2010 Garden Is FINALLY In! :)

I had to hold off on planting my garden this year due to a very cold and wet May…we were still having snow. Sheesh.

Today was 88F and very humid…29% humidity! You all in the south, just hush your mouth! That’s humid for us!

From the looks of it…most of my garden will make great Italian sauces! 🙂

In the first box I planted:

Brandywine Tomato
Black Prince – a Russian Heirloom
two types of garlic (planted last month)
Greek Oregano
Orange Bell Pepper
Sweet Basil
Flatleaf Italian Parsley

Second Box I planted:

2 Roma Tomatoes
Red Bell Pepper
German Thyme
Cayenne Pepper
Beebalm
Italian Flatleaf Parsley
2 Sweet Basils
Yellow Sweet Onions (planted 1 week ago)

In the Third Box I planted:

7 Yukon Potatoes (planted 2 weeks ago)
5 Purple Potatoes (planted 2 weeks ago)
Flatleaf Italian Parsley
2 Straightneck Squash (planted 1 week ago)

You can see the Rosemary I planted in a pot that I found in the trash the other day.

Here’s a closeup of the potatoes….

I still want to get two tomatillos, two cucumbers, one dill , and one green chile…those will go into containers.

How Grows Your Garden? May 2010 ~ Northern Nevada

Well…if you’re here in Northern Nevada…probably not very well at the moment!

Snow! The ski resorts are even REOPENING for Memorial Day weekend. Big sigh.

New snow on Mt. Rose and Slide Mountain

All that is growing in my garden is garlic and potatoes. And they be very very sad looking. 😦

UNCE Washoe County Annual Master Gardener Plant Sale 2010

Just wanted to remind everyone that the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Annual Master Gardener Plant Sale is coming up!

22 MAY 2010 ~ Saturday!
7 am – 11:30 am

“From our garden to yours, at great savings! Wide variety of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, grasses, shrubs, grapes and more. 4 in. and 1 gal. plants.”

5305 Mill Street, Reno, NV…just east of the old Excel building where The Friends of the Library hold their week-long book sales ~ on Mill Street between Edison Way and Corporate Blvd…north side.

Get there early! There are some pushy people that go to this, so be ready! They hand out maps of where all the plants are at…scope out what you REALLY REALLY REALLY want, and get there first. 🙂

The plants that I got last year ~

2009plants1

2009plants2

August 2009 Garden Update ~ Sparks, Nevada

Well…it’s almost the end of August and here is what is left of my garden. I don’t think it produced as well as last year, but I tried different plants than last.

Cucumbers…I’ve oodles of cucumbers. The best producing ones have been the Lemon and the Homemade Pickles. Both I bought as seedlings from the UNCE Plant Sale, and that particular Master Gardener got her seeds from Botanical Interests in Colorado.

Cucumber ~ Homemade Pickles Seeds

homemadepickle_august

They have made many many many pints and quarts of pickles (picture shows lemon and homemade cucs):

august_pickles

Lemon Cucumber Seeds ~ These are tasty little cucumbers!

lemon_cuc

Spacemaster Cucumbers round out my cucumber plants. It’s not producing as many as the other two…but supplies us with great cucs to slice into salads and add with red onions and vinegar.

Squash…I’ve diddly-squat in the squash department. Squash bugs ate my whole crop. I couldn’t smoosh them fast enough.

I do have a mystery volunteer that is coming up in the decomposed granite in between two of my boxed tomato plants. I’m thinking it’s a winter squash of some sort…or a mutant. Anyone have any ideas?

mysterysquash1

Tomatillos…I’ve tomatillos coming out of my ears. 🙂 They grow well here in Northern Nevada, that’s for sure. I think I may decrease to 2 plants next year. I’ll be making more salsa soon. I’ll add a bunch into pesole that I plan on canning (going to break out that pressure canner that I got for my birthday soon).

Peppers…peppers ALWAYS do well here! I’ve been picking bell peppers, hungarian stuffing peppers, yellow pickle peppers, jalapeno, cayenne, and sweet italian. I’ve borrowed my sister’s dehydrator and plan on using it and the pressure canner to put up my peppers after roasting them. I read that you can dehydrate peppers even after roasting them. Will be making sauces up and canning them too.

Sweet Italian peppers starting to ripen

Sweet Italian peppers starting to ripen

The corn did ok, not as well as last year. I planted it in a different spot, guess it didn’t like it much.

The heirloom Brandywine tomatoes did not do well at all. The plant looks ok, it blooms, but then they drop. The heirloom Siberian tomatoes are producing very well.

Beets did great. Carrots not so well. Radishes did well. Brussels sprouts not so well…I finally yanked them as they were full of bugs. Cabbage did great. Cantaloupe got eaten by squash bugs. Horseradish is doing great…well, the top part is really big, not sure about the root part yet.

