Ready to plant!

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I have seeds! Now that vacation is over and fall is nearly here, it’s time to start thinking about planting. I have to get the beds ready – I need compost and new soil. And I have to cut back the overgrowth of the lawn that is creeping up the sides of the raised beds. I’m going to put the cherry tomatoes in a container and hope for the best.

Garden planning

Every time I come to the UK (this is my fourth trip) I’m dazzled by the beautiful gardens that people here create around their homes. They all have flowers galore, and here on Orkney I’ve seen some really nice vegetable gardens too. A lot of the homes seem to have small greenhouses in their back yards as well. I’m sure that would be necessary to prolong the growing season here.

Yesterday we were in Stromness, and walked past a beautiful veggie garden tucked into a tiny back yard. Someone had really put a lot of work into it. It’s very inspiring. And it has inspired me. I missed a whole spring season of gardening this year, and I have a lot of catching up to do. I want to get serious about cleaning up the front yard and getting flowers planted. I want to eventually have edibles in front too, but for now flowers are quicker and easier and prettier.

I already have some seeds at hand at home. I know I have a packet of yellow carrot seeds and there are three others – probably some lettuce and cabbage. I ordered Chinese long beans and more lettuce just the other day and the seeds will be waiting for me when I get home. I’m going to get in all my supplies first then have a big planting day when I’ve got all my soil improved. And I’m going to get pots of flowers for the front yard first, then start digging out the weeds and planting things in the ground.

I have a dead bay tree to get taken down, and I want to plant a couple of live oaks to give the house more shade and protection.

There’s a lot to do! But first I have another week of vacation. 🙂

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The moors of Scotland

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Complete with heather:

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Baby man o’ war

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And where there are babies, there are grownups.

Good news and bad news

On the gardening front, that is.

The good news is that I have a volunteer grape tomato plant growing out of my compost:

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I’ve harvested the first two, and it looks like there are a couple more ready to pick this morning.

The bad news is this:

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My last tree is dying. There is a disease of some sort that is killing all the bay trees in this area. Mine was the last on my street to succumb, but as you can see it’s now progressing rapidly. I’ll have to have it cut down. 😦 The saddest part is that this tree was knocked down by Hurricane Charley in 2004, was cut back to a stump, and came back from that to form a beautiful tree. It’s the only shade I have on the north side of my house.

Right now my raised beds are dormant. I have them all covered with black plastic to kill the weeds off for fall planting. I’m going out of town for the first two weeks of August, so I’ll start planting again when I get back.

 

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

Some health issues have gotten in the way of my summer garden plans. They’re (mostly) resolved now, but it’s getting too late to do anything with the garden for this summer. Plus, I’m going to be away for two weeks in August. So my plan for the summer is to cover the beds with black plastic to kill off any weed seeds, then plant for the fall when I get back from vacation. I have some carrots left, and I’m going to give them away. I also have one small head of cabbage, which I will make into something yummy.

Heirloom Carrot and Cucumber Salad

My friend Jenna is blogging about gardening, and she used some of my carrots to make a carrot/cucumber salad yesterday. Doesn’t that look great?

Delicious Daydreams

This was a day to clean out the veggie drawer. My friend gave me lots of gorgeous heirloom carrots, and I have a volunteer cucumber plant that produces perfect cukes faster than I can eat them. Carrots plus cucumbers plus a mandolin equals happy Springtime in a bowl.

This recipe is one of those that’s not really a “recipe” at all. But, if you want to duplicate mine, take one large carrot and one large cucumber and slice very thin. Use a mandolin if you have one, but watch your fingers!

Add veggies to a bowl and add half cup apple cider vinegar, quarter cup water, a splash of canola oil, one tablespoon dried dill, teaspoon sea salt, teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, two teaspoons sugar, and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.

This salad is the perfect companion to a sandwich, but completely wonderful and healthy…

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