Sunday, April 24, 2011

The End of the Cedar Era

Fig secured at the bottom and bamboo tied in at the top - well packed.
Negronne fig
Green Bamboo / zone 5 hardy - we will see.
With the cedars gone, the space will sure get the sun, but how to fix the view.
This is the before
This is the after.
Later we will cut and split for the summer fires of the future.
Waiting for the city to chip at the curb and take away.

Dare I mention that the snow is gone and the daffodils are again blooming and looking quite spring-like. The weather was good enough to send the fig tree outside I hope for good.
I got my new fig tree and some bamboo and a Passion vine from One Green World on Saturday morning. Great packaging, I was very impressed as the plants were nice sized, and very well tied down in the box - nothing moved or slid on top of one another. I got them potted within in the hour after they arrived. The fig was still dormant but the other two were leafy and ready to keep growing.
I did some seeding this week but the biggest job was the removal of the winter damaged arborvitae in the back yard. The winter pictures show how badly the snow bent them and what you could not see was the way the roots pulled causing them to need removal. I probably planted them way back in the late 70's but their present condition meant that I either cut them down now or after they died in few years. So my wife, youngest son, and I did the deed today. Took most of the afternoon and I only broke the Saws-All blade close to the end of the job. We cut the branches off, piled them to the street and cut the trunks in long lengths to be cut and split later and used in the metal fire circle that we bought this spring. We have the cut up rails from the fence that we took down last summer before the new fence was put up. Now we have another large pile of logs that will take some time to burn in the fire pit. Summer nights will have a new activity like the evenings we have spent around a campfire in Wyoming in the past.
Hopefully we will be able to cut the stumps out and then this will be a new growing place as this is full south exposure and plans are already in the making for grapes and maybe apricots - new space for more edibles and just maybe a few flowers.
I have my permit for my chickens! I got it early in the week and have already ordered chicks so now I must get their pen ready. I have the dog crate to use as an early place for them but a coop is essential. We are thinking about housing them in the garden shed with an outside run and some sort of chicken tractor for moving them around the yard. I am getting Black Australorps as they good producers, friendly, calm and take cold weather well. They are due to arrive in early June so I am looking at coop plans while getting the garden ready. Spring is that busy time but what excitement - chickens...
Happy Gardening

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Interrupted Again!

6-8 inches of heavy snow fell on April 19th
Blanketing everything
crushing the daffodils
and my Cedar trees are history. Enough already....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seeds Are Sprouting

Spring to me means daffodils.
These clumps are in the yard and we mow around them.

Tomatoes have sprouted nicely.

Peppers have done well too.
This is the Simply Salad mix
This is some of the pellitized lettuce in with some seedlings from last fall.
Not the prettiest but they sure were good roasted.
These irrigated fields fascinate me - and probably would at ground level too.

I had to go out of town for a week and my wife did a wonderful job managing the greenhouse and the sprouting seeds - always a tough task.
Most of the parsley is up and I had a good germination. I think I will do some transplanting of some of the cells that have more than two seedlings because I need quite a few plants for edging around the front walk and maybe around the patio in the back yard. the Darki seemed to sprout better than the Laura. Both had the same hot water treatment.
The peppers did well and the tomatoes are all up too. As I have just returned from Arizona I am not sure what is next for seeding and will be busy in the greenhouse this next week.
I have some pictures of the plants I transplanted into the hoop house and they are really moving along - hardly any setbacks. Some of the hoop house spinach looks like it could use a shot of nitrogen to move the leaves along. We are keeping the door to the hoop house open to help modify the internal temperature because spinach and heat do not mix. I have some space left in this hoop house and will attempt to plant this week.
We harvested the first of the parsnips today. As you can see they are not the best examples of good growing in a cone punched in the ground for them. I am going to plant the same variety again this year and if I get this much branching I will find another variety. If I am not mistaken this years parsnips are Javelin. However this is only the first harvest, late as it is, so maybe the rest will be better. I also am thinking about moving parsnips to a new spot as this is probably the third year in the same location and moving crops is always a good thing.
We had terrible weather while I was gone, heavy winds, tornado warnings, hail and rain. I even drove back from Chicago yesterday in sleet and snow. But even so, I have daffodils blooming and the grass is really green. The garden shows the effect of all the rain as I can see where water ran down the ditch that I dug last fall and filled with straw to help the yard and garden drain in the spring. At least one night the temps drooped to 29 degrees but the lettuce, onions, and other seedlings out in the cold frame came through quite nicely. What did not fare as well was the lettuce close to the house. I found today that cold temperatures did not harm it as much as hungry bird beaks do. Some feathered fiends have decided that they like my salad crop and were eating it. I have since fenced and covered the area to keep them out.
I included the circular field aerial pictures because I think this farming method looks so amazing from 30,000 feet.
Happy Gardening

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Snow

Say, What's all the fuss about?
These are the crocus that I bought on sale last fall - planted real late - they did great.
These greens are right next to the house and we should have radishes soon.

This is direct seed lettuce that needs thinning - I use a tweezers.
This is pellitized seed and needs no thinning - love this method.

If April showers bring May flowers just what does April snow bring? It snowed big fat flakes most of the morning and the weather is not cooperating but planting continues in the greenhouse because everything else is just TOO wet outside. I had a video of the snow but for some reason it just wont load - but then who wants to see more snow?/ not me either.
The onions have sprouted nicely and maybe this year I can get them in as early as possible. Plus I think I said I have some nice shallots that I found in the grocery and intend to plant them even though fall planting might have been better.
The lettuce pictures show the reason I have gone to pelleted seed. The cells will be so much more productive that the ones that I have to thin as thinning first disturbs the roots and I just can't seem to thin as effectively as only planting two pellets in a cell. The pellets from Stokes that were multi-seeded germinated nicely. Some of these plants are destined for the cold frames if they ever dry out. I trenched the water out of the cold frames on Saturday but after today that may not have been much use.
I saw a few parsley seedlings today - unheard of in a week - but I think the hot water treatment does some good as parsley is very slow to germinate. The rest of the crop might take as long as 2 -3 weeks to get out of the ground so keeping them moist is an issue.
I got the pepper crop seeded yesterday and turned up the heat mat a few degrees as peppers like warm and the weather for the next week does not seem to be going in that way. Next I will get on to the tomatoes. The new garden location for them will have to have all the stakes repositioned as we pulled them last fall.
Now for a side issue. We are having renewed discussions here in GB over CHICKENS. The law on the books says: a resident my have 4 chickens (hens) on their property. There seems to be some who want to limit that rule or add a lot of bureaucracy to the issue. One must get a permit but its a "No Fee" permit - something a city clerk or treasure office could issue. Instead you have to go to the Humane Officer and get the permit. The committee in charge of this issue approved nine cats at one residence the same night they had issues with the chicken count.
Let me know if where you live allows urban chickens and how many. Plus just what kind of hoops do you have to jump through to get the permit, if one is required. I am going to another meeting this next week on this issue and would love to hear from my blog readers about this. You can post anonymously if you like but let me hear from you.
Happy Gardening