Category Archives: Edible Plants

2014 – February Garden Log.

mizuna Late. Behind. Lagging. These are words that are starting to best describe my 2014 garden season and it is only February! As per usual when I get to doing something later than I had wanted to, I proceed the way I would have if I had been on time. I am an optimist when it comes to throwing seeds in dirt. So despite being very behind is planting for the 2014 spring garden, I planted everything, all the same. But a note to myself in 2015 and any other readers in my planting zone, skip the 2014 early year posts and refer to 2013 for what is likely a better more productive timeline (unless it ends up all the same, then I will have to make a change to this paragraph).

So onward, because I did actually do some stuff in the garden this month after the snow.

February Snow

2/16: Started hardening off all perviously planted starts that would eventually go outside. Also turned/weeded beds that would be the new homes for these plants and cloched them to dry out a bit before planting.

2/23: FINALLY planting something in the dirt!! All December and January starts went into the ground next to some kale and spinach planted in the fall, except the romaine lettuce. We simply kept that in the house for easy access. We also direct sowed some seeds into one of the beds; Alaska peas, shelling (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Monstrueux de Viroflay spinach (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Ideal purple top Milan turnips (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), and Saxa II radish (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds).

2014 first planting

2/25: This is the latest (and terribly embarrassing) sowing of these seeds I think I have done! I had intentions of planting onions early and as my artichokes were lost during our very long zero degree cold snap in December, I had planned on getting those sown early as well. BUT, they were all sown today with the spring veg I should have planted last month! So here is what we have Giant of Naples (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Calabrese broccoli (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Genovese basil (Seed Savers Exchange), Early purple Vienna kohlrabi (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), and yellow of Parma (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). And new to the garden: Wethersfield red onion (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), red romaine lettuce (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), red express cabbage (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Glory of Enkhuizen cabbage (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), green globe artichokes (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), and bleu if Solaise leek (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). And to all of that, here’s hoping as I hole up my glass with a look of chagrin on my face.

My plan for early March is to get my snow peas into the ground outside and to plant some more shelling peas. I will also sow some more radishes and get some carrots and beets in the ground. The last of the fall carrots are coming out of the garden, some are still edible, some were destroyed by the early February snow and ice storm. I will also be broadcasting some arugula and mizuna outside, I just have to decide where. Oh and more chard needs to be planted! For inside starts we have tomatoes and peppers on the docket as well as more herbs and lots of flowers!

Happy planting!!

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2014 – January Garden Log.

Frosty thyme

1/18 – I transplanted my first round of crisp mint romaine. It will continue to grow in the house and more will be direct sown outside in FEbruary.

1/19 –  I did a second sowing of crisp mint romaine (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). And also got some Monstrueux de Viroflay spinach (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) in, which you might remember from last year yields leaves as big as my hand. I started some slo bolt cilantro (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) and some genovese basil (Seed Savers Exchange). There were three new to the garden this year items that also received their inaugural planting: lime streaked mizuna (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), red streaked mizuna (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), and oriole orange chard (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds).

Keep your warm garden thoughts coming!!

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2013 – December Garden Log.

happy new yearNothing happened in my garden in November aside from some clean up.

We spent the first part of December in a deep freeze, but just around the solstice the weather returned to a more seasonable temp with drizzling rain, just how we like it in the Pacific Northwest. As I continued to celebrate the change of the sun’s role in the sky I purchased some needed seeds for the 2014 garden and prepared to sow some seeds for my later winter/early spring garden.

12/29 I had a plan to sow these on the 26th, but it was the 29th when I actually got around to setting up my growing station. In all I planted Calabrese broccoli (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Snowball Self-Blanching cauliflower (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Giant of Naples cauliflower (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) – new to me this year and is supposed to yield large three pound heads, Early Purple Vienna kohlrabi (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Winter Red kale (Gathering Together Farm), and another new to me item, Crisp Mint lettuce (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) – which is to yield 10 inch romaine type heads with mint green outer leaves and stark white hearts.

I have some new mizuna varieties, but I am going to wait until a little into January to sow any of them.

Yay for first of the year plantings!!

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2013 – October Garden Log.

I am of course, behind in getting this post up. Not too much happened in October, just the annual garlic planting. I did a full moon planting for the first time this year on October 18. We got 176 cloves of inchelium soft neck garlic from our seed saved from the June harvest into the ground. Then on the 20th we planted 50 cloves of Turkish giant hard neck garlic. I purchased some hard neck seed because I missed out not having any scapes to harvest for pesto this year. I am not the biggest fan of hard neck garlic…I mean the flavor is good, but it bugs me that the cloves are so small and a lot of the bulb is just the scape. But, I love using the scapes in basil pesto. So I have added some back in to the mix. I will not enough for as much pesto as I would like to make, but come 2015 I will as I will save most of it for seed. 

Overall October was a very dry month. One of the driest on record after a very wet end to September. So far November has proven to be a very traditional November with regards to the weather, but I will be back in early December to let you know how it turns out. For now, off into fall we go!

Happy Fall!

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2013 – September Garden Log.

Wet steps with fernsSeptember started out quite warm for us and quickly tapered into expected pre-fall/fall weather. I love fall. It is my absolute favorite. Time to start harvesting the winter squashes and pumpkins, dig potatoes and prepare for winter. The garden continued to give us a good bounty well into the month with daily pickings of beans, zucchini (it never ends!), cucumbers, tomatillos, tomatoes and potatoes. The herbs continued to flourish and both basil and dill continued to fill the kitchen. We picked our first fall beets and fermented them with some ginger and orange for a delightful snack. The carrots continued to grow in their beds and I continued to watch the weather, debating how October would go and when to plant my garlic. And then it started…unexpected bouts of torrential downpours.

I say unexpected, but in fact it is exactly what happens here in the fall (but never this early). The jet stream moves so fast and frequently the weather predictors cannot keep up. The basil quickly wilted and the peppers refused to ripen. But I hold out hope and those silly peppers are still out there, waiting for that week of glorious weather I know we must get! I did get one unexpectedly fantastic fall day on September 26th where the sun warm but the air was crisp and I finally planted some seeds. I planted touchstone gold and Detroit dark red beets, tonda di parigi carrots, monstrueux de viroflay spinach, mizuna, winter red kale, five color silverbeet Swiss chard, and lacinato kale. Better late than never I suppose. They got a day of nitrogen rich rain and then it was to the cloche with them. Covered by thick plastic, ends open for the fresh fall air to circulate, but covered from the very heavy fall rains we have been experiencing.

If you have been with me for some time, you know I am not afraid of failure in the garden. Which is my way of saying that if I planted to late to get a good yield, I will get over it!

Too all of you gardeners out there…

Happy Fall Gardening!!

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Spring is here!

I will have a full photo update in the March garden log, but in the mean time you can browse one of only two cauliflowers that made it through the winter (this was completely my fault and could have been avoided). Every year I promise myself to commit to a winter garden and every year I don’t. I have a plan in place to maybe have one this coming winter. Maybe. I am just a spring gardener. I really am.

There are also some yard dog helpers…browsing some spring goods so they can strike as soon as I look away. Ha!

2012/2013 cauliflower

Cactus helps Ski helps with peasHappy Spring!

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Seed Babies.

European Mesclun Mix. Day  6.

European Mesclun Mix. Day 6.

Winter Red Kale, day 11.

Winter Red Kale, Day 11.

Ever closer we get to planting outside, yay!

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Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

I love roasted pumpkin seeds and so does the hubs. We grow carving pumpkins because the hubs likes to carve them, but also because we just really like the seeds. They are blank slate that I can do anything with and then roast into a tasty snack. If you are purchasing pumpkins and want to roast the seeds, take care to purchase organic pumpkins to ensure the safety of your seeds.

This year we made a batch of curry pumpkin seeds. Curry is an amazing source of health benefits. I make my mix here at home. It contains organic turmeric (4 T), organic cumin (8 T), organic coriander (7 T), and organic ginger (2 T) ~ stored in a pint jar. Turmeric contains natural anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains curcumin, a compound thought to protect the liver. Cumin may also contain anti-inflamatory properties as well as immune regulating capabilities. Coriander could potentially protect the nervous system from damage through anti-inflamatory processes. And last, but not least, ginger. Ginger, long known for its healthful benefits to the digestive tract, ginger also contains anti-inflamatory properties. All said, these four spices combined are a powerhouse for protecting the body against many things. Just remember, they do work better alongside fat, hence the nice fatty coconut milk generally used in curries! Here we will sub oil.

One last note about the health benefits of this snack, it is important to remember that the pumpkins seeds themselves are packed with nutrition. Pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of zinc. Zinc regulates the immune system and assists with our ability to taste food properly. They also serve as a good source for antioxidants and magnesium.

Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Makes 16 0z of roasted seeds.


2 C fresh organic pumpkin seeds

2 t curry powder (see recipe above)

1 T organic olive oil or coconut oil

1/2 t salt (I used canning salt because it is fine and will stick well)


Preheat oven to 325.

Rinse seeds and dry them with with a clean dish towel. This will remove any remaining pumpkin pulp. Place the seeds in a medium glass mixing bowl and mix in oil and curry, making sure to combine thoroughly.

Place seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Cook for 8 minutes. Stir and sprinkle with a 1/4 t of salt. Cook for 8 minutes and repeat. Cook for 8 minutes and stir. Cook 8 more minutes and remove from oven. If the seeds are not as dry or toasted as you would like, cook them longer, stirring and assessing every 5 minutes. Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.



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Hop Harvest 2012.

The 2012 hop harvest was a great success for The Root Cellars Garden. Using the same three plants as last year, we were able to increase our wet yield from about 10 pounds to 23.8 pounds and after removing the obligatory 12 ounces of hops to create our fresh hop beer, we ended up with 100.2 dried ounces of hops. This is as compared to the 36 ounces last year! The yield increase is likely due to the age of our rhizomes. They are coming into full maturity and producing peak yields. We were also very attentive to watering during the very dry July/August that we had to ensure the cones would fully mature and produce the amount of lupulin we were hoping for before starting to dry out.

Needless to say, hubs is going to be busy during the next year! As in year’s past we harvested Cascade, Centennial and Mt Hood hops. We picked them, laid them out to dry, turned them every day, and when papery, measured them out and used a Food Saver to package them. After which, they went directly into the freezer. The only difference this year was that hubs wanted to package all of the hops into 2 ounce packs, this was a welcome request given the sheer number of packs we were going to make!

Centennial bines ready for harvest.

Centennial cones.

Mt Hood cones.

Mt Hoods in buckets.

Yard dog helping out with the harvest.

Centennial and Mt Hood harvest, 21.3 pounds!

Our king cone, a Centennial. There may have been bigger ones, but this cone got the prize!

Packing hops for freezing. 100.2 ounces total into the freezer!

We have far exceeded our goal of growing enough hops for a single year of home brewing. Hubs would like to add one or two more varieties of hops to our garden to give him more variety for brewing, but at this point, he is going to have to find a bigger freezer before he can to that!










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March Garden Log.

As well it should be, March was a busy planting month!

3/5/12: Planted seedlings, cilantro (seeded 1/21), one single Crisphead lettuce (12/29), Fiesta broccoli (1/21), Red Head quinoa (1/28), purple kohlrabi (1/21), winter red kale (1/28), Parel cabbage (1/21), Butterhead lettuce (1/28).

3/6/12: Soaked Cascadia snap peas and Alderman shelling peas 24 hours in innoculant and kefir water (it was an experiment!).

3/7/12: Planted pea seeds outside.

3/8/12: Planted globe artichoke (1/28) starts outside.

3/9/12: Planted two asparagus crowns. Fingers crossed that they take!

3/13/12: Planted Roodnerf brussel sprouts (seeded 1/28), Brilliant rainbow quinoa (1/21), Saratoga cabbage (1/21), Mammoth red rock cabbage (1/21).

3/17/12: First harvest of Fizz kale (12/29). Served in a fresh salad tossed with olive oil and vinegar.

3/18/12: Sowing Cherry bell radishes in containers outdoors.

3/23/12: Transplanted basil starts from January…I have been harvesting them and finally got around to potting them! The hubs also turned the potato bed, and I hope to get them in the first weekend of April.

3/24/12: I started more basil seeds. Hey, this is as about as on top of basil as I have ever been, but I love the stuff! I also seeded tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, beets, carrots and soaked more peas (I think the other ones drown in all the March rain we have been having.)

Photo update of the broccoli, kale and cauliflower seeded in December.

Photo update of the greens seeded in January.

Happy planting!

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