Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Harvesst

This year a success...

Meadow vole damage - eating machine.

Plant in a cone and the roots sometimes take full advantage.

Last year the parsnip crop failed but this year we have a harvest.  This is our favorite spring vegetable.  After a full winter in the ground these roots are just so sweet that one can eat them raw but a quick saute with a bit or oil or butter makes them even better.  I try to dig them one at at time to stretch the season but the first digging in the first picture - one never made it to the house.  Making a cone in the ground for them to grow into is always the technique I use and as you see in the pictures
one parsnip really used the cone to a great advantage.
Seeding continues; tomatoes are up and so are the nasturtiums. The parsley has a few weeks to go yet and today we started on the herbs - 10 types (thyme, woad, holy basil, summer savory, catnip, motherwort, white horehound,wormwood, coriander, burdock. We will see what grows and what we may have to buy or not have.
Outside in the cold frames I planted more spinach, lettuce, and radish.  In the small bed by the house I planted radish and arugla and they will be out by the time the white cotton seedlings are ready to go into this sunny hot bed ( planted the cotton today too).  I have grown brown, tan, green cotton but finally I am going to try the white - longest of the cottons to mature so we will hope for a crop.
A natsty meadow vole found the radish crop in the cold frame and ate some so I blocked him from getting in with some bricks and hopefully his Decon snacks did him in...I don't share well.
With some luck we should have dafodills this week and then hopefully more warm weather.
Happy Gardening

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Week One Plantings and more

Naturalized crocus in the yard. These are more than 3 yrs in place.

The plantings on the heat mat - set at 70 degrees.

This year I tried to be more neat to save work.

The shade side of this tree - Yes I know that is a large cut - but...

I guess we are on week 2 not one...

Hot water over the seed for a 60 sec. soak then...

Broadcast into a flat, lightly cover and...

Soak well before placing them on the heat mat.

The season is going to be slow, I think, this year because as I write it is snowing again.  But, we did have warm weather this weekend and that allowed me to get to the apple tree pruning.  I got all three trees done in one day - some sort of record - I think.  I did remove some rather large branches from the oldest tree because they are in the shade of three other trees and just don't produce anything but leaves and waterspouts.  I also got rid of part of another tree top that was waterspout crazy too.  I fear that my oldest and first planted tree will maybe have to come completely down in the future as shade makes for poor apple production and the huge cottonwood in my easterly neighbors yard is the biggest culprit.  Sadly, there is little I can do about that tree except make evil wishes under my breath.  The prunings will not go to waste, they will become apple chips for the grill this simmer and for a few more seasons too.

Planting has begun in the greenhouse.  Two weeks ago I got some old lettuce and radish seed planted into trays with the hopes of getting a few micro greens out of the planting.  The radishes did good; the lettuce not so good.  I guess that if I don't get lettuce seed planted I am not keeping it more than two years - the older stuff is just not good at germination no matter what you do.  Radishes are good for more multiple plantings but they need protection from root maggots and even in cold frames later in the season they just get deviated - polyester covers are just hard to keep in place till harvest time - so I don't know how the guys selling radishes at framers market keep them pets free...

I planted some marigolds and peppers earlier and this week I got parsley treated with hot water and in the ground on schedule.  I treat the seed with boiling water to help with germination in less than 21 days and for the most part it does shorten the time.  I have the seed in flats as pictured instead of cells because it is easier to broadcast the seed after the hot water treatment than plant individually in cells.

I did have one cold frame that was ready to plant so a mixture of leafy greens, spinach, radishes, and some lettuce was broadcast into that space.  My two other cold frames are still frozen into the ground out by the shed so lesson learned - they wont go there next winter.  I do have one cold frame that needs to be put together out in the shed so when I have a warm day next week I think I will get it put together - it is already cut and painted so it just needs bolts and a lid to go to work.
Happy Gardening