Kids & Parents

Why I Garden #33

Canyon Grape - Raisins on the Vine

Fall. Autumnal Equinox. The first hard freeze.

Frankly, the garden and I need a rest. I love a full season of planting, watering, weeding and harvesting. And I love the end of that season just as much. We had our first hard freeze several days ago and I'm happy to look out on a mostly dormant garden. I did expand the cold frame and will be planting hardy greens (Arugula, Mustard Greens and Spinach) to go with the Kale and Chard that have survived the freeze without complaint. I still need to mulch a few beds and will be turning the compost one last time this season.

Why I Garden #32

Fernbush blooming

Once again this summer I looked into the garden and saw new flowers on plant that hadn't bloomed before. Despite the ongoing drought the Fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium) that we planted a few years ago decided to blossom. Scores of small, white, rose-like flowers with yellow centers popped up between the lacy foliage. Here is one more native plant that has thrived in our arid Southwestern climate with little to no attention.

More Info:

New Mexico Plant Materials Center - Fernbush

A Cabin Full of Inspiration

Aldo Leopold cabin in Tres Piedras, NM

There is something about the Southwestern landscape that inspires people. Whether it's the mountains and deserts, the distant horizon, or the technicolor sunsets I don't know. But, something about this place sparks people's imagination. Case in point - Aldo Leopold. Something happened while Leopold was in Arizona and New Mexico that drove him to write A Sand County Almanac and to think about conservation in a new way.

Why I Garden #31

Butterfly Weed

The longer I garden the more I appreciate tough plants. Between the hot, dry summers and cold winters finding plants that can flourish in Santa Fe is tough. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is another tough native (across much of the U.S.) perennial that has thrived in our garden. This example has grown slowly but steadily since it was planted a few years ago. I have another seed packet that I'll plant later this fall to provide more orange blooms for color in the garden and food for the pollinators.

Why I Garden #30

Shishito Chile Peppers

As much as I love the herbs and native flowers in our garden I love the food we grow even more. This season we planted four Shishito Chile Pepper starts from a local nursery and they have been bearing quite well so far. We've harvested a few dozen peppers and have several more dozen peppers almost ready to pick. Shishito peppers are quite mild and with a little pan searing and salt make a great appetizer.

More Info:

Wikipedia - Shishito pepper

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt. 6

Cornstarch

Many years ago I perked up upon reading an article in the New York Times food section about homemade butterscotch pudding. I would have been at my stove in a flash if not for the fact that the recipe called for two saucepans and I only owned one. Also, the pudding required that technique filled with kitchen terror: tempering beaten eggs with hot milk and then cooking the whole mess until it has thickened but not scrambled. So, that recipe was not going to happen.

Why I Garden #28

False Indigo Bush

Amorpha Fruticosa (a.k.a. Indigo bush, False indigo bush, False indigo, Desert false indigo) is another native shrub we've planted in our backyard. Although it may grow to 6+ feet and form a dense thicket, this example has been slow growing and is barely 2 feet high. This is a subtle and attractive plant with small flowers that look similar to lavender and leaves like a pea plant.

More Info:

Why I Garden #27

Firewheel - Gaillardia pulchella

Firewheel, a.k.a. Blanket Flower, is a short-lived perennial or flowering plant native to most of the United States including the Southwest. This example has spread from the original one we planted a few years ago. This Gaillardia has only needed occasional watering to provide summer blooms.

More Info:

Wikipedia - Gaillardia pulchella

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