Plantings – The Joy of Pink/Kammie’s Oddball Challenge

Every year one of my gardening goals is to try one new and unique vegetable or flower. This year I chose pink celery from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

I won’t be at fault if the celery doesn’t grow. Although I’ve never grown celery before, I’m planning to start it three ways. The package says to begin 8 – 12 weeks before the last frost. That time is now. Last night I planted the celery in a milk carton for winter sowing. Tonight I will plant it in flats to grow under lights inside. Lastly, when the soil warms, I will try a few seeds directly in the soil.

Pink Celery…I think it odd enough to be part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge this week. I can’t wait to show this oddball vegetable to my grand-daughters and their mother…they all love pink!

Plant – Holstein Cowpea

Holstein Cowpea – “Very unique, this pea is mottled half black and half white, just like a Holstein cow. The small bush plants yield well and are easy to grow. Very rare.” ~ Baker Creek Heirlooom Seeds

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One of the delights of my 2016 garden has been the heirloom Holstein Cowpea. I have eaten the offerings of this plant as a snapped green bean, and also harvested the cowpeas when the pods are dry. I will grow the dried cowpeas I’ve saved in next year’s garden. I’m also storing a few to eat as a specialty bean in winter soups. The cowpeas did well grown in the ground and in a hanging basket.

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I will definitely grow this variety next year, and hope to plant and harvest a bumper crop. An added benefit of the cowpeas is growing legumes adds nitrogen to soil.

Plants & Plans – Seed Catalogs and Garden Journals

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Yesterday was the perfect day for a bit of sunshine in the way of garden catalogs. I found a copy of the Pinetree Garden Seeds Catalog in my mailbox, and in my virtual mailbox I received notification of the new edition of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog. Both of these favorites were a high point in a rather cloudy day.

The arrival of these catalogs prompted me to pull out last year’s garden journal. I use a spiral notebook for my garden notes. I appreciate having the option of pulling out a page I’m disappointed with, and I also like the low price. (50 cents to $5.00) I’ve tried fancier, and more expensive journals, but prefer an inexpensive spiral with an interesting print as a cover, or as in the case of this year’s notebook, an intense garden green.

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I tape plant tags, glue down used seed packets, and make notes to myself on these pages. Perhaps tonight I will read through each entry  and highlight the plants that were successful, or write a big, “NO! beside the disappointments I don’t want to repeat.

Even though gardening might be a low priority on your to-do list now that Autumn is waning, it is the perfect time begin dreaming and planning for the 2016 growing season.

Plants & Phavorites – Sunset Runner Bean Vine

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I’ve been very pleased with my Sunset Runner Bean Vine this summer. The vine sprouts easily, grows quickly, and is soon exhibiting lovely snapdragon-like clusters of flowers. The spent flowers develop into pods, and the pods develop beautiful black seeds with purple blotches. I purchased these seeds from one of my favorite seed sources: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

The seeds are beautiful.

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After the pods dry to a tan color, the seeds are ready to harvest. I like to display mine in a jar throughout the winter.

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They are a good reminder of the promise of a new spring, and flowers to come.

Pleasures & Planting – Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog

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My all-time favorite seed catalog has arrived. There is no mistake that I photographed the catalog on top of pillows and an afghan; this is the perfect entertainment for a cold night. The long, dark evenings of Winter pass quickly when you curl up in a comfy chair and dream of what you will plant come Spring. Baker Street Heirloom Seeds is a 350+ page masterpiece of seed offerings, how-to articles, history and gorgeous photographs. I purchased this version of the catalog. You can also order a 200+ page free version, but it does not have the articles and tips contained in the larger version.

Baker Creek Heirloom Website is definitely the first site you should visit if you order your seeds online. Happy Gardening!

Planting – Poppies & Winter-Sowing

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Poppies! I LOVE poppies, but I have some problems with poppies too. Number one on my list of loves is the way poppies develop big, luscious looking pods. When the pods begin to widen and split to reveal the color of the flower inside, honestly, I must admit I run out into the yard several times a day to see if the silken petals have opened. There is something magical in the wispy crown in the center of each flower too. Often there will be a splotch or two of contrasting color at the base of each petal. The foliage of many poppy plants glows in beautiful bluish green tones. Yes…I LOVE poppies.

One of the major drawbacks of poppies, at least in my opinion, is how hard it is to grow them from seed. For years I followed the advice on the back of the packets and on the pages of reliable gardening books and sowed them directly in the ground. This NEVER worked for me. Heavy spring rains ALWAYS washed my poppy seeds away before they could sprout, or if they did, the delicate small seedlings would be beat into the ground by that same rain. the “experts” say poppies don’t transplant well. I think I probably agree if they are grown in the house, but I have found a way to get a head start on poppies and that is through winter sowing.

I’ve written many times about winter sowing, so I am not going to take the time to rewrite what I have already posted. You can read about winter-sowing here and follow some of the links I list for more information: Winter Sowing

I am also including a post that shows the results of my winter sown poppies: Poppies

If you want to grow poppies this year, and have a milk carton or two on hand, give winter-sowing a try. It only takes a few minutes to create a miniature greenhouse to place outside in the sunshine. Happy Gardening!

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Pleasure & Planting – Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog

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Oh the JOY of receiving this amazing catalog in the mail! It is over 350 pages and full, and I mean FULL of heirloom seeds. There are also hundreds of pictures that prompt an instant, “Ahhhh…” Well, let me stop right now and give you the link to the website and you can order a catalog of your own. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Here is a sampling of the pages in the seed catalog. Truly, it is the best seed catalog I have ever held in my hands. Amazing!

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Project – Square Foot Garden & Container Planting Summer Harvest

I am pleased with the start of my summer harvest. My Square Foot Gardens and container grown plants are producing the beginning of what I hope is a stellar season of produce. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen, the spaghetti squash is huge and beginning to develop some color, the cucumbers are producing more than I can eat. The peppers and eggplants are still small, but for my husband and I, a smaller size is usually the perfect dinnertime serving.

I am thrilled with these small tomatoes I grew from seed this year. I am not sure of the variety of the cherry tomato, in truth I think it came from a free packet of mixed tomatoes I received from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. They are delicious. The biggest, or should I say smallest, and one of the best surprises, have been the super sweet and delectable “currant” tomatoes. I believe they are an heirloom purchased from The Sample Seed Shop. They are very small…check out the dime for scale. I can’t seem to wait to eat them in a salad, they are just so easy to pop into my mouth as I walk by.

Links for Seed Sources and Square Foot Gardens Official Website:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
The Sample Seed Shop
Square Foot Gardening Official Website

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