A DAY WITH GRANDPA IN THE GARDEN

A DAY WITH GRANDPA IN THE GARDEN

My entire family recently spent  the week with us at Greg’s Garden Party.  The grandchildren had a blast playing with their cousins, taking turns riding on the battery powered ATV, going for lawn tractor rides with Grandpa, running under the lawn sprinkler,  and harvesting fruit and vegetables.

THEO AND VIVI HARVESTING CARROTS

We have pulled carrots and onions, dug for potatoes (their favorite) and picked raspberries.  Needless to say, sharing one of my favorite pastimes with my grandchildren is beyond description.  Teaching them where their food comes from and how much fun it is to be able to pick from your own garden are lessons that I hope will stay with them forever.

My hope is that this exposure will kindle a desire to garden just like Grandpa does.  That would make me very happy.

After the grandchildren had their time in the garden with Grandpa they had the opportunity to help Gram in the kitchen.  Times like these are what life is all about.

HELPING “GRAM” MAKE PESTO

All the best,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                        gcgarnache@gmail.com

CELERY UPDATE

CELERY UPDATE

Back in February of this year I mentioned in a post that I was growing celery for the first time in ten years and that I was following the advise received from a video by an Asian woman named Regine.  I was so intrigued that I decided to give it a try.    We started seeds back in February  as the germination period is quite long compared to lettuce and cabbage.  Also, the seedlings take a long time to mature enough to set out in the garden.

I followed Regine’s advice and spaced the seedlings approximately 8 inches apart.  We have 16 plants growing in a space that is 3′ x 4′.  Celery is happiest in near swamp conditions, so I have been watering the patch every day, sometimes twice a day.

The results have been excellent.  We harvest individual stocks from each plant and have been harvesting for over a month now.

 

MY TINY BUT VERY PRODUCTIVE CELERY PATCH.  NOTE THE SCREENING TO SIMULATE IDEAL CONDITIONS.

We are growing a variety called “Tango”.  We have been using the celery in stir fries, salad,  mirepoix, and as a salad all by itself.    The celery patch is just beginning to show some signs of playing out due to the heat.  I have already started more seeds for a fall crop.  All in all, a very good success.

Here is the link to the video I mentioned:https://www.asiangarden2table.com/video/how-to-grow-celery-from-seeds%EF%BC%88%E8%A5%BF%E8%8A%B9%EF%BC%89/

Happy gardening,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                        gcgarnache@gmail.com

THE SECOND SEASON IS HERE

THE SECOND SEASON IS HERE

It is hard to believe, but the second half of the gardening season is happening right now.  It seems that the older I get, the faster the time goes.

My usual indicator is the garlic patch.  We harvest the garlic scapes in June.  When the leaves of the garlic plants start browning in late July, it’s time to pull those suckers.

THE GARLIC PATCH READY TO HARVEST

I typically harvest the plants and give them a few days to dry out.  Then I cut off the stems and roots and polish off the dirt on the garlic heads with a towel.  It is slow work, best done with some good music in the background, a cold beer within reach and the company (and help) of friends and loved ones.

HARVESTED GARLIC DRYING OUT

GARLIC ALL CLEANED UP AND READY TO STORE

Why do I call this the “Second Season”?  Good question.  Harvesting the garlic sets in motion a new round of gardening activity.  Now that the garlic is harvested, it is time to plant the fall carrots in that plot.  Harvesting and replanting will be repeated several more times as the various onion varieties come to harvest.  I will start seeds of red beet and golden beet, many more carrots, and more green onions.

As this is happening, some of my hot weather crops are beginning to bear fruit.  We have recently harvested three zucchini and two eggplants.  In addition, we now have some lovely jalapeno peppers.  The cool weather crops are now giving way to the sexier hot weather crops.  The happiness factor is trending upwards.

A SHOT OF ONE OF MY FRUIT CROP BEDS. ZUCCHINI ON THE LEFT WITH EGGPLANT AND SWEET PEPPERS TO THE RIGHT. INDETERMINATE TOMATOES IN THE REAR.

HERE IS A CLOSEUP SHOT OF THE ZUCCHINI PLANTS.

CHECK OUT THESE BAD BOYS. THE VARIETY IS CALLED “MEATBALL.” EACH CLOCKED IN AT ONE POUND..

So far, it has been a pretty good gardening year.  Here’s hoping the “Second Season” is just as satisfying.

All the best in life and gardening,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                         gcgarnache@gmail.com

 

FIVE GREENS SALAD WITH RADISHES AND ASPARAGUS

FIVE GREENS SALAD WITH RADISHES AND ASPARAGUS

My favorite way of measuring the progress of the vegetable garden  this time of year is by making a salad for lunch every day and noting how many ingredients come directly from the garden.  Just a week ago, it was three.  Today, it is a total of eight.

