Harvest Monday, Auugust 31, 2015 – Figs + Long Beans

My container grown fig tree is giving me another good harvest year.

Picking figs daily since mid-August, some days only a few other days a handful but lately by the containers. Sharing the bounty with friends and neighbours.

Was hoping to create some neat fig dishes, but they seem to get eaten before I can locate a recipe.

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Container Grown Figs

Convinced a friend who never tasted tree-ripened figs to try one, she loved it (will have to keep an eye on my fig tree whenever she visits during fig season :). Hope her husband gets to taste the ones I sent home for him.)

NOTE: To prevent fruit drops during our unusual and extend dry spell these past weeks I had to water the tree at least twice a day, the disadvantage of growing in a container.

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Long beans are loving the hot weather we are experiencing. Vines are strong and healthy and producing well.

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Red Noodles Long Beans

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Green Chinese Long Beans (aka Yardlong Beans & Asparagus Beans)

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Red Noodles Long Beans & Green Chinese Long Beans

Many of my friends had never seen red noodles long beans nor tasted them so am sharing the harvest with them.

This week is going to be another hot week (90’s and high 80’s), long beans will be happy. Looking forward to continued bountiful harvesting of long beans.

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Harvest my first Brandywine tomato. Because of the location (too shady) my tomatoes are not doing well this year, not only are they late in coming in but also low production, need to select better location next year.

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Brandywine Tomato

The above Brandywine tomato weighed in at a whopping 1½ pounds. Unfortunately I got to it a bit too late and it split, not picture perfect but still wonderfully delicious.

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Harvest for the past week included more Peppermint Swiss Chard, Chinese Chives, radishes, Shanghai Bok Choy, Beets, Amaranth and herbs.

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Still battling wildlife. Some critters ate my pea shoots, carrot tops, radicchio and parsley, need to find a solution and real soon.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

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Harvest Monday, August 24, 2015 – Red, White & Blue Potatoes

This year I am growing 4 different varieties of potatoes, Adirondack Red, Blue, Fingerlings and Adirondack Blue. (I actually started out with 5 varieties but the Yukon Gold failed to sprout.)

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Left to right: Adirondack Red, Blue, Fingerlings & Adirondack Blue Potatoes + cross section of each

The potatoes in the photo below were steamed then peeled, all 4 are of the “waxy” type. I think they would make a lovely July 4th Patriotic Potato Salad.

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Left to right: Steamed then Peeled Adirondack Red, Blue, Fingerling & Adirondack Blue Potatoes

The photo below shows cross section of the steamed and peeled potatoes. Will not be planting the Adirondack Blue next year (don’t care for the cooked color) also will be looking for another red with deeper red color, not sure if such a variety exist.

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Left to right: Cross Section of Steamed then Peeled Adirondack Red, Blue, Fingerlings & Adirondack Blue Potatoes

Had planned to bake one of each for color comparison (steamed versus baked) and also make a roasted potatoes with onion, garlic and rosemary but just never got around to doing so, the hours flew by but not much was accomplished :(

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But all was not lost, using the potatoes I shared with her, Susan MacCavery made a Roasted Red, White & Blue Potatoes with Fresh Thyme, her photos below.

Susan is one of the 2 horticulturist at Locust Grove and a Garden Coach with over 25 years of experience in professional horticulture. To learn more about Susan, check out her web site http://www.susanmacavery.com

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Roasted Red, White & Blue Potatoes with Fresh Thyme

A close up

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Roasted Red, White & Blue Potatoes with Fresh Thyme

Don’t the above photos make you want to dig in? This is a gluten free dish.

This is what Susan did: Tossed the cut unpeeled potatoes with olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme, salt & pepper. Roasted on a cookie sheet at 425°F for about 20 minutes. She liked the texture of the Blue the best.

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Dug in all 4 varieties of potatoes from the garden last week. Also harvested the potatoes in 3 of the foam ice chest – Fingerlings, Adirondack Red and Adirondack Blue.

I found it a lot easier to harvest the potatoes in the foam ice chest than the ones in the garden especially the Adirondack Blue and Blue as they were difficult to find in the garden soil, I probably missed quite a few since I could not bend for long period due to my lower back problem (getting better but decided it’s best not to overdo).

Below is the fingerling potatoes from one of the ice chests.

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Fingerling Potatoes

The harvested unwashed potatoes are arranged, single layer, on basket trays in my shed and loosely covered with newspaper (to prevent them from turning green due to light exposure) after a few days the soil should be dry and I will carefully brush off any loose soil, inspect for damage (the damaged ones will be used right away), place the good clean ones in paper bags and store in the basement.

NOTE: My storage method is not for long term storage. For proper long term storage check out Rachel of Grow a Good Life blog: http://growagoodlife.com/storing-potatoes/

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Fingerling Potatoes

The fingerlings (washed for the photo) in the photo below are from the garden, quite a few of them were very large (I think they were on steroid) not what I would consider fingerlings.

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Fingerling Potatoes

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Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’

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Hydrangea paniculate ‘Tardiva’

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

Posted in Container gardening, Cooking, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Locust Grove, potatoes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Harvest Monday, August 17, 2015 – Figs + Harvests (Collard, Beets, Chinese Long Beans, Radicchio)

Harvested first figs this past week.

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Picked 10 figs, 5 did not make it into the photo, the above 5 disappeared as soon as photo was taken.

One of the fig question I am frequently asked is: How do I know when my fig is ready? The following photos should, hopefully, help.

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In the above photo the fig on the left is plump and starting to change color but still standing upright. Note all the green figs are standing upright.

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In the above photo the fig on the left is starting to droop, can be harvested at this stage but I usually wait another day or 2. The fig on the right is plump and should be changing color soon.

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The fig on the left is now a darker color soft to the touch and is sweet. Depending on how anxious I am to pop that baby into my mouth I may harvest at this stage or wait until it has drooped a bit more (the fruit neck will show signs of wilting) at which stage it is even sweeter (sometimes you can see nectar oozing out) but then the ants and other critters are also waiting so it becomes the battle of who gets there first.

NOTE: The above color reference pertains to the variety of fig I have. There are many varieties of figs with different color when ripe (from light green to black) so go by how the fig is hanging and not the color.

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As I mentioned in last Harvest Monday’s post, woodchuck ate my broccoli, kohlrabi and kale. However, it left the collard greens alone, I guess collard is not woodchuck’s favorite brassica.

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Collard Green

The above collard greens were very tender. I blanched both the leaves and the ribs and froze for making soup later.

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Not sure of the 2 beet varieties in the photo below. They are the “give away” seedlings for the volunteers after plantings are completed at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden (LGHVG).

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I microwaved the beet roots, peeled, cut into bit-sized pieces, tossed with rice vinegar, a bit of salt and sugar, made a lovely simple pickle.

Cut the greens into bite-sized lengths, stir-fried in a bit of oil, garlic, onion, S&P to taste and a dash of balsamic vinegar (would have preferred lemon juice but had none). A tasty and simple side.

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The Chinese Long Beans are producing well. Like the cowpeas (aka black eyed peas) they are related to, loves hot weather so I should be getting abundant harvest as high 80’s and 90’s are predicted for the next 10 days.

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Chinese Long Beans also known as Yardlong Beans, Asparagus Beans, Snake Beans, Bora & Long Podded Cowpeas

To learn more about Chinese Long beans (aka yardlong beans, asparagus beans, snake beans, bora & long podded cowpeas) and recipe click here.

The radishes in the above photo were the ones interplanted among the napa cabbage in window box.

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Radicchio on the other hand does not like hot weather, fall planting will yield better result.

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Didn’t think the radicchio on the left will turn red as it was starting to show signs of bolting so I harvested it. Don’t know why the radicchio on the right is oblong instead of round.

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Due to the hot dry weather we are experiencing, the Forellenschluss Lettuce was showing sign of bolting so I harvest all.

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Forellenschluss Lettuce

In case you are wondering what happened to the 2 lettuces in the front, a rabbit had them for dinner.

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Also harvested but no photos are red noodle long beans, peppermint Swiss chard, sweet potato vines, tomatoes and herbs.

High temperature and dry conditions are predicted for the next 10 days. Sure could use some rain.

Last Saturday evening we had thunder and lightning and I was positive we would have a down pour, not a drop, but a friend living about 10 miles east recorded 1½ inches of rain, so not fair.

Happy gardening!

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

Posted in Container gardening, Cooking, Fruits, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Locust Grove | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Harvest Monday, August 10, 2015 – Weekly Harvests + Containers Update + Woodchuck Damage

Had a few first this past week.

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Red Noodles Long Beans, Tohya Soybeans, Red Burgundy Okra & Ping Tung Eggplant

Red Noodle Long Beans made an appearance, the green Chinese Long Beans should be following this week.

Tohya Soybeans pods were full and plump, ready for harvest. Cut all the plants at soil level leaving the roots with the Rhizobia attached to enrich the soil. Pulled all the pods off the stems. Boiled the pods in salted water for 5 minutes, cooled, shelled and froze for winter use.

Got a few Red Burgundy okras, finally, hoping for more. Plants are flowering so should have a decent harvest.

The Ping Tung Eggplant is growing in a large container. Plant is doing well, I see flowers and a few baby eggplants.

