Monday, February 13, 2017

Harvesting rainbows and other garden tales

Harvested rainbows--carrots that is.

I love how much we eat out of the garden.

This lovely harvest of lettuces and rainbow carrots that have been through their preliminary cleaning with rain barrel water. Their tops have been put in the compost. I'll rinse the carrots again with tap water, but the pre-washing keeps my kitchen cleaner and saves potable water. The lettuces will be the layer just inside a fried flour tortilla for our tuna salad roll-up. The carrots became dippers (along with crackers) for my homemade pesto-based dip for a pot luck lunch at the FNPS retreat at Gold Head State Park in Clay County. The pesto had been frozen since last fall when I picked the last of the fall basil. For the dip I added plain yogurt, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and some finely chopped fresh dill. Yummy. Not much was left after the event.

Rainbow carrots and lettuces Ready for a pot luck lunch: rainbow carrots, pesto dressing, & crackers.

Oh deer!

We live about a quarter of a mile from a large wooded area. It's been several years since deer had been in our yard. Normally I wouldn't mind, but when they rip out the lettuce and chomp on the cabbages, I go on the defense with a fence. My edible plot is bigger than the last time this happened, so I'm a little short on fencing material. I'm considering something better looking and more permanent. Right now I'm thinking about a dark green netting strung between metal stakes. It could be totally removed or reconfigured to accommodate more or reconfigured garden spaces.
Oh deer! One or more deer ate some of my cabbage, ripped up some of the lettuce plants, and chewed off the tops of some of the carrots. Bring out the fencing... The previous year's poinsettias made a statement for the holidays this year too. I'd put this container in a spot on the west side of the garage where there is no artificial light. They need short days to bloom. Now the volunteer tropical sage is showing its own red blossoms.

A couple of weeks ago in the blueberries...

A arpenter bee chews through the top of the blueberry flower to reach the nectar. A long-tailed skipper was able to properly pollinate the blueberry flowers.

While New England is buried under a pile of snow, I caught a silhouette fully-loaded female red maple the other day before sunrise along the St. Johns River. This serves as a reminder that it's important to purchase plants that are grown and bred from your own region. Those Massachusetts red maples are not even close to blooming right now, never mind fruiting. 
Grow it yourself. It's better for you and
eating locally is better for our planet.

It's not too late to start building edible gardens for a great spring crop this year. Just do it!

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

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