Monday, June 23, 2014

A few pics from our backyard...

A jumpy little striped spider hanging out with us on a lawn chair.

Something really likes nomming on the leaves of our broccoli plants. The bush cucumbers are looking healthy!

We might actually get to eat some of our blueberries this year.

Mulched: Heavy lifting, back aches, but worth it

We have been using a "mulch paper" made out of plastic, perforated so rain can get through, as a weed block for several years. Recently I read that this isn't such a great idea; it does nothing for the soil and can make it hard for plants to get enough water. So Saturday I bought 7 bags of soil-feeding organic mulch and we replaced the weed block. (Most of it, anyway. We left the bit in the corner.)

I had read about a product called Sweet Peet that is made from manure and other good stuff, but it was too hard to find. The closest places that sell it are 20 miles away. We were actually on our way to a place in Allendale on Saturday, but there were two lanes closed on the GSP, so we decided it wasn't worth it and turned around. We tried to get some in Connecticut last weekend (we were up there because my brother's band was playing) and no dice there as well. So I went to Richfield Farms near us, and they had something similar:



When Adam opened up the first bag (as well as all the rest), he found lots of fat, happy worms living in there. I'm always glad to have more worms in the garden. I haven't seen many lately (although later when I turned over the compost pile I did find a bunch in there).

Here's a picture of the garden, after. Check out our bean poles and the structure we made for the tomatoes:


We used the last bag of it in all the pots to feed them, too.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Fungus

Some weird ass fungus growing around the base of one of my lavender plants. I poked at them with a stick.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

How to grow beets blog post

I just came across this great post, "How to Grow Beets," at A Way to Garden. I knew some of it (the structure of a beet "seed") but most of it was new to me, like how to store them. Plus there is a good recipe they link to there that I am hoping Adam will make for me when we have some.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A late start

So, this weekend we transplanted the peat pots into the ground, did some sowing of the other stuff, set up some irrigation with soaker hoses and timers, also cut up some dead sod that had burned out when the maple tree came down and sowed new grass. A busy weekend.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Repotting seedlings

Never done this before, but because we are going to be away for a little while, and they were mostly all bumping up against the plastic cover of the starter thing, I bought small peat cups and organic dirt and repotted the seedlings that had come up so they have room to grow.

A Rutgers hybrid tomato
(I filled each to the top with more dirt, not shown in this picture.) Sadly I accidentally broke the stem of one of our only three Brussels sprouts seedlings, so I had to start a couple more B.s. seeds. Also we are still waiting for two artichoke seedlings to germinate, and one more of the heirloom tomatoes.

I put them in two plastic containers so I can saturate the roots with water.


In the back are Rutgers hybrid tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts; in front are peppers.

You can sort of see that each has about a half an inch of water in the bottom of the container. My hope is the water will continually soak up through the peat and the dirt, and the seedlings will root down to get it. I don't know if this is going to keep them alive and thriving while we are away, but I am optimistic.

A few years ago we started our seedlings in these peat pots (maybe not the same brand). They all claim you can just put the seedling in its peat pot directly into the soil and it'll go to town. My sense was the roots never were able to push through the pots and all our plants were rootbound, though Adam disagrees with me; at the end of the growing season I found intact peat pots scattered all throughout the garden soil. This time, my plan with these is to cut the pots off before transplanting into the garden, and throw them into the composter.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Few Interesting Links

How to grow kale, on A Way to Garden

Stuff to do while we wait until it's warm enough actually to plant: Revisiting, revising, and editing those lists via Growing with plants

Thar be dragons: San Francisco Flower & Garden Show on Gardening gone wild

Tips for spring planting, on Northwest Edible Life

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Initial notes about our gardening plan

Sow outside (sowing date)

Arugula (Mar 18)
Beans (purple variety to improve harvestability) (Apr 15)
Beets - Golden (Apr 1)
Beets - Red (Apr 1)
Carrots (Mar 25 - Apr 1)
Cauliflower (Apr 1)
Chinese Mustard (companion to Cauliflower) (Mar 18 - Apr 1)
Corn salad (mache) (Mar 18 - Apr 1)
Kale (not sure, but I'm guessing Apr 1 like cauliflower)
Lettuce (Mar 18 - Apr 1)
Parsley (inside - Apr 1)
Pumpkin - Lady Godiva (Pepitas) (Apr 22-29)
Squash - Jack Be Little

Start inside (start date / transplant date)

Artichokes (?)
Peppers - Pimiento de Padron (Feb 25-Mar 18 / Apr 22-29)
Tomatoes - Adam's source (Feb 25-Mar 18 / Apr 22-29)
Tomatoes - heirloom ones CDR sent me (Feb 25-Mar 18 / Apr 22-29)

We didn't need to buy many seeds this year, as we have lots left over from last year. Here is what we bought:
  • artichokes - Violetto di Romagna Artichoke (here)
  • beans - Purple Queen Bush Beans (here)
  • red beets - Pronto Beet (here)
  • chinese mustard (here)
  • kale - Russian Red (here)
  • rutgers tomatoes - sent off order w/check via snail mail - order form is here (PDF) and it might not be too late
  • seed starting kits (here) - gurneys.com because they have small (10-cell) kits. we don't need many cells this year.