Friday, May 6, 2011

Some ideas are better than others!

Yep, The hottest day of the year to date and of course what happens? My free wood chips arrived from my arborist pals at Andersons Tree Care. Thus, I arrived home today to a driveway full of aromatic, bug inviting organic matter.  The Scrub jays are going be ecstatic - the neighbors, not so much!
After last Septembers shovel-a-thon, I've recruited Dalton (my neighbor's son) and his buddy Parker to help me spread all of what you see above, over what you see below. I call that a good idea!
We hope to get it done in one day (Sunday) - watch this space!


Another idea that is nearing fruition - I've been experimenting with growing potatoes in bags and pots.
As they grow, I just roll the bag up and add more compost. Potatoes don't like to get too hot, so I have covered the black pots in aluminum foil to reflect the sun's heat. Another alternative would be to paint the pots with white latex (emulsion) paint. I used the empty bags that the compost came in. They are white so won't get too hot. The taste will tell if its been a good idea or not.

It was a bad idea not to spray for peach leaf curl. My nectarine got heavily infested by peach leaf curl this spring. There was nothing I could do about it once the leaves broke bud. But it dropped all those deformed leaves and has put on a whole new coat of healthier looking leaves. It will have to be treated with a copper spray in the autumn. This is still considered organic practice, and I've no other choice but to do it even though I hate the idea of using any chemicals.

Still, it has set fruit, but the graft doesn't look like it will do much this year.  I hope it comes back next year.

If you love something set it free - or so the saying goes. I had a Plectranthus 'Mona Lavendar' growing in a pot in the house that was threatening to take over my living room. After researching this hibrid and checking that it was not on the invasive list nor was likely to 'escape,' I planted it outside in a shady spot by the front door.
It was developed in South Africa, can do well in sun or shade - the plants in the sun are more compact - and needs well watered. I hydrozone my plants and have this is in with primulas and begonias. It's a small patch that I do water daily and don't feel guilty about, seeing as how I've given the rest of my front garden over to drought resistant natives.

The Mona Lavendar has gorgeous pale lavender bell shaped, one inch long flowers that blossom unpredictably.

And my last brilliant idea this week helped me deal with the glut of lettuce and scallions that my garden is now producing - Lettuce soup. It was delicious. I was able to find all the vegetables in the garden except the garlic - which was grown in Gliroy, just down the road. Here's the recipe:

Lettuce and scallion soup

2 cups scallions finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped or minced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 head of lettuce (or medium bowl of mixed leaves)
5 cups of stock (I used home made chicken stock but you could use vegetable stock or just water)
1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or you could try lemon juice)
Salt and pepper to taste

1)   In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat until hot.
2)   Add scallions and sprinkle with a little salt and saute for about two minutes.
3)   Add garlic and saute for another two minutes.
4)   Add stock, potatoes, and some salt and pepper.
5)   If the lettuce is older and tougher add it now. If you have tender leaves, simmer the soup for 10 minutes before adding the lettuce.
6)   Simmer for another 7 minutes then add the basil.
7)   Simmer for another 7 minutes or until everything is soft, then add the vinegar.
8)   Blend in a blender or with a hand blender

With its rich green color you could have fun freaking out your kids and telling them it is frog soup. Perhaps not a great idea if you actually want them to eat it though!


Byddi Lee

8 comments:

  1. Hi Byddi, hope you are well x

    I've been reading your blog for a while now, and would just like to say how wonderful it is. Your gardening is amazing. I still live in a flat so don't have any outside space, but I do have lots of windowsills and I try to make the most of them. I'm growing tomatoes and a variety of lettuces, which I did quite successfully the last few years. Oh, I'm so jealous of your outdoor space xx

    Barrina

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  2. Hey Barrina - great to get your comment. I think growing tomatoes in a pot (or anything for that matter) is quite an achievement. I tried one cherry tomato last year. It gave me fruit but always looked scraggly. Good luck this year, and thanks for reading and commenting. xo

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  3. Our neighbors were just lamenting about how awful this spring has been for peach leaf curl, but we hadn't noticed. The peach trees at our last house suffered relentlessly with it, so here I only allow PLC resistant varieties to be planted (so far Frost, and Indian Free). Not so much as a speck of PLC this spring. Knowing this hasn't been a good spring for peach trees at large, I'm especially pleased, during a challenging season, to see our trees doing so well, and they've never been sprayed with anything. If you ever have cause to add more peaches to your garden, I'd highly recommend a PLC resistant cultivar if you don't want to spray. That lettuce soup sounds intriguing by the way, I may just have to try that! Good luck with the spuds!

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  4. Great to hear that you have had such success with your peach trees. Disease resistant strains are the way to go. If only I'd known 2yrs ago what I know now! Oh well better late than never.

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  5. I was all set to comment on the lovely mulch, and then your beautiful nectarine, but then you hit me with lettuce soup... Lettuce soup... really?

    Is it nice?

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  6. Yes Ali - even my husband liked it and he's picky. It's a great way to freeze lettuce!

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  7. It always seems like a good idea at the time when we get a big load of something dropped off. Every time I do that it starts raining and whatever it is gets ten times heavier than it was before.
    Did you read my post about the Garlic Shoppe in Gilroy on my San Francisco trip posts? Yikes.

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  8. Hi Lori - I think I must have missed that. Could you post the link, please? I'd love to read it.

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