Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

Fresh sunflower seeeds for the chickens

The five little things that made my week…

1. Bringing a spent sunflower head down to the chicken run. The ladies love their little treat! If you have the space, it’s worth growing a crop of sunflowers near your run every summer. As the flowers fade, they naturally drop their seeds. It gives them something to scratch for in the soil and offers a nutritional boost that will keep their feathers soft and shiny.

Ripe pomegranates

2. We let a week (okay, maybe two) go by without harvesting our pomegranates, and they just couldn’t wait on the tree any longer.

Homegrown pomegranate

3. Nature’s rubies.

Lettuce Leaf basil

4. I can’t resist growing this basil in my garden every year. Lettuce Leaf basil is sweet like the Italian variety, with large, crinkly leaves that look like lettuce. Mine grow up to 6 inches long! I love to wrap a basil leaf around some succulent tomatoes, mozzarella, and prosciutto as an afternoon snack.

Early Silver Line melon

5. I sowed the seeds for this Early Silver Line melon late in the season, and it’s just starting to form fruit this month. This has always been one of my favorite melons from the Korean market, so I figured it could only taste better from my own garden!

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »

34 Comments

  • Avatar
    Anna
    August 10, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Sunflowers are such garden essentials. I love seeing that you feed the heads directly to your birds. I try to get to mine before the songbirds do here. We feed our birds and the wild birds the seeds, and we feed our rabbits some of the seeds and the leaves and stalks. The entire plant of sunflowers is excellent. Our favorites are the ones that sprout up from the black oil sunflower seed I use in the wild bird feeders around here.

    I grew lettuce leaf basil this year too, and the leaves on it were the biggest basil leaves I’ve ever grown! I love your recipe for a delicious snack or meal. I’ll try that sometime.

    Do the chickens eat pomegranate?

    And thank you for the melon plugin, I am always on the hunt for melons we can grow here successfully that also taste good. We’ll try this one next year!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      The chickens eat almost everything from the garden! I’ll occasionally give them a few pomegranate seeds, or figs that have gone too ripe, strawberries, tomatoes… and an assortment of weeds and other greens. They’re very good composters. 😉

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Aimee Levens
    August 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    So lucky on the pomegranates! We’ve had several triple digit heat waves that really traumatized my li’l pom and the blossoms fell off 🙁

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 9, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      Eek, how devastating! Maybe try shading it a bit during the hottest part of the day?

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Modern Veg Plot
    August 8, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Wow, your pomegranates looks absolutely amazing. Any idea if they might grow well in the UK climate?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Pomegranate is a Mediterranean plant, so it likes hot summers and mild winters. There might be cold-tolerant varieties out there, but I recommend asking your local plant nursery.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Cherryl
    August 8, 2015 at 8:05 am

    I always love “Five Things Friday”, but today I thoroughly enjoyed the little ad video of 100 Years of Men’s Swimwear in 3 minutes. Talk about Grandma Eye Candy! Let me take a moment to recover!

    Now let me compliment you on that lovely large Lettuce Leaf basil–I’m going to get some to grow next year. The pomengranate goes without saying, they’re lovely. Those ripe rubies just waiting to pop in the mouth. I’ve never had that type of melon. Yum! We’re not having any luck with melons this year because of too much rain, even with raised beds. As for sunflowers, we always grow lots of those. The birds love them, and we even get to have a few. I love how they can grow so straight and tall. I like to put them in the midst of our sunchoke forest, for added support.

    I wonder if sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) flowers are edible? I’m already getting into the edible nature of tomato plant parts, thanks to the Garden Betty article I read. With all the lush foliage and flowers plants produce, it seems a shame to waste anything if any part of it might be edible.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 9, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Oh my… LOL! I just had to watch it for myself, and I agree!! 😀

      Since sunchokes are related to sunflowers, you could try eating sunchoke sprouts (I personally love sunflower sprouts but have never had sunchoke sprouts… worth a try though?). And I imagine the rest of the sunchoke plant is edible, but probably not too palatable. There are very few flowers that I actually enjoy eating, but I do like them as a garnish (and one or two in my salad isn’t too bad).

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Brandi Young
    August 7, 2015 at 8:29 am

    wow your lettuce leaf basil looks amazing and the idea of using it as a wrap is delightful. I am imagining a Thai wrap, too. I have never heard of this variety so thank you for the introduction!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      It’s a great one to add to your garden! You can probably start it right now in a pot, and move it indoors once the weather turns. The basil is fairly long-lasting!

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Aimee Levens
        August 8, 2015 at 9:16 pm

        Any tips (or link to a former blog post?) about moving basil indoors if it’s not in a pot outside? Ours are mixed in with the tomatoes but I’d love to dig ’em up and bring ’em in for the winter…

        Reply
        • Linda Ly
          Linda Ly
          August 9, 2015 at 8:06 pm

          Basil roots very easily, so you could snip a few stems, put them in a glass of water, and root them over a couple of weeks. Make sure you pinch off any flowers that start to form, and keep the leaves themselves out of the water (you might need to strip some off the stem if needed). Other than changing the water every few days (if it starts to cloud) and refilling the glass as the roots suck up water, there’s not much else you have to do.

          I usually wait for the roots to reach 2-3 inches before I plant the basil sprigs (in your case, you would plant them in a pot indoors). If your outdoor basil is still small, you could try digging the whole thing up but you’d have to be careful not to disturb its roots (or the tomatoes’ roots) too much. A big basil plant is more difficult to move since it can suffer from transplant shock.

          Reply
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