We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Update: Garden Bed and Perennial Bed

                                                        Cabbages, Peas, and Lettuce



                  I think the pictures say it all. Lovely. I hope to plant chard and asparagus roots on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Carrots and Lettuce Planted

Just planted my carrot seeds and transplanted leaf lettuce. So far my cabbage looks great and so do my peas and radishes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Need Your Advice-Cucumber Beetles or Squash Bugs

I have struggled over the past few years growing cucumbers, zucchini and melons. Either cucumber beetles or squash bugs have attacked my plants that looked great one day and the next day started to wilt. For those of you who have struggled with this problem, I would love to hear from you as to what has worked for you.

One website said to Spray with Neem for squash bugs.
Neem oil, a natural pesticide, has been shown to effectively control squash bugs. Spray it on all leaf and stem surfaces according to label directions.

I purchased Diva cucumber seeds so that I can keep the plants covered with a light row cover almost all summer. This particular variety  does not need pollination by insects.

Another suggestion was to plant the above seeds later in the season--late May.

Love to hear what has worked for you or should I just give up trying to grow the above.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

100,000 Tulips and More

Just got back from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. If you  ever have a chance you should stop by whether in the Spring or Winter or any season. Winter is amazing because they decorate the entire zoo with Christmas lights, but in the Spring you can view the 100, 000 tulips that were planted by volunteers last Fall.

Also you may want to click here to read about the zoo's trial gardens for annuals and their picks for 2012 annuals.

Further more if you are curious about what they do with all of their poo, Marvin's Organic Gardens picks it up for composting and sale to the public. Marvin's is known as Number 1 in Number 2 according to this video

Hope you enjoy the pictures I took.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

More In The Garden

 The peas, lettuce and cabbage are doing wonderfully and I just planted anemone flowers that I wanted to share with you.




Friday, March 23, 2012

What's Up For This Weekend

Gardening paradise for this weekend should be the priority. I will be out and about looking for more asparagus crowns and would love to know what your favorite is??

Here are resources for the crowns

  1. Jersey Asparagus Farms, Inc.
    R.D. 5, Box 372
    Newfield, NJ 08344
    (609) 358-2548
  2. Nourse Farms, Inc.
    Box 485 RFD
    South Deerfield, MA 01373
    (413) 665-2658
  3. Daisy Farms
    91098-60th St.
    Decatur, MI 49045
    (616) 782-7131
  4. Krohne Plant Farms
    Rt.6, Box 586
    Dowagiac, MI 49047
    (616) 424-3450
Furthermore Ohio State recommends:

Select the new all-male hybrid asparagus varieties such as Jersey Giant, Jersey Prince, and Jersey Knight. These varieties produce spears only on male plants. Seeds produced on female plants fall to the ground and become a seedling weed problem in the garden. Female plants also have to expend more energy to produce the seeds that decreases the yields of asparagus spears on female plants. The all-male hybrids out-yield the old Mary Washington varieties by 3 to 1.

I certainly did not know all of this and have found this helpful. I will also transplant lettuce and onions and plant Swiss chard seeds. Plus, I will have to get some exercise weeding.

On Sunday we hope to go  to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens to take pictures of the 100,000 tulips that have popped up. It is a spectacular show.

Have a happy weekend gardening!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Is Here

Toss out your to do list and take a walk, listen to the birds, and just be in the moment. Spring is such a joy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bunnies--The Other Kind

Do you think this is too much chocolate? If not, Conrad's Candy  in New Jersey will be happy to provide this to you.  I think it is solid chocolate to boot!
At least you don't have to worry about this bunny getting into the garden.

Cabbages Are Planted

I had a few moments and I was able to plant the cabbages. It makes it so much easier if the beds are ready to go and all I have to do is plant.

The weather for the next 15 days looks like mid April temps. It is unbelievable how warm it has been.
I keep thinking we are going to get hit by surprise in the weather department, but I can always cover what I have planted.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Asparagus is Here

I was cleaning  up the asparagus bed and look what I found while putting down cow poo and fertilizer. The first asparagus of the year. I never cease getting excited over this. It amazes me how they make it through the winter and I wonder if they will pop back up in spring, and they do.

