Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Away So Long!

Friends - I haven't posted in so long.  Even now, I hesitate because I can't add a photo.  My computer is broken and the little mini I'm working with can't do pictures.  Or I can't do pictures with it, who knows?!

So - the garden.  So much happened in May.  Got the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in, along with some great herbs.  Started the perennial garden and the berry patch too.  Beans, zucchini and cucumbers are one inch high, and the peas are beginning to flower.

What went wrong - well, I made a major beginner mistake.  My mesclun lettuce patch was up and growing nicely.  I failed to recognize that lettuce is a cool weather crop and it's been in the high 80s this week.  We had one good but small salad, then it "bolted" (went to seed) and now tastes terrible!  Lesson very much learned.  Somebody - probably a rabbit - ate four of the five red leaf head lettuces.

I also had a ridiculous struggle with Burpee.  The absolute worst customer service I've ever experienced.  They failed to ship about a third of my order.  Marked it out of stock on the packing slip.  Some of these I saw get marked out of stock on the website a month or two ago.  Silly me...I thought I got in under the wire. But Burpee just doesn't ship.  They didn't notify or give me the option to change or cancel.  Burpee is under the impression that since they arranged a charge-back (but not until I called) they are doing fine because they honored their guarantee to replace or refund.  I think not!

Next garden task will be to turn under the sour lettuce and the weed patch that came up instead of spinach.  What shall I plant?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Peas Are Up!

Today is a very exciting day for at least three reasons.  First and foremost the peas and snow peas are up and growing.  I think the Mesclun is up too, but I'm not sure what's lettuce and what's weeds!  Second, it's not raining.  It's rained every day for two weeks now.  Third, because it's not raining we mowed for the first time! 





Saturday, April 23, 2011

More Cold Weather Planting

Lots and lots of seeds went in today.  All Burpee brand.  2 square feet each of Baby's Leaf Spinach, Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach, Di Ciccio Broccoli, Swiss Chard, and 1 square foot of Mesclun Lettuce Mix which I just liberally sprinkled about as I plan to pick the leaves when they are tiny for really tender salads.  So there's no need to leave space for mature plants.  I did plant five red leaf lettuces - Lollo Rossa - well spaced out to see what it will be like to harvest a head.   I have quite a bit more lettuce seeds, which I'll be planting over time in order to attempt to extend the harvest.  Next weekend I'll plant some more Mesclun in the bed which is awaiting tomatoes.  See the bean tower in the picture?  The Lolla Rossa are around the back side.  Those white dividers define the space for the two kinds of broccoli, Swiss Chard, Mesclun, and to-be-planted Short 'N' Sweet Carrots.
It's been about a week since I planted the peas and snow peas, but not one is up yet.  Sigh.  The seed packages say 7-14 days to germinate.  The broccoli, basil, and nasturtiums I planted inside aren't up yet either.  Now that I've planted broccoli outdoors, I suppose the Italian variety is racing the indoor planted Green Goliath!  I check twice a day, which is good because I remain very conscious of who needs water.  11 of the 20 marigolds are up though, so I get a break from my frowning over the seed trays.  And I bought a pot of Chives, which are thriving in the garden. 

I am following, more or less, the gardening method described by Mel Bartholomew in his book Square Foot Gardening.  Two things I really like about the method are the economy of space which saves water, and the concept of planting rapid-growing crops like lettuce, spinach, and radishes in the spaces, or "squares," which are dedicated to larger crops.  For example, tomatoes go into a large space when they are still rather tiny, so why not make the ground around them productive until they grow large and need the space for themselves?  I'm doing the same with the almost 5 square feet I've dedicated for zucchini and the almost five square feet dedicated for bush cucumbers.  I hope to have lots of spring salads grown and eaten before those plants fill their spaces!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Planting Peas

It's very odd to be planting while wearing a winter coat! 
Today I set up a bean and pea tower and planted 1/4 of the way around the base with snow peas.  It's just two galvanized hoops at either end of a six or seven foot pole with twine looped from base ring to top ring all around.  Also planted 4 square feet of regular peas.  Package says they grow to 24 inches tall and need no support. Used a packet of soil inoculant that's supposed to support legume growth.  It's a mix of bacteria that supports something called "nitrogen fixing" in the soil.  Do I need to understand this, or simply use it?  Use it, I say - just like this computer I'm sitting at now.  I don't understand it, but I use it!
In a seed tray inside I planted four broccoli, four basil, four nasturtium, and 20 dwarf marigolds.  The nasturtiums will join the snow peas on the tower just about the time I plant the pole beans and one or two white cucumber vines - end of May.  Just for fun, I stuck four tomato supports into the soil!  I'm getting impatient.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Plant and Seed Lists

Thanks, Brittney,  for your advice.  Monarda and Echinacea (a purply rose one) are on the list along with Cardinal Flower Lobelia, blue Delphiniums, Rudbeckia, Shasta Daisy, and Scabiosa. 

I fell head over heels in love with one flower I haven't seen before - Astrantia.  It's for part-sun locations, but I'm buying it.  Perhaps it can go in a half-barrel that's in a somewhat shady spot on one side of my deck stairs.  But that's almost two months from now to just after the last frost date, which is end of May, I think.

This week's task is to add top soil and cow manure to the raised beds.  Two of them (that's 32 square feet) are sprouting rhubarb - not a favorite of mine.  I'm going to leave one bed for the neighbor.  For years she's used it and I think she still will.  The second bed is on reserve for zucchini and cucumbers, so I'm going to chop and dig those rhubarb roots out.

As far as veggies - I think this coming weekend I'll put the peas in.  It's about six weeks before last frost date and my reading suggests this is OK.  Makes my heart pound!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Class Assignment

Teacher suggested the class members go to and register our blogs.  They gave me a code and directed me to publish. 

That's it! 

Snowy weekend maybe - so I'm planning on organizing seeds and finalizing plant purchase plans.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welcome and Project Beginnings


I'm happy you've stopped by to take a look at my project!  In August 2010, my husband and I bought this home and property in the upper Hudson Valley of New York.  The house is lovely, the yards are sunny, and there are some very nice elements  - such as a large deck in back and high, stone-walled raised beds in front.  But it's boring and unfinished! 

The plan is to begin with the raised bed vegetable plot and abandoned flower garden out back.  There's great sun, and a really nice feature - - the previous owner ran an underground water supply and installed a spigot by the garden.

My hope, in addition to beauty and an abundance of salad veggies, is that the flower garden will attract and support the local birds, who I started feeding this winter.  In fact, that will be a theme of all the work to come.

Later steps, in no particular order, will be berry bushes, woodland edge, shade garden, around the shed, foundation and deck plantings, bushes and trees, and the daunting "out-front." 

Here's where I'm starting from.  The first shot is at the northwest corner of the flower garden.  See the bit of stone edge?  Is that a daylily?  The garden once went way back almost to the fence. On the left you can see the raised beds.  Each is 2 ft by 8 ft. The second shot is from the northeast corner.  That square bed needs some nails or something.

Please follow my progress, and support me with your advice and ideas!