The pollen cartel is out in full force.......the locust tree is loaded with blossoms
Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Hopefully it will all remain in place after tomorrow's stormy weather!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
So the tomato seedlings (Better Boy, Mr. Stripey, Sweet 100, Red Oxheart and a new one: Viva Italia) are still inside the greenhouse, along with the green, sweet red and cayenne peppers,the Sweet Italian basil, the thyme, the chives, the parsley, and the sweet marjoram.
I may continue to coddle them until next weekend, just in case.
Meanwhile, this afternoon was spent spreading a trailerload of mulch on the former hollyhock flowerbed. It use to be impossible to kill hollyhocks, but somehow the thick bed I've had for years has thinned out. A few hollyhocks come up along the edges, but none in the middle, so today I tossed in a lot of sunflower seeds -the big 12 foot mammoth ones - and then covered them with mulch.
After that, two 5 gallon buckets of strawberry plants were installed in between the blueberry bushes, covered with pine straw and watered with the drip hose. Blueberries and strawberries both love acidity in their soil. The pine straw mulch not only keeps the pH of the soil acidic, but it also keeps the water from evaporating and keeps the weeding to a minimum.
I also broke down and thinned the peas. I hate thinning plants. It seems so cruel to plant the seed, water it, nurture it and then pull it up for no other reason except it has too many siblings.
This weekend plans include *finally* connecting the remaining water barrels, putting up trellis for the peas, adding fertilizer to the straw bales, and planting beans.
Unless it snows, freezes, or we have another frost.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Now more than ever, it's time for advance planning and some form of strategy.
Three months in you will not remember exactly when you planted what, or more importantly, what was planted there last year and whether or not it's a conflict with what you want to plant there now. Those peas that refused to come up last year -what brand were they? That corn that was so tasty -what was the name of that again? Silver Queen? Golden King? Did I put a 20-20-20 fertilizer there last year, or a limestone dust?
Some people (HI CARRIE!) actually weigh out their garden produce, so they know how many pounds they managed to grow. I've never done this, but maybe this year I will.
Might be nice to know how much that head of romaine is actually costing me.
Or maybe I'm better off not knowing....
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Learn to Grow a Straw Bale Garden
The creator lives in Minnesota, my old stomping grounds, and there's lots of info, plus he has a website.
He uses ammonium nitrate (a type of fertilizer) in place of legume inoculant, otherwise very similar to other attempts I've read. BUT - lots of great photos of mature bale gardens and ideas for doing fencing.
I'm in heaven!
Monday, April 5, 2010
This is what down and dirty garden planning looks like. Garden maps, highlighters, lists of what plants I have, what I need, and of course those I want. What goes where, what will need extra water, what will need trellis or fencing, and what needs plenty of room to spread out.
And the seeds. The beautiful piles of seed packets I've been accumulating this spring.
And the ones that wintered in the back of the second shelf of the refrigerator.
And the other ones that wintered in the back of the third shelf of the refrigerator.
It's a wonder there's any room for food in our frig.
This is the rough garden plan for this year. The highlighted items are items already planted, either as seeds or plants (blueberries, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, onions, romaine lettuce, oregano, lavender, rosemary, valerian, comfrey, peas, roses, marigold and hollyhocks).
The handwritten notes are crops that still need to go in as spring progresses (tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, squash, 6 different sorts of gourds, cantalope, sunflowers, several varieties of basil, sage, marjoram, calendula, and, of course, more comfrey).
Eventually this week the handdrawn map will move onto a computer drawn version. And I'm trying to figure a way to file my seeds and better organize them. I'll get back to you on that.
Today's updates: The peas in the straw bales are 1/2" tall, the caulfilower seedlings have two tiny leaves, no spinach as of yet (I am cursed with spinach-barrenness). Oregano is doubling and tripling, even from just yesterday. Also, I added 9 broccoli plants today, and 9 cauliflower plants. Between the seedlings and these older plants, the cauliflower crop will be spread out over the spring (maybe even the summer).
Sunday, April 4, 2010
This calls for some sort of shading on the southern side. The first summer we built the greenhouse, I planted mammoth sunflowers on either side, thinking it would be a low cost alternative for shade, as well as a food source for the birds. The sunflowers were beautiful, but weren't thick enough to block any degree of sunlight.
The two following years I simply moved plants out when it became too hot inside, and sacrificed the use of the greenhouse for the summer months.
This year, I really want to see how long I can stretch out the growth season for both lettuce and spinach (both cool weather crops).
So this year I purchased a 60% shade cloth. This means the weave blocks 60% of the sunight and UV rays. Not only will it keep the temperatures down, but it will protect the outside wood a little more from the sunlight. The one I chose is black, but they also come in white, green, and tan, in a cariet of sizes. (Source: CatalogClearance) Order a larger size than you think you'll need, particularily if your greenhouse has a gable roof. Voice of experience here.
The peas planted in bales a week or so ago are sprouting now, thanks to everyday watering to get them established.
Today we had to mow for the first time this year, and cut down some wild paradise trees that seem to pop up everywhere. Next weekend is the rain barrel system!