March 27, 2009

If I could only have one garden tool...

Well I really couldn't choose just one tool but I definitely have a favorite. I bought the Twist Tiller last year and really used it a lot. The feature I found handy is the cross bar at the bottom where you can use your foot to push it into the ground. The tiller is very durable and easy to use. I was out with it yesterday getting some of my garden areas ready for planting. It won't replace our mechanical tiller for big areas but it is nice for working on the many little spots I have to till. No this isn't an advertisement. I just like my little tiller. I would love to hear about what item is indispensable in your garden.

March 21, 2009

Happy Spring!

The weather in Wisconsin can be so weird and wonderful. Two days ago, all the snow had melted and it was perfect gardening weather. Last night we had a very pretty snowfall of huge, fluffy flakes. Today it is back to being comfortable gardening temperatures again. This morning I was out crunching through the snow and gardening in t-shirt and shorts. Happy spring!

March 18, 2009

Garden Therapy

Temperatures are in the mid 40's this morning and the sun is shining bright. I had no choice but to do a little work in the garden today! It was so relaxing to be out there again. It's way too early to plant but a good time to start cleaning things up. I will have at least 10 raised beds to work with this year and I'm really looking forward to it. We have a relatively small space but are trying to grow as much as possible in it.

So far the raised bed tally is:
(2) 4 X 8 beds
(6) 4 X 4 beds
(2) 3 X 8 beds
Still to come this year or next:
(2) 4 X 4 beds
(2) 4 X 8 beds

March 16, 2009

Ground Cherries

This evening I was looking over recipes using some of the things we grow. We planted ground cherries a few years ago and are finding as we expected that ground cherries are forever. They reseed very easily but that is fine with us. They have been nice for fresh eating, wine making and chutney. I just ran across a recipe suggestion for chocolate covered ground cherries. I will have to give it a try. This year I will also make a ground cherry pie. I usually don't eat wheat but this looks like a nice recipe to make for guests. They can eat the pie while I sip on some ground cherry and pineapple wine. If you aren't familiar with ground cherries
click on this site to learn more.
Ground Cherry Pie
2 1/2 cups ground cherries
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
1 (9 inch) pie shell

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Wash ground cherries and place in unbaked pie shell. Mix brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour and sprinkle over cherries. Sprinkle water over top. Mix together 3 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut butter in until crumbly. Top cherry mixture with crumbs.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for 25 minutes.

March 3, 2009

Looking for Ruby

As I noted in my last post, my husband loves to have plants that attract butterflies. For me it's the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird I look forward to seeing. Sure a feeder placed on our deck has been an easy way to attract them but I'm trying to plant flowers they may like too. They always check out our hollyhocks that are by the feeder but avoid anything low to the ground that I would usually expect might attract them. This year we will add a few planters on the deck rails and try some new plants too. I've ordered Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) 'Major Wheeler' from Niche Gardens and I have hopes that it will both fill in a large open area we have along a wood fence and bring in the hummers. I always enjoy watching their spring trek to my backyard at this site.

I've had fun looking over my seed packets and getting ready for my April seed-starting. However, I am especially eager to get my plant orders this spring. I will be done with school and have a little more time for gardening. So far I'm planning on adding more elderberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums and blueberries in addition to quite a few perennials I will start from seed. It will be a lot of work and I can't wait!

Thanks for visiting!