Herbs do great in my yard. You should see my one sun room…loaded with brown lunch bags of herbs drying. Basil, fennel, chamomile, oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage.

Finished Planting my 2009 Vegetable Garden ~ Sparks, NV

After burying my beloved Max near the herb & blueberry garden I put what was left of my energy into planting the rest of my vegetable garden.

Bee Balm & Cairn for Max

Bee Balm & Cairn for Max

Planted in the 6×6 raised bed are the following: carrots, red radishes, white radishes, heirloom beets, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.

cabbage1

In the 12×4 raised bed I planted: garlic, red onions, yellow onions, tomatillas, bush blue lake beans, spacemaster cucumber, lemon cucumber, heirloom beets, broccoli, sweet italian pepper, jalapeno pepper, anaheim pepper, and hungarian stuffing peppers. (I ran out of room for the serrano and one other pepper so I gave them to a coworker)

garden2009start

In the 12×2 in ground bed I put in mexican grey squash on one side and on the other one each of acorn squash, delicata squash, and hearts of gold cantaloupe (from Fallon, NV). In between all the squash I have 8 sweet white corn stalks.

garden_09_greysquash

I found a Topsy-turvy thingy and planted a siberia fir tree heirloom tomato in it. In four containers I planted 2 brandywine heirloom tomatoes and 2 red siberia heirloom tomatoes.

garden_09_broccoli

Out front, near Max’s grave, are two handmade pickle cucumber plants. In that same area I have 2 oregano, 3 sweet basil, 1 lemon thyme, dill, fennel, and a rosemary. 3 blueberry bushes and 1 Elderberry. There are also 3 lemon queen sunflowers that are growing pretty well for the Sunflower Bee Project.

herbberries

Way up front I have chamomile, italian parsley, thyme, rosemary, and bee balm. They wintered pretty well out there, I was surprised.

Now for some flower pictures ~ my lupine is blooming.

lupine_may21_09

And Columbine.

may21 041

Birds, Garden, Berries, and Quilts ~ Tuesday’s Nevada Rambles

I’m going to ramble all over the place…sort of how my brain has been working lately (budgets and budget revisions will do that to a person).

First off ~ my sister called me over the weekend saying she’s had a visiting Oriole in her backyard, feeding from the hummingbird feeder. Looks like a Bullock’s Oriole to me. I just don’t get it…she took some great pictures last May out in Washoe Valley when we took Mark Vollmer’s photography class. All I get in my yard are sparrows, scrub jays (which I love to death) finches, downy woodpecker, flickers, quail, dove, robins, junkos, and the occasional falcon and hawk…and those bloody pigeons. She gets the Oriole. Big sigh.

Here are a couple of her pictures…she lives at the very north end of Sun Valley, backing to BLM land.

bullocks1

bullocks2

Lookie at this quit top I got for $10 at a local auction! It still needs some work to finish it off, but I’ve got fabric to do that. It’s a Wedding Ring quilt ~ done in the 1930’s-1940’s fabric. All hand-pieced. I absolutely love it. The colors and fabrics match a quilt top that my mom has of her Grandmothers.

wedring1

wedring2

wedring3

wedring4

My Elderberry plant has berries setting! I just planted it earlier this spring and it looks like it’ll flower and have berries. Once I get the lawn up in that area I’ll be planting more elderberries and some more blueberry bushes.

elderberry509

Horseradish ~ after not seeing it for a while I became worried I planted it wrong. Sure enough…I had it upside down. (Insert Homer Simpson sound effect here) Plant root cuttings with the narrow end downward and the cut end 2 to 3 inches below soil level…I had it going horizontal. It’s growing upwards now! 🙂

horseradish

This picture of 3 Lemon Queen Sunflowers is outdated now…they’ve had a growth spurt. Last night while watering I noticed that they are now 6″ tall. Can’t wait to start logging my data about the bees with the Great Sunflower Project.

IMG_7350

My backyard garden ~ picture taken over the weekend.

garden5_10_09

Front and center raised bed has the following: 2 different types of radishes, carrots, heirloom beets, cabbage, brussels sprouts and two sunflowers that birds planted and a lettuce of some sort that must have been leftover from last year.

Bed in the back has garlic, red & yellow onions on the left, and broccoli & heirloom beets on the right. Soon I’ll have peppers and beans in the middle. The far left, against the back fence has Mexican grey squash. By the weekend (after Saturday’s Master Gardener plant sale) I’ll have heirloom tomatoes and tomatillos in the small raised bed (1×1) and in the other containers. Up front near the berry bushes I’ll have corn, pumpkins, and cucumbers.

