Nigella Kalonji


Nigella Kalonji flower in bloom.

I sown nigella seeds thinking these were onion seeds (someone told me kalonji seeds are onion seeds), well I didn’t get onion harvest but I got to photograph this beautiful flower.

End of Summer

Yesterday marked official end of summer. In US, summer ends on September equinox on around Sept 22nd.

The September Equinox

On the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. This is true for both the fall and spring equinoxes. So on two days of the year you can find the exact cardinal directions of East and West by using the sun. The ancients did this when they set up their calendars at Stonehenge and the Mayan pyramid, among others.

Read more:

Do we have equal length day and night here in northwest? let’s look at local weather station data:

Sunrise: 6:55am
Sunset: 7:08pm

okay, so days are longer by about 13 minutes than nights, not quite equal. we’ll have equal days and nights on Sept 26th. Did bing on sunrise and sunset data and found this interesting site.,%20Washington;122.3;47.6;-8;1&month=9&year=2009&time_type=0


So what summer veggies are growing in my garden on this last day of summer?





Zucchini, bell peppers, muncher cucumber and loose leaf lettuce

Neglected garden for a week

For 2 weeks in each quarter I get super busy at work, I have to work 15-16 hours a day. I get up, brush, cook food, pack kids lunch and off to work…. come back, feed dinner to kids and Log back in to work for another 4-5 hours. This is crazy week.

I don’t have time to garden. Sorry.

I’ll let zukes grow big and weeds/grass grow wild, see you back next week.

Mystery vine from squash family


Sometime in June, on left side of the house, I noticed upon a small seedling. I was busy weeding and this tiny seedling came very close to being plucked and thrown into compost pile. It looked interesting, nothing like regular weed selection, it looked more like belonging to squash family. Out of curiosity I didn’t weed it, instead watered it every week. Today after 2 months, it has grown into a sizeable vine, with some tiny flower buds appearing.


I still don’t know what it is… maybe I’ll never know as winter frost is approaching and it may never set fruits… It’s got huge leaves and giant tendrils that are curled to weeds in it’s path.  This vine is just growing on the ground, maybe I’ll give it a support tonight…..

Do you know what it is? I am not happy that I may will never even know what it is as fall is approaching…

Fall Planting Gamble

First time in last 5 months, I went to sleep with sweater and socks on last Monday Sept 8th. It was rainy, cloudy and cold here yesterday, few thunderstorms made an appearance too. Well, according to weather reports low temperatures stood at 43 F.

This is time to pull summer vegetables from garden, weed and prune roses. Instead, what did I do in the garden? – I did sow some seeds. This itch to sow and grow, experiment never dies. I am playing a pure gamble and let’s all watch what happens to my late fall garden experiments.

so what did I sow yesterday?
1 – Fenugreek: This is my experiment, I want to assess if fenugreek will germinate and produce this late in summer. Since very few people grow fenugreek for greens, there’s hardly any data available on web. This is for my own knowledge, I am trying fenugreek this late. During summer fenugreek yields in 30 days, so I have some hope here before killer frost arrives.

2 – bunching onions: these will go under cloche if it gets too cold
3 – spinach
4 – bok choy
5 – icicle radishes
6 – beets
7 – turnips

To get faster germination, I helped seeds in warm water for 24 hours except spinach. Spinach seeds went into freezer for 12 hours, followed by 12 hours in tap water.

I’ll keep updating about this winter gardening over few months…

Harvest this week

Harvested this week are  – DSC_0001

Few summer veggies: 3 cucumbers, 4-5 zucchinis and handful of snap peas.
cucumbers went into salad for dinner, snap peas were munched 2 minutes from taking this photo and zucchini was made into curry (see below)

Greens, I got 2-3 heads of leaf lettuce and fenugreek. (not pictured)


DSC_0007 (2)

Root vegetables: Beets
Beet greens and beets were chopped along with onions and chilies. Made beet curry with beets, greens, onion and tomato. yummy.

Herbs: loads of chives, rosemary. Few twigs of catnip (??) and lemon balm for drying. Bag full of Mint for freezing and giving away…

And what did I make with beet greens and zucchini on hand? Vegetable curry…


Fall Gardening Timeline

Most of the fall planting for year 2009 is almost done. For my future reference, here is the fall gardening timeline I used, I’ll report back on seedlings, growth and actual harvest dates as it happens.