Also harvest lots of Peppermint Swiss Chard, tomatoes, walking onions (I will be writing a separate walking onion post at a later date, stay tuned), amaranth, sweet potato vines and carrots. Did not take photos as they would look like previous photos.

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The heat wave for the past 2 weeks caused all 3 of the Oak Leaf Lettuces in the window box to bolt but the 3 Forellenschluss Lettuces are holding up just fine.

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Forellenschluss Lettuce & Oak Leaf Lettuce

Look closely in the center of the oak leaf lettuce in the photo below and you can see the flower stalk is starting to form.

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Bolting Oak Leaf Lettuce

Pulled all 3 Oak Leaf Lettuces but harvest only the outer leaves of the Forellenschluss.

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Also bolted were the China Express Daikon that were in a very large container. You can see the flower stalk in the photo below.

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Bolting China Express Daikon

Pulled all the daikon. Cut the tender leaves into bite-sized length and stir-fried in a little oil, garlic, onion and ginger. S&P to taste, very good.

Peeled the small daikons and braised them with the Ping Tung eggplants, okras, carrots and onion in some chicken broth. A strange combo but pretty good, made a delicious side, who knew?

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The Shanghai Bok Choy I transplanted into the window box (photo below) in July are getting overcrowded.

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Shanghai Bok Choy

Instead of pulling up every other plant decided to harvest the out leaves of each allowing the plants to continue to grow. Will continue to harvest the outer leaves until plants show sign of bolting. Will pull the whole plant then. Forgot to weigh but I am guessing about 1½ pounds.

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Remember the Forellenschluss Lettuce I mentioned in my July 27 post? Look at them now, so lovely and happy.

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Forellenschluss Lettuce

Plan to harvest just the outer leaves sometime this week. Plants will continue to grow. Like the Shanghai bok Choy, I will continue to harvest the outer leaves until plants show sign of bolting and will pull the whole plant then.

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The tri-colored amaranth looked so pretty I hesitated to harvest, but harvest I must before they go to seed.

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Tri-color Amaranth

Cut each stem about 3 inches above soil level, side shoots will appear for future harvests.

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The napa in the photo below are the ones mentioned in my July 13 post. At the time I was thinking of putting 4 plants in the window box glad I went with 3. The 2 on each end were growing by leaps and bounds crowding out the one in the middle. Decided to loosely tie them to allow the middle one to get some space and sun.

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Napa Cabbage

When the middle napa gets a little bigger I may loosely tie it as well.

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Loosely tied Napa Cabbage

Will loosely tying the napa help or hurt, don’t know but will learn soon. Right now they are neater and I like the look.

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My neighbor’s woodchuck crossed property line and is feasting in my garden. I believe it is the same one I saw in my garden few weeks ago. Should have hit it over the head when I had it cornered, instead I opened the garden gate and released it. Mistake. But what would I do with a dead woodchuck?

It started with the broccoli

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Critter damaged Broccoli

Not much broccoli left to feast on.

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 Soybeans were the next target.

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Damaged Soybeans Plants

Not only was the critter eating the soybean leaves it was also feasting on the soybeans.

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Soybean Shells

Can you believe the woodchuck actually shelled the soybeans? Ate the beans and left the shells.

The soybeans in the photo below are immature and needed more time for the pods to get full and plump.

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Immature Soy Beans needed more time for pods to get full and plump.

Even though the Besweet 2001 and the Black Soy Beans were not ready I decided to cut all the plants, at soil level, and pulled the pods of the stems. Got about 4 pounds of mostly immature pods.

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After I pulled all the soybean plants the critter moved on to feast on the parsnips. I apparently have a gourmet woodchuck.

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Woodchuck Damaged Parsnips

The whole row of parsnips have lost half their leaves. Hope this will not affect their roots development.

Found the hole that the woodchuck was using to enter the garden and plugged it. Will see if this deters the critter.

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Around mid-June I had sown some Lutz Beets seeds in a little empty patch in the garden and 3 different varieties of Swiss Chard seeds in another empty patch. All germinated, grew into beautiful seedlings and ready to be transplanted to the garlic patch.

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Lutz Beets

Transplanted the Lutz Beets seedlings to the area where I pulled the  Duganski Garlic.

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Swiss Chard – Top row: Fordhook Giant. Middle row: Golden. Bottom row: Ruby Red Rhubarb

Transplanted the Swiss Chard seedlings to the area where I pulled the German White Garlic. They are planted closer than the spring planting. The days will be getting shorter and pretty soon the weather will be getting cooler the plants will not be growing as fast and as vigorous as the spring planted ones.

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Had started Radicchio and Napa Cabbage early July in cell packs then bumped them up to 3-inch pots. All were ready for transplanting into the garden after I pulled the soybeans.

