Monday, April 19, 2010

This n' that

For a little bit of color I splurged and bought a bit of garden art. Normally I like the flowers to have that roll but this was just so lovely I couldn't resist. Plus technically it's functional so... yeah.
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Also the best thing about the garden is sharing it with my kiddo. Leg hug! (aka, "Mommy! Pay attention to me and not your plants!")
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I did let her pick out a pot for an empty little spot and I got the hosta to add to it.
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The pepper flat is looking much happier then last year! Made it a bit warmer and watered it less. Oh, I've also been feeding all the seedlings a liquid kelp "drink" once a week. Seems to have helped overall. I'll definitely keep that up.
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Next year I just need to remember to up-pot most of the plants sooner. When do you up-pot?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Average last frost day is finally past!

Lovely, lovely day. Lots and lots of gardening. I'd share but I completely dorked and didn't take a single picture. So wrong, I know! But it was warm (got up to 81*F/27*C today!) I put corn, beans, asparagus, collared greens, winter squash, annual flowers etc. in the garden. It's still too cold at night for tomatoes, summer squash, melons, peppers, etc to go in the ground so those will have to wait. (Needs to be 45*F/7*C at night consistently to put them out with a cloche or 55*F/13*C without protection. I saw that we're dipping into the mid 30's (1.5*C) this coming week so I thought I'd wait another week or so for the night time temps to warm up a bit).

Did a bit of visiting with the neighbor which was nice as we always seem to chat about gardening, crochet or sewing of some kind or another.

I also got out my very pointy yet super cool Grandpa Jack pitch fork and turned the compost in search of my compost thermometer that I accidentally buried last year. I found it after pissing off the ant colony that'd moved in and a lot of red wigglers. Hope I didn't empale too many of them! (It's a myth, they don't grow back if you cut them in half) But the compost looks good, nice and damp, not too wet and very earthy smelling which is a relief as I was thinking I needed more browns for sure. I still might add some as I've been chucking in loads of kitchen scraps lately and not much else. It's running warm but not hot. I'm sure that's because I haven't turned it at all since I started the thing last fall.

Also considering how poorly both my spinach and beets did last year, I'm quite thrilled that they're doing most excellent this year and I think I figured out what I was doing wrong that they didn't come up last year. So yay! I wasn't feeding my spinach enough, easily remedied this year. The beets? I wasn't beating them up enough! Turns out they have very hard little seed shells (can't think of the technical term just at the moment and am feeling too lazy to look it up) BUT I soaked them for a few hours and then planted them. They also need FIRM contact with the soil so I tamped them down but good after planting. Nearly all of them sprouted this year. (I think three of them came up last year then didn't do much more but keel over and die.) I also saw a neat trick that someone used where they lined the inside of a jar with fine grade sandpaper and gave their seeds a swirl to knick the coat to allow moisture into the inner part of the seed so it'd germinate. Anyway I'm very happy I'm going to get to eat spinach and beets from the garden this year!

I also figured out what I was doing that was stunting my poor peppers last year. (Too cold and too much water) This year they look really green and healthy and happy - more woo! Now if I could just nail the basil and get the tomatoes a little bigger I'd be golden. I think it's just too cold in the basement for them. I've really got to rig the shelf to be a little warmer... must do that soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Garden Book Review

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Thoughts: It took me a while to plough though this book but overall it was a good read. It covers a lot of the basics and places emphasis where it should be, on healthy soil. It was also more then I ever wanted to know about grass! I didn't think there was quite so much TO know, but apparently there is. And now I know it. Or at least I'll know where to go (and look stuff up) when I run into lawn care woes. In the meantime since I've been transitioning the lawn care to all organic this was a great resource and I'll be sure to work in these methods to my own garden maintenance calendar. A worthy read.

A bouquet from the garden

It was nice to have flowers on the table for Easter that I didn't have to go out and buy...
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Now if only the veggie garden were producing already! Oh how I long for fresh peas.

I haven't been writing too much about the garden but I've certainly been busy! Next week this list will double as our average last frost date is about to pass (April 16th) and I can really get going with putting plants in their beds.

TO DO:
Update PC (perpetual calendar) with info on lilacs, grapes, annual flowers, lawns and bulbs.
Mulch under fruit trees
Plant asparagus root crowns
Buy four more to replace that one's that didn't overwinter
Sew icicle radishes in squash bed
Prune peach tree
Seed more head lettuce indoors

DONE
Up-pot peppers
Up-pot toms
Seed beets outdoors
Seed carrots outdoors
Harden off and transplant brussels sprouts
Harden off and transplant loose leaf lettuce
Seed melons indoors
Seed summer squash indoors
Fertilize peach tree
Side dress peas with bone meal and complete fertilizer
Side dress broccoli with blood meal
Ran out of dirt! Go get more and some blood meal to boot.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

So now that we've eaten through most of last year's harvest and my poor empty mason jars are making a big cluttery mess of themselves I've had to find useful chores for them. One is holding dry goods in the pantry (like beans and hot cereal mixes)... another is protecting the newest garden plants from cold snaps. We were supposed to get down into the low 30's earlier this week at night. Can't have any of the green babies freezing to death! So I plunked mason jars upside down over them. Everyone came through fine. =) And while they're not nearly as lovely as the glass cloches you see in the fancy garden catalogs they perform the same task at a fraction of the cost! Plus they can be used for a multitude of other things. (Candle holder, drink cup, change jar, fly trap, etc... Though I prefer to use them for canning.) Photobucket Photobucket