Friday, April 18, 2008


I have a sneaking suspicion that in 50-60 days, we're going to be overflowing with fresh greens...not that there is anything wrong with that, but I think I possibly may have planted too much lettuce, even for us. Not to mention all the other tall-and-leafy thingers that went out on the back porch today and yesterday.

~2 2' porchboxes with radishes and mesclun mix
~1 tray of mache
~1 tray (8 2"x4" cells, 4 seeds per cell, to thin later) red-ribbed swiss chard
~1 2' box of green onions and more mesclun mix
~1 "jiffy-7" peat pellet tray (72 pellets) with (1 row of 6 each):
-Viviane lettuce
-Tom thumb lettuce
-Four Seasons Lettuce
-mustard greens
-turnip greens
-collard greens
-broccoli raab
-brussel sprouts (just trying them for the spring, will grow a bunch in the fall)
-white-ribbed swiss chard
-mixed color swiss chard
-'bulls blood' beets

There is also some Black-Seeded Simpson that I winter-sowed a month or so back which is growing pretty well, especially with this nice weather (80 degrees today! in April!).

I have been pretty bad about keeping up any sort of tracking for what I've planted when and how its doing. We have tons of tomato-lets, which are doing okay now that I repotted and fertilized them, plus eggplants (wow, fairy tale eggplants grow well!), hot peppers of several varieties (habanero, cayenne and "mixed"), sweet peppers of at least 3 varieties, broccoli, kohlrabi, watermelon (moon and stars), onions, 1 raddichio (yep, just 1...), thyme, oregano, chamomile, 3 kinds of basil, sage, 2 kinds of kale, other things I know I'm forgetting, plus a bunch of flowers. Pansies/Violas were a total flop, as were asters...they germinated but died before they got their second leaves.

We are going tomorrow to get the blueberries for the front...Miller Nurseries in Canandaigua. We almost have a lasagna bed built for them...getting a load of seasoned horse manure tonight and then will put down a layer of compost w/sulfur mixed in and then straw. I am on the search for a regular source of pine needles to keep the pH down, but we'll have to use sulfur or something similar for now...not ideal but hopefully with lots of tea/coffee grounds, plus pine needles, we won't have to use too much purchased stuff.

Picture soon, promise.

Monday, March 10, 2008

seed babies, 8-10 wks

3/8/08- planted 1 6-cell fairy tale eggplants, 1 6-cell mixed eggplants, 2 cells habenaro peppers (lots more hot peppers to come...), 10 cells lavender
3/9/08- planted 2 6-cells pansies- Chalon Giant mix and 1 6-cell lupine mix (refrigerated until 4/9) and winter-sowed 6 lupine seeds.

1 snowdrop bloom was sited along with many hints of green-stuffs poking up from the ground in the vicinity of where I planted snowdrops, grape hyacinths and a few crocuses this fall. No evidence of tulips or daffodils, but the snow has yet to totally melt off where they are planted and I haven't been able to pull back the mulch.

We have grand plans involving lasagna gardening in combination with the containers. Oh yes, and fences and arbors to both provide growing space for climbers and to keep the neighbors off the flower beds and off our property in general. grr....

pictures soon. I promise. maybe once there are baby plantlets.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

buying seeds

I just bought a whole lotta seeds. Considering I already have a whole lotta seeds, the little shelf in the freezer is going to fill up quite quickly, especially since there are still a few more things we want to get. Granted, we aren't going to be growing everything we have and we aren't going to be growing everything we want to grow this year all at once. but yeah, anyway, now its time to start planning out the front yard and figuring what to do with the back. We have a guy coming to look at and evaluate the tree we want to remove out back (it is very close to the house, with branches hanging over the roof and manages to shade a lot of prime garden space) so we may have a better idea of how usable the back yard is after this weekend.

Anyway, what I bought today:
I had a $50 gift certificate to Burpee (which I had to call in since you can't use them online?!) so I bought the majority from them.
1 packet each of:
- "Survivor" Garden Peas
- "Boxwood" Basil
- "Sunburst Hybrid" pattypan squash
- "Tendergreen" mustard (heirloom)
- Scarlet Runner Beans
- "Purple King" pole beans
- "Bull's Blood" beets (heirloom)
- "Bistro" mache
- "Fairy Tale" eggplant
- "Four Seasons" lettuce (heirloom)
- "Viviane" lettuce (Giant Romaine)
- "Sun Gold" tomato (these are my favorites, I'm excited!)
- "Health Kick" tomato (2x the lycopene, apparently, plus a dwarf-ish plant)
- a packet of mixed "annuals for shade", so we can put something in the back or on the porch
- the order came with a free packet of "cutting mix" sunflowers...we have sunflowers out our ears; everyone is giving away free sunflower seeds! Maybe I'll just eat them, lol!

