Tuesday, August 19

Pumpkins in August-Portland Garden Album Update

On the way to my Community Garden is a street arbor made from a tree and telephone pole. 

Another tree lawn planted with sunflowers

Here is a pumpkin from the community bed

My kale. I am working on adding vegetables that will over winter

An exotic tomato my neighbor Carol is growing

Another tomato my neighbor is growing. It looks black in color

Moths are already eating my cabbage 

The tomatoes are growing very close to the ground this year

Sunday, August 17

Sambucus Canadensis 'Adams' Elderberry Bush

For some time now I've wanted to plant elderberry on my property. I tried transplanting wild bushes with no luck. When I saw this bush on sale at a nursery, I brought it home. The variety is "Adams." It was the last one. Elderberry bushes are becoming popular in native landscaping plans.
 This elderberry will spread so my hope is to have a nice supply of elderberry outside my door in the years to come.
 I love elderberry as it's packed with nutrition and so versatile. It can be made into jelly, syrup, and wine. I've dried and frozen the berries to preserve for winter. Even the spring blossoms can be eaten. In addition, elderberry attracts and provides food for birds.

The wild elderberries are ripening, so stay tuned for more elderberry posts in the coming weeks. In the meantime, click here if you'd like to read a previous Sprouts post about collecting elderberries.

Saturday, August 16

Collecting Collard Seeds

Last year, my collard greens were doing well into the fall. Even as the temperatures dropped, the collards stayed green. Finally, a killing frost did them in...or so I thought. I didn't get around to pulling them out so in the spring I was surprised when I saw the seemingly dead stems bursting back into life. It's a pretty tough plant that can survive a Maine winter.
So, I let the plants go to seed. Early in August, I pulled the plants out and hung to dry- the results of which you see in the photo above. I spent some time snipping off the little seed pods with scissors and collected them in cups. Each bean-like pod contains a great number of tiny black seeds. The seeds look similar to poppy seeds.
 I left most of the seed in the pod to continue to dry on a high shelf in my kitchen. Those you see in the cup below I sowed to test the viability of the seeds. In just a few days, I had a pot full of collard sprouts, so my experiment was a success.
 I have found collard greens one of the easiest, not to mention nutritious, veggies to grow. Collards can be started inside during the winter for spring transplanting or directly into the ground in the spring. Because collards are cold hardy, August is also an appropriate time to sow collard seeds for a fall or early winter crop, which is what I intend to do with some of my seeds. And I'll be saving some for spring as well.
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