Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day here are some photos of my dad working in his garden. It hasn't been that long since I helped plant it and I'm shocked at how fast everything came up!

The bean and corn seeds are already up and looking great. I'm jealous. I don't have any corn and my beans definitely don't look that good.
They're using straw as a mulch this year. One perk of container gardening on a 2nd floor balcony is a fairly distinct lack of weeds.

My mom was hoping I could ID this flower, but I'm not sure. It looks like a giant buttercup. Does anyone know what it is?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


We were able to harvest 2.5 different things this week!
The first was a strawberry. That's right folks, just one. But it was good. Tiny, but tasty. We split it.
Very exciting to see one in our garden.Then I had to thin our carrots again so we got some mini carrots. J is the carrot connoisseur in our house, so he tasted them. Said they were just ok. I'm hoping it's because they were too small. But they did smell like carrots.
And we had a lovely spinach salad one night with some bacon vinaigrette J made. Yummy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ohio Visit

So the first weekend in June I headed to Ohio to surprise my father for his birthday. The surprise definitely worked. And he was so happy to see me so I could help in the garden! Scenes of this manual labor are below, but there are three things I learned/was reminded of during this adventure:
1) Container gardening is WAY less labor intensive than in-ground gardening.
2) Bugs are a pain. A really really itchy pain.
3) I can't wait to have a house and big yard with giant garden of my own. :)

Saturday we tilled the garden, added several (very heavy) wheelbarrows of compost, and then planted.
We got all the seedlings from a local nursery that had a pretty decent selection. Now my parents have tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, watermelon, acorn squash, zucchini, yellow summer squash, and potatoes.
Then we installed the GIANT enclosure my dad had built for the blueberry bushes. I had fond memories of picking pounds of blueberries off the bushes, but apparently they'd outgrown their previous netting.

Like I said, this thing was massive. We put the netting around it on the driveway, then trapped my sister inside.
And then installed it over the blueberry bushes. I fit surprisingly well. So maybe dad didn't overestimate the size!
And the day after we planted we installed (for the first time ever) a fence around the garden to keep deer, rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, cats, dogs, etc out of the garden. How have we never had a fence around it before?Lots of gardening during the visit - which I certainly wasn't opposed to. Mom and Dad have promised photo updates of the garden, so I'll hold them to that!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Orchid Reblooming

I finally got my orchid to rebloom. I've only owned it about a year and a half, so I feel like that's pretty good.
I love orchids. They're just so beautiful!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


So I'm a little behind on getting photos up, so I thought Sunday would be a good day to put up random photos.

The potatoes are still taking off like rockets! You can see a hint of purple in the leaves. I wonder if the flowers will be purple too.Our Ruby Chard is so pretty! That color is amazing - especially when the sun hits it in the evening.
J is wicked excited about all the peas on our plants.
And the passionfruit has been put outside and really seems to love the sun. The leaves got a lot darker.
And two weekends ago, we undertook our first adventure in canning - strawberry jam. It turned out pretty well, but I don't have many photos. Since it was our first time trying, it was mostly us running around and reading the instructions and making sure the jam didn't boil over (note to self: use a bigger pot next time).

Now we've got a boatload of strawberry jam. So if you're friends or family let us know if you want some and we'll mail it out!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kale Harvest

I apologize for my extended break from blogging. Last weekend I flew to Ohio to surprise my dad for his birthday! It was a great weekend, but I got back mid-morning on Monday and it was a crazy week at work since one of my co-workers was out so I was doing two people's jobs and the board of trustees was in and I had class two different nights. So I've been playing catch-up all week and now that the weekend is here I'm actually starting to make some headway.We harvested some of our kale forest and had a delicious side dish. J moved a little faster than i thought and had hacked off the whole thing instead of just cutting the outer leaves. We won't get any substantial grow back, but that's probably ok, since we'll be searching for recipes to eat this all. I went to pull the stem out so we could reuse the pot and soil, but then this happened!
I guess it got a little root bound in that small container, which makes me wonder what it would have done in the ground!! I've never grown kale before, but this stuff was already huge!We harvested in the morning (right after my run, hence the awesome outfit and huge Garmin on my wrist) because it's starting to get warm here and by late afternoon the kale looks sad. Since we weren't eating it right away it was brought to the kitchen...Then ripped into smaller pieces and cleaned in the salad spinner.
All ready for dinner! Nice to finally be harvesting things!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


At the end of May, J and I got the opportunity to visit the offices and studio of America's Test Kitchen to watch a taping. We're HUGE fans of the show and had previously been to a book signing, so this seemed like the obvious next step. Luckily, their offices are T accessible - ah the joys of not owning a car. (The T is Boston's metro service.)
We were hoping they'd be cooking something delicious, but the day we visited they were taping the science segments. It was still interesting to see how the show is made though.

We also got an informal tour of the kitchens. It's all so organized - YAY!
And the kitchen. It's a LOT smaller than it looks like on tv.
There's Chris Kimball.
And Erin and some of the test chefs. There's a lot of people that work on recipes all day every day to be able to come up with recipes for two different shows, two different magazines, and a host of cookbooks. How do I get that job?
It wasn't what we'd expected, but it was still a great time. If you aren't familiar with the show, check it out here - you can watch episodes for free I think. And check PBS for listings. It really is a great show if you have any interest in cooking/baking.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Hankering

Uh oh... J's gonna kill me.

I read It's Not Work, It's Gardening! today and now I want a plumeria plant.

Apparently they're low maintenance, which is nice.
And the flowers are so pretty.
And they smell lovely.
And they can be grown in containers.
And now I have to find room at home for one...


When I first started out with the container garden, J was very upset that potatoes did not seem to be in his future. As a good midwestern boy, he loves him some potatoes and since moving to Boston and discovering Russo's, he's made it his mission to try every variety under the sun - and there are LOTS.

So you can imagine how excited he was when I read Stuckey and McGee's book and found a way to grow potatoes! Then again, that raised the problem of which type.

But he eventually settled on All Blues, and we placed the order and waited. In April we received a small paper bag of starter potatoes. We followed directions and put them in an egg carton and sprayed with a mix of water and liquid seaweed and let them sit.

When they sprouted long eyes we got out the trash can... Essentially this method consists of planting your seed potatoes near the bottom of the can and then filling it up over the plants as they grow. Since the potatoes aren't actually the roots, they're tubers, they grow off of shoots off the stem so you want to cover as much stem as possible to get more potatoes.

So far it's going really well! Our potatoes have really taken off - I had no idea they would grow so fast. It seems like every 4 days or so we have to go out and add more soil to the can. The photo below is a bit old, but as of today they're above the rim of the can. I'm not sure how much more soil we can add!
Can't wait for delicious potatoes from our own garden! And the plants are so pretty. I hope the flowers will be too.