Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me with Gardening Shoes!

Gardening shoes from Gardeners Supply
My husband is a runner.  He has been for years, except for a time when he became a triathlete for a few years and is now branching off this year into mud runs.  However, at his core he's a runner.  That means all gift-giving tends to be focused around running.  There's shoes, and apparel, and water bottles and all sorts of accessories including heart monitors.  However, after so many years, the gifts get boring.  I start to moan, "not another list of gift ideas just for running." 

Well, I think I've become close to one-sided with gardening.  Most husbands shop for jewelry or flowers or clothes for their wives.  Mine got me just what I gardening shoes!  Not just any gardening shoes though.  These are gardening clogs that are the best!  Years ago, he got me a pair when I first started gardening.  I thought they were a little dorky, but practical.  I didn't realize how much I'd grown to love their practicality and comfort until my one cracked near the top.  I tried to wear it anyway, but the crack pinched my skin.  So with a birthday looming on the Memorial Day horizon, I hinted at another pair.  Ok, let's be honest, I ordered them myself and said he could give them to me for my birthday.  And that's how I got my new pair in navy blue!  They're wonderful. 

[You can find them at Gardeners Supply (]

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring Gardening (slow start but finally here)

This Spring, the cold seemed to just drag on and on in the Northeast.  It was a very slow start to the gardening with seeds taking longer to sprout and plants taking longer to grow.  And although I'd be harvesting more by now, I'm just thrilled that the garden looks so robust.  And thanks to the covering of tarps, everything survived the Mother's Day frost.  So here's what's growing so far. 

Spring crops as of May 20, 2013
From the far left 1/3 of the bed, there's sugar snap peas with romaine and carrots behind them.  Then in the center are red onions (find the tall shoots), followed by more romaine that is smaller because it was started from seed.  The final third of the bed on the right contains two rows of loose leaf lettuce (the lighter green) that is already growing back from the harvest of last week!  In between the lettuce was radishes that were also harvested and eaten last week, except for two more hanging on.  The last row on the right are more red onions.  Can't wait to eat all this food!  And the best part is that there's too much to eat so just with the two rows of loose leaf lettuce alone, I was able to feed 3 other neighbors! 

Makes you just want to grab a fork and start eating!
Here's a different angle that includes the 6 tomato plants growing in the background.  These were also started indoors under the grow light.  It's going to be a yummy summer!  Stay tuned for what will be planted after all these spring veggies are harvested.  In the meantime, add your link and share what's growing in your garden.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lettuce Time! Harvesting Loose Leaf Lettuce

Lettuce ready to harvest (notice most of the radishes to the left are already eaten)
The general cry these days is "Buy Local".  I'm all for supporting the local farmer.  And this year my town started its very own Farmer's Market.  Yay!  It was a packed day at the opening of the Downingtown Farmer's Market.  Many farmers sold out within the first two hours (the market was from 3-7pm).  However, as I was ready to make my way back to the market this week, I realized that my own garden is brimming over and I better start eating!  The loose-leaf type lettuce is ready, the radishes we started eating last week, and the romaine is charging right along too!  So "buy local" has become "eat local", as in my own backyard.
Cut near the base and it will regrow!
I fell in love with romaine lettuce many years ago.  However, I fell in love with growing the loose-leaf varieties because you can harvest up to 3 times from the same seed.  That's right!  When it comes to harvesting the lettuce, you simply snip it about 3/4" from the base.  I use regular scissors to cut the lettuce.  Then simply wait and it will grow right back!  If you planned ahead and staggered your seed planting, then you could end up eating one row at a time and end up back at the first row already regrown.  I did stagger this year, however the cold spring we had stunted the growth.  When they finally really took off growing, they were all the same height.  Oops.  So that means there's lots of sharing going on in our house with neighbors and friends.  So keep an eye on your lettuce and whenever possible, support the local farmer too!
If you're near Downingtown, PA, check out our new farmer's market on Thursdays, 3-7pm. Click here for more information.
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