on Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Here's just some of the pepper and tomato plants in the greenhouse. The chilly gray weather hasn't really encouraged them to take off and grow, but they're probably still getting over transplant shock from being potted up a week or two ago.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

There's hope after all!

The peas are finally starting to take off! Don't ask me why there's an all yellow plant. This has nothing to do with the golden podded variety I'm trying this season. Odds are it's sickly or hit something in the soil it didn't like, like maybe something not fully composted? Will watch and see if it doesn't turn green soon.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

The Growing Season: A Horror Movie

Dad, Andy at Chicken Thistle Farm and I have been exchanging many "I'M SO SICK OF THE RAIN" type emails, usually involving how stressed we are over not being able to get into the garden, which seedlings we're worried are rotting, etc. Earlier today I had to keep it brief but rattled off an email and Andy must've liked it ... that plus all this rain is giving him way too much free time cooped up in the house, clearly going a little stir crazy. He took exactly what I said and turned it into this really cool movie trailer..

And yes, I will be suing him for royalties!

Looks like we'll have to try something new this season...

on Monday, April 25, 2011

Dear CSA customers...

Considering how wet everything is already this season, and the forecast doesn't look any better, we're already behind on things growing in the garden. I think by this time last year I was harvesting lettuce and spinach from the gardens. At this point THIS year? The lettuce and asian green seeds sprouted a couple weeks ago, but have completely halted all growth. And the spinach? NO SIGN OF IT!

Each year you get something a little different - an earlier start, a later start, a really short season of spring, summer or fall depending on temperature and precipitation, etc. Well...taking a look at the backyard THIS year, I think you'll all be getting rice.

Just kidding! I wouldn't know where to begin with growing rice. Hopefully we'll get a warmer, dry spell soon with more sunlight to get all the little seedlings growing!

We might need to include breath mints this year!

on Monday, April 18, 2011

Check out all that garlic! I hate having an entire bed dedicated (or tied up) for so long for just one crop, but the garlic lovers know it's worth it. I've never grown this much garlic before... and it's sort of an impressive sight!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

First pea sprout of the season

Well it's about time! I'm just hoping most of the pea seeds sprout rather than rot in place considering how cold and wet it's been. So far it seems like things are getting a much later start than last year!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Planting leeks and disturbing worms

on Sunday, April 17, 2011

Got over 150 leeks planted this afternoon, with plenty more to put in the beds where I find some space. So far I've filled all the areas that I have marked for leeks on the garden plan... now I just have to get creative with the rest.

I was reading an article commenting on how leeks tend to average about a dollar apiece when purchased at the store... and yet they're so easy to grow at home if you're just willing to give up the space for them long enough.

I learned a nifty trick for planting leeks a couple years ago. Most instructions have you planting the leek seedlings shallow, and then as they gain size you mound soil up around them to blanche the stalks, meaning shade as much as possible from sunlight so you get the more valuable white stalk and less of the tough dark green leafy parts. Only that means all spring and summer you're constantly moving soil around their bases, bringing it from somewhere else in the garden and/or worrying about damaging the plants.

With the technique I found, you "drill" a hole 1"-2" across and 8"-10" deep. You just drop the seedlings down the shaft and leave 'em. Don't fill in those holes right away! Watering, rain and wind will slowly knock soil down into the hole. And because this is happening slowly, the leek has time to set down roots and grow up upwards out of the hole. This worked great for most of my leeks the last two years.... although some of the leeks just never made it out of the hole.

So why all the pictures of worms? It seems shoving a 1x2 stake down into the soil nice and deep and then rotating it to form the shaft as you pull it out must remind the works of moles digging through the dirt to get them. You can be drilling a new hole and just a couple inches away a worm or two will shoot up out of the soil and start crawling away to safety.

If you look up worm charming or I think worm grunting online, you'll see how this is put to use.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Black Cherry

Tauton's latest issue of Grow ("Fine Gatdening's Guide to Vegetable Gardening") just came out this past week. In addition to articles on swiss chard, spinach, leeks, mesclun mix and building raised beds is an article on heirloom tomatoes.

Of the favorites the author lists, I typically grow two, including the Black Cherry you see here. These little guys are actually a wee bit bigger than your average cherry tomato, incredibly prolific, and oh so flavorful. I'd have to say they're my favorite cherry tomato.

I've also grown a variety called Chocolate Cherry, which I honestly think is the same tomato with a different name.... Perhaps a marketing thing? Either way, I know these little purpley-brown guys were getting lots of complements last year!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Dear overwintered kale...

on Saturday, April 16, 2011

Who knew you'd be popping back up here and there in the garden... Especially in the places where you DIDN'T do well last year because of weed competition in the ground.

Since then I've given up on the in-ground veggie garden space, putting in more raised beds last fall.

And there you are this spring, coming back up after a long, hard winter, some in the raised beds where you did well last summer, and some coming up from under the straw mulch around the edges of the new raised beds.

Looking pretty.

Looking tasty.

Well here's what happens when you look that good! You were great sautéed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper. Serves you right!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5


on Friday, April 15, 2011

Radishes and spinach on top which I started in the basement and, yes, have been harvesting!

Just potted up tomato and pepper seedlings in the middle. The tomatoes look especially roughed up after their first real exposure to wind and sunshine.

Some storebought stuff on the bottom that could probably go out any day now.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3

Moving on up!

Here's some of the pepper seedlings after they've been potted up. I used a mix of potting mix and homegrown worm castings, so there were plenty of worms finding their way into the party cups. My *hope* is that they'll do just fine in the little pots, choose to remain there, keep improving the soil mix, and then go along for the ride right out to the garden in about a month and a half.

Now the trick is to figure out what to do with all the pepper and tomato plants. With extra protective layers of plastic plus a heat mat, will they do well in the greenhouse, even though temps are supposed to drop again?
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3

Which road?

on Monday, April 11, 2011

There's a "high road/low road" joke in here somewhere...
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3

First sprouts

on Sunday, April 10, 2011

These komatsuna sprouts are the first direct seeded growies to be coming up this season!

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3

Warming up, and planting out!

on Friday, April 8, 2011

Seeing what the extended forecast looks like, I finally felt comfortable direct seeding the peas (mostly sugar snap varieties) Wednesday afternoon. I'm thinking I can also start considering planting out seedlings for kales, chard and cabbage, plus direct seeding stuff that loves cold weather, like spinach. Is it too early for some of this stuff?

Yup, definitely looks like the gardening season is upon us! Yay! Will we have another extreme drop in temperature, especially night time temps? There's no way to know, but if the weather IS going to be nicer like this, you can't NOT take advantage of it with a little risk... You don't want to wait til late April or even May to plant things like spinach and cold-temperature loving brassicas - they hate the heat and go to seed when it warms up too much.

Enhanced by Zemanta


on Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First round of peas: planted!

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3