Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘swiss chard’

Growing stuff – July 20

Well the summer is progressing along and things on the balcony garden are still growing.

But the weather this year has been so weird that I’m not sure how things will turn out.

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The potato plant is still growing like gang busters.  I’m not sure when I am supposed to harvest that.   I had trouble last year and so they never got to fruition.

Potato plant

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The arugula is looking fantastic and we hope to eat some of that this weekend!

Arugula

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Bit of trouble with the cabbage.  Seems that some sort of florescent green little worms have been eating their fill of it.  I caught them in the act munching little holes all over, so I “removed” them.   I will have to keep an eye on them.

red cabbage

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The beets are doing great, but again, don’t know when they will be “ready” to pick?

Beets

 

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No tomatoes on the plant

The tomatoes continue to disappoint.  I can’t believe after growing them from seed starting in like January….and coddling them in the living room window all winter and giving them painstaking care…..that there is still as yet not even ONE tomato growing anywhere on the plants!   Sad, very sad.

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And then the Chard is FINALLY doing very well after a challenging start!

 

Swiss Chard

 

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And last but not least, I have a very pleasing batch of lettuce going.   But as usual, I had to move it inside because the BIRDS love lettuce and will keep eating it until they fall over!  Maybe that’s the answer!

Lettuce

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Happy Gardening!

 

Growing stuff – June 8th

The weather hasn’t really been co-operating too much this year.

It hasn’t been very sunny or warm, but things are still doing their best to grow!

I have had to bring the poor chard back inside because those pesky birds had a go at it!  I’ve never had so much trouble trying to get something as usually hardy as chard to grow!!

Swiss Chard

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I also had to bring the tomatoes back inside as well.  They have been outside for a couple of weeks but it got so windy the other day, I thought they might fall over.   I have tied them up on sticks but I wasn’t sure it was helping.  They are only now starting to show a couple of flowers here and there.  Will be lucky if I get tomatoes by October!

Tomatoes

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There is a new addition to the balcony garden.  Last week at the farmer’s market I picked up a patty pan squash plant.  I’m hoping that will turn out to be fun!

Patty Pan Squash

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The potato plant on the other hand, is freakishly big and thick, I hope the potatoes grow a big!

Potato plant

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The purple cabbages are coming along nicely but today I was being terrorized by two squirrels playing tag all over the balcony and stomping all over the cabbage.   I chased them and squirted them with the water bottle but they just laughed in my face!

Purple cabbage

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The beets are coming a long nicely, but much like the potatoes, we can only see what’s going on with the foliage and not what’s growing underneath!

Beet plants

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And last but not least, I am FINALLY seeing a few bean sprouts squeezing through the dirt!  I had just about given up on them.

Sprouting beans

Growing stuff – May 4th

We are rapidly approaching our “Victoria Day” weekend here in Canada.

To some it is to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria which is May 24th.

While others use it as the opening to party season and refer to it as “the May two-four weekend” which if you are from around here, or Ontario in particular, that refers to a 24 pack of BEER!

But then there are others who consider the Victoria Day weekend as the kick off to gardening season.   Thought of as…..although this year we can’t be sure…….a safe date to assume it will no longer SNOW!   And therefore safe to plant things!

But luckily here on the West Coast we can get a jump on planting early.

So here is an update on how things are going on the “Balcony Garden“.

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This is the lone flower produced so far from the weird mystery plant that was supposed to be Swiss chard.   As suspected, it seems to be some sort of sunflower.  But the plant is rapidly dying.  Either because the birds are picking at it, or because it is simply too crammed into that pot!

random sunflower

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Sprouting potato plant?

And could it be?  That my little potato eyes that I planted what seems only a week ago is already growing?   How wonderful.

They’ll be French fries for everyone REAL soon!!

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Sad little chard sprouts

And I’m afraid that the “real” Swiss chard pants are progressing very well at all.  Not sure if it is because I have them covered with a basket to keep the birds from taking them, or if they are just slow starters?

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And then there are the tomato plants that I started inside from seed!  Those coffee grounds as fertilizer SURE seem to be working!!  They are almost two feet tall now!  I don’t think they are supposed to grow quite THAT big…..they are only Roma tomato plants!   Hopefully they will stop growing tall and start producing some flowers that will turn into tomatoes!!

Out of control Romas

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And finally as a little treat I really MUST show you a couple of nice Spring pictures from the near by park.

Flowers a bloom

Just waitin around

Last one in is a rotten egg!

Happy weekend and happy gardening!

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Growing Stuff April 20th

I’ve decided to try and grow some potato on purpose this year. 

Last year I was trying to grow cauliflowers when suddenly a potato plant started growning in the middle of them and took over the whole party.  I suspect it was from peels that I had tossed in to compost.

Potatoes growing in the cauliflower! ( last year )

So this year I have a nice little potato with some eyes on it.  I’ve cut it into a few bits.

Potato buds

Then I have planted the bits in a nice deep tub of dirt.

I’ll let you know what happens.

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If you look REALLY closely you can see a few tiny weeny Swiss Chard sprouts trying to grow from the new batch of seeds I planted outside.  I really think these ARE chard because they are red!