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Top row: Palla Rossa Mavrik Radicchio. Bottom row: Napa Cabbage.

Planted 1 row of 10 Palla Rossa Mavrik radicchio and 1 row of 10 Napa Cabbage.

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Chinese Parsley (aka Cilantro) Flowers

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

Posted in Flowers, Garden pests, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Harvest Monday, July 27, 2015 – Garlic + Tomato + Seniors & Kids Friendly Planters

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Japanese Anemone

My apologies to my subscribers for an error Saturday morning. I goofed.

Having company (starting yesterday) so decided to get a head start with my Harvest Monday post. The plan was to work with the photos I already took and finish the post Monday morning before my guest gets out of bed.

Typing away happily on my laptop at 5:30 a.m. Saturday (I am an early riser) and hit the “publish” tab instead of the “save draft” tab. Haste makes waste not to mention mistakes are bound to happen when I start working before my cup-of-joe. Again, SORRY.

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Had planned to harvest my garlic this week but didn’t know if I would have time since I have company and worry that the heads of garlic would split if I waited another week so dug them all up on Friday.

The garlic are curing in the shed (leaving the shed’s door open for ventilation during the day). Once the tops and roots have dried (3-4 weeks) I will cut them off (leaving about an inch of the top) clean the heads, select and save the best heads for planting in October and enjoy the rest.

This has been a very good garlic year both the German White and Duganski are of good size and beautiful. The harvest should last the whole year but I do share with friends so may be not.

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German White Garlic

The above is about 1/3 of the total German White harvest.

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Duganski Garlic

The above is about ¼ of the total Duganski harvest

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Left: German White Garlic. Right: Duganski Garlic

As you can see from the photo above the German White on the left is much larger than the Duganski on the right but the Duganski with its purple stripes is a prettier garlic.

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Finally vine ripened tomatoes from the garden.

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Left: Heirloom Black Cherry Tomato. Right: Speckled Roman Pole Tomato

Liked how the bunch of Black Cherry was hanging so decided to cut the whole branch. I am sure the green one will ripen indoor.

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Cross Sections of Heirloom Black Cherry Tomato & Speckled Roman Pole Tomato

The good looking Speckled Roman is a meaty tomato with nice tomato flavor would make a good sauce, a keeper.

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Lately I am having a bit of lower back problem and bending for an extended period is an issue. Containers planting would ease some of the problem.

As many of you know I have been experimenting with window boxes, large pots and ice chest but they are clumsy to lift and move around. I need something with handles.

Was very happy when I happened upon the blue tubs in the photos below. I bought 6. Not exactly the size I wanted (each is about 12 inches square and about 10 inches deep, I was looking for something similar in shape but a bit larger). Figuring what I want may not exist decided to give these a try.

These are actually tubs and not planters. To make them into planters I just needed to cut 4 holes in each corner for drainage. Once filled with potting mix, planted and watered each is still light enough for seniors and kids to lift and move around.

This is a solution for seniors who would like to continue gardening and kids would love to plant vegetables, herbs and/or flowers in these bright blue planters. I have them among my shrubs and perennials where they add a splash of colors.

Planted carrots in 2 of the tubs, yaya carrots (matures in 58 days) in one and coreless nantes (matures in 70 days) in another.

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Yaya Carrots sown on 7/19

Carrots, planted in the ground, are a pain to thin. Planted in the above planter, I can move the planter to a shady area, raise it to an appropriate height, thin the carrots while sitting on a comfy lawn chair and sipping on ice tea. Thinning carrots can be enjoyable after all.

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Planted lettuce in another planter, haven’t decided what to plant in the other 3.

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Forellenschluss Lettuce

Those are forellenschluss lettuce seedlings I started some weeks ago.

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Harvested blue potatoes from another of my foam ice chest. After enriching the potting mix (yes, I do reuse the potting mix) with compost and fertilizer I sowed 4 rows of peas for peas shoots harvest.

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Peas in Foam Ice Chest

The peas are sown very close together as not all will germinate and the birds most likely will feast on some of the seeds. In the event all germinate and the birds leave the seeds alone I will thin and use the thinning as peas sprouts (I used organic seeds).

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In my last post I threatened to yank my okra plants if they did not move. Well, they grew and are now taller than the nasturtium so I will keep them.

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Red Burgundy Okra

Okra plants are still only 14 inches tall (photo taken yesterday) but with yesterday’s morning rain and this week’s heat wave forecast hopefully they will grow a lot more (should reach 4 feet) and faster and I will get okra this year.

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A row of Japanese Anemone on the side of my shed

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Japanese Anemone

A close up

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Japanese Anemone

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Japanese Anemone

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays


Posted in Container gardening, Flowers, Gardening, Harvest Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments