Broccoli buds have appeared

I have my doubts about broccoli, 6 of the plants look pitiful. I seeded broccoli back in July, never thrived, finally 2 of them are setting out tiny buds. Not sure how big they’ll get at this point. I am still giving them few more weeks before pulling them out and declaring ‘failure of 2009’. Not sure if edible yet but this picture is quite pleasing.

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How to Series: Growing Methi (Fenugreek)

When I first started out experimenting with growing vegetables, Methi was my first garden attempt. What I found was It works no matter you have green thumb or not. Methi is easiest to grow, ready to harvest in as little as 30 days. I was delighted to taste tender fresh methi from my own garden very first time I harvested, yield is far better and bigger than what you get at your neighborhood Indian store.

Most of the Indian stores sell methi wilted, about to make seed pods and sometimes it tastes like grass. And I used to pay 99cents for few twigs of methi. Well, not anymore. From early spring till late fall, I grow my own methi and buy frozen packs for rest of the year. Methi is semi-cold hardy so light frost doesn’t kill it. Methi makes it the perfect crop for those who just can’t wait to get the garden going, just open the pantry and soak some methi seeds in water.

How to grow fenugreek (Step by Step):

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1 – Methi (fenugreek) seeds are sold in Indian grocery stores, $1.99 packet will get you more than 500 seeds. Store bought seeds work beautifully.

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2 – Soak seeds in tap water for 12-24 hours

3 – Prepare ground by working soil, adding some compost. Methi can be planted in containers as well. Methi seeds are seeded densely (not in rows). Scatter methi seeds dense in desired growing area.

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5 – Germination is expected in 1-3 days, methi seeds upon germination look something like above.

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6 – Ready to harvest in 30-35 days.

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Some harvest methi as micro-greens, just before first true leaves appear. Fleshy first leaves are bitter and are used extensively in daal or with fish preparation in Mumbai cuisine. If harvesting for micro greens (samudri methi), it is ready in 5-7 days after germination.

Also, I found that methi develops it’s trademark bitter pungent taste in warmer, hot weather. Methi grown in spring and fall has mild taste.

More about Methi: for those with botanical interest, methi belongs to legume family(Fabaceae) – flowering plants that produce edible seeds. Fenugreek is termed as Trigonella foenum-graecum.

medicinal properties: In West, fenugreek is widely used by lactating women to boost milk supply. Tablespoon of fenugreek powder 3 times a day is the trick. Fenugreek is natural remedy to control diabetes.

Green Elephant Plant Swap in Redmond

Last weekend was quite an eventful, among many social gatherings with friends and family, I found 2 hours on Saturday morning to mingle with amazing gardening enthusiasts. I got to go to Green Elephant Plant swap in Redmond where group of people trade/give away extra plants, tubers and many gardening tips.

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Jim Eichner organizes Green Elephant plant swap four times a year in Redmond. People gather extra wooded plants, divided perennials, tubers and swap. It is sort of tailgate party where we open up our car trunks, put stuff out on display. Towards the end of trade extra plants, shrubs, bare roots, tubers go into the big free pile. 
I had my inhibitions at first but it turned out great! I went with 7-8 pots of strawberry, Golden oregano, lupines, geraniums and Shasta daisies. Well, strawberry babies were everywhere and looked like everyone was trying to get rid of them 🙂 I put all my stuff into give-away pile and glad to have found takers for oregano, geranium and lupines. I came home with mint, stone crop, hen & chicks and giant Dahlia tubers. OMG – Dahlia tubers were a steal, a nice gentleman was unloading them by wheelbarrows into free pile. These tubers are expensive – that’s like $40-$50 in free stuff right there!!!
Taking the advice from other gardener, I planted mint into container and not in the garden.

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Dahlia tubers that I scored…

There were at least 50 people trading plants, it was cold, chilly and pouring heavily – a true rain or shine experience. It was my very first swap and I was totally amazed at the generosity and openness of everyone. No one left empty-handed and some brought non-plant items like birdbath, planters and cookies to keep it fun and interesting.

Here’s website for more information – http://www.holycrossredmond.org/greenelephant.htm

Peanut Butter Tree

 

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We moved into our new house last year in fall, most of the shrubs and trees had shed leaves by then. In front yard, a wonderful smallish tree caught my attention – It had pinkish buds with blue berry like fruits. Quite unusual I thought. In Summer around late July this tree started blooming – had thousands of small pink-white flowers that looked like Jasmine and had very strong aroma. Many people who visited us in summer wondered about this tree, they had never seen such thing.

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And I kept looking…searched folia, USDA plant database, internet but couldn’t find the name.  All of a sudden, 2 days back, I landed on Petunia’s blog. I was jumping in joy to have stumbled on her page. Thank you thank you Petunia. There it is – It’s called Peanut Butter tree or Clerodendrum trichotomum or harlequin glorybower

More research on it –
USDA link is here –http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CLTR

Why is it called Peanut Butter Tree?
Internet tells me leaves of this tree have very strong pungent smell, when rubbed these leaves give out peanut butter smell. well, I never noticed before, I went to front yard for my own taste test, and yes, it does kinda smells like peanut butter.
Now that I remember about flowers, stamens of this flower do have strong PB like aroma. when stamens removed, flowers give out very sweet fragrance – earthy jasmine like.

Soggy Fall

This is the soggiest fall in my memory (of 6 years in Puget sound). It’s raining non-stop for last 2 weeks and more rain is predicted for another 10 days. Halloween was super-soaker, bad for the trick-o-treaters. There was a big mix of weather yesterday – rain, thunder lightning, dark clouds, sun came out and a rainbow! wow! I snapped this quick photo.
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This rainy weather is actually extending last frost date, last year frost came on October 22nd. This year cloudy blanket is keeping us warm and above freezing.

November harvest

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Few of beets, Icicle radishes, last Zuk and few peas. Beets were seeded in July, Icicle radishes on 5th Sep. Peas have been great success so far, I have been picking 5-6 every other day for last couple months, I have 8 vines that are producing snap peas heavily. They apparently are liking this cool weather and have not slowed down like all other plants.