Sunday, January 25, 2009

Apples and Amaryllis

The last of the 2008 apple crop is plated and ready for savoring on this cold January Sunday. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the Winnebago County Master Gardeners about apple bagging and took them a sample to see. The three apples pictured are the very last of my fruit harvest. They were bagged in late May and harvested in October. The fruit stays in the plastic bags in storage until we eat them because they keep better. In a few months the pruning of the trees will begin and as we get closer to fruit bagging time I will give more details on that procedure. I have been bagging apples for over ten years and find the fruit this process produces to be as good if not better than any other pest prevention procedure that I have tried. My process is not totally organic but as Eco friendly as I can make the process. Even the used plastic bags the apples are stored in can be recycled. So I look forward to sharing the process this spring.
The time has come to wake up the amaryllis. Fifteen bulbs were sequestered in the cool of the basement crawl space in early November for a rest. Each week several pots are brought out, pots and bulb soaked in warm water, and pruned or cleaned. Then they are moved to the basement fluorescent light area and as they show a bud shoot are moved upstairs to a sunny south window. In the past some of the bulbs have been affected by the red fungus that attacks the flowering stem or leaves but those bulbs have been discarded for the health of the rest of the collection as little can be done for them and the fungus can spread to the other bulbs. Scale was a problem with summer growth last fall but the plants were treated with neem oil and I hope infestation is gone. We should have lovely color for at least two months and with any luck by then we should have crocus blooming outside. Some of these bulbs are five or more years old and reliable bloomers. I have always been very satisfied with bulbs that I have purchased from John Scheepers, Inc of Connecticut. Any recommendations of a plant source is my personal preference. This blog does not accept advertising.

Happy Gardening

Sunday, January 18, 2009


After several days of bitter cold the outlook is for warmer weather. Maybe the arrival of a January thaw will help in setting the mood for making the final seed selections for the '09' garden. All of the seed catalogs arrived and I have gone through with the highlighter and marked the "wish list". Now the work begins. I will have to go through the ten seed suppliers that I have catalogs for and try to narrow the choices and look for the best value of seed cost to packet amount. This is not a bad job but one that takes time and a lot of page turning to try to get the best value for our seed dollars.

I went through the seed box last week, during our cold, cold days and got rid of the oldest packets that probably would not have the best germination. I kept a few types of the 2007 seed that has some possibilities of fair germination but the rest I dumped in a jar and took out to the feeder for the doves to munch on - no I did not feed them any treated seeds only clean seed.

As I narrow the 2009 seed choices I will try to include some of the variety names and suppliers that I am using. But for sure I know that sesame seeds will again be on an order as we had great success whit that plant last year and had plenty of seed for mixing with bread dough to add a great taste to our fresh no-knead French bread.

Happy Gardening

Sunday, January 11, 2009

First Harvest of "09"

With the threat of a real cold snap forecast for next week, today's 23 degrees seemed warm enough to try for a harvest. The parsnip row is under a snowy blanket but with a little effort the garden gave us the first harvest of the season - a beautiful 30 oz parsnip. Roasted root vegetable will be on the menu for tonight as the winter full moon rises over the garden.
Happy Gardening

Friday, January 9, 2009

January 2009 Welcome

As the snow covers the garden the mail has finally delivered the garden catalogs. Now the fun begins. Reading and highlighting the possibilities for the next growing season. The first selections will have to be edited several time to get this year's seed selections to a manageable list for the 40 by 40 space that is the garden.

The final harvest of 2008 was made on Christmas Eve - a beautiful 14oz parsnip. Now the challenge will be to try to harvest another parsnip during a January thaw. I will keep you posted as to how that goes.

The next post should have a better list of what seeds might be in the plan for 2009.
Welcome and Happy Gardening...