Archive for ‘Bulbs’

April 9, 2013

Hyacinth

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I turn a blind eye to the storm outside.

On my table I created a mini woodland garden.

For now, that will have to do.

Hyacinth

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Simply beautiful

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Heavenly scented

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What’s not to love?

You can keep snowing, Mother Nature, for now…

Kate

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February 15, 2012

Play with Your Food! (Windowsill Gardens)

I know, I know, most of us have memories of our mothers telling us to stop playing with our food.  Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to throw that out the window, or actually, stop just short of out the window at the windowsill.

Although we have a serious shortage in the snow department this year, the temperatures, although tropical for a Minnesota winter, are hardly “growing season” temps.  That, however, should not stop you from growing plants, herbs and veggies!  No, I’m not crazy.  Okay, well, maybe a little, but that’s beside the point.   Anyway,  during the winter months when I can’t be outside in the garden I tend to focus on what I can grow inside.  Typically my kitchen windowsill is loaded with any glass, bottle or jar I can get my hands on, and inside them I’m growing whatever strikes my fancy.

Windowsill Garden 1

Windowsill Garden 1

Windowsill Garden 2

Windowsill Garden 2

In addition to the Garlic Experiment, my current windowsill experiments include: green onions/scallions, basil, a Christmas cactus, spearmint, leeks, a maple tree, aloe vera and an avocado pit.  I also have herbs growing in the bathroom, but since that’s technically not on the windowsill, I’ll save that for later.

Pinterest Inspiration

Pinterest Inspiration

Let’s start with the green onions or scallions, whatever you’d like to call them.  A couple of weeks ago I was perusing Pinterest and ran across an image of scallions growing in a glass of water.  Ha!  Why didn’t I think of that? I thought.  I need to try this!  It makes perfect sense that it would work… onions are a bulb and you can force/grow most flowering bulbs in water, so why not onions?!?  So I set out to do it.  That night I just happened to need green onions in a recipe I was making for dinner… 🙂

feb 5

The beginning of the Green Onion Experiment

As I was prepping the onions, instead of discarding the ends, I set them aside to prepare for the Green Onion Experiment.  After finishing my dinner prep, I grabbed a glass and set my onions in the bottom.   Ha, I make it sound so easy.  Actually I fought with the little buggers quite a bit to get them to stand upright.  They already have little roots attached when you buy the onions in the store and since they aren’t all the same length it made them a little tippy (next time I’ll trim the trouble makers).  Anyway, once upright, I added a tiny bit of water, just enough to cover the roots, but not so much as to cover the onion itself or I would end up with a glass of foul-smelling rotting plant material, which is not my goal.

I was a little concerned that this experiment might not work so well because after I started this experiment I checked into the source of the Pinterest photo.  Turns out, they only used the greens for their cooking and had the entire base of the onion left over so they had really fast results.  Since I cook with nearly everything but the roots it made me a little nervous, because I really didn’t have a lot of plant material to work with, but I trusted in my plant biology knowledge, sent good sprouting vibes to the little guys and set them on my kitchen windowsill.  I should mention that my windowsill experiments only receive part-sun exposure because it’s an East facing window, but it’s where I do a lot of my propagating because I can watch it every day.  They tend to do fine, at least until they get a little larger and need more light in which case I’ll either transfer them to a window with better exposure (South or West facing) or under plant lights.

Day 4 - Shoots forming & root growth

Day 5

Amazingly, it didn’t take too long for the roots to start growing and shoots to form.  By the first day, I could see little green specs on the top of one onion.  And by Day 2, 3 and 4 it became more and more visible (but not so much with the camera.) By Day 5, however, shoots can be seen on more than one onion.

Day 10 - Growth on all onions

Day 10 - Top View

And now, about 10 days out, it looks like the experiment is a success.  In a few weeks we’ll have a nice crop of green onions.  As a side note, I change the water every couple of days to everything fresh.

I’ll continue to post on the Green Onion Experiment as it progresses.  In the mean time, stay tuned for leeks, basil, avocado, Christmas cactus, Maple tree, aloe vera and spearmint and… whatever else might strike my fancy along the way!

Now, go play with your food, would you?!

Kate

February 3, 2012

A Dose of Patience

If patience came in a bottle, I’d be all over it today.

