Deep rooted – Carrots

The carrot (Daucus carota) is a root vegetable, usually orange in color, though also has different other colors at times as seen in markets.

The most commonly eaten part of a carrot is a taproot.

Started from the seeds, Him and Her read up several information sites and decided to have about 16 plants per square feet for carrot. Spacing the tiny specks of seeds wasn’t done to precision, which is quite plausible.

Later readings and www helped to realize that a mix of the seeds with some grains of sand does well to space out the seeds comfortably.

Ensure to thin out once the saplings are out and about. This is required to have a “carrot” shaped “carrot”  harvest !

With the rocky terrain of the garden plot, inspite of a lot of cleaning the stones before start of gardening, there were carrots that grew around and about the stones/pebbles underground and this posed a challenge in cleaning the crop after harvest.

Heres the first bunch of harvest….Cleaned and spruced up for a picture!
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Summer days & ZUCCHINI

One of the few veggies that needs more than a square foot of space, the summer crop ZUCCHINI (Cucurbita pepo).
 
Here are a few points to note , as Him and Her had their debutante harvest of Zucchini in the garden plot. Got to see a lot of this floating on the www, which is very useful.
 
Zucchini :
  • Needs a lot of room to spread out and grow.
  • Days to harvest: 60 days
  • Grows in warm weather and grows best in direct sunlight. 
  • Once the plants have grown to a decent size, their broad leaves will help keep the area weed-free by shading out invading plants.
  • Prone to develop powdery mildew. IMG_8436
  • Zucchinis require pollination before they can begin producing fruit. If there is not a healthy population of bees, hummingbirds or other natural means of pollination, you can pollinate each plant manually. Male flowers have elongated stems with a collection of tubelike stamens inside. Peel away the petals and brush the stamens inside a female flower to pollinate it.
  • Harvest zucchini when the fruits are small  for better flavor and tender crop.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the zucchini off , to avoid damaging the plant.
  •  Produces fruit throughout its growing season.

And also read up to know that one of the culinary dishes from this crop is the famous ratatouille.

 

Full House – members

In the post, “Full House” , the herbs and plants grown in the raised bed were displayed. To note, they were not pruned and allowed to grow in full splendor, and treated as a kitchen garden.

Heres a list of the herbs/veggies/flora that were part of the raised bed and around it:

  1. Mint
  2. Dill
  3. Basil (Lots of it)
  4. Okra
  5. Chilli
  6. Tomato
  7. Jasmine (Being the friendly neighbor)

Him and Her got a small mint stalk from the temple visited in Peoria, IL and reserved a square in the raised bed . Dill, Basil were from packet of seeds purchased at the nearest Walmart/Meijer. Okra was accompanying the wild one (the tomato). Jasmine was His surprise to Her on a pleasant weekday evening, sapling purchased from a local nursery.

 

 

 

Rain Check

Come spring and summer (2015), there were showers of blessings accompanied by occasional thunderstorms.Being in the Zone 5 of the planting zones, it was important to check the planting/sowing times, for fear of an unexpected frost after April.
Closely watching the forecast proved useful in decisions about how much to water the plants in the garden plot.
Though there have been incidents of watering the plants and being surprised with rain showers.
Thanks to ample sunlight in the garden plot, most plants did well when challenged by rain or frost.
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One learning while planning the garden plot is to consider the height that the plant can grow to and the sunlight that it can receive and the amount of sunlight it may possibly block to its neighbors.

Deep purple

 

 Cabbage is a leafy green or purple plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads.
It belongs to a broad family of common vegetables that also include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale and broccoli.
Him and Her allocated one square feet for purple cabbage.
Since it was a first time, it made sense not to give in to the risk factor and allocate more squares for this vegetable.
Square foot gardening technique usually works more efficiently when you grow what you know you will eat. So dedicate more to veggies that are for sure staples at the dining table.
Moreover, the seed starter process was indoors, and one sapling survived well after being transplanted in the garden plot.
Cabbage structurally consists of clusters of stiff leaves  in compact layers, allowing it to acquire round shape.
The vegetable crop  catches the eye once its out and about during the formation of the layers.
Successful in the harvest of the purple cabbage, it was treated as a star in the kitchen.
Have to admit, the crunchiness was amazing.

Methi and Moong- winning combination

Fenugreek is used in Indian cooking in different forms:

Leaves
Seeds
Dried Leaves
Each form adds its unique flavor to  the dish.  Be advised , when used in greedy quantities, it can turn the mouth watering product into oh-no kind of stuff.
 
One of the fav combination is the Methi leaves and moong dal (split green lentils with the outer husk removed ).
Cook the leaves separately and then let them integrate with the cooked moong dal(with turmeric and salt) . Spice it up with the seasoning of dry red chili, mustard seeds and curry leaves. This is a no fuss preparation and still holds its own at the dinner table, thanks to the flavorful Methi leaves.
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Harvest- Methi/Fenugreek

In the garden plot, Him and Her reserved two square feet for Methi/Feugreek. Starting from the seeds, it’s a trial and error process of germination. The weather held up being not too cold, and here is the first bath of harvest.

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Cleaning the leaves is a task. But the comfort of knowing that its home-grown with NO pesticides and organic was the benefit.