Saturday, February 21, 2009


Green things are happening!

My Peas for the Snap Pea Challenge are sprouting!

I did an experiment and pre-soaked 12 peas overnight before planting. I also planted 7 peas without pre-soaking. All the pre-soaked peas are sprouting, but the ones I did not pre-soak have not sprouted yet.

There is one little sprout in the picture :)

My broccoli was inspired by the peas. Broccoli is usually slow to sprout, sometimes taking three weeks to show green.

My broccoli was planted on February 16th, the day after the snap peas, yet sprouted on the same day.
The peas took their time and the broccoli was speedy!
If you look closely you can see a couple of little sprouts in the picture.

I found a new hardiness zone map I had not seen before and found I have my last and first frost dates wrong!
Oh no! That means I have to get cracking on starting the plants I want for home.
According to this site my last frost is April 20-30 and my first frost is October 19-29.
Actually, these dates are closer to my own experience so I will revise my plan to reflect these dates.
The dates for West Virginia are still accurate.
C'mon Spring!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Seed Saver's 2009 Yearbook

I eagerly await the arrival of this catalog every year. It is usually the last catalog I get, but the wait is worth it.

I heard that someone got theirs last Friday and I have been on the lookout for the mail carrier every day since.

This catalog is 500 pages of hope for our seed future. The seeds in this catalog have been grown by gardeners in their own gardens to pass on to the rest of us. Heirlooms galore!

I am one of the lucky few that was able to purchase a lifetime membership in the Seed Saver's Exchange back in the mid-seventies. I don't order many seeds but it is good knowing they are there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Snap Peas Planted

I have planted my Snap Peas for the Snap Pea Challenge. I am trying two different methods of seed treatment. I pre-soaked the twelve seeds planted around the edge of my planter but planted the seven seeds in the middle straight from the package.

I planted them in an icing bucket from the bakery at my local Safeway grocery store. I made a trellis from an old tomato cage. The prongs go all the way to the bottom.

I took the picture outside but the peas are inside in their pot. I wonder how many days it will be till they sprout?

That is Jenna's book, Made From Scratch, in the picture with the peas. I got it from the library.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ice Fountain

Yesterday on the way out of town I spotted a fountain of ice. It was too late to take a picture when we returned home, but today I went over and got this shot.

The fountain was only spraying in short bursts today, not full blast like yesterday. The temperature got into the 60's both days too so it has melted a lot. With the spray from the fountain and the cold temperatures I bet it was magnificent at it's peak.

Snap Pea Challenge

Jenna at Cold Antler Farm has set up a Snap Pea Challenge. I am participating. I chose Burpee Super Sugar Snap Peas to plant.
Planting date is next Sunday, February 15.
Come on along and join the fun!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I love clouds and often look skyward just to see the different shapes. I spotted this one from the car today. A perfect Awareness ribbon! LOVE it!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Black Bean Brownies

I read about Black Bean Brownies on one of my groups but the instructions were less than explicit.
I searched Google and found several references and pieced together this recipe.

1 box Brownie mix (9x13 pan size)
1 can black beans (15 ounce size)


Drain and rinse the beans and the can thoroughly.
Put the beans back in the can.
Fill can to top with water.
Dump beans and water into blender or food processor. (I used the food processor)
Whir them around till they no longer look like beans. They look sort of like chocolate cake batter at this point with flecks of darker chocolate.
Dump the bean mush into a bowl with the brownie mix and stir it up.

Pour it into a 9x13 pan that has just the bottom greased. Bake it according to the directions on the box.

Mine were done at the long end of the bake time. My box said 28-32 minutes and 32 was about right.

Leave a bit of batter in the bowl to lick.

This recipe uses no eggs so reward yourself!

As you can see in the picture I did not wait for them to cool before topping with ice cream and sampling.

Now, would I make them again?
I could not tell there were beans in it. The batter and the finished brownies tasted of nothing but chocolate.
The brownies did not rise as much as I am used to. They stayed flat.
The brownies were very rich and dense. They were almost too sticky. The flavor is fine. It is the texture that I did not like as well.
I think I will try them once more, but bake them in a square pan and perhaps add some walnuts.
I do prefer my other brownie recipe where I simply replace the oil with applesauce and follow the rest of the directions exactly.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Green Thumb Sunday, Claytonia (Miner's Lettuce), Claytonia perfoliata

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join in every Sunday. Visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

About a month ago I planted some Claytonia, lettuce and radishes in an empty 5 gallon aquarium as an experiment.

The lettuce did not thrive. It sprouted, but it stayed sad and spindly and most of the plants only have one set of true leaves.

The radishes grew like gangbusters but no radishes, only leaves.

The Claytonia seems to be thriving and is blooming. The blossoms are tiny and white.

Miner's Lettuce is another name for Claytonia.

I have a feeling that once I plant some outside I will never again lack for it.