of my herbs go in containers. What I really want is another planter box!

Lars said...

Congrats, the new box and all the plants look great, Darlene.

And thank you so much for all the dried chilies, and the chipotle in adobo ... what should i do with that, just braise meat in in it, or is it just for adjusting taste?

Jason said...

I'm so jealous! I had to work all weekend and haven't gotten my garden planted yet. I waited too long last year and didn't get anything until almost September. Can I borrow your friend, LOL! Can't wait to see what you make with all your fresh veggies and herbs.

Payal said...

The planter box looks great and love what you've decided to plant! We've been here less than a year so it's always good to see what people are planting. And the chilies - yum! Have you been to the chili stand at the PSU farmer's market? They were roasting peppers right on site and they had such a great variety.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I've got 8 tomatoes, 9 habaneros, and loads of either jalapenos or serranos (They were dried out in my fridge, I popped them into the soil and they've got tons of shoots. Don't know which is which.)

The Vietnamese coriander has lots of runners and spreads so make sure it's in its own container.

Pam said...

I'm intrigued by the Vietnamese cilantro. I have terrible luck with regular cilantro, it just goes to seed almost immediately.

dp said...

Lars, for the chipotle in adobo, a little goes a long way. I like to use it to adjust flavors, like adding to salsa or using some in a BBQ sauce or as a component of taco meat seasoning to add an extra kick. It's like tomato paste, only spicy. You will probably only need 1 chipotle at a time, so I recommend freezing the rest by laying them on a plate and sticking them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, throw them into a bag or container. Then you can just reach into the freezer at take out what you need.

Jason, the only reason I got it all done this weekend was because FIL. He was a big help getting everything together and ready to go. I do hope you do find the time!

Payal, I haven't been to the PSU market yet! Can you believe it? It just seems like between T-ball and visitors and weekend excursions, I miss it every Saturday. But I am determined to go this Saturday. I'm free between 9:30 and 1 so I have no excuses!

I can't wait until more of the markets open so I have more than one day a week to get fresh produce.

WC, looks like I'll be transplanting that tomorrow! I've never grown it so I didn't know. Thanks for the tip.

Pam, it takes very much like regular cilantro, but I don't know if it's more warm weather tolerant than the regular stuff. We'll see!

Anonymous said...

Hi DIL
Why did'nt you say we had to make another planter box. - Now you have to wait until next visit.

FIL - alias master of the planter boxes

dp said...

FIL, I'm still trying to get hubby to agree to another box. Hopefully by your next visit he will :-)

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said...

We sort of just started... we were too lazy to start indoors (and where would we put seeds that we start indoors?)... so we just started planting seeds outside. With the weird weather here, though (snow on Apr 1!), they're taking a while to sprout. We just saw some of them recently -- about a month in the ground later. Just sowed a few more seeds this weekend. So we'll see. We're doing this very unsystematically.

dp said...

ts, why don't you try starts? By now nurseries should have some that are hardened off. Starting from seeds indoors is a pain...space and lighting issues. I only start seeds that can go directly outdoors. Sugar snap peas would probably be great in your climate. The seeds are frost tolerant so just stick them in the ground and they will eventually come up.

Once you see the fruits of your labor, you'll be addicted! Good luck!

Jeff said...

I use to be anal about everything had to start from seeds but now laziness is coming into play. Nursery does a great job and really do I need 100 parsley plants when I can barely keep up with the plant I have?

Raised bed is one thing I will always use. The soil beats the clay mess that is in our ground and that means happy root veggies.

I just planted my beans and peas since they are near the house but in another week or so we are out of frost fears so the rest of the garden goes in. Starting to shake and lose sleep over the joy and joyness of gardening.

A trick my grandpa use to do for deer was bloodmeal which is also a high nitrogen. He would sprinkle around the perimeter and they hated the smell. Of course he would have to re apply a couple times a year because rain would wash it away.

Looking forward to future updates!

dp said...

Jeff, you are right about the clay! The raised beds are so much better. Each year I end up having to add a bag or two of soil to make up for settling, but that's no prob.

The one thing I like about raised beds is being able to plant sooner. I have a makeshift coldframe type system made from stakes, piping, plastic and clips. The plants seem to do really well in there. I was able to put a few tomatoes out in the old bed during the first week of April. I also use Wall-o-water system and that helps extend the season too. I think this year I'm going to grow cold-weather crops this fall/winter too!

Paula said...

Oh man, do you think your father-in-law would be interested in another family member? Hint hint! Your garden sound lovely, and the plants look terrific! I hope to get everything in the ground next weekend. With luck, my tomatoes will ripen before September this year! :-)

dp said...

Paula, my tomatoes didn't ripen until late August either. I figured it was the tomatillas that overshadowed them.

Let's hope it's dry this weekend. I still have some starts to put in containers too.

momgateway said...

Today I planted tomatoes in my garden as well as yellow squash, cilantro, thai basil and okra. We'll see if I can get a good harvest this year. I still need to plant some thai chilis. I'm so sad though that my kaffir lime tree died just before spring started--killed by purple scales, UGGHH! It's my second time I tried growing this. If I can get cuttings I'll give it another try. Would you know of any kind soul who can spare me some seeds or cuttings to root?

Darlene said...

momgateway, I haven't had much luck with kaffir lime trees either! I planted it in a container that couldn't come inside during the winter, but I figured if I mulched and wrapped it, it would survive. It didn't.

My mom, on the other hand, has more leaves than she knows what to do with. Whenever I see her, she gives me a gallon-sized Ziploc bag full.

She stuck some lemongrass in my garden a couple of years ago. I intended to dig them up and bring them inside for the winter, but I waited to long and they died too.

How do you grow it from cuttings? Just stick them in soil? I've never tried this way. I don't want to pay another $40-$50 for a tree.

momgateway said...

Darlene,
I heard you just stick it in the soil and leave it untouched(don't check if it is taking root) for 3-4 months.
Yeah, I paid so much for those two trees killed by insect pests. I brought them indoors for the winter but I was afraid of spraying insecticide because I use the leaves. Our Asian store does not sell the plant so I'm looking to buy one from Ebay/Amazon. Maybe, the third time will be a charm. Will keep you posted.
Lemongrass is easy to grow. I just go to the Asian market and buy a couple of stalks and stick it in the ground. My friend says her lemongrass dies during winter but comes up again in spring.

Leela said...

Oh, man, if I wasn't traveling this summer, I would be planting herbs too. Cilantro roots are so important to Thai cooking and it bums me out big time that cilantro in the store comes with no roots. Growing your own is the way to go. Long live Darlene's herbs!

dp said...

momgateway, I'm going to try to get a cutting when I see my mom this summer!

leela, glad you stopped by! I love being able to go outside and pick my own Thai basil or cilantro or chili! You should see my mom's garden. She grows Thai eggplants and a bunch of different herbs. Her makrut tree is very prolific and she has lemongrass. It doesn't normally freeze where she's at, and usually her winter lasts about a month so she's able to grow so much more.

Wok Through the Fire said...

It's just now getting warm enough to plant here in NW Ohio. I am looking forward to getting my herbs started. I tried Thai basil a few years ago and it was delicious. Of course I haven't found a basil that I didn't like :)

Darlene said...

Wok Through the fire, first off, interesting name!

I imagine your growing season is similar to ours, which is to say short. Sigh. But I got an additional month by using a cold frame type setup. Works better than I thought.

As for the basil, I've only just discovered the African basil. There is also cinnamon basil, which was nice as well.

Happy gardening!