Thursday, February 23, 2012

Good Cause + Donation = Fig Cuttings

My friend and fellow garden blogger Sybil is celebrating a milestone birthday by biking 200 miles for a charity fundraiser.

If you are interested in supporting her cause with a donation, she will send you your choice of a dozen fig cuttings from some of the most amazing varieties of fig trees. And Sybil knows her figs -- she and her husband owned Paradise Nursery, a well-respected and sorely missed nursery of fig trees and other edibles in Virginia Beach that closed a few years ago.

Violette de Bordeaux figs ripening in late summer.

Don't miss this opportunity. Support a good lady and good cause, help some teens, and get some incredible fig cuttings from one of the most respected fig growers on the East Coast!

If you are interested in donating but unsure how to turn fig cuttings into fig trees, check out these two links:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Broccoli Double Vision

I've been eating lots of hefty carrots recently. This should be evident by my last blog post. Carrots contain Vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for good vision. Despite my prodigious intake of these health-supporting wonders, I discovered that something was wrong with my eyesight this afternoon.

After lunch, I walked out into the rain to plant some radishes in my garden. I was a few feet from my potted Calabrese broccoli when I started seeing double. I could've sworn I harvested my broccoli last month, but sure enough...side shoots of broccoli had sprouted up everywhere! Double broccoli!!

Side shoots of Calabrese broccoli (left and bottom). I harvested the central head of broccoli on January 19. Notice the off-white area near the center of the picture where I cut the central head with a small knife. Exactly one month later I harvested the side shoots.
Calabrese broccoli is no one trick pony. It grows not once, but twice. Exactly one month had passed from the time of my initial harvest to today's second harvest. Here's a close-up view of some side shoots.

Secondary shoots of Calabrese broccoli growing from the side of a potted plant.

Because of my relatively care-free harvest and positive experience with broccoli this year, I am planning on growing multiple varieties next fall. In addition to Calabrese, I will be sowing seeds of Super Rapini broccoli raab and Romanesco broccoli.

Broccoli varieties for future planting at .09 Acres.

I definitely recommend home-grown broccoli for every gardener, beginner or advanced. You will be pleasantly surprised with your harvest if the plant is grown in compost-rich soil and kept moist. Here's a list of the pros and cons of growing broccoli:

  • large central heads of sweet, tender broccoli
  • secondary harvest of side shoots 3-4 weeks after main harvest
  • unbeatable flavor compared to insipid store-bought broccoli
  • extremely tolerant of hard frosts and variable weather
  • can be grown in large pots
  • beautiful blue/green foliage


  • young plants are prone to attack by caterpillars
  • needs steady supply of water as a seedling
  • large size when mature (appx. 36" in diameter in my garden) 
  • long time from seed to harvest 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

14.1 Ounce Carrot

I usually don't like posting about the same topic twice in a row, but I don't have a choice. You have to see the ridiculous carrot I harvested yesterday.

14.1 ounce Chantenay Red Core carrot.
I was blown away when I plucked this Chantenay Red Core carrot from the garden. It is the largest carrot I've ever grown and weighs in at a respectable 14.1 ounces! The craziest part is that I didn't pay any attention to it after I planted it last fall. Sure, I watered religiously the first few weeks to make sure the soil was moist, but other than that I didn't do anything special or attempt to grow large veggies. No fertilizer, no plant growth hormone, nothing.

The above picture doesn't really do it justice. Some people have large hands, others have small hands. Mine are somewhere in the middle. So I decided to take another photo for scale and perspective.

14.1 ounce carrot meets a 12.0 ounce Newcastle Brown Ale.
People like me who never go to the gym and enjoy a beer or two sometimes joke about doing 12 ounce curls to stay in shape. I think I may toughen my workout by doing some 14.1 ounce curls instead.

Here's one final photo of the carrot. It's looking a little drab after spending the night in the fridge, but it is still a heavyweight.  Check it.

14.1 ounce carrot meets a 1/2 gallon of Stonyfield milk.
Seriously. That's a single carrot holding its own against a 1/2 gallon of milk. No Photoshop. Anybody else hauling trophy root vegetables from their garden?