Chard sprouts

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I am happy to see that the oregano plant has a few little leaves trying to grow.  Last year it was completely dead but then came back full blast!

Oregano trying to grow

 

 

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I found out that a friend of mine is actually an award winner tomato growing expert!!  The things you find out about people! 

Anyway, I had been telling her my growing troubles but commented on how pleased I was with the progress of my tomato plants that I am growning inside from seed.

She told me that it is very important to mound the dirt around the base of the plant.  This helps make it stronger for when the tomatoes appear.   So that’s what I did!

AND I added coffee grounds to the dirt as a fertilizer

( click here to read from Grounds to ground)

 

 

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As for the mystry plant?

The concensus is……..that is it some sort of sunflowers!

Rogue Sunflowers!

Something has gone terribly wrong

Now I’m no horticulturist, but I am pretty SURE that what I’ve got growing in my pot is NOT Swiss Chard!!

I can’t imagine how this happened.  I keep a basket with all of my little seed packages that I use over the years and so I went back to review the pictures.  I mean….I could have absent-mindedly grabbed the wrong packet of seeds and not put chard in the pot……..perhaps?   But there is really nothing in my seed collection that looks like THIS stuff!!

What is this??

My only thought…..it that over the winter I used this particular pot to toss a few handfuls of bird seed into now and then.

When it came to planting the chard, I just used the same pot that was already half full of dirt, tossed in from fresh dirt on top and then added the chard seeds.  Perhaps whatever bird seed is…..was lingering underneath and grew up crazy!

If I look closely there ARE a couple of red stemmed spouts that could actually be chard.  But obviously what ever this stuff is has smothered it to death!

NOT chard!

What an unfortuante turn of events.  I shall let this stuff continue to grow……see if it grows up to be anything….even a flower perhaps……but I tasted it and it wasn’t very good.

Back to the drawing board on the chard!

But in better news, the little tomato plants are coming along very nicely and I am 99% certain they ARE in fact tomato plants!!

Yes, these ARE tomato plants!

Chard Progress

The Swiss Chard is growing like crazy in the pot in the window!

It is growing so much that the sprouts are pushing the dirt right out of the pot!

I’m tempted to just chop them off at this size and eat them like that!!

Swiss Chard sprouts

Growing inside

Well if you are from around British Columbia or have been following our weather of late, you will know that it has been appalling and unseasonably ( if not historically) cold and miserable.

So getting my balcony garden on the go has been a challenge.

I’ve had to resort to growing things inside in hopes it will warm up enough for them to go outside soon enough!

We got a new fridge recently and I had the produce drawer left over from the old one.  It seems to make a great planter for my little tomato seedlings!

And I’ve started my Swiss chard in a pot.   Course even if it was warm enough to put the chard outside, the birds with desecrate it in an instance!

Swiss Chard sprouts

Seriously

I never realized that birds actually like lettuce that much!

I mean, I know about the seeds and the bugs and the like, but why MY lettuce??

Where we last left off in the balcony garden, all I was down to was my last batch of lettuce and some Swiss chard that I was hoping to have at Thanksgiving.

Lettuce and chard

Both were doing quite well but I had to keep chasing the birds away from eating them.  In fact I started bringing them inside during the day for their own protection.

I thought the birds had grown weary so one day I left the lettuce out and from morning to afternoon it went from this:

Healthy happy lettuce

To this:

Lettuce chewed to the bone

No respect.

I have actually been keeping the chard inside and it is doing surprisingly well.  Perhaps I will keep growing pots of it all winter.

And then to add insult to injury……

I was sitting in here, minding my own business, as I often do, with the balcony door wide open because it was a beautiful day.  I heard some sort of commotion, turned around thinking it was a situation on the balcony.

Imagine my surprise to see a squirrel standing there in the living room!  We both looked at each other and screamed ( well, his face looked like he was screaming if he could scream!) very much like an episode of “Scoobie Doo”!  He freaked out and started running around, apparently not noticing the open door way, whilst I hollered at him to get out!

It’s always something.

Click the “In the garden” tab at the top if you would like to see the full progression of the balcony garden this year.


 

Trouble in the balcony garden

I’m afraid the news isn’t too good from the balcony garden.

Still waiting for the ONE tomato to get red.

One lonely tomato

I started a new batch of lettuce but the birds kept eating it!  What is up with THAT?  Earlier in the year they had decimated my fresh mint but it has since grown back since I took it out of their reach.  So I had to out smart them and figure out some sort of contraption so they couldn’t get at the lettuce but it was still free to grow and live it’s life!

Bird proofing the lettuce

Same problem with a pot full of chard I am trying to grow.   Only with this one the birds went straight for the seeds!

Bird proofing the chard

But the most concerning problem is what is happening with the cauliflower!  I’m so sad with the outcome of this.  Could it be because they are still competing with the crazy potato plant still thriving in the other side of the bin?

Take a look what is going on.

They started off nice and white and round like this:

Normal cauliflower development

 But then suddenly they have turned to this.  Stray pieces growing randomly with an almost purple off colour to them.  Very troubling.

Mutant cauliflower!

Any thoughts on what might be going on or how to remedy the situation?   I would love to hear from you!

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