Actually, my day started off quite well. I was a chaperone for my son’s class field trip to the MN History Center.  You would think that with tons of kids around, noise and commotion everywhere, that my patience would have been tried, but it wasn’t.  I was fine with that.  I had a small group of four that I hung out with, checking out all there was to see at the museum.  We sat in a C-47 warplane and experienced a crash on D-Day, we huddled in the basement while the house shook as the 1965 Fridley tornado went over, we took a walk through time in a house built in 1887 at 470 Hopkins Street that had over 50 families live in it, we took a stroll through life in 1968 and even spotted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  It was all great.  The kids were great.  We took it all in and the day flew by.

Then I got home and everything went off kilter.  My son had a hard time listening and focusing on what he needed to be doing.  He wasn’t doing anything bad really, just not doing what needed to be done, when it needed doing.  Then the dogs knocked over the lamp for the second day in a row while barking at the mail carrier.  I know, I know, just move the lamp, right?  I would, but I’m trying to break the dogs of this habit (although I think they’re going to break me first).

I was also trying to do more research for the Garlic Experiment (because I didn’t find what I was looking for last night) but wasn’t having much success, which was adding to my frustrations.

Then there’s my huge pet peeve, lack of communication.  Communication is really important to me.  Conversation is important to me.  When I don’t get a response I get frustrated. That was happening too, or shall we say, not happening.

All of these things combined made me feel like I was loosing my grasp on life.  Then I stopped and took a breath.  I took a step back and tried to figure out how I could go through the entire day with tons of kids and commotion and be fine, but get so frustrated by the smaller things at home.  I came to the conclusion that it’s because I had no expectations earlier today.  I was ready to go with the flow and adjust on the fly as necessary.  Home is a different story.  Even though my personality lends me to like to operate more freely, I still have a need for an agenda.  It’s probably more loose than others have, but it still exists.  And that, my dear Watson, is my problem.  When I do have an agenda with expectations as to what needs to take place and when and things don’t go according to plan I get frustrated.  Why?  Some may say it’s because I’m a “control freak” but I really think it’s because I don’t have a lot of expectations, so when I do ask something of someone (I think dogs classify as someones too) I expect them to work with me, at least after a few requests!

So, my deal to sort out.  Do I need to learn to just go with the flow on everything?  Become more strict about my expectations? Or do I take a dose of patience and come back to it with a better attitude?  Right now I’m leaning towards the latter.

As for the Garlic Experiment, I’m leaning toward making an educated guess and winging it.  More on that later.

Feel free to weigh in on any part!  And if you know where to find a little patience, please send it my way.  In the mean time, I think I’ll dust off my Guns N Roses CD and breathe.

Kate

February 2, 2012

A Confession and The Beginning of the Garlic Experiment

I have a confession to make.  Remember last fall when I wrote Growing Garlic? and told you the time was right for planting, how to go about planting it, so on and so forth?  Well, guess who didn’t get out there and plant her garlic before the ground froze?  Yep, you guessed it.  Me.

So what’s a girl to do about this?  Well, let me tell you.  Tossing the garlic heads was never an option.  It goes against my grain.  I had to do something with it.  Given my background in gardening, landscaping and horticulture, I know that certain bulbs, flowering and edible, need a cold spell to get the bulbs to plump up for the next season.  Garlic is one of them.  But, I also know that if circumstances don’t cooperate sometimes you can fool Mother Nature and recreate that cold spell with a refrigerator (cold conditioning).  So that’s my plan which I’ll be executing shortly and you can all ride along with me on what I will call the “Garlic Experiment”.

Sad garlic

What I can tell you right now is that this will definitely be an experiment.  Some of the bulbs are already fading, they are no longer firm to the touch which means they’re drying out (not a good way to start off) but I’ll see how bad they are when I break open the heads and take off the individual cloves, at that point I’ll provide pictures and the play-by-play.

But before I begin the experiment I had to do a little research.  I already knew that garlic needs a cold treatment to get the bulbs to form, but what I didn’t know was how long they need to be cold to give the bulbs enough time to form.  Since we typically don’t have a hard time finding cold weather for growing garlic in Minnesota, I had to start doing a little research on how southern gardeners grow garlic.  So far my research has shown that garlic needs anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 weeks of cold to produce a bulb.   Well, super!  That’s pretty specific!  That’s a lot like waiting for the furnace repair man to come and they say they’ll be arrive on Thursday, sometime between 8am and 5pm.  Thanks for narrowing that down for me!  (Obviously I have a little more work to do.)  If you remember from last fall, I have 3 kinds of garlic .  Tonight I’m going to do a little more research and see if I can find specific information on what each of them prefers and then go from there.

Until then, please accept my apology for not planting when I advised you to.  Life happened, so it didn’t get done.  At least now we have an excuse for an experiment!  And boy do I love experimenting with plants!

Kate