Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Biggest Parsnip Ever

I left some parsnips to overwinter. I couldn't keep up with eating them last fall, and was curious to see what would happen to them.

The greens were not affected by snow or cold--although it was a relatively mild winter. Plus, my back garden has great western exposure so whenever the sun is shining, it feels warmer than the rest of the yard.

Look! The sun is shining on them right now. It was so warm on Saturday, I was able to wear a short-sleeve shirt. Not bad for the end of March.

Parsnip greens look very similar to Italian parsley. They both belong to the carrot family (Apiaceae). I am leaving this small bunch to flower and see what they will look like. I'm sure the flowers will attract bees or other pollinators.

While I was removing the other parsnips from the bed, I came upon a doozie. This parsnip was so big, it took a small excavation to extract it from the ground. I managed to pull out the entire thing in one piece.

Check that out. Pretty impressive! It was about three feet long. My son thought so too and was thrilled to carry it into the house. I didn't bother to cook it up. Just took its picture to show all of you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fava Beans!

We've been lucky to have a few relatively balmy days this last week. I took advantage of the weather to plant out my fava beans. Finally!

The first to be planted from Adaptive Seeds. I chose the variety Ianto's Return for their purple color. I think the pods themselves will be green, but I'm hoping to make some purple fava "hummus." Last year I added fava beans to my pesto to extend the amount and give it a little more depth. At $4 per pound at the farmer's market, I decided I should grow my own this year.

Since the fava beans are quite large, I used a dandelion weeder to plant each one at the base of the wire trellis.

Ianto's Return is said to be big with many tillers and this wire trellis will support the big plants. I really like its rustic look. I don't know where it came from, but I found it right before it was about to be thrown out. It worked well with my pole beans bean last year, and I can't wait to see how the favas do on it.

Yes, that's sun shining on the newly planted seeds. Looking forward to seeing them sprout soon!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kitchen Garden Planner

I just started playing around with Kitchen Gardeners International veggie planner. It's an online tool that is free to try out for 30 days and is $25 after that for a year subscription.

It will save your plans from year to year, and remember what perennial crops will be retained for next year's plans.

At first glance, I like it. I've never done a plan like this before other than on scratch paper or in my head. This way I won't lose or forget what I've planned. Also, there is a lot of impromptu planting that doesn't match what I originally intended--especially when I have too many starts to plant out! I can then go back and change the plan to match what is actually in the ground.

Here's a look of what I have so far. Sorry...I know it's small.

It's fun dragging around the crops and virtually planting them out on the screen. I wish there was a space for noting varieties and a few more crops like cardoon and hardy kiwi which I had to draw myself.

I'd also like a feature where I can add my shrubs and perennials since I don't have a designated raised bed for my veggies. I think there should be a big push for this since I'm sure I'm not the only one who plants their crops along with the more or less permanent focal points in the garden.

Or, better yet, a way to scan an aerial shot of the bed (easy to do from a 6' ladder or your porch) and overlay the crops. I'm going to explore the features a little more and see what I come up with. Definitely going to make a go at this and try to plan out both my front and back gardens.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I know it's been awhile since my last post, but I can't pass up my chance to get in some gardening while the sun is out. And it's actually feeling balmy!

My garden is overrun with liverwort. Ack!