Friday, August 30, 2013

This was my first year growing tomatillos.  I love salsa verde and green enchilada sauce and when I started looking up recipes for these sauces I realized that tomatillos were the secret ingredient, so they went on the "to grow" list.  I had never seen a tomatillo plant before, but I was able to grow more than I could use without much effort. 

I started 4 plants from seed at the same time as my tomatoes.  Next year I would only plant two and start them a week or two later as the seedlings grew faster than the tomatoes.  I would also give them much more room in the garden.  The top photo was taken in June and now at the end of August you can't even walk between the rows.  I tried tying them to a fence, but you might be better off to just stick a sturdy tomato cage around them and let them sprawl.  The stems are more brittle than tomatoes.

The way the fruit develops is very unique.  First you see the yellow flowers which look kind of like hats to me.  The plant then forms an empty sac which looks kind of like a mini paper lantern (pictured above).  The fruit slowly fills the sac and then breaks free ready to be harvested (pictured below).  I was completely fascinated by this whole process. 

I have enjoyed using this recipe to use up my bounty.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just a moment of summer flower perfection.

Book Review: The Food Lover's Garden

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Food Lover's Garden by Mark Diacono is one of my favorites because it was the first book I read that explored the more unique edibles.  This book is not about growing potatoes and onions, it is about growing those tasty edibles that you will rarely or never see in the store.  There are seven main chapters covering tree fruit, nuts, soft fruit, herbs and spices, beans and greens, leaves and flowers, and root crops.  Each chapter profiles 4 to 8 unique edibles with a great taste that makes them worth growing.

You would think that garden planning with your stomach in mind would be natural, but I have failed at that more than once.  In the past I have planted radishes, parsnips, carrots and hot chili peppers all of which I rarely buy and don't enjoy eating.  Why did I plant them then?  Well I guess because the seed packets were there at the store and it just seemed like I should grow everything.

This book is very well written and the in depth descriptions of flavors will have your mouth watering.  You will suddenly think, "I must have this plant right now!"  when five minutes ago you never even knew it existed.  Some of my favorites are the mulberries, the honeyberries, the Chinese kale, the Szechuan pepper and the nasturtiums.

Note: My book review posts are all books I have checked out from the library unless otherwise noted.  


Friday, August 23, 2013

Just a few photos of a moth on a marigold---what should be boring and common is captivating and beautiful with the right perspective.

Grow Write Guild: This Plant Always Lets Me Down

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Watermelon has always let me down.  And I know it is possible for me in my zone because there are commercial fields nearby.  I am lured by the promise of tasty ripe melon, but in reality there is no way to tell if a melon is ripe for those unskilled like me.  I have piked it too ripe and too green but never just right.  Last year my plants died before they even grew melons, so this year I took a break from the unreliable watermelons.  Maybe next year I will be enticed to try again. 

This post is written in response to the writing prompt found here by You Grow Girl as part of the Grow Write Guild.

Farm Kitten

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My husband rescued this cute little kitten from under the combine.  I wasn't too sure when he brought her home, but she seems to get along well with our dog Bailey.  So now we have a farm kitten in training. :)