Friday, February 22, 2013

                            What’s Happening in My Winter Garden?
Winter vegetable gardening provides many tasty veggies for you use throughout most of the winter here in the Puget Sound area.  I plant my winter crops mostly in early August so that I have carrots, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, mustard, rutabagas, turnips, red beets and cabbage in the winter. 
In January I order and receive seeds for the next year as well as ordering onion plants for growing storage onions and seed potatoes which are shipped to me in the spring when it is time to plant. When weather permits, I remove the winter weeds that grow in the planting beds in the winter. I also fertilize the asparagus bed in February after removing any small weeds that are growing.

The above is my garlic patch. The 6 small plants in the foreground are  multiplying onions. Behind the onions and in front of the garlic are 6 shallots that are just barely emerging from the soil. In the back are 56 each Roja garlic.. All of these bulbs were planted on October 26, 2012.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mid February is Blueberry bush pruning time. Blueberry bushes that have not been pruned on an annual basis (after 3 years of growth) may become overgrown and less fruitful . Proper pruning of blueberries is essential to maintain plant size, shape, and productivity . In the first three years only prune out dead, diseased and broken wood and any crossing or contorted branches. Every year after 3 years, prune  to maintain  an open center to allow sunlight to pass through and allow air movement.Pruning steps are:
  1. Disinfect pruners in 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart water.
  2. Visually observe the blueberry bush.
  3. Imagine what the plant should look like when pruning is completed.
  4. All diseased and broken canes should be removed first.
  5. Canes that are seven years old or older should be considered for removal.
  6. No more than two to three mature canes should be removed each year to avoid pruning out too many fruit buds.
  7. Selective pruning will help to stimulate new cane growth each year.
  8. Remove branches that are touching and any dead twigs.
  9. The bush should be narrow at base, open in the center and  free of vegetative clutter.

After pruning fertilize with a 10-5-4 acid loving rhody/azalea fertilizer at the rate of one hand full (2/3 cup) spread over the soil in a ring at the drip line under each plant. Lightly rake into the soil without disturbing roots. No other fertilization for the rest of the year. Keep PH between 4.5 and 5.1.Note that buds are forming on my branches...spring is coming!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My dinner guests enjoyed Chicken Chow Mein last night. This recipe is in my cookbook Dad's Home Cooking: Traditional Recipes for Preparing Healthy Family Meals available at Amazon. I did vary the recipe somewhat because 2 ingredients were not available in the 2 grocery stores I checked, so I had to substitute a different type of noodle and I left the bean sprouts out. Bean sprouts may be a thing of the past in grocery stores because of the contamination and food born illness and death concerns. I guess I will need to start sprouting my own mung beans!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My cookbook is finally published! You can find it on Search “all” then select “books” and enter:
Dad's Home Cooking: Traditional Recipes for Preparing Healthy Family Meals