Container gardening

Progress this week

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When I started my garden in April I was pretty much the first person around here buying flowers. In fact, prices weren’t even on the starters I bought when I bought them. I was anxious to start gardening after what seemed like an endless winter. I bought a small 3 ” pot with bee balm in it that held one stalk and 5 leaves. My bee balm is now a small bush that is sitting in picture 5 next to the New Guinea impatiens sitting in the orange pot. The impatiens were one small cluster of leaves and 1 flower bud. I bought a large pot with six starter geraniums. Each geranium plant was not more than a stalk and 3 leaves and the cosmos were started from seed.

All the tomato plants you see or don’t see, there is 9, have all been started from seed. They are in various stages of growth from just 4″ tall to almost a foot and a half tall. I planted kale from a starter pack of six leaves- just six leaves.  In the beginning of May I planted all the kale together and now I have a very large pot full of kale. I also started rosemary and thyme from seed and have two medium pots overflowing of that. I had one very sad cutting off a lavender plant that I just tonight re-potted for the third time that should be flowering by fall. Last but never least I have one cucumber plant that survived out of the four I started. All four of them were planted as wiry little almost dead looking weeds and again watered, given proper sun and love. Eventually, they were transplanted to a big pot and then to a bigger pot after that. All of them seemed to be doing well and then one by one wilt. Turns out I had cucumber beetles killing my plants. So I read and I read how I could get rid of them and finally found a cure I was satisfied with. On my last plant, as recommended, I placed some catnip. Albeit some dried catnip that belonged to our cat.  He wasn’t real pleased with that recommendation.  And that did the trick!

I’ve also got a sedum plant and a succulent I bought as starters that have doubled in size. The big purple plant in picture 3 is verbena.  My verbena plant was started from a 1″ stalk with two leaves on it that my plant supplier almost didn’t want to sell to me. Like I said I was really early to the greenhouse.  Also hard to see are our radishes that I decided to try growing in flats. I would definitely recommend growing them in deeper flats as I will be transplanting them later this week. I bought the seeds and flats and planted the radishes to see what would come up. They did come up but they were so tiny and frail. When I was trying to harden them off and especially after I’d watered them I would have to steady them back up, push the dirt around them and hope and pray they’d survive the wind. They have and they are now all at the stage where the leaves sting, feel like nettles, so it is time to replant. There’s another flat out there that you can just barely see in pic 2 that is three types of lettuce. It is slowly coming along, again started from seed.

I’ve been feeding all my plants FoxFarm Happy Frog Fruit and Vegetable fertilizer. It’s natural and it’s organic. All of my plants have been planted in organic soil and originate from organic seed or starters. My cucumber plant at the moment has all male flowers, so we are waiting for a female flower to show up. The female flower is the one that contains what looks like at first a mini cucumber under her flower. A bee comes along and fertilizes the female flower with the male flowers pollen and voila a cucumber is made. I know we learned some of this in school but can I say, I find nature to be, and growing my own food and learning how to grow my own food, such an intense pleasure, and experience.  Just in case Mr. Bee doesn’t make it to my deck I’ll have to pollinate the female flower, if she shows up, myself. For this, I will take a fine paintbrush and turn it around and around in 2-3 of my male flowers and then place the brush with pollen on it inside the female flower and pollinate her. Sounds kinda of sexy, doesn’t it? All for the love of cucumbers.  Every night I am out in my container garden getting dirty and it feels so incredibly good.

 

Freezer Creamed Corn

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Summer food is beginning to make its appearance around these parts of Wisconsin. Locally the first of the sweet corn became available as well as this year’s first strawberries. From this time throughout the summer, we will buy both and enjoy them as they only get sweeter as the summer sun shines upon them each day. We’ve enjoyed asparagus and rhubarb lately and I’ve frozen both for later on. With strawberries, we either buy them at the farmer’s market or my husband and I go pick them at a local u-pick field. I freeze some, eat some, and make refrigerator jam out of the rest. With sweet corn, because of my allergies, I must eat corn in moderation. Although I would just love to sit down, as I once did, and eat 10 ears of corn at one sitting (sigh). I am pleased to announce though that my wheat and corn intolerance has gotten much better since I began taking a daily probiotic. Since around last fall, I’ve actually been able to return to eating most food products containing both wheat and corn without issue. We picked up 10 ears to try and if they’re good (sometimes the really early stuff is not) I’ll go back for more. We eat it and make salads with it and freeze it. I make freezer creamed corn, that I learned how to make almost thirty years ago now, and we enjoy it all winter long.

Here’s the recipe-

20 c. raw corn
1 lb. butter
1 pt. half and half
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool, put in containers and freeze.

I also make a fresh cucumber, tomato and corn salad that goes great with shrimp. I use equal parts corn, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers mix them all together and drizzle a bit of Italian dressing over it. I also use this salad as the bed for my delicious grilled shrimp. Try it, you’ll love it.

By now my husband and I are a few days into our Door County stay, tossing the frisbee around, dipping our toes in the water and enjoying this view

door county lake view

 

Lemon Cheesecake bars

My husband and I have spent the last two Saturdays walking at the Necedah Wildlife Refuge. He took this beautiful picture this past Saturday.

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It’s so peaceful here and for avid birdwatchers like us a virtual paradise. I have a lot more time on the weekends to walk, birdwatch, even bake now that I am no longer buried in homework.  Of course besides picture taking, chatting with my husband, and birdwatching, walks are good for planning what we’ll have for dessert with Sunday’s dinner. My husband is a lover of all things cheesecake and I love all things fruit. So, once home I perused Pinterest and discovered this yummy recipe again.  I believe I have made this one before, it’s so easy and so good. I followed the recipe to the letter but omitted the optional food coloring because we don’t do food colorings in this house.

lemon cheesecake

Friday we leave for our week-long stay in Door County so I will not be posting until I get back. That said I do have a couple of drafts I may schedule to publish before I go.  Until next time– enjoy June!