Wednesday, July 28, 2010
So I've been away, from home and the blog, sorry about that. Thanks to Mich my garden flourished while I was gone and I came home to healthy plants. I thought I'd share my garlic picture. This is the first time I've grown garlic and I am really enamored with it.
The hard neck garlic makes a handsome tall plant when everything else is little. When it starts to get hot it makes this crazy corkscrew shoot that makes great stir fry and then you pull it and hang it and in a couple of weeks you have awesome garlic. Of course then you have the problem of wanting to use it all and not save cloves to grow it next year. Its always a struggle!
Next I have my pepperoncini. I planted two plants, this is only the first harvest. I have another 2 pints of them in my fridge waiting to be pickled. These are very mild so I'm putting one of my scary hot "wild cross" peppers in each jar so they have some heat.
The ground hog is still a problem. My garden is now completely enclosed in fence. Its tough to work around but at least I get some of my veggies.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
In one day's harvest I got 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes. I got a third of that per harvest for the first week's harvests, half of that for the second week's harvests, and now I figure at the early July rate for local tomatoes at the farmer's market- $1.50 a pound- I have already paid for my packet of Golden Nugget cherry tomato seeds! If I figure in the fertilizer, I am working in the black in another 2 weeks or so! (or in maybe 'in the red' is a better thing for a tomato harvest... black usually means blossom end rot!). If even 2/3 of the tomatoes and peppers on the roof, out front and on my father in law's patio ripen perfectly, we are going to have so many tomatoes that I am going to have to give away or freeze half of them so they don't go to waste!
I'm thinking about rigging up some shade clothes so I can plant more lettuce and some scallions... this buying it at the market in order to have a salad is really getting me down!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
The pepper is getting sliced up and added to salad for dinner.
Good thing the basil plants are getting up to size. I think I will be having tomato, basil, mozarella salad in a few days!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I have had a little problem with blossom end rot. I must not quite have my soil fortified quite enough with calcium, or I missed watering somewhere along the way. I have hopefully prevented any further damage by duct taping over the drainage holes and giving all the tomatoes a handful of crushed oyster shell to provide calcium. Here's hoping it works! I should be eating my first tomatoes within the week. then summer will have officially started!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
What are you waiting for? Start a lettuce patch today!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
So far so good in the realm of flowers! I have never seen this many rose buds on the bush, I had completely forgotten about the white irises, and had the peony not bloomed this year it probably would have ended up in the compost bin! It's amazing what a little early season feeding will do for plants!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
With every new crop comes a new challenge to understand and conquer.
They are living in the pots on the roof if you didn't figure that out ; )
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
In addition to picking those 10 little succulent leaves, I harvested mint, oregano and parsley. The mint I plan on turning into a julep or mojito in very few minutes. The oregano I plan to dry for a friend who can't keep anything more than plastic plants green, and the parsley I unfortunately donated to the compost pile. It's not that I have anything against parsley, it's just that I seldom have use for more than a handful, and when one cuts an entire plant back by half, it is well more than a handful! I didn't just harvest these plants for the tasty tidbits, I cut them back so that as they grow, they continue to branch out, thereby creating bushy plants rather than tall spindly things, they are sturdier that way. The mums from last summer got the same treatment. I believe I read somewhere that before the 4th of July, mums should have been cut back 3 times to produce the fullest plants possible. I will try this theory and let you all know how it turns out.
In addition to pruning and weeding, I also redistributed the baby spinach and cabbage that are holding down the fort in the main beds until the summer crops go in. The spinach plants have 4 or 5 leaves each and the cabbage are close behind. From the number of plants that have made it to this stage, I guess I had better start figuring out good ways to preserve cabbage!
Some of the summer plants that I started in my greenhouse and window sills aren't doing quite as hot as the plants in the ground. I am not sure what I am doing wrong, perhaps I am transplanting too early or water too much/ too little, but my baby tomatoes are kind of sad looking. Here's hoping enough survive that I can share them, and if not, that Amy has enough extras that a few can move to my garden! The peppers on the other hand are having a field day! And with 4 kinds here's hoping that everybody likes peppers! The flowers are kind of chugging along, I can plant a second round directly in the ground to fill in any holes.
Off to admire the apple blossoms....
