Archive for August, 2009

Weekly Summary

August 28th, 2009 No comments
Date Lo Hi Notes
08/22 59 73 Purchased used chipper/shredder.
08/23 59 71 More prep work on NE corner.
08/24 52 78 Chipped most of the brush and vines removed from NE corner.
08/25 56 73 .01″ rain. Brother Mike loaned us rototiller.
08/26 56 75 Three passes over NE corner with rototiller.
08/27 53 88 Shredder stolen overnight. Finished NE corner preparation – last rototiller pass, compost, fertilizer, and driveway edging.
08/28 60 78 .14″ rain. Planted the new NE corner.
Categories: 2009 - Journal Tags:


August 22nd, 2009 No comments

Expected rooting: Unknown

8 cuttings

08/21/09: Planted 1 per cell in 8 cells, using rooting compound.


Categories: Perennials Tags:

Weekly Summary

August 21st, 2009 No comments
Date Lo Hi Notes
08/15 53 69
08/16 54 76 First watering for about a week. Removed loose gravel from the NE corner.
08/17 58 82 Broke up some concrete in the NE corner. Removed the clematis and some shrubs from the NE corner. Watering daily due to heat.
08/18 60 83 Removed the barberries from the NE corner. Thinned tree S of deck.
08/19 64 87
08/20 62 82 More prep work on NE corner.
08/21 60 70 More prep work on NE corner.
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Cauliflower Woes

August 21st, 2009 No comments

We’re seeing some leaf yellowing and curling in the cabbages and cauliflowers. Possible causes include iron deficiency, nitrogen deficiency, and “yellows”. Iron deficiency doesn’t seem likely given the number of rusty nails we’ve found. “Yellows” are often associated with excess nitrogen, which is unlikely given the volume of green leaves that the broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, rutabagas, and swedes have put out since the last fertilizer treatment two months ago.

And so a soil test is in order. We sampled four places in the brassica patch, and combined them:

Location Area pH N P K Elements Fertilizer Amendments
Brassica patch 50 sq ft not tested 0/Depleted 0.5/Depleted 3/Sufficient 2.3 oz N plus 1.8 oz P. 11 ozs 16-16-16 plus 2 ozs 26-3-4 sprinkled along soaker hose. none
Categories: 2009 - Journal Tags:

Seattle NE corner soil

August 20th, 2009 No comments

We took two samples from the NE corner which is to be the new veggie area, and mixed them for testing.

The corner includes a good-sized rhododendron, a lavender/rosemary patch, and compost space. They aren’t included in the 200sq ft to be treated. There is very little vegetable matter in the soil so we’ll add a lot of compost.

Location Area pH N P K Elements Fertilizer Amendments
NE corner 200 sq ft 6.7/good 0/Depleted 5/Surplus 0/Depleted 8.3 oz N plus 10.7oz K. 4 lbs 16-16-16, raked in. 8 cu ft compost rototilled in, then 4 cu ft compost raked in with the fertilizer.
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Use Stems and All with Swiss Chard

August 19th, 2009 No comments

A favorite vegetable is white-stemmed Swiss chard.  Coarsely chop the mature leaves, dice the stems, and cook till tender in boiling, salted water.  The result is mellow-tasting and delectable.  Try adding a splash of vinegar just before serving.  You can substitute Swiss chard for spinach in cooked dishes, with the advantage that you can use the chard stems.  In “The Green Thumb Book of Fruit and Vegetable Gardening” (George Abraham, 1970) you will find the ultimate chard-stem recipe:  “Chicken Chard.”  The recipe calls for dipping pre-cooked stem pieces in batter and frying them in one inch of cooking oil.  “Delicious– just like fried chicken!” says the author.

Categories: Recipes Tags:

“Auto Upholstery” and Quick Hot Sauce

August 16th, 2009 No comments

Being in Seattle means a favorite savory treat, injera, the native bread of Ethiopia, which can best be described as a huge, stretchy, grayish, slightly sour-tasting pancake that somehow becomes irresistible when served with vegetables, or a sauce made with red pepper.