Hardening Off Seeds-Starts Today

I have started to harden off my seedlings of Lettuce, Rapini AKA Broccoli Raab,  and Onions outside. The easiest way for me to do this is to put them in a big cardboard box which protects them from the wind initially.
This is more than an art than true science, and requires patience. They will be out for about 3 hours today and I will increase the outdoor time and sun exposure each day. Based on the weather and how these seedlings look, it looks like it will take about a week or so before they are ready to be planted. I also decrease watering these plants during this time to toughen them up. I know it sounds heartless, but this is the way that I have found works for me.

If you have helpful tips for this chore, I would love to hear from you. Happy St. Patrick's Day too.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Macro Lens For my Canon Rebel- I Could Not Resist

I had to go back to the camera store today because the battery charger for my camera was inadvertently left out of the box when I bought the Canon Rebel. What happened next was good luck. I spotted  a sign indicating that there were 5 lenses on sale that they wanted to clear from last year's inventory. And one was a macro that I had been wanting for this camera. However, macro lenses are not cheap, especially if you are looking at the 60 mm 1:1 and on up. Well there it was right in front of me. A 60 mm Macro for half price. I tried it out hoping that I would say this macro is not that great. That did not work. Instead I said to myself, this really is great--drats.

I plopped down my American in Distress card and said --I will take it.

I intend to stay out of this camera store for a long time. It is dangerous.

Here is my practice session.

Close-up taken without a macro

Taken with the macro

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More on the Lemon Loaf Cake, Along With the Recipe

I just was at the Splendid Table wesbite and stumbled across the recipe for the Lemon Loaf Cake, along with the history behind this delicious dessert.

According to the Splendid Table-

This recipe is  from master baker Norman Love of the Ritz-Carlton and this dense pound cake  gets its tang from lemon peel. Easy to make, it's a delightful addition to the holiday buffet and also great for gift giving

If you would like the recipe click here for the Splendid Table

Canon Rebel

Well after a couple of months of pondering and  researching, I decided to upgrade my camera to a Canon Rebel XS. The camera store had just a few left and they wanted to move them out of inventory. I got a great deal and remained calm when the sales person told me the price. I wanted to jump up and down for  joy--but I controlled that impulse since I wanted to make a deal on accessories. It must have been destiny, because it all fell into place.

So now I have another new adventure. Learning to use my new camera.

April's Tuesday With Dorie: Baking with Julia

The recipes for the April baking TWDBWJ have been announced. They are lemon loaf cake and pizza rustica.
Pizza Rustica

I am a fan of Starbuck's lemon loaf and if I could recreate their recipe I would be delighted. So I am leaning towards the lemon loaf for April. Although the pizza rustica looks interesting, it has not won my heart over yet.

Too bad my Meyer Lemon tree does not have ripe lemons on it yet. How fun would that be to use them in the recipe.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peas. Spinach and Radishes and the Famous Lemon Tree

Today is very close to 70 and a perfect day for planting. So I headed out to the garden and planted peas, spinach and radishes. I checked the 15 day forecast and the highs will be in the mid 60s and the lows in general, will be in the  mid 40s, but there is a chance it could dip below that. So I have row cover on them, which protects not only from dips in the temperature, but from birds and rabbits who like to nibble at my gems.

I also started basil and eggplant indoors.

For those who have asked me about the Meyer Lemon, well drum roll-----it has lemons. Very itsy bitsy lemons. So itsy bitsy, my camera cannot pick them up yet. But as soon as it can, I will take a picture for all of you!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daffodils From the Garden

                                              There is not much to say. Aren't they lovely?

Blue Bird Bakery and Cafe and Gardening

My H and I went to the Blue Bird for lunch, where you can actually order homemade soups and sandwiches etc. Generally you will not see me in a fast food joint unless it is the last place around. We ordered the chicken curry sandwich ( 1/2) and lentil and bean soup. I had ordered lentil soup years ago and did not like it. So I decided it was time to give it another try, especially since the Blue Bird has never failed me in the soup department. Well it was wonderful and was filled with lots of vegetables, including mushrooms.

Since the weather was close to fifty, I finished planting the pansies in the flower boxes and the porch pot. Then I cleaned out the raised beds to get them ready to plant peas, radishes and spinach tomorrow. I just need to straighten the posts in the raised beds too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I grow Rosemary all summer long in pots. I have found that these pots typically do not survive the winter indoors well. But I have a trick that I have used for years. I take cuttings from my pots and strip some of the woody stem away. I then place these cuttings in a jar of water and place the jar in a southern window over the winter. I then clip the Rosemary during the winter to use in my cooking. Sometimes it even will blossom with purple flowers.

