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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Adventures in gardening

Apparently, spring has come.

I say apparently because winter never really took much of a hold on the Northwest this year.  We had a couple really bad weeks in November and December, but other than that it’s been around or a little above freezing at night, and somewhere between 40 and 60 during the day.  (Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Easterners who refuse to live here because “you want four real seasons.”  Hope you’re enjoying record snow storms!  No really, I do hope you’re enjoying them, because that would really suck to be stuck in if you didn’t like it.)

The weather isn’t really getting any warmer, and in fact it’s been stupid cold lately during the day.  But I’m seeing people on Facebook, starting their plants inside.  So it seems like that time.

This weekend I went out on the porch and weeded my little containers.  Princess and Chickadee did their parts as well, with Princess eating all the grass she could stuff into her fuzzy little face, and Squeaks dragging everything inside to play with.  This, of course, led to bits of dead plant all over my living room as well as a pile of green vomit on my bedroom floor.

Thanks, guys.  I love you, too.

I did finally rescue the lone carrot from my corner pot.  Pretty sure I planted it in the fall of 2013, but I can’t grow carrots in this soil to save my life, so I left one to see if it’d ever get larger than my pinky finger.

Carrot

It did.

From that angle, it looks like 2 carrots, but it’s really one with two legs.  Couldn’t tell you what variety it is, since I planted a couple, but it looks like a Nantes type, possibly a Merida.

Turned out a little on the woody side, which is not unexpected, but not as bad as I’d feared.  Honestly, since I get all my carrots from the grocery store, this guy wasn’t any worse than a decent store bought root.

I just need to double down on soil quality so that I can grow my own.  I just adore sweet, fresh carrots!  Like candy…  *yum*

I’ll be starting a few plants soon, though we buy most of our starts from local farms like Pheasant Farms.  What are you growing this year?

Dandelions

What do you think of when you see those bright yellow flowers in your lawn or garden?  Do you make a beeline for the weed killer?  Maybe you should revise your dinner plans instead.

Yep, I’m talking about eating dandelions.  That’s right, they’re edible!  What part?  ALL OF THEM.

The leaves (especially when they’re young) can go into your salads, or when they’re older (and a bit tougher) saute them with a little garlic and onion.  The flowers can go into salads too, or if you like you can actually batter and deep-fry them!  And then of course, there’s dandelion wine, for which you use just the yellow parts of the flowers.  The root (you know, every gardener’s least favorite part of the plant) is also edible, and is at its best between fall and spring when the colder weather causes the plant to convert starches to sugar.

Dandelions grow anywhere, propagate like wildfire, and are chock-full of important minerals and vitamins.  There’s iron, calcium, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, a slew of B-vitamins, and vitamins C, E, and D.  All in high concentrations!

There’s only a few plants that are really similar to dandelions, and in America the most common is coltsfoot.  You can tell the difference in a couple of ways, but the easiest is to look at the leaves.  A dandelion’s leaves are long and skinny, with distinct saw-tooth edges.  Coltsfoot leaves are rounder, kind of heart-shaped in fact, and they’re hairy (sometimes on both top and bottom, sometimes only on one side).  Coltsfoot won’t hurt you if you do eat it (it has medicinal use to suppress coughs), but it’s not quite as good for you as dandelion.

So next time you see one of these guys and start thinking mean thoughts, change your perspective.  And eat the darned thing!  That’ll learn it…

Thanks to http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Dandelion.html from where I got the picture and some of the nutritional info.