Thursday, January 23, 2014
Just as I posted the 2014 Seed Order my favorite heirloom seed company catalog arrived in the mail so I made an order and sent it off. Here are the additions...
SAND HILL PRESERVATION CENTER
Red Russian kale
Catalogna Long Green chicory
Giant Winter spinach
Cherry Belle radish
Chapeau de Frade pepper (plants supposed to get 6ft tall!)
Zinnia large mix
Snow White cotton - could not get this one last year
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I think we are looking at experimenting with herbs this year as demolition of the greenhouse is in the plan and so seed germination might be tricky if I have to grow and demolish in the same place - time will tell on that one. But even if the seed list seems extensive - we will have less of many things this coming season - tomatoes for one, and cucumbers for another. So take a look and post a questions as to reason for selection and I will try to explain.
2014 Seed Order
PINETREE Garden Seeds
Bianca Borage (white)
Purple Cayenne pepper
Hungarian Yellow pepper
Cherry Belle radish
Soloist Napa cabbage
Tom Thumb bibb lettuce
Tomatoberry grape tomato
TERRITORIAL Seed Company
Manny greenhouse cucumber
Purple Glazer garlic –fall delivery
Deerfield garlic – fall delivery
Wild Garden kale
Flashy Trout Back Romaine lettuce
Victoria Butterhead lettuce
Relic leaf lettuce
Dragons Tongue arugula
Italiko red stemmed dandelion
Spicy Green mustard
Sugar Pot watermelon (compact grower)
Piccolo summer squash
Red Kuri winter squash
Gold Nugget winter squash
Indigo Rose tomato
Mammoth Sweet basil
Empress of India nasturtium
Teddy Bear sunflower
Golden Cheer sunflower
Starlight Rose Zahars series zinnia
Double Strawberry Zahara series zinnia
JOHNNY’S SELECT Seeds
New Red Fire leaf lettuce (pellets)
Winter Density bibb lettuce (pellets)
Nevada crisp head lettuce (pellets)
Tropicana leaf lettuce (pellets)
Crunchy Royale radish
Alpine Daikon radish
Nova grape tomato
Giant of Italy parsley
Moss Curled parsley
Princess Calendula mix
Kaleidoscope nasturtium mix
TOTALLY TOMATOES ( a subsidiary of Jung Seeds)
Apple Indigo series tomato
Sugary Hybrid tomato
Tomatoberry Garden Hybrid tomato
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
|The first flowers of 2014|
Reflecting on the posts for 2013 there have been less of them this year but I hope they were still informative, helpful and fun to read.
We had some successes in 2013 and a few flops - the quinoa was a big flop for sure. It always pays to check out the genus and species name and take a quick look at the Family that a new plant belong to because that gives important clues about the plant in general.... and in the quinoa - looking like "Lambs Quarters" is a big clue...
The tomato crop was OK, but the grape varieties did a wonderful job in both quantity and quality. TomatoBerry is going to be planted again for sure, even though the size of next seasons garden will be smaller because I am really thinking about letting the soil go fallow for a season and just plant cover crops and rototill them in several times during the season - still in the planning but could be a reality.
The blueberry plants in the EarthBoxes are covered with snow and awaiting spring for the final test to see just how they manage the winter - but they too might be on the way out because of the constant care issue for the results we might get.
Sadly the figs were missed this summer but in this climate and with my shoulder issues this year - huge planters just don't do it any more, and with the very cold weather we have had so far this season I am sure new fig trees would not have made the cold again - so sadly they are off the list too. I did protect the stems of my currents with plastic pots to keep the meadow voles off them. With all the snow we have I am sure the lawn is riddled with vole trails already. Dogs of the past helped take care of this problem. I will put out the rest of the traps this month and hope to curb the population. My successful trapping in the fall for a month, I thought would help; but I have already seen snow tunnels early in the season that assures me the critter are out there still.
My shoulder surgery in September brought an instant end to all garden work so the garden and lawn did not really get a good clean up this fall, all that awaits me in the spring. That is partly why I am thinking about letting the garden go fallow for a year - just so I can have a breather and see just what I want to do and how much I can do.
Plus, after many years, almost 30, the greenhouse and its brittle glass are scheduled for demolition in spring of 2014. I might get one more seed crop grown in the space in April but even that is not for sure. I will take the glass and aluminum down, recycle all the aluminum when the price is good, and the contractor will demolish the walls and give us a new cerement slab in the space. We will even tear up all the BRICK WORK in front of the greenhouse (and that was sooooo much work). The new space will be fine for a few rain barrels and a small plastic greenhouse that I can start plants in and not have to brush off after every snow fall all winter long, and just MAYBE a nice hot tub.
I hope to keep posting, at least monthly, as this new garden season begins and one can always look back to see ideas and suggestion in the past but most of all -
Looking Back at 2013...
