I feel it is my lawful duty as an Alaskan to have rhubarb plants in the yard. Now, this does not necessarily mean that I actually like rhubarb – but I don’t see how these 2 things are linked. At all.
However, I am coming around to rhubarb. And I have to say, rhubarb sauce is a super simple and great entry level rhubarb drug.
- Harvest and remove the leaves from a big bunch of rhubarb. Have no scientific way of knowing how much you are grabbing – just get a lot.
- Clean and chop stems to equal 4 cups cut rhubarb.
- Put the rest of the crazy amount of stems you cut in a vase on the counter until you get around to getting flour from the store tomorrow for cobbler.
- Put 1 cup water and the 4 cups of chopped ‘barb in a pot and bring to a boil – cover loosely.
- Boil and stir occasionally until the rhubarb is soft.
- Allow the sauce to cool and add honey and cinnamon to taste.
Garden containers are expensive! And I’m not even talking about the nice Ming dynasty rip off ceramic pots. All of them! Why not scour your local thrift stores for cheap household items that not only become functional food and plant producers, but also become a stylish conversation starter?
Sure, fresh basil in your kitchen is awesome. But basil in a coffee pot is super cute as well as functional.
Many fruit producing plants can be grown in containers and most don’t need to be as big as you think. This Filius Pepper plant is going to do just fine in this blender carafe. And it cost .33c. I’m not even kidding.
Every time I go to a thrift store I see matching canisters for flour, sugar, etc and I finally grabbed a coffee canister last week. Again, .33c. And with $1 worth of seeds we will be in cilantro for months.
Save the giant cans from tomatoes (people love it when you grow tomatoes in a tomato can) and coffee. Add some pebbles for drainage and bam! You’re ready to get your garden on.
We haven’t had much of a winter up here in Alaska. In fact, we have been steadily warmer and more pleasant winters here in Anchorage than most of the country for the past 2 seasons. This leaves me in a weird mood re: this season’s garden. I know I should have had things starting weeks ago but since it never really felt like winter, it doesn’t really feel like it’s time to grow stuff. But after requesting some tough love from my Facebook friends, I finally got my ass in gear and started the tomatoes, peppers and some other goodies that require a bit more time.
The seed trays will hang out on my kitchen counter with heating pads and attention until they start to sprout, when they will be moved to my storefront windows which get a ton of light and great heat from the sun. Some of these plants will even spend the entire summer there – increasing our yield even more.
I went a little crazy ordering new things this year as our neighbors took down a crop of trees last year, vastly increasing our available light and growing space. I checked out Rare Seeds and promptly threw all of my money at them. Heirloom seeds and fabulously cool veggies to choose from. I can’t wait to see what we end up with.
Loving all the green in our little urban garden!
Our little urban garden, which takes up the majority of our deck, is coming along nicely. I think we will be having our first salad tonight! Not bad growth for Anchorage Alaska without the use of a greenhouse! Hooray!
I can’t wait to get these beauties outside!
It’s that time of year: time to get those seedlings a’sproutin for this years new and improved urban garden! I learned a lot from our adventures last year and I’m ready to make this one the best one yet.
Thus far I have the tomatoes, jalapenos, squash and cucumbers starting in the greenhouse (read: spare bedroom). As soon as the squash outgrow their tiny pots here, they will be moved to my storefront (with huge windows) to further grow inside before they can start their lives outside. Herbs in jars have also been started as there was a huge response when my storefront customers were polled.
One of our avocado pits was planted last week and this one is almost ready. Lots of great “growing” energy in the house. I love it!
As the season has gone on and already seems to be coming to an end, we have learned even more lessons. Namely:
Lesson 9: An article I read told me to trim some of my tomato branches, starting with the little guy that sprouts in the ‘crotch’ of 2 branches. This is totally incorrect as the little crotch sprout (it’s funny to say, right?) is where the future blossoms and thus, tomatoes, will come from. One does need to trim excess greenage from the plants though as they take away growing power and water from the little growing fruits, so look for the giant leafy branches without a connection to fruit or flowers.
Lesson 10: If you see that a particular branch is heavily laden with fruit (in our case one of the Topsy Turveys with the most direct sun), keep an eye on how that fruit is dangling. One of our branches snapped with 8 or 9 large tomatoes hanging from it, as it was just too heavy to be supported. Had I been paying closer attention (or known?) I could have secured the branch and allowed the tomatoes to naturally ripen on the vine. Between that accident and a drunken intruder’s murder of a full plant off the side rail, we had quite a few little green guys evicted from their bushes too soon, but they are starting to ripen as they sit next to other ripe fruits.
Lesson 11: It’s funny – the tomato cans we used as planters have weathered elements very well, while the coffee cans used have gotten rusty on the outside and pretty ugly. I’ll be ditching most of the coffee cans after this season and continuing to save the whole tomato cans that we use for tomato soup.
Lesson 12: While the summer squash have gone totally crazy in the larger containers, they did not do nearly as well in the cans as hoped. The lack of root space inhibited fruit growth to the point where we only got 2 or 3 squash total from the cans as opposed 2-3 per week in the larger bins. Next year, no squash in cans.
Regardless it’s been a lot of fun and we’re really excited to work out more of the kinks next year to have a totally kick ass garden. Hooray!
If you haven’t caught on by now that I’m a little (ok, a lot) obsessed with my garden, you’re living in space or perhaps under a rock. I have been having so much fun playing in the plants, making massive salads with the never ending supply of greens and poking my tiny tomatoes and asking if they’re ready yet. Sitting on the deck in the midst of all the green just makes me happy.
And the view from our living room window isn’t too bad either….
I love our little green space right in the middle of the city! High five urban gardening!