Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

How does my garden grow? #gardening #minnesota

29 Comments

Figured it was about time to give you an update on the garden. Not that my rambling about writing is dull (it is), but I checked on the garden and I have to say it’s looking pretty good. I managed to weed earlier this week before the rain. This weekend is supposed to be hot and sticky, so no sweating in the garden for me; I’ll do my homework instead πŸ˜€

I did replant the potatoes, and they are coming up nicely now (closest to the camera). A few still haven’t surfaced, but the majority look pretty good. I had to replant the cukes, zucchini, and some beans because they weren’t coming up. That clump of leaves four rows over is volunteer borage, which I like to leave for the bees because they love it. Seems that lately, though, there have been fewer bees around. Makes me sad.

The tomatoes are big enough for me to start tying up, and the Early Girls have little tomatoes on–yay! The peppers are doing well. I put tomato cages around them because they have a tendency to split and/or topple. Besides, I can’t use the cages for the tomatoes; those get too heavy and always fall over. Hence the cattle panels. Those seem to work well, and they are very sturdy.

The kale is looking great, the onions are doing well, and the brussels sprouts are much greener and look healthier than they did before the rain. I pulled the last of the radishes, and I might put more in later. Other fun things I’m growing are beets, green beans, and kohlrabi this year. One lonely spinach plant is all that came up, and I even used fresh seed. Note to self: plant more in a month or so. I’ll be planting cilantro and maybe some dill later as well, otherwise they mature way before the tomatoes and cucumbers. I have a ton of volunteer cilantro and dill right now, but those are flowering, and the other stuff is just getting going.

For those who are wondering why flowering herbs make a difference, it has to do with the taste of the leaves and how you use it. When plants start to flower, the leaves have a tendency to get bitter, which is more an issue with leafy veggies like spinach, arugula (rocket), and dandelion (that’s why they say pick your dandelion leaves when they are really young in the spring).

You often use herbs differently when they seed. With cilantro, I use the leaves when I make pico de gallo, and they are a nice add to taco meat as well. Once they start to flower, the flavor seems less intense in the leaves, and the leaves get less “leafy” and more “wiry”. Ever hear of coriander? That is cilantro seed. I personally don’t use coriander in anything, but it’s not suited for pico de gallo.

Dill is kind of the same. Dill leaves are used to season stuff like potato salad or like you use basil or thyme or any other leafy herb. The mature seeds are used like any other seedy herb, like fennel, mustard, or celery seed. When the immature seeds are fat and still green, before they start turning brown, they have the most intense dill flavor and are best for making pickles.

Anyway, that’s the update. The biggest task now is keeping the weeds at bay (and the mosquitoes–damn things) and making sure I keep the tomatoes pruned and tied up. When the cucumber is big enough, I’ll make sure it climbs the cattle panel as well. It’s a lot easier to pick cucumbers when they climb “up” rather than “out”.

Next week is a holiday week for those in the US, so it’ll be a short work week. No post next week, just a holiday note, and the regularly-scheduled program will resume after that.

Happy Writing!

What? This is my chair.
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Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, three chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

29 thoughts on “How does my garden grow? #gardening #minnesota

  1. Your garden is looking good, Julie. You worked extra hard with all the replanting. I didn’t know where coriander came from. Or how blossoms affected the taste of herbs. Weather looks good for us in Maine next week. Finally some heat! I love it. Happy Fourth!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You do have a lovely garden, Julie! And I think it’s great that you’re leaving particular plants for the bees. And being out in the garden is a nice break from writing. Now…go do your homework! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Margot! I love seeing the bees work, because they are so important in the whole scheme of things. Hubs even left a swath of grass with blooming clover uncut to give the bees something to work with.

      Heh, yup, homework!

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent! You are on top of things. The harvest is destined to be real good. See ya.

    Neil

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gorgeous garden, Julie. Gardens are such a source of inspiration and a certain type of rest from the hubbub of life. I love visiting your garden!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Chris! There is something about inspiration for sure. I often find myself daydreaming when I weed πŸ˜€ Every so often I toss some flower seeds in, just because I have them. Not this year, but the borage flowers are a really pretty blue.

      Have a great weekend! (and I hope to turn in some homework on Monday, but don’t hold your breath …)

      Like

  5. Your garden is looking great, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an amazing garden. It’s huge! I know it takes a ton of work because my sis has one. I’m awed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jacqui! I often wonder how I managed with a bigger garden (yes, it’s been bigger), and I wonder every spring if I really want to do the work again. Then I think about the fresh veggies (and I wouldn’t want to disappoint you all by depriving you of garden pics πŸ˜€ )

      Have a great weekend!

      Like

  7. You have such an amazing patch! It makes me want to expand on my smaller areas. Thanks for all the tips, too. Happy growing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh and Happy 4th to you:)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Your garden is awesome! Great work! We can never keep our tomatoes inside those cages either, but we don’t have cattle panels handy–shocker, right? πŸ™‚ The tomatoes closest to the grape vines are conmingling with them. It’s nice they’re friends.
    Zoey probably keeps wondering why you bother her with that flashy box thing whenever she’s napping. Just tell her it’s for me. She’ll be okay then. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Meow, purr…

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! But Paul got the chicken wire put in beneath the garden. Maybe he can build sturdier tomato cages. Or maybe get the girls to help πŸ˜€ It’s nice that the grapes and tomatoes are getting along πŸ˜€

      She’s so funny. She comes in from outside, grabs a bite to eat, then goes straight to my chair, where she proceeds to chase her tail for a moment before settling in for a bath and a nap. She says “Rawr meow purr purr”.

      Have a great weekend, Betsy!

      Like

      • Sounds like Zoey and I would get along just fine. I recently saw a picture of a kitten stretched out on the keyboard of a laptop. Ah, cats. Gotta love ’em, even when they’re annoying. Just like kids! πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Now that’s a garden! Nicely done, Julie. Stay cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve never heard of someone leaving a plant just for bees and being sad when there are fewer of them. You really are a naturalist. And the garden looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am now thoroughly educated about flowering herbs, herbs, and seeds. I was clueless about this stuff, LOL! The garden looks great, but then it always does.

    And Zoey definitely knows who gets first choice of the chair! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Probably most useful in bar trivia games, right? We got some rain this week, and hot/humid, so once the garden dries a bit I suppose I’ll have to do some more ‘weed eviction’.

      It’s so funny; she comes in from outside, gets a snack, then jumps into my chair and seems to dare me to kick her out of it. Kinda like ‘Nah nee nah nee boo boo, I got here first’

      Have a great holiday week, Mae!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Yeah! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ Julie, I’m glad your garden is doing so well … I’m hungry reading about all the delicious fruit and veg you’re growing. Thanks for the explanation about the various herbs! Hope you’ve had a good holiday break … are your two back from college soon?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! I’m anxious for garden-ripe tomatoes. And cukes. And everything else πŸ˜€ The holiday was nice, even if we didn’t go to the lake or anything. And the kids were home for the holiday. My daughter is home all summer; she’s working full-time for the money for school (if she can resist the urge to spend it!). My son is working an internship at a company about 2 hours away, and living in Rochester, MN, which is about 2.5 hrs away, so he doesn’t come home that often. It’s nice to see him when he does.

      Enjoy the summer, Annika!

      Liked by 1 person

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