July 3 Sown Brussels Sprouts seeds directly into ground
July 12 Sown Broccoli seeds directly into ground
July 10 Sown peas in ground 0.75 feet apart every 5 days from 7/10 thru 8/15
Aug 15 Radish – cherry belle in ground
Aug 15 Thin Broccoli and Brussels sprouts
Aug 1 Sow lettuce for early fall harvest
Aug 14 Seeds in warm water – carrots, bokchoy and beets
Aug 15 Seeds in ground – Beets and carrots
Aug 20 Sown Dill seeds in 2 containers
Sept 1 Already harvesting early snap peas !!!
Sept 4 Seeds in warm water – Fenugreek, Turnip, Icicle radishes, bokchoy
  Seeds in fridge for 8 hours followed by 12 hours on paper towel – Spinach
Sept 5 Seeds in ground – Fenugreek, Turnip, Icicle Radishes, Bok Choy, Spinach
Sept 6 Sown bunching onion seeds
Sept 10 Add compost to all veggie beds
  Thin carrots, bokchoy and beets
Sept 30 Sow Garlic sets into ground
October Assess frost situation and cover beds if needed

Yummy Peas for my little girls

Peas are up, yay!!! My girls are going crazy. So far Peas have been easiest to grow in my garden, this is our first harvest of fall planting. I used Ed Hume seeds, variety – Super Sugar Snap . This is what says on packet

peas seed

I helped seeds for about 24 hours into warm water and directly sown into the garden. I planted 10 seeds at a days interval so I have a plant which is producing pods right now and other just beginning to germinate. Biggest plant has already given me 10 peapods in last 3 days.

Peas life cycle –

peas seedling

tiny pea seedling 3 days old ( 6 days after seeds were sown)


peas mothe

Pea seedling with true leaves – 10 days after germination

peas need support

Pea plants are crying for help – we need support. Time to build trellis, in my garden I go cheap route using sticks and fiber twine.

peas shenga2

ready for harvest yet?

peas closeup

ready for picking … in 1.5 months


Bloom Report: Roses

Red Flowering Rose

A rose to rise
A rose to fall
A rose to conquer all

 orange rose

I have countless rose buses in my backyard – well countless really means 7, that’s still too many for me. When we moved into this house last winter, all of them were pruned back to roots with about 2 inches of stem left. I had really given up hope for these almost dead rose plants. To my surprise most of them sent out shoots early summer, some are busy blooming and few are recovering, 2 are dead. Some plants are climbing variety that are “once-bloom” types, other yellow and orange roses are continuous bloom in summer. I also read that roses develop on two year old canes, I have high hope for other non-producing 3 rose shrubs in my garden.I did not give rose food this year fearing it might be too much for the plants as they were trying to live again, added some compost about 2 times. I am still learning about fertilizing, composting, pruning and harvesting roses.  
rose with rose

My little one in front of lone orange rose bloom, this rose shrub produced only 5-6 roses this season, it is still recovering from almost deadly hard pruning. You can see Lilac, geraniums, Day Lily and Japanese snowball flowering plants (all non-blooming this time in season)

Here’s what I learned so far:

Bloom Season: Roses start to bloom early summer, June through September. More you cut roses, more they’ll set out new shoots and buds.
Going Dormant: If un-cut roses are let develop fruit then they go in dormancy. Towards early fall I’ll purposely let roses develop fruit signaling them to go dormant and store up all all the energy for next season.
Rose Food:  not sure yet…
Pruning: Hard pruning of roses is done in early spring, if you have a hybrid rose (read plant tag) then prune it back to 12 inches.
I read that roses are produced on two year canes, true? maybe or maybe not. Pruning this year would have destroyed my tiny rose plants, so I gave it a pass this spring.

tiny rose

Still have high hope from this rose shrub, it is showing signs of recovery. Pruned almost to roots last winter is sending new shoots and few tiny buds…

non flowering rose

This is fragrant pink rose, only produced 1 rose in entire year. Is this ‘climbing’ variety? What should I do to make this plant bloom vigorously?

Rose is favorite flower in my house, it sits in flowerpots, is offered to god or sometime adorns my hairstyle. One of the rose shrub went crazy this summer and produced 100+ fragrant yellow mellow flowers. Mid-summer I almost ended up making ‘GulKand’ ( translation: Sugary Rose), damn busy schedule at work I could not get to it, maybe next year. Gulkand is prepared using edible rose petals with sugar, sundried for 10-15 days. It’s got medicinal properties – It’s an ayurvedic tonic, spoonful of gulkand reduces acidity, cools down body temperature in hot months and useful in teeth or eye inflammation.
Not sure about eating gulkand as medicine, I would have surely made Gulkand Ice-cream…. well, no dwelling on missed opportunity, wait is on for another year…