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...