Then, from Seed Savers Exchange:
- Lacinato (aka "Black Russian", "Palm Tree") Kale (this stuff is amazing!)
- Red Malabar Spinach
- Red Burgundy Okra (I have to say, I hate okra, but the beardies love it and the plant is beautiful, especially this variety...and I may try it if we get a good yield. Its been a few years, so maybe I like it now?)

We still need another kind of eggplant, more summer squash/zucchini and probably another packet of looseleaf lettuce/mesclun mix or two, but we'll pick those up this weekend. Considering the eggplants should be started in 2 weeks (EEP!) to have them ready by the last frost date (though I think I shall start them later, since I don't know how much hauling in-and-outdoors I want to do, considering the weather here).

We also inventoried the seeds that we already have and we actually have almost all the flower seeds that I want to start ourselves. We'll buy a lot of flower plants, since I'd rather use the energy and space for veggies as much as possible. And the blueberries will be purchased as plants, of course.

I am feeling overwhelmed by all the prep work and organizing that needs to be done and by the actual process, but I am excited too. Hopefully I'll have lots of pictures of my beautiful garden to post here in a few months, or at least some pictures....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The seed catalogues are starting to pour in. Yay plant porn! I have a $50 gift certificate to Burpees that I need to use, so, despite their relatively poor selection and lack of heirlooms, I'm still trying to whittle down my list from $90-something to $55 (I have a coupon too). We also bought some more flower seeds and a few veggie seeds (white vienna kohlrabi, white veined chard and super sweet 100 tomatoes to name a few) at Lowes the other day when we were there getting shop lights for seed starting and a few other things. We have way more seeds than we need...but that's what the ziplock bags in the freezer are for.

I plopped another couple garbage bags of pig and bunny litter on top of the garlic the other day, so there is a good 3-4 inches of mulch on it now, since the first layer of leaves has been smooshed down by snow. The bit that was left got spread over where the blueberries will go. The plan is the build a shallow raised bed under the windows in the front of the house and then plant shrub-sized blueberries there (raised bed so we can more easily control the pH). Hopefully they will do well so we can have fruit plus lovely red foliage in the fall. There is a nursery/tree farm in Canandaigua that sells a wide range of varieties, so some weekend when we want to take a trip, we'll have to head out there.

Hard to believe that seeds need to be started in about a month and a half. eek! we still need more lights, bulbs, and, oh yeah, shelves. And stuff for soilless mix. and then we have to figure out the bed layout for the yard and/or what is going in containers and where the containers are going to go. yay.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Gardening blog

With the new house and new yard, one of my goals for 2008 is to grow at least 10% of our own food, as well as grow food to preserve over the winter. It seems so early to start thinking about gardening, especially with snow on the ground and below 0 temperatures only a few days ago, but in less than 2 months all those indoor-started seeds need to be the dirt so I have to get going! This blog is mostly, at this point, for my own sake, so posts may be fragmented and irregular at times.

I am in zone 5...5a, technically, with an average low temperature of -20 F (and why do I live here again?) and our average last frost date is April 28th...even though we get snow after that on a regular basis. First frost is Oct 16th.

We already have garlic in the ground since mid-November, a 4'x5' bed with about 30-40 cloves planted, then mulched with leaves (then unmulched thanks to a "helpful" neighbor but remulched again) and soon (today) to be mulched again with a layer of rabbit/guinea pig litter/hay. The plan this year is to do a majority of our gardening in containers while getting the front yard in shape and starting to work on the back yard. The back yard is heavily mulched in red-dyed cedar chips, is quite overgrown from neglect and is shaded by a couple of trees, one of which will be removed sometime this year as it is very close to the house. Needless to say, the back will take some work before it is ready for edible gardening, but we plan to be in this house for 10 plus years so we have time. I would like the front yard to be heavily planted (read: no lawn!) using edible landscaping techniques.

Veggies/fruits we'd like to grow this year:
-Several varieties of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
-swiss chard
-lettuces/other salad greens (mache, arugula)
-some other cooking greens
-zucchini/summer squash
-green onions

There will most likely be more. I'd love to try broccoli/cauliflower, possibly okra (for the lizards, not me, ugh, slime!), possibly spinach, cabbage, and kohlrabi. And who knows what else Katie will talk me into? Off to look at more seed catalogues...