Amaryllis to Microgreens

Are you ready for some…CHEESE BALLS??

When grocery stores begin stocking up on cheese balls and Chex mixes; the familiar square boxes of flowering Amaryllis bulbs can’t be far behind. But, don’t think of the giant flowering Amaryllis as just another Christmas cliché. Think of Amaryllis-in-a-Box as the easiest, least expensive and most amazing flowering houseplant you’ll ever grow. For about five dollars and five minutes, you can have a winter bloom that looks like it belongs in the tropics. Impressive.

 

Time Out!

Give yourself a holiday “time out”. Take a walk through Tacoma’s Wright Park Conservatory in December to get a dose of red poinsettias and fragrant paperwhites; then come right back in January for an early dose of spring when the conservatory is filled with miniature daffodils, tulips and cyclamen.  The 1908 Victorian glass house is always filled with unusual tropical greenhouse plants but it’s the outstanding flower displays that keep visitors coming back. www.metroparks.org

Best Gardening Gifts for You and Yours (mostly you)

Every gardener needs reliable tools and a few instructional and inspirational garden books. Good to give…good to get…here are the basics.

Tool-wise: Felco #2 Pruners, Bunny Brand Hori Hori Knife, Burgon and Ball Hand Rake, Japanese Nejiri Gama Hoe, Lawn Claws, Spear and Jackson Spade and Digging Fork and Atlas Grip Gloves.

Bookwise: “Sunset Western Garden Book”, “Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning”, “Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades” (Solomon), “Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast” (Pojar), and anything by Dan Hinkley, Ann Lovejoy, Penelope Hobhouse or Christopher Lloyd.

Green Cuisine

South Sound gardeners are NOT fair weather gardeners. If we were, we’d never get anything accomplished. However, from the current weather predictions it sounds like even the most dedicated Northwest gardeners will have too much rain and snow to slog through this winter to get an off-season gardening ‘fix’. Vegan Community to the rescue!

“Microgreens” (sprouts to the rest of us) can be grown on a windowsill and harvested in only ten days. Easy as 1,2,3…4.  The best containers for this mini gardening job are the clear plastic boxes you get in the produce aisle. Start a new box of  “greens” every few days to have tasty, spicy microgreens all winter to flavor salads and sandwiches. Growing microgreens isn’t exactly real gardening but it’s good “buffer gardening” until the real thing comes along again in the springtime.

Growing Microgreens on a Windowsill

  1. Cut off the top of the plastic container and use as a drip tray. Fill with potting soil
  2. Plant seeds of radish, mustard, arugula, cress, kale, lettuce and spinach either mixed or separated. (this is a great way to use up all of those half-planted packages of vegetable seeds you’ve squirreled away)
  3. Put on windowsill, keep moist and wait about 10 days, then harvest with scissors.
  4. Compost stems left in the container and replant.

Harvesting is kind of a pain but the gardening part is fun.