Heh…I forgot the picture of what I found on my Weeping Cherry tree…berries! And the Green Mountain Maple is leafing out…

weepingcherryberry

IMG_7454

Friday Ramblings in Nevada

Well…I made it to the end of the work week. Another day of being wide awake at 4:30am with my mind racing about all the things I need to do here at work. 😦

So to give my wee brain time to recoop I thought I’d post some banana recipes (I have a few ripe ones at home and needed something to make) and a few pictures.

~~~~~

The Sensation Lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’) that I planted in April of 2008 is about to bloom! I’m so excited…it will have single reddish buds that will open to deep purple edged in white.

lilacapril091

A few of the Lemon Queen sunflowers that I planted for the bee project are starting to come up.

img_7301

Digging up sod from the front yard (we have way too much lawn) so I can put in another garden area. Will put up a decorative fence of some sort to divide the lawn from the garden. All the grass from the shovel back is coming out.

sodremoval

~~~~~~

Below are two recipes that I’ve tried…and both are real tasty! Enjoy.

French Toast Stuffed with Bananas and Pecans
recipe from Williams-Sonoma Breakfasts & Brunches, page 66

bananafrenchtoast

6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (original is walnuts, but I like pecans)
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
8 slices egg bread
4 Tbsp butter
powdered sugar
jam or pure maple syrup

In a large, shallow bowl, beat eggs until lightly frothy. Stir in milk. Set aside.

Peel nanners into a small bowl and mash. Stir in nuts and nutmeg. Spread the banana-nut mixture evenly over half the bread slices, leaving space around the edges. Top with the remaining bread slices and press down lightly to seal.

Place sandwiches into the egg mixture. Turn gently until evenly saturated on both sides. In a frying pan or griddle, big enough to make all sandwiches, melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add sandwiches and fry until the undersides are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Melt other 2 Tbsp and then flip sandwiches.

Place on plates, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with jam or syrup.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sweet Omelet Souffle with Caramelized Bananas
recipe from Williams-Sonoma Breakfasts & Brunches, page 24

bananaomelet

6 Tbsp butter
2 firm but ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices
1/4 cup sugar
6 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
pinch of salt

In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbsp of the butter. Add the banana slices and, using a fork, turn to coat them well with butter. Saute until very lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the bananas. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to saute until the sugar melts. Remove from heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.

Put egg whites in a bowl. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until very frothy but still fairly liquid. In another bowl, beat the yolks until blended. Gradually stir the whites into the yolks until fully incorporated.

In a 8″ nonstick pan, over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 Tbsp of butter. Add the eggs and as they began to set, carefully lift the edges and gently push them to the center, tilting the pan slightly to allow the liquid egg on top to flow undernegth. Continue to cook the eggs until they are almost completely set but still moist on top.

Arrange the bananas evenly over half of the omelet. Beginning with the banana-covered side of the omelet, slide the omelet from the pan to a warmed serving plate and, when halfway out, flip the pan over to fold the olemet in half over the bananas. Cut in half and serve at once.

Chili Peppers ~ I’ve Met My Match in the Cayenne

Scoville Chili Pepper Heat Chart

Well…after working out in the yard last night I decided to pick some of the Sweet Italian Peppers and roast them ~ freeze them so I can make up some sauces at a later date. (The sprinklers came on, otherwise I never would have left the yard to play with the peppers)

Sweet Italian Peppers ~ Green here…but picked them when they were Red and Yellowish.

I roasted six (6) of them ~ nice big plump peppers. The house still smelled yummy this morning.

Then I cut up a nice bright red one of these ~ Cayenne Peppers.

My plan is to make some salsa this weekend so I just chopped that beautiful red pepper up and stuck it in the freezer with the rest of the peppers. I scraped the seeds so I can dry them and plant them next spring.

I’ve never had a problem with cutting peppers and hurting myself afterwards…Jalapenos, New Mexican, Serranos…never once have I cut them up and burn my nose and mouth. Holy Toledo! The tip of my nose is still warm! It’s a good thing I don’t pick my nose! I’d have cauterized the insides for sure! My lips are still a bit tingly. LOL! Big Sigh.

Needless to say ~ I’ve gone up to one of the labs here at work and asked for some gloves. Because I have more Cayenne peppers and these wee beauties, Miniature Caribbean Red Habaneros ~ which rank on the Scoville Scale near OUCH ~ WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?!

Are We There YET?!

I’m soooo looking forward to Autumn.

It’s too bloody hot here in Northern Nevada…and it was so hard not to hug the tv last night while watching Thursday Night Football to try to feel the rain that was coming down in Philly. It’s not fair.

We’ve been in the Low 100F and High 90sF the past week…supposed to have a cool down on Tuesday to 90F!!! WooHoo!

