Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Hydrangea pruned.
Havahart trap set.
Garden watered.


Got back from the nursery later this morning. I had bought some pencil thin onion plants, yellow Spanish. I also bought 3 parsley plants, 3 sage, 2 oregano and one marjoram.

Just got done putting them in when the youngest daughter woke up.  I set the sprinkler to water them and came in.  Half hour naps are not fun.

I was going to prune the dead branches off the hydrangea and seed some more kale, but that isn't going to happen today.

I did startle a woodchuck in the back, it was right about at the fence line where we haven't finished it yet.  I'm going to set the trap as soon as i get the chance to get back out there.  Best to be proactive this time around.  Not too happy about it though, its way too soon to start having to deal with the vermin already.

We had been putting the dog's droppings behind the fence in that area hoping it would deter them.  Our fence is two feet inside our property line and he nice neighbors don't use that part of their yard so its not on their land and not in their way.  But it dosen't seem to have helped. Suburban vermin aren't scared of domestic  dog doo.

Gardening footprints

Unfortunately, i'm not being poetic.  My garden is beginning to look like i am growing footprints instead of plants.
I could tolerate the cat footprints and when hubby tripped into my onion bed while mowing.. i could understand that as a one time thing...  but now i have neighborhood kid prints in there.  The kids around here are what i call "feral children"  they are taught nothing good and so they act it. Zero respect for anything, not other people or fence boundaries...

So now i have about 10 footprints in my onion bed and a few in the potatoes, and at least one set among my broccoli.
I really hope this isn't how the summer is going to go.

I plan to be putting the electric fence up soon, the woodchucks will be appearing sooner that i expect,  i hope he kids are prepared to respect the electric fence sign.

For the most part the rest of the garden is doing well. Some of my winter squash seeds are coming up, tomatoes are looking good. Potatoes are emerging. My onions were coming up, but many have been stepped on.  T he radishes are getting multiple leaves.  The beets aren't showing up.  The weeds are going bonkers.
I'll need to lift off the whole tunnel to check on the cucumbers again.  What i had hoped were cucumbers turned out to be squash volunteers,  so those got plucked away. 
I'll be planting corn as soon as i can .

I may go to the nursery and get some onion sets and give up on the seeded onions...  there are just too many footprints in that plot.  I haven't decided yet....  If i don't get sets i might just leave that bed to its own devices until its bean planting time and i can just put string beans there. 
Either way, i need to take a trip out there to get some herb plants.  Just parsley for the most part. Maybe something else if it catches my eye and can fi in there. Another thought is some Asian greens,  i have plenty of seed for that.  I'll soon have extra seed flats too, its warm enough for the eggplant and peppers to get under the row cover with the tomatoes and squash.
In the end, though i like the onions from the garden, they are rather inexpensive at the store still, i think it won't be such a bad thing to grow something that can't be store bought instead of the onions... like Asian greens....

Either way, i think i'll start my onions in flats rather than direct sow next year.  That goes for most everything too.  I have located most of my seeded in broccoli and cabbage, kholrabi too...  but i don't like how i have to look so closely.  I prefer having seedlings to plant.  That was this year's first lesson. 
I will start tender stuff indoors and wintersow things like onions and brassicas.

I have a scuffle hoe i need to restore. Hubby found it with my red garden rake in the free pile at the "recycle plant"-- aka, the Town Dump.  Anyway, the hoe is crusty and dull. It needs work with a wire brush and i think i can use hubby's lawn mower blade sharpener  to put the edge back on the hoe.  It attaches to his cordless drill like a drill bit. Its kinda neat, it should do the trick.

Now that my oldest daughter is out of school for the summer, i have an extra set of eyes to help me watch the little one.  That is if my oldest wakes up before noon....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Found: The Sun

It was amazing yesterday.  Spent much of it outside with the little one, kiddie pool,water hose and assorted outdoor toys.

I took some pictures of what was going on in the yard and garden....

Stanley prune plum is really waking up now

unnamed elderberry

Nova elderberry

York elderberry, at least it should be,  it had lost it's tag before i got it




Marechal Foch

Edelweiss 2, the one that got moved earlier this spring

Asparagus and Welsh onions


Jerusalem artichokes

bumblebee, making up for lost time in the pollination department

apple tree, looks more like a weeping tree. I may need to prune it back more?

rhubarb, taking off as usual

first of the lilacs opening

mixed radishes sprouting

Today is looking good so far, clouds are beginning to filter in so it may turn out hazy for the rest of the day... i'm hoping that's as bad as it gets. For now, its sunny and warm. I have already had the youngest out to play for about an hour until she started getting cranky.

I took a look at the onion bed and i see nothing onion-like coming up. It would sink if all my onion seed fails- but i decided to plant green beans there if that turns out to be the case.