The cuttings will root over the winter months in just plain water. Around March I transplant the cuttings into pots and then  in about 4 weeks, I  plant these pots in the large pots outdoors. I never have to buy Rosemary using this technique.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Seeds Are Sprouting

My onion seeds have been under the lights for a few weeks and they are doing great. I started Green Butterhead Lettuce, a leaf lettuce and Rapini over the weekend and they are sprouting all ready. You may have to look closely at the pictures though to see these sprouts.

 Amazing how they can pop up so quickly. I am hoping to get them out in the first of April.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tuesday's With Dorie: Baking With Julia- Rugelach Details

The dough for the Rugelach  requires only a few ingredients.
 Cream Cheese

The dough must be chilled and I would suggest to chill it for at least several hours. Even after chilling, you have to roll it out quickly.

Although this recipe called for apricot and prune lekvar for the filling, with diced dried fruit and chopped nuts sprinkled on top, you really can be creative with the filling. Store bought preserves can even be used. I tried Sarabeth's Mango and Pineapple preserve as a filling with half the dough. It was very good.

Although the Julia Child Cookbook instructs to roll out the dough, spread the filling on top and then roll the dough jelly roll fashion so that the dough can be sliced, I did not do that. I rolled out the dough, cut the dough into squares and put the filling on top. I then rolled the squares into crescents and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I cannot imagine trying to slice the filled dough rolls as the recipe instructed. The dough is just too tender and can be a bit fussy.

All and all the Rugelach tasted very good, but my favorite recipe for Rugelach is from a Martha Stewart magazine. The dough is just as rich tasting, but not as challenging to work with.

So have you ever made Rugelach? What is your favorite filling to use for it? Love to hear from you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Questions About Planting Peas

Although I have been gardening for years, I have never planted peas and would like wisdom and advice from those who have. I have a pack of Mr. Big Pea Seeds and below is a photo from Cooks Garden of them. The reviews have said that these are a real winner.

So do you soak the seeds overnight to encourage germination?
What helpful tips can you give me for growing peas?
What is the best method that you have found to provide support for them: trellis, chicken wire fencing, branches or...?
Thanks for your help!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

List of Some of My Seeds Purchased

Crop Type                  Variety Source                                     
Basil Genovese
Beans                 Carson Yellow Wax Snap Bean                       
Beans                 Fresh Pick OG Snap Bean                              
Brussel Srpouts   Long Island Improved                                      
Carrots               Hercules                                                         
Cucumber           Diva                                                                
Eggplant             Park S Whopper Hybrid                                  
Lettuce               Nancy OG Green Butterhead                          
Lettuce               Encore Lettuce Mix OG Greens, Salad             
Lettuce               Red Romaine                                                    
Melon                Charentais                                                      
Onions               Long Day Northern Trial Pack                           
Onions               Granex Hybrid                                                  
Peas                   Mr. Big                                                             
Swiss Chard      Bright Lights                                                       
Zucchini             Plato                                                                 

Cosmos         Signature                                                              
Sunflower       Big Smile                                                              
Zinnia             Benary's Giant Mix                                                

Green Butterhead Lettuce and Rapini Seeds Started

Just started the following seeds indoors for transplant: Green Butterhead Lettuce –Nancy and Rapini. Occasionally I will be asked what the heck is Rapini? Sometimes it is called Broccoli Raab. It is a tender green that can be sauteed with olive oil and garlic and mixed in with sausage and  pasta, such as an Orechetti type, and seasoned with red pepper flakes. More often than not you will find recipes for it in Italian cookbooks.

My onions that I started a few weeks ago are doing great indoors. I am biting at the bit to start planting outdoors, but it is about 12 days too early for that.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Renee's Garden and Her Seeds

Renee Shepherd of Renee's Garden discusses the newest in culinary seeds and trends on The Splendid Table and you can listen to her conversation with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Some of you may remember Shepherd's Seeds. Well Renee has a new seed company.
Click here to to download or listen.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Google Blogging System

Interesting message that I just started to receive from google:

Your browser is no longer supported by Blogger. Some parts of Blogger will not work and you may experience problems.
If you are having problems, try Google Chrome.
Has anyone else received a similar message and what was your fix for this?

Google chrome is an option ,but a pain.