Ok…done whining about the weather for the day.

Update pics on the backyard garden ~ I’ll be picking the last of the beans this weekend, me thinks. And at least 1/2 of the carrots. Will blanch and freeze ’em.

I’ve been trying really hard not to pick anymore peppers until they’ve changed colors. Those long skinny ones, that I had no clue as to what they were (I figured they were Serranos on steroids), are Cayennes! Ohhhh…that’s why they are so scrumptious in my Pico de Gallo! Definitely will plant those again next year.


Cayenne Peppers! SOOOO Yummmie!


Sweet Italian Peppers


Very cool looking Miniature Caribbean Habenaro Reds ~ bet they aren’t too cool to bite into though. 🙂


I’ve been picking cucumbers like crazy lately.


Corn is all off the stocks, except for one stock of corn that grew somewhere else in the yard…probably thanks to a bird pooping. It has about 4 ears that are almost ready to pick. The rest of the stocks I’ll be leaving in the ground until it’s time to decorate for fall. I love tying a bunch of them up to the cedar trees out front.

Have to figure out what to do with all my green onions ~ will be bringing some into work as there is interest in them from a few people.


Squash gone wild!


The moon last night ~ guess I should have gotten the tripod out, but I was lazy.


Soap I made, and named it after the moon ~ Sea of Tranquility ~ it is scented by essential oils of Bergamot, Clary Sage, Rosemary and a little bit of Peppermint. Very relaxing smell. But I must say it drives me absolutely bonkers, as it is curing under the Spiced Chocolate Caffee soap on top of the frig…and every time I walk by I get a whif of Chocolate Mint. ACK!

This is Mad Max ~ he was a little hot…wasn’t happy about getting his picture taken…Grumpy Ole Man.

Was craving popped corn last night…and not the microwave crap…the real thing. Got everything out to make it and then came to the realization of what a HORRIBLE MISTAKE I made in choosing my stove! I bought the ceramic stove top oven! You can’t make popped corn on that type of surface! So out came my hot plate that I melt soy wax on…Thank Goodness I had that!

Playing with the camera modes last night…the lighting was too low for the first picture, but I like it anyhoo.

And last, but definitely not least in my book ~ one of my lovelies ~ My Precious!

Ok…one more bitch session about the junipers! We are down to TWO juniper stumps that we are having a Dickens of a Time getting out. Big sigh. Why are they allowed to plant those bloody things?! They should be outlawed! I’m ready to pour gas on them and flick a match in their direction…invite the neighborhood over for a weenie roast.

LOL! Ya see that orange cone next to the BENT sign post? That was our neighbor across the street backing his boat out…he did the same thing to the other post on his side of the street. Looks like he hasn’t been doing that well driving lately, as the front end of his truck is smooshed somewhat!

Tuesday’s Ramblings ~ Garden Veggies, Soap, Candles, Boys & Critters, Sunflowers & Pumpkins

I know…long title.

Garden Veggies ~

I don’t have a lot of corn to freeze, mainly because we’ve been eating it! 🙂 But I wanted to freeze some of it for a later date ~ either to put in stews, salsas, or just to eat as a veggie with our meal. So far I’ve only blanched 7 ears and then cut the kernels off of the cob ~ which yielded four bags. I have more corn on the stocks, but I’ll let them go a little longer. After I took the picture below I nibbled on the cobs to clean them off…oh my ~ very sweet corn!

Over the weekend I had pulled about a 1/4 of my carrot crop and chopped them in large chucks, blanched and froze.

Cold Processed Soap ~

I cut the Fall Apple Crisp, Sierra Nevada Forest, and Oatmeal Milk & Honey (with a tad of Arabian Spice) cold processed soaps…they are up in the window nooks for at least 4 weeks of curing.

Apple Crisp
Sierra Nevada Forest
Oatmeal Milk & Honey

Soy Candles ~

A coworker gave me some orange peel and glass containers to make her sister some Essential Orange soy candles to take back with her to Czechoslovakia. Below is my “high tech” candle making operation and the finished candles. I made her some Essential Lavender candles with lavender from my garden.

Boy & Critters ~

Had lunch with my mom, sister, bil, and their kiddos yesterday. The boy wanted to show me his loose tooth. Calling him Shark-Boy as the permanent teeth are already up shoving the baby tooth forward looking like a snaggletooth. Gotta love the hook the nose pic ~ 🙂

Here’s a dragonfly that was next to our table at the park yesterday ~

Pumpkins & Sunflowers ~

So…by now I assume you know I love pumpkins and sunflowers. Here are more pictures! Imagine that! 🙂 Taken this morning in my yard…was killing time waiting for the primary voting polls to open just down the street.