I've been mapping all my garden spots lately- to exercise my obsession with grids and charts...  i'll have to go get detailed measurements of my mini vineyard so i can get them drawn up (hopefully nap time comes early).  The grapes' trunks will get too big for their tags eventually, same with the berry plants getting too bushy. If i map them out i won't have to worry so much about which is which when i really need to know!  I wanted to maks some decorative tags out of Fimo,  but i may never get to it and if i do, hey won't last many years.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where is the sun?

On the 14th we had a  barely sunny day- that was the day i planted most of the garden.  On the 21st, we finally had a sunny day-  well most of it anyway. There were a few thunder storms that rolled through, but it was nice enough.

Now we are back to the grey weather.

Surprisingly, the tomatoes look pretty happy. I can' get a good look at the rest of things.  Its too yucky out to play with wet row cover...  the rest of the garden looks pretty boring.  No sign of anything sprouting besides the radishes.

It is supposed to be warm tody-  70-'s even without the sun. I'll take it!

One thing  i have already decided this year that i will not do again is direct seed.  The rain has mostly drummed out my stations and it will be a while before i can distinguish my plants from the weeds. The extra effort of  filling seed trays and keeping the mini greenhouse from flying away is well worth preventing my weeding out my broccoli and coddling a weed by mistake.

I'm already quite worried this mistake (direct seeding) is going to become a serious problem shortly.
I'm almost considering simply going to the local greenhouse and buying their seedlings before its too late.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Took some pictures

The aerial view

 You can see he newer part of the garden, the soil isn't the same rich, dark brown as the rest

Under the hoops, not as bad as i thought. Looks like even the cukes might be sprouting way back there

Stanley prune plum breaking bud


Apple tree, first open bloom

Dahlia from the nursery

Another dahlia from the nursery,  they are labeled "figaro mix"


Nothing but rain!

I have not seen the sun since the 14th. That was the day i planted most of the garden.  I knew it was going to rain soon at the time, but i did not expect skies completely full of clouds and/or rain the entire week.  The forecast is showing NO sun until the 23rd.  Normally we get some breaks in the clouds, but not a one in all these days.  Very depressing, and my tomatoes look pale.  I don't know what to do. miffed

This is going to be an awful year for slugs and snails.  If everything makes it, that is. holy cow

I am also worried that when the sun does come out it will toast my tomato seedlings.

This summer isn't getting off to a good start.

Well, at least the radishes are sprouting and the plum tree is breaking dormancy. The elderberry plants are beginning to shoot out and the apple tree is trying to open some blossoms.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Different, in a good way.

This year is different from last.  It feels a little strange.
This year, there was less to do and more time to do it.
The newness was exciting. Not that it feels same-old, but what felt like a headlong dive into unknown territory has become a comfortable pace.  The biggest question last year was "Will it work at all?". This year its "Can i do it again?"

Last year there were more fun plants, ones i have never tried before.  This year is a bit more practical and  based on last year's successes.

This year, less panicking.
Less measuring.
Fewer copies of drawing plans-  thanks to the GrowVeg subscription.
Less work- all the row cover socket pieces were already cut.

Most of the stuff that needed to be  bought and prepared has been done all the way from buying and measuring the row cover fabric to buying and fitting the PVC row cover supports. 

I have my All American pressure canner, my Excalibur dehydrator.

I didn't buy much, had most of my seeds already- a few berry plants, a fruit tree.

Above mentioned equipment are reusable as intended. Flats saved from last year, lights for seedlings, mini greenhouse- not even needed this year... all those strings and stakes i used to mark the rows because i wasn't convinced it was all going to fit

The garden is even more conservative.  Mostly made up of the things that did well last year.  Extra broccoli and cabbage in case of woodchuck damage. I plan to use hoops and row cover on them once the seeds have sprouted.  I have already seen woodchucks beyond the fence.

It just seems strange. Last year was such a flurry of activity, this year is placid. I almost feel like i forgot something.

The only things i'm experimenting with this year is seed saving, the field corn, and i might buy some greenhouse plastic to hold off frosts at the end of the season- maybe try a bit of late planting.

Besides that it was pretty straight-forward.

I  got the asparagus bed started, i know what to expect from Jerusalem artichokes, i understand how to prune an apple tree.  I know my grapes all made it through the winter and my elderberry did too. Now i get to see if i will get some fruits from them. I have welsh onions that are perennial for garlicky green onion flavor. 

I have everything perennial in its place. Now its just upkeep and harvest.

Sounds fun to me!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garden mostly planted.

It is supposed to rain the next few days, so unless i wanted to put off planting for another week, today had to be the day.

The only things i did not plant were beans, rutabaga, corn, eggplants and peppers, and the herbs.

I decided to plant more potatoes than planned. I did 20'.  I have no idea how much that will get me, but its a tryout.  The varieties were Gold Rush and Norland Reds.