|I remember falling into this cold frame - reason for NO GLASS.|
|Compost for the EarthBoxes.|
|Using the brown cotton I grew for the birds.|
|Quinoa, amaranth and other seedlings for 2013.|
|Cucumbers and lettuce.|
|Lettuce marking parsnips - Inter-plant to save space.|
|Lambs Quarter - NO - Quinoa.|
|I will miss the greenhouse for growing cukes.|
|2013 Alpine strawberry crop! one picking!!|
|One of the only perennials left in the yard.|
|A blue ribbon fair entry - wish they were mine.|
|TomatoBerry - great grape tomato.|
|Passionflower - Mayhop.|
|The chickens we almost had - Black Austrolorp .|
|We like zinnias - red, pink, and yellow.|
|A true marrow squash - great zucchini.|
|The fountain friend.|
|September and recovery until MARCH.|
|Red Okra - only good for decoration.|
|Next years beans.|
|Vole traps - PVC and poison baits.|
|Bloodgood Japanese Maple|
|Vole proof red currant stems.|
|A sad (post surgery) September garden.|
Sunday, August 11, 2013
|One of the small zinnias - Profusion Red F1.|
|This is a mix of orange and yellow - great for a mass of color.|
|This is the squash bed were the cedar trees used to be - much more productive.|
|Roots will develop at leaf junctions on pumpkins and squash.|
|Encourage those roots to help your fruits grow bigger.|
|Keep the melons off the ground to discourage critters.|
|The beans a week ago.|
|The beans today - they finally took off.|
|Tomatoberry - who wouldn't like a cluster like this?|
|Lettuce and kale for fall harvest.|
|These okra just do not size - a heritage variety!?|
The pole beans have finally taken off and are climbing the poles with a bit of help so hopefully in two weeks we will have flowers and beans.
Squashes and the pumpkins are setting fruits and the pictures remind you to encourage the stem roots that these plants will set. Covering stems with soil will help the fruits to grow and also help protect somewhat from squash vine borers that I have still seen flying around my plants. On pumpkins, I usually monitor the distance that the plant sets fruits and usually have a good 3 - 4 feet between set fruit -that too will help the plant. Then, I don't allow more than two to three pumpkins per plant to grow to maturity - more if they are squash. Those people that grow the monster sized pumpkins only have one fruit per plant and they baby that one.
The third crop of lettuce is about to be harvested and so I planted another flat along with Napa cabbage and some kale varieties and cilantro as all these plant types will take the shortening day lengths that we are into and for us seemingly more cool weather. I will plant lettuce again for the fall cold frames but not quite yet as the pumpkins are sort of in that space.
Flowers of summer are here - the zinnias are looking good and nasturtiums are doing well plus we even have a few calendulas still blooming both of the latter are good to eat along with the borage flowers that add a bit of blue to a salad or lemonade.
The okra is poor - does not get real large before the pod gets real seedy and the watermelons and cantaloupes have just started to set fruit - may be a push to get them ripe. Note the cantaloupe picture as we have chipmunks and voles and I for one do not like to share. Watch for vole nests in the lawn as they are prodigious breeders and any you get rid of now you will not be feeding all winter long. I have found 4 nests so far this summer - each with 5 or more pups. We still have bunny problems as the young ones get though the chain link fence so I will have to put a guard around the entire bottom of the fence to stop this.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
|Nice yellow daisy to signal full summer.|
|Amaranth will be used in salads - the young top leaves.|
|The second lettuce crop - and another is waiting in a seedling tray for planting.|
|Cucumbers on the trellis - lettuce under the trellis.|
|This greenhouse plant is producing nicely.|
|Garlic scapes - great in stir fry, stemming, and eggs...|
|These leeks were planted in a trench that is now filled.|
|Peppers in one EarthBox - there are two planted.|
|The tomatoes strung up on the twine and mulched.|
|This is the Quinoa seed head.|
|This is Lambs Quarter in the onions - looks the same!|
|This is my new nasty weed - Yellow Oxalis - everywhere with the purslane.|
|The pole beans replanted in cleaned peat pots and getting ready to set out.|
The alpine strawberries are producing nicely and the parsnips are almost at the final thinning. The leek trench has been filled in and the plants are doing nicely along with the fennel that I had to replant because some bunny decide to snack on it. He is no longer snacking on anything.
The quinoa has been a real lesson. First - one needs to read the whole seed packet - this stuff will get 6ft tall. Second - it is planted too thick and too close to the tomatoes. As the quinoa grew it looked amazingly like Lambs Quarters and guess what - same family of plants and the pictures show the amazing look alike. As a new plant in the garden it seems to like the location and is growing well so later this fall we will see what we get for a harvest and if the birds stay out of it.
Gallic scape's are all gone but they sure were good. Our first onions from sets are ready to pull and be used. The tomatoes are all strung up, mulched, and the suckers have been snapped twice now so the plants are heading up the twine - Check out June 26,2011 for info on this and to see an example of snapping the top out of your plant - only did this to one plant this season and the replacement sucker has already taken over. Luckily, all is not lost on that plant. I can not stress too much the importance of mulching your tomato plants - they will be so much happier and more productive if you go to the work of mulching them.
The pole beans had to be planted twice as the first planting just rotted in the pots. I dumped all the soil in the compost bin, cleaned the peat pots with some bleach water and planted again. Pole beans will be late this year as they are just up and will be planted out in the garden sometime soon - I want at least two sets of true leaves before I set them out. They will probably get out just in time for the Japanese beetles to arrive - what fun - morning bug picking.
Apple bagging is done and the fruit set this year was poor. I may have bagged only 250 - 300 apples and with the summer drop we might not have apples to last all winter this year. Look back to June 28, 2010 for more info on apple bagging and a short video on technique. The currents are really doing nicely and I know that we will have a harvest next year. The blueberries are still an experiment and I will see how they winter and fruit next season. The peppers in the EarthBox are doing great and have already set fruit. Instead of flowers in the pot at the front of the house by the sidewalk I have a half barrel planted with an assortment of herbs and they are getting to the point where one can pass your hand through them and get a great mix of herb smells.
Sorry about the small script on the last posting of pictures - I have to manually reset the size and guess what - I forgot.