Garden Helper

Grandpa & Ben in PumpkinsGarden work with a grandchild, is always fun and a bit educational. Anticipation of the great tasting food almost always makes the work together more fun as it seems to take less time to do with the company. As a family, we really look forward to the garden on the weekends. Any kind of picking is an anticipation to really great tasting food, so it is almost always positive even though it is work. Harvesting isn’t the only thing done on our days off, there is also enough chores to fill two summers with the weeding, trimming, watering, bracing, tilling, composting and more.

This weekend we had a little helper named Ben who is 4 years old. He helped Grandpa find all the pumpkins, there is always a contest on which one do you think will be the biggest one?

Grandpa and Ben Cabbage

Then they picked a big old cabbage even though Ben was sure he would not want to eat it anyhow.

Next was picking corn for dinner. They had to go and husk it in the compost pile. Ben is a strong and great helper for his age.

Grand children are the best. Kind of a second chance at parenting that is so much easier, cause it isn’t all the time. Thank God for children who share there children with their parents!

Baby asparagus

What does young asparagus look like?

Identifying who are not the weeds.

Never having grown this before, I had a hard time trying to figure out which were the weeds and which were little baby asparagus sprouts. I know I pulled out many of them before I figured out they do not look like the spears that we steam and put on our dinner plates.

From the pictures you can see how different they are from what is harvested. They have a skinny little stem with fernlike leaves, almost looks like a carrot top at first. They grow taller kind of fast, almost making a hedge as they branch out with more feathery leaves.

  

At the roots more spears appear peeping their heads out of the soil. The rules are to let the shoots smaller than a pencil go on up and make seeds, if you take a look you can see the seed pods beginning to be formed as small green orbs about the size of a sewing pin head. They proceed to turn black before they fall off onto the soil below. If you squish them in you hand they crack open and have many many tiny seeds inside.

We harvest the fatter spears that are between 6-9 inches tall. Simply using a sharp knife I cut them off right at the ground and drop them into the basket. Homegrown steamed asparagus is very tender and sweet at the table. It is well worth the effort to grow.

Garden first up…

asparagus?

A tall plant of the lily family with fine feathery foliage, cultivated for its edible tender young shoots, eaten as a vegetable and considered a delicacy.

I was beginning to think our asparagus in the garden would never get established. Just when I was about to give up, last year a few shoots arrived… just enough to win a stay of execution from me.

When multiple little heads popped-up early this year as the last of the winter snow was still melting, I was surprised and so glad we didn’t give up. We have had some really nice vegetables at our dinner table since. I look forward to more and more as the row seed’s itself now.

Asparagus patches are not for the “instant gratification” type of gardener cause you have to be willing to let this plant establish itself before you get any type of satisfaction from your labors. It is an addition to your garden that takes quite a while to become productive.

Patience is the key.

The story began 2-3 years ago, buying roots that are expensive (so are the seeds), with care the seeds seem to be the better way to go money wise. When the little guys first come up, they are feathery little shoots and it is really easy to confuse them with weeds. If they survive my indiscriminate weeding due to their foreign appearance, they eventually get enough root to start shooting up the familiar looking spears on the side the next year. I will make it a point to get some closeup shots to show you how the “young guys” look in the next post, hopefully you will be able to avoid my mistakes.

Planting asparagus is a worthwhile adventure to take in your gardening journey as long as you have enough patience to wait for the miracle, this fellow Inland Northwest gardener proclaims!

 

 

Garden, Where the Food Is

PanoGardenFrmHse001
Garden From House 2018

Ex-Farmers Grow Great Gardens

This artist married a man who grew up on a farm in a family fed by their garden. Ex-farmers are who you pair up with when you need to get stuff done without any bureaucracy. My husband Pete is a, double green thumb man, with knowledge on how to test soil, plant rotate crops. A great garden guy coming from a family of gardening geniuses.

The combination of an artistic love for growing bright flowers and seeing bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds come and enjoy them, along with really yummy home grown vegetables and fruit that are healthy is a win-win situation for our family.

Over the years, we have cleared land to expand and fence to keep out the deer. We planted what we could each year by either visiting family and friends to take starts or just buy seed & roots to start things on our own whenever we could. Our best partners in gardening were our brother and sister in-laws who moved down south to Arkansas so now we are kind of on our own. Boo Hoo! Each year I save seeds to start over again the next year, and am starting to get to know our gardening neighbors.

Tractor Work in Garden

Here is a video I took of Pete clearing the second half of our garden where we planted an orchard in 2016. It looks like now we will be getting our first fruits on those trees and bushes this year, apples, blackberries, choke cherries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pears, peach, apricot but we will see what happens.

https://youtu.be/ZYkWa_hwZIs

Early this spring we finished planting the majority of our vegetable garden and have cleared another section to move all the berries uphill into their own section permanently.

I look forward to enjoying each afternoon working in the garden afterwork, in the summer, which gets me out of the studio. My dog loves to cruise to the garden with me so he can play in the water. The fresh air is great, and the physical work of weeding and caring for the plants is refreshing.

No blue screens at all.

harvesting tomato, cucumberAt the peak of the harvest season with all the work of canning, the garden can be a challenge but the food produced tastes so much better and the health benefits are great that it is worth it to us.

 

 

 

Never Dull in Gardens

It’s never dull moment in our garden. As you go about weeding, watering, planting, trimming and doing all the chores in the garden there is always humor available to perk up your day. As long as you keep your eyes open and imagination engaged, it is possible to endlessly entertain yourself.

Garden People Today

If you don’t believe me, then take a look at some of the garden people from today. Have you ever seen a tomato critter like this? Does this tomato have a close relation to Bugs Bunny?

 

Tomato Bugs Bunny
Tomato Bugs Bunny

Looks like a much happier bunny with a body. Hmmm.

TomatoBunnyBody

Tomato Joy

Mr. and Mrs. Cherry were expecting a little bundle of tomato joy. They had gone to the hospital that morning and had been there many hours. They were both tired and getting a little concerned. It just seemed as though this child was taking forever to be born.

All of a sudden, Mabel’s contractions got harder and faster and the room got noisy. Everyone in the room rushed around, preparing for the new arrival. The little one finally arrived. Everyone smiled, feeling relieved. The doctor lifted the baby up, so the parents could see and said, “This is a surprise,

Congratulations! It is Triplets?

tomato triplet

Garden Sanity

Blue Screen Sanctuary

Our garden is a large part of my sanity. It is the place I go to do some weeding, watering, and picking. There are absolutely no screens to look at, and no phones to answer.

Free With Nature

I can hear the birds sing, play with dogs and kids, and get real dirty and never worry what people think of me. Anyone who knows me recognizes that is a really natural state for me.

Harvest Begins In SanityCucumbers

At the end of the summer coming into fall it becomes a lot more work as more and more produce needs harvesting and processing. My hands get blisters and dried out from all the washing, cleaning, cooking and canning but the quality of the yummy food is well worth it throughout the following winter months. Here are some cucumbers getting ready to be pickles.

BucketsDahlia Dill and Tomatoes

Here are the buckets from this morning, tomatoes, dill herb, Dahlia’s, and tomatoes. Any kind of flower blossom brightens my day!
zuchini
A normal sized zuchini is what I am holding. Honestly, it is how big they get all the time.

Tomato Sorting

sorting ripeness of tomatoes

Back up at the house, the tomatoes are washed and sorted into ripeness groups. The group on the right is red and ready to eat or can. The group on the left will get to sit in my vegetable baskets by the window to finish ripening. I’ll process them probably the next time I pick.