Asparagus production is now in “full on” mode.  My small patch is pushing up 5 or 6 spears a day.  Yesterday morning, I picked a large bowl of greens that included “Red Kitten” spinach, a few leaves of Tuscan Kale, some Red Winter Kale, some “Black Seeded Simpson” lettuce and two small heads of “Little Gem” romaine.

FIVE GREENS HARVESTED FRESH FROM THE GARDEN

This morning, I added “French Breakfast” radishes and their tops to the mix.  Pure rock-n-roll!  This is why I garden.  Fresh, nutritious food, as fresh as it gets.  We have a saying here at Greg’s Garden Party;  “Nobody eats better than us.”

THE FIRST RADISHES OF THE SEASON

All the best,

Greg Garnache

 

STAYING POSITIVE DESPITE THE WINTER THAT WON’T GO AWAY

STAYING POSITIVE DESPITE THE WINTER THAT WON’T GO AWAY

We woke up this morning with yet another dusting of snow on the ground and the sky is showering even more snow down upon us as this post is being written  Spring is nearly a week old and still no break  in the action.

Adding to my frustration is the fact that various plants have started arriving at  my doorstep; 10 blueberry bushes, a box full of onion seedlings and a box full of seed potatoes.  However, I do find comfort and hope in the seedlings that I have growing under the lights.  Check out my lead photo for this blog.  It is certainly an attitude changer for me.

Also, check out the photo below;  the first “triple banger” of the season from my three chickens.  I’m so proud.

THE FIRST “TRIPLE BANGER” OF THE SEASON FROM THE CHICKEN COOP. YOU GO GIRLS!

And while we’re at it, here is a shot of my “Glacier” Ultra Early tomato seedlings started, well, ultra early.  The plan is to get them in the ground at the end of April, protected (wall of water teepees) and placed in the garden where the vine crops will grow.  As soon as the main season tomatoes start producing, I will pull these plants to make room for the pumpkins and squash.  We have had tomatoes as early as June 14 in the past.

“GLACIER” ULTRA EARLY TOMATO SEEDLINGS GIVING HOPE OF SPRING WEATHER TO COME

There are advantages to starting your own seeds:  greater variety, early start, cost.  For me, the biggest advantage is the feeling that I get from watching them grow, especially when it’s still snowing outside.  Happy Spring everyone!

All the best,

Greg Garnache

February 17, 2018 – My Gardening Year Starts Today

February 17, 2018 – My Gardening Year Starts Today

Hi everyone.  It has been a long time since my last post.  I started this blog soon after retiring from the work-a-day world back in 2014.  Back then, I had lots of time on my hands and a desire to “get after it”.

Well, guess what.  Life intervened, I went back to work part time, my elderly mother needed much more care and attention, and fifty other excuses got in the way.  I lost my mojo.  Not saying I have it back, but here I am feeling the need to reach out and let the world know that Greg’s Garden Party is still a thing.

Part of the reason I felt the need to blog is the fact that I planted some seeds today; the first of many seeds to come.  This happened as a result of a recent conversation with my wife regarding how much celery we consume in our diet.  That led to a question: “Why are we not growing our own.”  I had to fess up that my previous attempts were less than noteworthy.  With some trepidation I consulted all of our gardening guides for some wisdom on the subject of celery.  There was nothing inspiring.

I went on line, read a bunch of  blog posts, watched a bunch of videos.  There are a whole lot of sites with information about growing celery; most of it lame at best.  Finally, I found a charming, informative and inspiring video called ” Growing Celery from Seed.  It was created by a Chinese woman by the name of Regine and her husband Kent Norman.

Regine grew up in a small farming community in Southern China, where she developed her passion for gardening.  She earned a degree in Chemistry, met Kent, an industrial/product engineer and they decided to make a life together in Florida.  Today, they manage a small business specializing in selling seeds of hard to find Asian vegetables.

Their science/engineering background is evident in the content, presentation and production of their videos.  I highly recommend checking out the video and their site www.asiangarden2table.com .

After watching the video, I ordered seeds.  Not realizing at that time that I could actually order seeds from Asian Garden 2 Table, I went to my go to Supplier Johnny’s Selected Seeds and purchased a variety called “Tango“.

Taking Regine’s advise, I soaked the seeds for twelve hours, drained them into a paper towel lined strainer, folded the paper towel, put it in a baggie and placed it in the refrigerator for twenty four hours.  The next day, I opened the paper towel and let the seeds dry out enough to handle.  Beware, celery seeds are very small.  Thankfully, I had a tool for that.  It’s called a mini wand seeder.  I have used it in the past to handle tiny herb, flower and vegetable seeds.

MINI WAND SEEDER

I got mine five years ago from Johnny’s and put it to good use planting the celery seeds.  My plant stand is in an unheated room so I placed the seed tray on a heat mat to maintain a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now, I just need to keep the seeds moist and be patient.  It could take up to thirty days for the seeds to emerge.  I will keep you posted.

Needless to say, I am excited about beginning a new gardening year and I wish you all great success in your gardening endeavors.  There’s more to come.  I promise.

All the best,

Greg Garnache