Archive for May, 2010


I think summer is officially here. The weekend started with thunderstorms, flash flood warnings and crazy lightening and is ending at about 89 degrees (but it feels like 100 with the humidity)! This could mean great hot summer nights for tomato growth, but dry caky soil! 😦

What to do? Well, the rain barrel got its first run through and since it’s a gravity fed system (as in, it flows from high to low) there is NO PRESSURE! So, after hitting the books (or surfing the web, whatever), I found that other home gardeners use a soaker hose snaked through the garden and let it slowly water all day. I installed that today and watched it slowly trickle out of the holes (sort of like watching paint dry, don’t you think?) . If any of you are curious I can post a video of this process, but I assure you that if you sit outside and stare at your grass looking for growth it may be more action packed. No Oscars will be made on that video short!
Some lessons learned of the day: plan your layout ahead. I just sort of planted as I went and my garden is very confusing! Next year I need to work on labeling and strategery… 😉
Cheers and happy gardening!
Farmer Ran
p.s. I’ve spotted yellow flowers on my tomatoes — the first sign that the fruit is blooming!

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Garden Recipe 1

Well, I decided that as part of my garden project, I would post a recipe for each thing I’m growing! Reader be warned: I do not measure things so well, so use your best judgement!

Tonight’s ingredient(s): Fresh Basil, Onions, Thyme and Oregano
The Mission: Delicious Meatloaf
What you’ll need:
1-2 big chunks of basil leaves, thyme and oregano finely chopped
1/2 Onion (any kind you’ve grown) finely chopped
1 lb ground beef (chicken and turkey works well too)
Ketchup (1/4 cup or a “big squeeze”)
Honey Dijon Mustard (a smaller squeeze than the ketchup)
Dried Spices (onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes) to taste — if you like it hot, add more red pepper… really into garlic? Go crazy!
~ 1 to 1-1/2 cups Bread crumbs enough to get the loaf to a “workable” consistency
~ 1/4 cup Crunchy Fried Onions (like the ones for green bean casserole)
1 egg beaten
2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup hot water
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: add 1 cup of cheddar cheese (I omitted this to cut some fat and didn’t miss it!)
Mix it all up and bake in a loaf pan at 350 oF for 1 to 1-1/4 hours until done!

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Well, it’s planted. Dread Pirate Roberts is full of delicious fruit and veggies and now I must sit back and see if my thumb is green, black, or some sort of khaki color.
Have I told you about the Crow’s Nest, yet? Well, if I have not, it’s AMAZING. The Crow’s Nest is a local nursery full of flowers, shurbs, veggies, fruit, you name it! Not only did I buy 9 tomato plants, 4 cucumber plants, 4 cantaloupe plants and 4 watermelon plants for only $7 (yes, you read that right), but the red leaf lettuce I bought a few weeks ago that was barely a leaf has turned into a downright monster of delicousness!!! If you live in the Blacksburg or greater SW Virginia area… check them out: www.localharvest.org/farms/M7587

Apparently, I grew scallions? Who knew! I just plucked my “white onions” out of the ground because they had begun to flower (and for other novice farmers like myself: flowering = pull em out) and realized they were not large white onions, but actually large scallions! YUMMY!

Tip of the day: label what you plant! OOOPS…

Anywho, since my last planting (see above) I have added tomato cages and DPR is out of room! I think I plucked some “weeds” which were actually onions, but oh well! SUCH IS LIFE! We have soooooo many vegetables growing — I just hope they bloom (wrong verb?) soon. I’m craving some home grown cherry tomatoes! Well, it’s lettuce for now…

Cheers and Good Eating!

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Tales of an Urban Gardener

Taking life one potato at a time

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