Monday, April 29, 2013

New to My Garden

Every year I like to try new plants in my garden.  The more unusual the better!  This year I will be trying Asparagus Peas, Strawberry Spinach, Kakai Hulless Pumpkins, Gold Nugget Squash, Crystal Apple Cucumbers and Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumbers.  I thought I would give a brief description of each with pictures for all my gardening friends.

Asparagus Peas
Asparagus peas are small winged pods that taste similar to asparagus when cooked.  It is recommended that they are harvested when they are 1 inch long, otherwise they become stringy and tough.  They have very pretty dark red flowers.  The plants grow 12 to 18 inches tall and will produce pods for up to 10 weeks. 
Strawberry Spinach
This plant produces greens that are picked and cooked like spinach, but also produces red berries that taste similar to mulberries. The leaves have a nutty flavor.  Harvest the leaves as you need and the plant will continue to produce new leaves.  The berries form in late summer and fall.  It is native to most parts of North America and Canada.
Kakai Hulless Pumpkin
This is a hulless pumpkin, meaning the seeds don't have an outer shell.  The vines have a semi bush habit and grow 5-8lb. fruit.  The slightly ribbed skin has dark green stripes over orange skin. Each vine will produce 2-3 medium pumpkins. 
Gold Nugget
This variety produces miniature, pumpkin-shaped squash with pale red-orange skin and dry sweet, dark orange flesh.  This winter squash is an early, extremely productive, compact bush variety.  They can be harvested young and used like summer squash.  Each plant will produce as many as 10 squash that weigh 1-2 lbs.  Harvest when the skin is no longer shiny.
Crystal Apple Cucumber
This variety is a prolific and sweet flavored cucumber that is shaped like an apple when mature.  These cucumbers are crisp, juicy, tender, mild flavor with creamy yellow skin.  Best harvested when small.  They are said to be more digestible than other cucumbers.
Mexican Sour Gherkin
This cucumber variety produces abundant crops of 1-2" fruits that look like tiny watermelons that fall off the vines when ripe.  Sweet cucumber flavor with a surprising sourness, as if they are already pickled.  The vines have tiny leaves with tiny yellow flowers.
The varieties I listed above were purchased from Pinetree Garden Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange.  I will be doing future posts regarding these new varieties I am trying this year in my garden to let you know the progress and what I think of them.  Thanks for reading and happy gardening!



Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Garden is Alive!!!

Spring is here and things are growing in my garden.  I am still working on getting all my raised beds ready, but my spring vegetable crops are growing nicely.  So far I have planted broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots, turnips, snow peas, onions and beets.  The garlic, shallots and elephant garlic that I planted in October is growing nicely.  I am very excited that my purple asparagus is also starting to sprout.  This will be my first year that I will be able to harvest the asparagus!  I plan on planting the rest of my spring vegetables this weekend.  I still want to plant swiss chard, asparagus peas, lettuce, pac choi and more carrots.  Along with the spring vegetables, I also have spring flowers coming up all over.  I  noticed last weekend that I may have Barn Swallows occupying one of my bird houses!  They have beautiful metallic blue feathers.  Here are some pictures of my spring veggies and flowers.



Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Tomato Progression

I thought I would do an update on my tomato seedlings.  They are growing nicely and so far no signs of "damping off".  The cinnamon is doing it's job!  My winter sown tomato seeds started sprouting on March 24th.  They are doing well, however some of them were harmed by the cold nights we had last week.  I guess I should have covered the bins with blankets or I could have brought them inside for the night.  Note to self for next year!   Here are some pictures of the progression of my tomato seedlings so far.  I will probably be potting them up hopefully next week into individual pots.


March 23

March 30

April 7