It is an acquired taste not acquired by my better half, who refers to it as “auto upholstery,” conjuring images of the rusted hulks you see in wrecking yards, with the stuffing popping out of torn bucket seats.

I forge ahead undeterred.

This week I visited one of many Ethiopian stores in our part of the city.  The market sells packages of fresh injera at $3 for five or $5 for ten.  Believe me, a five-pack  of the thirteen-and-one-half-inch pancakes is sufficient for us, since obviously I am the only resident of House of Blues who likes auto upholstery for lunch.

A half pancake, covered with sauce and rolled up, accompanied by cooked Swiss chard and a boiled egg, makes a meal.  Injera also becomes a great appetizer or snack when cut in strips, spread with sauce, and rolled up.

Ethiopian cooks make a luscious sauce that I understand takes all day to cook and requires huge amounts of onions.  I’ll never forget my visit to Tsegge’s kitchen, and the mouthwatering, spicy sauce she produced.

I use a quick alternative that is no match for the real thing but suffices for the amateur injera connoisseur.   For it you need Berbere spice, made with ground red peppers, available in varying, and not necessarily predictable, intensity at Ethiopian markets.   Combine it with a good-quality marinara sauce that you purchase by the jar at your supermarket.  Because the spice is HOT and varies in strength, you will need to experiment a little with method and proportion.  Here is how I make the sauce with the Berbere I buy at the local Ethiopian market:

For about a cup of sauce, heat about two tablespoons of water to boiling, in a small saucepan.  Turn down the heat and add about two teaspoons of Berbere powder and stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth.  Add one cup of the marinara sauce.  Continue stirring while you bring the sauce to temperature over a moderate flame.

Categories: Recipes Tags:

Weekly Summary

August 14th, 2009 No comments
Date Lo Hi Notes
08/08 57 68
08/09 61 78 Some powdery mildew on pea leaves facing fence.
08/10 58 72 0.11″ rain.
08/11 60 72 0.25″ rain.
08/12 60 76 0.02″ rain. Powdery mildew on rutabagas but not on neighboring cabbages. Moved pumpkins as they were being overrun by winter squash.
08/13 58 66 0.29″ rain.
08/14 57 71
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Sunday Lunch in the Cotswolds in Seattle

August 10th, 2009 No comments
"The ambiance remained..."

"The ambiance remained..."

It was our first “garden party,” and we served seven different offerings from the vegetable patch and two herbs, as we enjoyed a get-together with the “Other M and M’s.”  It was wonderful to see these dear people and to enjoy an afternoon in the back garden.  On the menu: garden peas, turnips, radishes, lettuce, mesclun, Swiss chard, snap peas, mint, and rosemary.  Also: mashed potatoes, Ann’s Essential Meatloaf, “gnarly” carrots,  homemade biscuits, and a lovely fruit plate– the latter contributed by the OMM’s.  We thought the day and the table setting vaguely suggested the terrace of some pub in the Cotswolds– but it would be some pub indeed that served such healthy foods, as was pointed out.  It was great fun “catching up” and exchanging opinions on the mad state of the world with our dear ones.  After they left, the ambience remained, and for a few minutes the table and the garden seemed to register their presence and hold the memory of a very happy first “garden party.”

Categories: Diario Tags:

Weekly Summary

August 7th, 2009 No comments
Date Lo Hi Notes
08/01 62 88 All plants heat stressed. Watered daily.
08/02 62 91 White fly and aphids on some of the large brassicas. Sprayed spinosad on affected leaves. Bushes heat stressed. Watered daily.
08/03 58 84
08/04 58 75 A startled animal must have run through the winter squash and cantaloupe, inflicting only modest damage. We planted out all the veggie seedlings, except the carrots which need another week or so.
08/05 55 70 Placed netting over strawberries.
08/06 57 72 Started second major veggie wave – 20 kinds of plant in 288 cells.
08/07 58 68
Categories: 2009 - Journal Tags: