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April 25th, 2011

The Popcorn Is Planted!

leslie_d_tnThe picture below shows my popcorn and my planting helper, Sam Qadir. We just finished planting a couple of hours ago. There are 10 rows 10 feet long and I spaced them 1 foot apart.  100 corn plants in a perfect 10-foot-by-10-foot block. This has the potential of giving me a lot of popcorn—I wonder how much? Too much, maybe? No. Someone like me can never have too much popcorn.

popcorn

We have had another typical nasty spring: windy, cold, hot, windy, cold . . .   The ground never warmed enough to ensure the corn would sprout, so I took the safe way and poked them deep into 6-packs and stuck them on a shelf in the house until they popped up. This took only about 4 days. Then I set them outside in the sun every morning and back in every night until the winds stopped. It was 2 weeks from seed starting to transplanting—a much shorter time period than growing tomatoes, peppers, etc.  I could learn to love growing corn.

This is the first time I have ever grown popcorn. If it weren’t for Organic Gardening magazine’s variety testing I might never have grown it. Now I am looking forward to popping, sharing, and telling my friends, “I grew this.”

A few garlic are growing behind the popcorn and a clump of spent daffodils is on the left. That is my ‘Wonderful’ pomegranate tree on the right. The blue garbage can stores the organic fertilizer that I blend myself. It is empty now—tomorrow is my day to blend a new batch of fertilizer, a dusty job.  —Leslie Doyle, Las Vegas, Nevada

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April 15th, 2011

My Favorite Greens—Sing-along Version

don_tnRight on, Debbie! Your post is most inspiring—makes me want to break into song (it’s late, I’m punchy). I would have included kohlrabi, the best greens of them all, but couldn’t figure out a rhyme.

(Sung, of course, to the tune of “My Favorite Things,” with apologies to Julie Andrews…)

Kale and canola, and spinach and Swiss chard,
Collards and mustards that grow in my back yard,
Old cabbage shoots and some weeds that I glean
These are a few of my favorite greens…

When I’m hungry
I want something
That will make me glad
I simply chow down on my favorite greens
And then I don’t feel so bad…

—Don Boekelheide, Charlotte, North Carolina

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April 11th, 2011

My Favorite Greens

It will be a while before test varieties and other spring greens I sowed a while back will be ready to eat, but…

image006You know those sprouts that kind of look like broccoli at the top of the kale that lived through the winter? I think those are my favorite greens. Probably it’s because I haven’t had fresh greens from the garden for a while, and also because they don’t take any work. They just happen. And they do taste good. It’s a shame that many gardeners don’t eat them, or keep their kale (and other brassicas) around so they can enjoy these first spring greens.

We had a really cold winter, so not many of my kale plants survived. Enough did, though, to get quite a handful of sprouts today (which a farmer friend once called “spring broccoli”). The flower buds were just starting to form and were still deep inside the bushy young leaves. The stalks were very tender and I could just pluck them off. Later, there will be so many of these I won’t be able to keep up and they’ll become a big bush of kale blossoms. And I’ll be gorging myself on my next favorite greens.  —Debbie Leung, Olympia, Washington

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