Sunflower Seeds Ready for Roasting

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The center part of this 5′ tall sunflower has finished drying in the sun and the seeds are now exposed.  I’m planning on roasting these home-grown seeds.  Since this will be my first time doing my own roasting, I looked up this recipe, which only involves boiling the seeds in a pot of salted water and then roasting them in the oven.  I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out!

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And the Red Baron peach tree fairy gives her approval after many weeks of overseeing the sunflower seed soldiers.

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My First Sunflower

Mammoth Sunflower points it’s head toward the morning sun.

I saw this sunflower from my kitchen window as I made breakfast this morning and I knew I had to share.  There’s something inherently happy and serene about these flowers.  (And they even have edible seeds!)

The yellow scallop summer squash is starting to produce!

A young lemon cucumber.

The pumpkin patch is off to a roaring start! Even with last year’s experience, I still underestimated their prolific nature. Good thing they can sprawl out and around.

A 3/4 shot of one of my beds. Hi Silkies!

I Am Officially In Love

In the spring garden I find myself appreciating life’s sweet simplicities.  I am out in the garden so much now, that I’ve contemplated pitching a tent, which would also help me get the snails and slugs in the middle of the night.  No, not really!  (Well it may have crossed my mind.)  Watching my vegetables and fruit grow day by day is a true simple pleasure.

As spring gets into full swing, I can’t help asking myself if I’m growing everything my little heart desires.  With the new bed, I can really sink my teeth into this whole veggie gardening thing this year.  Here’s a list of the fruits and vegetables that are currently growing in my garden:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Potatoes ( Yukon and Blue)
  3. Sugar snap peas
  4. All Season Butterhead Lettuce
  5. Cosmic Purple carrots
  6. Cucumbers (Lemon and Persian Baby Green Fingers)
  7. Golden Beets
  8. Green beans (Rattlesnake, Purple and Blue Lake pole)
  9. Edamame
  10. Heirloom Tomatoes (Rainbow Cherry, Black Krim, Persimmon, Old German, Pineapple, Purple Cherokee and Brandywine)
  11. Grapes (Green Thompson Seedless and Purple Thompson Seedless – both of which won’t fruit this year!  Bummer.)
  12. Burgundy Plum (will not fruit this year)
  13. Double Delight Nectarine (will not fruit this year)
  14. No Name Peach
  15. Diana Fig
  16. Various herbs

Oh! And don’t forget sunflowers (Teddy Bear and Giant Mammoth)!  I am definitely planning on collecting and roasting those sunflower seeds…and maybe leaving a few for the birds.

One of the many Mammoth Sunflowers seedlings that I planted along the back perimeter of the south-facing bed.

Hmmmmmm.  After seeing that list, I’d say my heart has nothing left to desire!  Being the practical gal that I am, I strive to grow things that my family eats on a regular basis.  There are so many unique veggies out there, but with my limited space, do I really want to use up room on Bok Choy that I’ll have no idea how to cook?  (Please don’t get me wrong, Bok Choy lovers).  I’m sure down the road my wandering eye will motivate me to try new things, but for now we’ll stick with the basics.

In about May my pumpkin seeds will go in the ground.  I am in love with growing pumpkins!  I’ve got all new kinds this year that I’ve never tried before.  Red Warty Thing, Big Mac, Fairytale and the mystical blue Jarrahdale.  It’s difficult to save the space for them as I’ve been planting so much lately, but the garden is teaching me about succumbing to the present and trusting in tomorrow.  It’s crazy how philosophical I am these days.

My recent seed purchase. They are both stringless with great eating and baking quality!

My Garden’s Gift

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. – May Sarton

My time in the garden has risen exponentially over the past few weeks.  And I’m loving it.  I do have an aversion to wearing garden gloves.  I just don’t like having a barrier between my hands and the earth.  I find it so much easier to pull weeds, pick sugar snap peas or plant small seedlings using my bare hands.

I feel so thankful for my garden.  It gives me so much: patience, peace, calm and yes, wonderful food.  Just a few minutes trouncing around and I’m just centered.  Yesterday I cleared out my smaller bed next to my Thompson green grapevine.  There were carrots and broccoli and weeds that were ready to make their exit.  I happened to notice that many of the tomato, yellow golden beet and sunflower seedlings had roots reaching out from the bottom of the toilet paper rolls.  Time to plant!

Many of the rolls that had been planted the first of February were already starting to break down and deteriorate.  The roots were growing through them.  This gave me a smile and a push to get them in the ground.

With the beets I just peeled away the roll so as to give room for the beet roots to expand.  They came off so well.  With the rest of the seedlings I left the roll intact around the roots and soil when I planted them in the ground.  So, so easy.

I’ve recently begun giving eggs, homegrown veggies and seedlings to friends, family and neighbors.  These gifts have solicited some of the most excited, thankful reactions I’ve ever had from any type of gift.  There’s something about giving sustenance, something grown from one’s own hand that really embodies the true essence of a gift.

What comes around goes around:

I received these amazing blue, chocolate brown and green eggs from my friend who gave us our Silkies.  They are all from her own hens.  We scrambled these eggs with breakfast this morning and joked that all we needed was a green ham to have a true Dr. Seuss meal!

Peachy Strawberry Sunflowers

Peachy Strawberry Sunflowers…a new breed of sunflowers just came out that smell like peaches and boast the color of strawberries.  No, not really.  Those are just the things I wanted to write about today and couldn’t think of a witty title.

My first ever home-grown strawberry flower.  Let’s hope the snails and slugs give it a chance to turn into fruit.  They’ve been up to no good on my Sequoia strawberry plants.  I’ve been using Ortho Elementals Snail & Slug killer which is designed for organic gardening.  It claims to be safe to use around pets and children.  The catch, however is that it takes 3-6 days to actually kill the little buggers.  When I find them myself, they make a great Silkie snack.

I am beyond excited about my Mammoth sunflower seedlings.  These emerged in record time and all but one have now popped up.  It’s amazing to think that if all goes well this summer they will be 6′ tall.  These are drought tolerant and do well in poor soils.  Perfect!  They will be planted on the back edge of my veggie garden, so as to not shade anything, all the while still facing south.  It’s important to keep in mind when planting sunflowers that the heads will grow toward the sun, so if you want to enjoy those beauties, position them in your garden where the heads will still be visible to you as they angle toward that bright star in the sky.

The current center of attention in the garden.  It’s as if it screams, “Look at me!”  This peach tree is currently at it’s peak of spring flowers and every year it leaves me in awe, as I think it will for you, too.