Blog Archives

First Plantings for 2014

After we got all the compost into the raised beds on Tuesday, we had a few things to get planted. Because of our garden plans this year, we just had a couple things to plant here and there.

First, we had ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes to plant in the MG Favorites Garden. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the planting. We also had a bundle of ‘Red Marble’ cippolini onion plants to go in the ground. They came in the mail yesterday, so we needed to get them planted.

The cippolinis are relatively small onions that are much flatter than normal onions. We chose them specifically for the Italian Garden, and then decided to plant the rest in the Salsa Garden, since we already had them coming. The plants for these onions were pretty small – smaller than I’ve seen before with other onion plants. I’m assuming it is because the end product is also smaller?

We also had some Lacinato Kale to plant in the Italian Garden and some ‘Parris Island Cos’ romaine lettuce for the Master Gardener Favorites Garden. These plants were started about a month ago, but I don’t think I ever got that on the blog.

We planted spinach and radishes in the MG Favorites Garden in an area that will be under the trellis later this spring. We also planted spinach in the ‘Taste of India’ Garden.

In the Italian Garden, we planted seeds of the endive/escarole mesclun and the ‘Italiko Rosso’ dandelion (red rib dandelion).

Hopefully by next week there will be growing things to photograph!

Accessible Gardens in the Demonstration Garden

I haven’t written very much yet about our Accessible Garden area because it was still in the process of getting underway. This area is being cared for by residents of Via Christi Village on Ridge and the Master Gardener Horticulture Therapy Committee.

Accessible Gardens 1This area has the tiered raised bed and several smaller planters. Here’s the map for the tiered raised bed. The tomato varieties are both super compact container type tomatoes. One of the residents really wanted to have a cantaloupe, so they are going to be growing the ‘Honey Bun’ variety that we tried a few years ago.

Here’s what that raised bed looks like right now. The shorter tiers are a good height to sit at and the taller one is perfect for standing and gardening.

This is the larger of the two barrel planters. Right now it has a couple of potatoes in it as well as the remainder of some spinach. There was spinach in the raised bed until this morning, but it was starting to bolt and was covered in aphids (and ants that were farming the aphids). The spinach in this planter is still looking okay.

Our wheelchair accessible container garden has a bell pepper and onions planted currently. The third pot will be basil once it is a little bit warmer.

The smaller barrel planter is planted to green beans. I know, it’s not a very “space wise” thing to do, like I preach all the time. But…part of this area is therapeutic, so high yields aren’t necessarily the first priority.

I suppose I should have posted this at the top. This is what the interior of the barrel planter looks like. We have a publication that has more details and a plan for building the planters: Wheelchair Accessible Gardening.

I’ll keep you updated on this garden area throughout the summer along with the rest of the garden.

Easy Roasted Vegetables

Use your oven to bring out the sweetness of vegetables with this simple recipe.  It may even get “Mike-y” to eat all his vegetables!

Per Serving: $.34


  • 5 cups assorted vegetable pieces cut in chunks (potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, turnips, carrots, onions, mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Spread vegetables in pan. Sprinkle oil on vegetables. Stir. Sprinkle with seasoning, pepper, and salt. Stir.
  4. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Turn every 15 minutes.
  5. Serve while hot.

Cooking Tips:

  • Roasting brings out the sweetness of vegetables.
  • Use thyme, basil, or rosemary in place of dried Italian seasoning.
  • Save energy. Roast veggies in oven with other food or right after other food is done.
  • Use veggies that your family likes.  Leftovers are great.

Friday PhotoEssay

This week has been something of a whirlwind, and with the garden at something of a standstill, thanks to the crazy weather this summer, I feel like not much has changed in the last week to show you. I did find a few things to share, though.

Isn’t this an interesting sight? The heat has definitely NOT been kind to our strawberry patch this summer. Between the leaf spot diseases (you can see some in this picture too), and the heat and drought (the berries don’t have irrigation, ugh!), the plants have thinned out quite a bit. You can imagine my surprise when I saw these berries yesterday! Apparently the marketing was somewhat accurate for these, because this fruit did set during late July when it was so hot. Of course, I had to eat it, and it was surprisingly good, considering the circumstances.

Can any of you smart gardeners out there tell me what this is, growing in the shade of our okra plants?

If you guessed potato, you would be right! Apparently, we didn’t quite find every potato when we dug them earlier this summer. There are a couple of sprouts coming up. I guess we’ll just leave them and see what happens. The shade from the okra is probably making this spot a little more hospitable than it might otherwise be.

The okra are starting to develop buds…slowly but surely. I was hoping these plants would hurry up and start flowering/producing, partly for the pictures, but also so I could do a post about harvesting okra. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to wait until the time is right.

This is a bitter melon that was growing in one of the plots at the Juniper Gardens Training Farm. I love the color! Unfortunately, at this stage, it is a little bit past the “tasty eating” point.

Do you see what I see? Let’s take a closer look!

Now do you see it? This little Praying Mantis was hanging out on one of the bell pepper plants. He eats other insects, so I wonder what he was finding to eat?

Have a great weekend!

Changes in the Family of 4 Garden

Things have changed drastically in the Family of 4 Garden in the last 2 weeks. The cabbage are gone (except one), the potatoes and onions are gone, the peas and lettuce are gone. We have planted seeds for squash, cucumbers, melons, and okra to take their place.

The onions aren’t as big as we’d like to see, but they still look great!

The okra and melons are going to take over this area by the end of the summer, even though they are getting planted later.

Family of 4 Harvest Report:

2 lbs Red Onions @ $1.20/lb =$2.40

2 1/4 lbs Yellow Onions @ $1.20/lb =$2.70

3 3/4 lbs White Onions @ $1.20/lb =$4.50

1/3 bunch beets @ $3.00/bunch = $1.00

10 lbs Yukon Gem Potatoes @ $1.20/lb =$12.00

1/4 bunch carrots @ $2.00/bunch = $0.50

Weekly Total: $23.10

Year to Date: $141.04