Monthly Archives: April 2011

Snowballs & Future Peaches: Views from the Garden

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Views from the garden. Have a good weekend all!

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A helpful irrigation tip

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Things have been mighty busy around here, which always means a slow down in blog posting, but I soon hope to have much to share. Today I spent a good deal of time outside hooking up some irrigation in my flowerbeds and I figured out a neat trick that I wanted to share with you. Have you set this sort of system up before? It is relatively easy to do, just lay down the half inch tubing, cut it all the 1/4 inch drip tubes to the right lengths and connect it all together. However the connecting isn’t always that easy. In fact I find it very frusterating to force those rigid plastic tubes over those connectors and get them to stay put. And then I remembered reading months ago about how to build hula hoops with half inch irrigation tubing and they suggested dipping the ends of the tube into boiling water to get it to slide onto the connector with more ease. Aha!
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So I boiled a small pot of water and brought it out with me and low and behold, I was connecting those little tubes twice as fast once they had their little hot water bath. Maybe this technique is common knowledge amongst the irrigation pros, but it was news to me!

I hope that helps you set up your watering system too!

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Our Version of the Fruitcake

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Last weekend we cut into another of our stored banana squashes. Do you remember when we grew them last summer (here’s a the post of it growing and of it sitting on our mantle.)? The things are enormous. Two feet long enormous. You have to time the cutting of one of these mammoth squash to coincide with running into a lot of friends. There is no option but to share this thing. On Saturday we cut it, wrapped it, and started handing them out. This is our third time doing this and I think our friends are starting to get overwhelmed with gifts of squash. We handed them out to family, good friends, new friends, mere acquaintances, even people who’ve given us no more than a passing smile. I even drove up to one friend’s house, left the car on, ran the squash to her front door, didn’t even knock and quickly drove away. Julie calls this ‘getting squashed’. As in ‘oh no, I got squashed by Kendra and Scott again!’ (Can you tell she’s received her fair share of squash?) We hold a pretty open don’t ask, don’t tell policy in regards to squash giving. We won’t ask if you’ve eaten it and you don’t have to tell us you let it rot in the back of the fridge. I’m afraid that our squash giving is becoming like the fabled fruitcake. Hmm, maybe we should start making fruitcake to give along with the squash. Now that would be a gift! :)
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As for us, we love to eat them roasted in the oven coated in olive oil, salt and pepper. I made a batch last night this way, then mashed them and put them in a baking dish sprinkled with butter and brown sugar and put under the broiler. They taste just like butternut squash. They are great fun to grow, just make sure to plan a banana squash party for next fall while you are at it. Oh, and those seeds? Don’t roast them in the oven, they pop like popcorn and it takes a full hour to clean them out. Trust us.

Speaking of last night’s dinner, I paired the squash with this Green Garlic and Spinach soup. The boys ate two helpings of soup, I kid you not! I will be making this soup more often. It is so fast and easy to make. They wouldn’t touch the squash. Which ‘tastes like gross’ to them. They haven’t tried fruitcake yet!

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The Good News and the Bad News

Flowers
As I mentioned last week we came home to full spring in our yard. The forget-me-nots are in full bloom under the white peach tree. The yarrow is full and green and the leaves are emerging on the roses. We spotted our first soldier beetle yesterday, ready to eat those pesky aphids off the roses. Every year I am surprised by how much I like spring. Autumn is a given in my book. I adore autumn and our relatively mild winters are always welcome. But spring gives way to summer, which to tell the truth is my least favorite season only because of how hot it get here. My energy really does melt in our Sonoma heat. So at all other times of the year I see spring as only a doorway to my dreaded summer. And then spring comes and just amazes me, all the flowers and green, green hills. It is so incredibly gorgeous in here in spring.
Rubarb
We’ve had our fair share of both successes so far and disappointments already in this growing season. Take for instance our rhubarb. It is growing like crazy this year. I haven’t made much with rhubarb besides pie, what do you like to do with it?
Asparagus
We have our first sizable asparagus coming up. Just a few stalks, but I can’t wait to eat them!
Potatoes
The potatoes are coming in fast and we are starting to mound up around the plants. In the off chance you didn’t already know this, as potato plants grow, you mound up dirt around the plant so that more potatoes will grow off the part you cover up. You can do this for quite a few feet in fact. Some people chose to plant them at ground level and then build structures around them to stack and hold in more dirt. We tend to dig a deep hole and gradually add dirt to the hole as they grow. This year we are growing Yukon Golds and a purple potato which I have forgotten the name of already. We buy seed potatoes from The Potato Garden.
Blueberries
The blueberries we recently bought are growing in the back of our garden, a part that receives some mid day shade in summer. We hope that will be welcome by these berries.
Eaten
The disappointments? Well, a small one is that my new rudbeckia was eaten by snails. As you can see as a last minute save I tried surrounding it by sand from the boys sandbox, but to no avail. They still ate it to the ground. After reviewing an old post of mine on how to keep slugs and snails away, I will have to pick up some copper on my next trip to the hardware store.
Dead Nectarines
And our greatest disappointment, it looks like we will be getting little to no Santa Rosa plums or nectarines. We had a bought of warm weather which made those two trees burst out in full bloom only to receive a good few nights of frost after wards which killed all the blooms. We are so sad not to be overwhelmed in plums and nectarines this year.
Onions
At least we have plenty of onions, garlic and shallots.
Spring
And tulips and for-get-me-nots.
Dinner after Gardening
And we can always be thankful for almost completely local meal like this one. (Beltane Ranch kabobs, Lundberg rice, and our own celery leaf salad, chard and roasted turnips.)

 

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Filed under Fruit Trees, Good Bugs, State of the Garden, the birds & the bees