The rest of what i planted were:

Kossack kholrabi
Gypsy broccoli
Broccoli raab
Nutri-bud broccoli
Purple sprouting broccoli

Mammoth red rock cabbage
Krautman cabbage

Kai lan queen kale

Sweet Chelsea tomato
San Marzano tomato
Pruden's purple tomato
German orange strawberry tomato
Banana legs tomato

Special white cucumber
Boston pickling cucumber
Beit alpha cucumber
Spacemaster cucumber

49er summer squash

Crosby Egyptian beet (just a few seeds were left)


Early butternut winter squash

I had planted onions and radishes earlier this week,  so they are in also.

The soil has to warm up more before the eggplant, beans, corn and peppers can go in, the soil seemed warm enough for the rest.

I also spread some blood meal on the tomatoes and put the hoops and Reemay over the tomato row (it has the cukes and summer squash in that row as well.

Hubby is going to get some lime and 10-10-10 fert for me and i'll broadcast that later.

I put Hollytone over the blueberries.

I'm assuming that since it is going to rain the next few nights, frost is not going to be a concern at all.

I'm exhausted and i'll hurt for a few days.

But the major chunk of the work is done...except upkeep and harvest.

And catching woodchucks.

(oh a sideline note, my last entry happened to be shortly before a Blogger maintenance fiasco. I lost all comments before i could reply o them. I got emails that they were there, but hey got lost along the way :o(  )

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordy Wednesday

I see other bloggers doing "Wordless Wednesday" entries and i always thought it was a cute idea.  But i'm too much of a babbler for that.  When i was little, my Nonnie gave me a CB handle of "Ratchet Jaw", so you see, it has been a lifelong habit.  Add to that the fact that few of my friends and family are interested in gardening, so blogging/journaling about it is a necessary outlet.

I have been taking pictures,  things are really starting to perk up.  The Consort currants are already getting ready to bloom.  The blueberries are as well.  I have gotten all the edging installed, only have 2 bags of mulch left to use- and i think that will be all i need.  The garden has been plowed,  two rows have been raised most of my berry plants have been planted,  just waiting for the last of them to arrive...

It had rained the last two days, so things came to a halt for a bit.  The little one hasn't been taking her naps on schedule either...

Anyway, today i got the rest of the walkways carved out

Look who's getting ready to bloom

Consort, blackcurrant

Look who's coming up
Jerusalem Artichokes

look who's not awake yet

Beach Plum

Look who came back

Look who's waiting to fill the space

Red Pearl lingonberries

Look who is getting bigger

Autumn Olive i started from seed last year
Look who's in full bloom

Old fashioned bleeding heart

I got  the red and white onions planted this evening and i also planted part of a packet of Pinetree's Radish Mix... i added last year's remaining hailstone and French breakfast seeds in there as well.   The 15th should be the 'safe' date to get planting warmer weather stuff.  I need to get the kale, broccoli, cabbage seeded in, but i can only do so much in a day.  But i should be able to do most of it when hubby comes home from work,  i have a couple evenings to get things in before it rains this weekend.  I like when it rains after i plant, this means i don't have to water!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Productive day, productive week.

Got the garden tilled again, and getting the rows carved out.  Hubby did it for me really,  i started smoothing out the top of the beds

I'm taking the rows in the opposite direction this year,  i'll see what works best.

It was getting dark so we halted work for the night.

I was getting worried a bit later that my measurements were off, i just doesn't look like i can fit 6 rows in there,  but i remeasured and i have 35' as planned. 

Oh, this morning we moved hubby's antenna- the one that features prominently in most of my pics of the garden from the side door of he house

It used to be at the corner of the driveway but now it is to the left and in front of the shed. We also got the tarp-covered fence panels up and out of the way,  so the backyard is less of an eyesore! Yay!

I'll also post pics of my previous week's efforts on the flower beds:

Elderberry sticks

Mini Vineyard

Stanley plum

What a difference two years makes!

Apple tree waking up
Blueberries getting buds
Grape leaves developing
Side of the house,  ready for berry plants!  They'll be assorted things from seed (i need to get going on them)

A Junebug in May???

So, the beds are all ready for berries, the garden is ready to have the rows all dug.  I may try planting radishes this week.  Maybe kale next week?

I planted the lingonberries last night.

Oh and my comfrey crowns...well hubby thought they were weeds growing out of the bag of potting soil...so he weeded them!  I got really mad.  To make amends he bought me a giant bag of soil and i replanted what was left of the roots in my giant pretends-to-be-terracotta flower box.  Out of 6 of them, 4 should pull through i think. They were already trying to send up new leaves.  He does this sort of thing so often i can't laugh it off anymore. I try, but i can't. 
This was last night, so i'm calm now. :o)
But...he's not allowed to weed anything ever again.  No unauthorized "helping". lol

The weather was gorgeous today, it was great to work outside!  Its supposed to be nice for the rest of the week.