22 Mar 10
Tornado Season will soon be upon us here in the midwest...
8:23 pm cdt
...And with tornado season comes lightning. And my favorite
quote from Roger Swain, Victory Garden TV alum, in his book, Earthly Pleasures: Tales from a Biologist's Garden:
"My curiosity about lightning is tempered by my reluctance to
nothing like a good spring light show...
20 Mar 10
The Spring Equinox Arrives...
7:33 pm cdt
The past 24 hours has been a List of Firsts:
The first day of spring. The first spring snowfall. The first flock of
turkey vultures. The first butterfly landing on a beehive at the nature center. The first big day of garden cleanup--cutting
back the miscanthus grasses and raking up the debris from last fall. The first prairie fire--a conflagration that consumed
acres of dry phragmites, the flames jumping in the great gusts of wind. The first bumble bee. And the first pair of
wasps visiting the pansies--the first flowers to arrive at the local garden center. The first flat of flowers to make
it into my car.
18 Mar 10
Big Bumble Bee Look Alikes...
10:18 pm cdt
Another sure sign of
spring...when the goldfinches change from their dull winter coat to a bright shiny new look. Like a feathery bumble
16 Mar 10
Spring is Inspiration,,,
One elegant observation that I turn to each spring
is a passage in the 1876 book, "A Year in the Fields" written by the American naturalist John
Burroughs: "Spring is the inspiration, fall
the expiration. Both seasons have their equinoxes, both their filmy, hazy air, their ruddy forest tints, their cold rains,
their drenching fogs, their mystic moons; both have the same solar light and warmth, the same rays of the sun; yet, after
all, how different the feelings they inspire! One is morning, the other the evening; one is youth, the other is age."
2:26 pm cdt
6 Mar 10
Coming to a Gardening Center Near You: ONIONS!
8:21 am cst
Onion "sets"--those bags of little dried white or red onions--will soon hit the
garden centers. For a continued harvest, I buy several, store them in a cool spot and then use them to replant every
7 to 10 days until early June, harvesting them as scallions (green onions). For bulbing onions in zone
5, "transplants" (see www.thisgardencooks.com home page) of long-day onions work best.
3 Mar 10
Season's Starters--The Fastest Crop on Earth
If your only experience growing radishes involved a paper cup, soil, a few seeds and a teacher’s encouraging
words, or you gave up after harvesting round, red orbs that tasted like peppery plywood, you are in for a treat.
8:50 pm cst
Given the right conditions, radishes are fast growing, colorful root crops
that offer a range of flavors from deliciously mild and mellow to pungent and spicy.
Sliced thin and served raw, they add a crispy zing to salad, but their versatility entitles
them to a place in soups, dips and in many side dishes.
are incredibly easy to grow--they’ll perform in a pot on a sunny patio or balcony, in a windowbox or in a small row
or two in the garden. Growing is the easy part. The secret to tasty radishes is to harvest while they’re tender
before hot weather settles in.
1 Mar 10
Bambi Meets Bird Seed
8:47 pm cst
Each winter, we cover up the birdbath outside the kitchen window and sprinkle a little seed out there for the
chickadees, bluejays, cardinals and sparrows. A suet feeder hangs nearby. The deer come by in the late
afternoon -- and sometimes during the day -- to check out the sunflower seeds. A tap on the window gets their
attention. Except, instead of being frightened, they think that's their cue for more grub.