Friday, April 9, 2010
This spring I was out earlier then past years and I planted cabbage; early jersey, bok choi, kale, radishes; French breakfast, and snow peas. The cliff flanking my yard is very beautiful its a wash of pastel flowers that I know nothing about. If you can't eat it, I don't plant it. The landlord put in perennials a while back so these are all his fault.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Lettuce, chard, spinach, peas and cabbage are all great first crops of spring. These plants enjoy cool weather and sun that doesn't beat straight down for hours on end each day. They are also great for people like me who want to cram every bit of productivity into their space. Since all of those crops mature quickly and don't mind cool weather they can be using the space before flowers and veggies can go in, and I will harvest them and thin them as I begin to put the warm weather loving plants in and keep them in around the new baby plants to keep the beds from seeming empty until the plants fill out. Near the end of the season when the warm weather plants are starting to die off, I can plant seeds between the warm weather plants and the process work in reverse.
Besides the obvious benefit of being edible (and quite tasty at that!) I believe greens were created for people like me who can't wait to get out and play in dirt as soon as it doesn't have frost in it. It is also a very simple crop to grow. Lettuce and chard were the first things my mom gave me to grow from seeds. You may not get a great crop from poor soil, but so long as you don't drown them or drought them, you will get an edible result. Over the past 5 years or so, my spring crops have become more and more productive. Last year I think we had salad at least 3 nights a week for dinner without me having to buy lettuce from the middle of April until June! Since one of my beds only gets partial sun, I continued to get a lighter harvest of lettuce and chard through the rest of the summer, and if I had thrown some more seeds in and concocted a row cover/ cold frame, we probably would have been eating it until December like my parents were.
It gave me great pleasure when two of the new gardeners who joined Amy and I for our armchair gardening this year asked me about planting lettuce. I had given Risa some seeds when we had garden night, and when I set my seedlings out, I sent her an email with detailed instructions on how to get her own started. She doesn't have a set up to start them inside which gave me maybe a 2 week head start but otherwise doesn't do much. Maybe when I get sophisticated and get hoops to make mini greenhouses I can get a jump start right in the beds rather than having to transplant the fragile little seedlings.... anyway.... The same day I sent that message out, Lis sent me a message, asking how hard it was to grow lettuce. I copied and pasted my instructions and told her to go to the garden center and pick out a pack or two of seeds that looked tasty. What a great and rewarding way to start gardening!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I didn't get a lot done, but somehow one never feels they accomplished everything they wanted to. What I did get done though is:
I cleaned out my compost bin. What a fun job that is! Especially since mine is in a slightly awkward spot at the back of the alley, with the woodpile in front of it. (for those of you new to my ramblings, despite the small size of our yard, we manage to cram a lot in, and do a lot of things that most people would never consider in a backyard that is 15' X 25'! stay tuned for updates on everything I manage to pack in!) Down on my hands and knees with a garden trowel in hand, I scooped out a large pile of gardener's black gold. Mine may not be as pretty as the professional grade, but it sure looks better than the dirt that populates my garden beds! I couldn't believe the amount that I pulled out, the worms and bacteria sure have been working hard over the winter!
After I got the bins of freshly collected compost out of the way, I built a shelf for the alley. We have two nice big windows in our kitchen, they look at a boring picket fence and our neighbors' windows and stuccoed wall, all of 6' away. I am determined to change that. I have purchased several types of seeds that work in shady locations and am sure I will end up with a spare begonia or two after the library plant sale. Hopefully between the bins on a shelf that puts flowers at window sill height, hanging baskets, short plants, tall plants, and everything in between, someone glancing from my window would never guess that it is an alley. And if I can also get some cut flowers to bring inside the house, all the better!
The next task to accomplish was finding homes for all of the lettuce and swiss chard seedlings. I started them several weeks back, and now that they have true leaves and have hung out in the open window sills for a few days to acclimate themselves to the great out doors, they were ready for permanent homes. I filled several window boxes with soil, compost, vermiculite, coir (think peat moss but made from coconut husks) and fertilizer; these are now lined up along the ledge that the wooden fence sits on. 6" x 10' of found space! The spot gets a moderate amount of sunshine, so hopefully it will be enough for good growth without letting the lettuce scorch in the hot sun. The plants that did not fit in those 4 bins are in my back flower bed. I left space behind them to plant some sugar peas, no sense in wasting that perfectly good vertical fence space! With a little twine it becomes an ideal trellis. For half of the lettuce and half of the chard I tried something new. After preparing the soil with a few scoops of compost and fertilizer, I rolled out some paper mulch. It kind of looks like glorified craft paper, only darker in color. The picture on the tube show plants that are twice as large with it than with out, we'll have to wait and see.
I also did a lot of figuring and straightening. I emptied some pots that were getting too beat up and broken, uncovered the last of the pots that I had covered to protect from winter ice, I said hello to the rosebush and the butterfly bush, and sorted out what needs to be planted and fed next.
Over all a very productive day. The sunshine even helped make me feel better despite my cold. Of course now my body aches from scraping compost out of the bin and working with a shovel all day, but that just means that summer is on its way. = )