Cucumber Water

It’s been awhile since I”ve shared what’s going on with my garden.  Right now, i’m really enyoing flavored waters. Like Cucumber Mint Water!

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About Bees

Bees are critical for fertilizing the flowers of plants so that fruit or vegetables can develop. Right now, there is a world-wide crisis of bee populations dropping drastically.  There are many theories of why this is happening, including lack of genetic diversity, environment encroachment by humans, a virus, pesticide use and many others.

So imagine my delight when I found not one, but THREE bees in my brand new spaghetti squash flower!

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Catching Up With Cucumbers

It’s cucumber season at Grubbin’ Garden, so I thought I would share what I’ve learned so far.

Cucumbers generally start with female yellow flowers. After the flowers get fertilized by bees (thanks bees!), the flower then turns white. Which then turns into a cucumber. Here’s an example of a white-flowered future cucumber with some female yellow flowers on the right.

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The cucumber below is almost ripe. See the white flower at the end? When that white flower is gone, and the cucumber feels like you’d want it to at the store, pick it, and use right away or keep in fridge for 4-5 days.

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Experimenting with a limited space and using vertical techniques are presenting some really fun and often amusing challenges. For instance, I had no idea that broccoli and cucumbers could be such good friends. I’ll be sharing more about vertical space gardening in future posts.

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Oh you! Broccoli

Broccoli is easy to grow and challenging to harvest. Here’s an example of when broccoli is past its prime.

ImageHere’s broccoli when it’s ready to harvest.

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It’s really tough to tell when it’s ready to harvest. Basically, it’s one big flower. So, at first, I kept waiting till I could get the biggest flower head out there. But then, after watching them go to seed again and again, I am finally figuring out when is the best time to harvest these yummy heads.

So after throwing way far too many of these…

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Plants use Fungus to Communicate

Not only do plants communicate in the air, using chemicals, but also communicate below the ground using a network of fungi. Amazing!

Chives

Chives

Chives are of the same family as onions and garlic. Not only are they versatile and mild, but they are easy to grow and bear beautiful flowers that would not look out-of-place in an ornamental flower garden.

Chives are great snipped into scrambled eggs, salads, salad dressing and other raw sauces. They are really nice tossed with roasted or grilled veggies too.

Growing herbs in the Bay Area

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Some of the more common herbs in the Bay Area are lavender, sage, chives, parsley, mint, rosemary and thyme. Most of them are hardy and are easily grown in our forgiving Mediterranean climate.

All the above herbs are well-known for the value as flavor enhancers. Some of the mixtures of these even have their own name, like herbs de Provence. There are many recipes from many cultures that use these herbs on a regular basis, including French, Italian and U.S. American food.

I love to use them in my cooking and will be sharing my favorite recipes here. Right now, one of my favorite ways to use herbs is in just about everything, from salads to sauces. It elevates the prosaic to something much nicer.

Let Us Eat Lettuce

Lettuce

The lettuce in my garden is going nuts. I usually make it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with some goat cheese and nuts, tomatoes, green onions and whatever else is laying around. Lately, I’ve been trying grilled peaches, asparagus, plums, berries and other strange things in there to make it exciting and different. What weird things do you put in your salad?

Collard Greens

i thought it would be a good idea to grow plenty of these. They are really good for you, and they are easy to grow. I just plopped some seeds in the ground and have been having great success. Such success, in fact, that I am now drowning in collard greens.

Fortunately for me, there’s a really nice easy way to eat them. First remove the tough inner rib of the leaf. Then, saute in some olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper. You can jazz it up with spices or herbs if you like. I like to eat browned in the pan scallops with mine.

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