January 29, 2010

Need more space, always need more space

One might think that that 12 raised beds and two large garden areas would be enough. They are not! I'm always looking for one more spot to tuck in a plant (or a few dozen). In addition to my usual annuals, I'm looking forward to putting in more raspberries, blueberries, currants and horseradish.

This year we will grow potatoes in a 4X8 raised bed garden, 10 smart pots/grow bags and quite a few large plastic pots. Potatoes are so easy to grow in most anything. I have heard of people growing them right in bags of soil. I've also seen them in a wide variety of containers including tires. I am always looking for a place to grow more potatoes. We have some food grade buckets we may use this year too. Drill holes in the bottom, add some good dirt, spuds and water then watch them grow!

Have you tried or heard of any unique methods for growing spuds? More ideas are always appreciated!

January 25, 2010

One World One Heart Giveaway

2/16/10- Prizes have been sent. Happy Gardening!

2/15/10- I have selected the winners. Congrats! It has been so much fun meeting everyone. I sure enjoyed the magic carpet ride!

1/26/10 update: for every 100 entries, I will be adding another prize.

Gift # 1: One year subscription to the Heirloom Gardener Magazine (added January 25). Won by Judy

Gift # 2: One 15 gallon fabric "Smart Pot". Perfect for growing potatoes above ground even if you have little space (added January 27). Won by Theresa

Gift # 3: A single sample copy of Heirloom Gardener Magazine (Added February 3). Won by Crystal

I enjoy chatting with gardeners around the world and learning more about them and what they grow. Garden blogging is a great way to bring people together who might not ordinarily meet. That fits well with the goals of The One World One Heart event which seeks to bring bloggers together. It is a great chance to meet people and the giveaways are an added bonus.

So on to my giveaway in this event: The Heirloom Gardener magazine is a virtual magic carpet ride around the world. It features articles on an intriguing international collection of seeds and plants. So it seems like a good gift to share with one lucky winner in my little corner of the One World One Heart event and this year's Magic Carpet theme. I find each issue of this magazine to be an adventure and would love to give a one year (4 issue) subscription to one person anywhere in the world (I don't have any ties to this magazine, I just enjoy reading it!). The winner will be selected at random on February 14 at midnight and announced on February 15, 2010.

All you need to do is comment below and include a link or e-mail address so I can contact the winner. It would be fun if you write something about your gardening experiences in your comment but it is not required. The Heirloom Gardener is a fun read whether you have never gardened or if you are a pro. Grow some unique flowers, herbs or vegetables and have your own adventure.

You may also enjoy visiting the One World One Heart link to find a world of interesting blogs.

January 24, 2010


More dreaming of spring......

I've bought my tomato seeds and that's it. No more! Unless I find another variety I absolutely cannot live without.

Last year I was given free seeds for Chocolate Cherry Tomato. They were richly flavored, sweet, delicious and also made a great addition to one of our wines. I didn't really want to grow it again (just because I like to try new varieties) but my hubby convinced me to include them in the 2010 garden. They did ripen early and produce well through the summer. That was a pretty good feat since last summer wasn't great for my other tomatoes.

I wanted to try the Black Plum Tomato this year. I haven't grown it before. The description of the sweet tangy flavor sounds tempting and we have never been disappointed with the dark colored tomatoes.

The Cour di Bue tomato was a free sample that came with a seed order. I wasn't sure if I would keep them or give them away. However, the mention of them being good for saucing convinced me to give them a try.

I would love to hear about your favorite tomatoes. I've thought of trying a green variety and I'm sure I can always find just the right spot for a cherry tomato or another tomato for sauce. Any suggestions? A larger garden might be the first place to start!

January 18, 2010

Spring planning

Another spud post? Sure, why not. My favorite way to deal with winter blues is to place my seed orders. Picking out the potatoes to grow this year is especially fun. This photo is of our 2009 harvest. Hopefully 2010 will be a successful potato growing year. The 2010 spuds are:

LaRatte- supposedly creamy when pureed so I'm looking forward to trying it in soups and sauces like I did with the Rose Finn Apple potato. The "rich chest-nutty flavor" sounds worth a try.

Purple Peruvian- a purple potato? I have to try it just because it should look great on the plate. Hopefully it tastes great too!

Peanut- I like the description of it being firm after steaming so it can be sauteed with other vegetables. Sounds good. I enjoy potatoes tossed with peppers, onions and tomatoes and topped with a hint of smoked cheese. Should be a nice fire-pit spud too.

Irish Cobbler- "makes the greatest mashed potatoes". What other reason do I need!

Inca Gold- I love the yellow color. We might appreciate the fact that it is described as a good keeper if we manage to not eat all the spuds in the fall.

The question is: Will I manage not to give in and buy just one more (or 2) variety of potatoes to grow this year? Only time will tell.

January 15, 2010

Potato review

Although we don't care too much about store bought potatoes, my husband and I are hooked on the wide variety of spuds we can grow ourselves. Unfortunately, this picture is of the last of the potatoes from this years crop. However, we are left with tasty memories and fun plans for next year. This year we grew Adora, Carola, Mountain Rose and Rose Finn Apple potatoes. Although they would all be worth trying again, we will be growing 5 different varieties this year. I just want to try every variety of spuds I can get my hands on at least once if possible.

If I ever decide to grow a variety I've tried before, it is likely it will be Rose Finn Apple. It is a fingerling and was wonderful roasted whole on the grill or fire pit or used as a thickener. I peeled them and pureed the Rose Finn's into soups and sauces. It makes for a smooth and delicious thick soup.

The Mountain Rose is just a beautiful spud. The rose coloring makes for unusual but lovely mashed potatoes. They were creamy and delicious. This potato was also great fried in slices or wedges on the fire-pit. I like them for the taste alone but the pretty rose color is a nice bonus. They really dress up a plate. A spoonful of the pink Mountain Rose mashed potatoes looked nice next to a spoon of the mashed golden yellow Carola spuds. I can't say much about the storing qualities of either the Mountain Rose or Rose Finn Apple, we ate them up before they could be put to the test.

The Adora and Carola are both good potatoes but I wouldn't rush to grow them again. They were good on the fire-pit (all spuds are) or boiled and the Carola made a richly flavored mashed potato. Both were excellent keepers. We don't have a root cellar yet (it is in the dreaming stages) but they stored well in a slightly cool basement.

I haven't found a potato we don't like yet but there are some we really love to grow. Our favorite treat will always be digging new potatoes, splashing them with the garden hose and putting them on the fire-pit without them making a trip into the house. Although we enjoy trying to eat a "Hundred Mile Diet", nothing beats the 50 foot diet. You can't get more local than that.

January 2, 2010


Sometimes I am very motivated to work out. Unfortunately, this winter isn't one of them. Once spring comes, it gets much easier and more fun to exercise. However, I have a plan that is working well. Garden catalogs! As soon as they arrive, I bring my favorites downstairs and put them on the rack of my bicycle. I can only read them as part of my cool-down after a spinning workout. I'm so addicted to my garden planning that I don't procrastinate working out like I tend to in the winter. Weird plan but it works. I sure never expected that I would get this hooked on gardening.

Time to go seed shopping...
I mean bicycling.

Thanks for visiting!