Tuesday, May 27, 2014


We picked our first strawberry last weekend!!!  To try and thwart the animals that get to my berries every year before me, I decided to rig up some special netting which involved two of my favorite things - rebar and sledgehammers (I only kind of wish I was kidding).  We shall see how this works....
The arugula is coming along best of everything as you can see in our photos but we've also got beets, kohlrabi, peas, red ruffled eggplant, tomatoes, nasturtiums, green beans, and cucumbers coming along nicely.  The lettuces, herbs, strawflowers, zinnias, 3 varieties of the carrots we are trying, pepper (yes only one - I had two transplants and one died and the other one is on the edge), chard, and the spinach are struggling.  Some have at least sprouted but they are really lagging compared to other years.  The cucumbers had really low germination rates but we got 2 and that's what I was shooting for.  It's better than I can say for the basil and other herbs (most of which don't seem to be coming up at all).  The hops and grapes are coming on strong and we got a persimmon tree from Jacob's brother and his brother's girlfriend for Christmas that is happily growing.  Unfortunately, we are still trying to find a permanent home in our small yard.  We've got two options and the "call before you dig" folks have been called in preparation!  Pictures will follow!
I also braved the raspberry/blackberry patch a week or so ago and you can see the before and after shots below of the freshly weeded bushes.  My arms were COVERED in scratches, but it's sooo worth it!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Planting Sunday

Today, we got a majority of the warm weather seeds in the ground and caught up on some weeding and pruning.  In the satellite garden bed, we went through and did some weeding.  The carrots, peas, and spinach are definitely growing but we have yet to spot the arugula, kohlrabi, and beets.  At the house, we planted in the raised beds.   Bed 1 has a 12 ft row of Zinnias, 6 ft row of Red Ruffled Eggplant, and a 6ft row of Strawflowers.  Bed 2 is Chard (a few different varieties I think - the seed packets opened up and got mixed...).  Bed 3 has a row of Cilantro (closest to bed 1), a row of Curly Chervil, and 2 rows of Basil Lettuce Leaf.  Bed 4 is a mix of a few different tomatoes and nasturtiums.  Bed 5 is Bush Bean plants.  Bed 6 is strawberries.  Bed 7 is a row of oregano (closest to bed 5), 2 rows ofThyme, and a row of Italian Oregano.  Bed 8 for the moment is entirely Lettuce Leaf Basil, but I may make some additions.  Bed 9 has a row of Oakleaf lettuce (closest to Bed 7), 2 rows of Red Sails lettuce, and a row of Arugula.  We have 3 5-gallon white buckets that have spearmint seeds.  4 other pots in our main garden area have chive seeds.  4 large pots under our arbor have Kohlrabi seeds that were planted last week.  1 large pot in the front of the house has a mix of lettuce seeds that were planted last week.  2 large pots on the side of the house Japanese cucumber seeds and the 1 smaller pot has a Homemade Pickling Cucumber variety.  We still need to plant some peppers at the satellite site and the few seedlings inside need to be hardened off and transplanted (fingers crossed that works).  We shall see....Also pruned the raspberries and blackberries (the later of which want to take over the planet but were satisfied today to cause substantial pain to me as I cut out the dead pieces from last season).  Ouch!!  Now let's see what grows!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

An Essential Warning and Update

I've been trying to figure out why my seedlings haven't been growing and I think I finally figured it out!  I picked up my seedling flat that's been sitting on the Christmas lights and found that they had burned some of the styrofoam they were sitting on and melted into the plastic flat bottom!  We're lucky the house didn't burn down and I'm thinking the seedlings were too hot.  Hopefully now that they are a little cooler, they will grow a bit faster.    Use caution with those Christmas lights!!
Today, we did a bunch of weeding in our raised beds and planted our remaining Kohlrabi in some of the big pots around the house.  I transplanted the nasturtiums and tomatoes which have been hardening off outside.  I also planted some chard seeds in the old asaparagus bed and lettuce seeds in one of our big pots.
The asaparagus we broke up has a few patches that are producing already!  We harvested our first delicious spear the other day!  Yum!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Getting Outside - FINALLY!!

Last Saturday (April 19) Jacob and I got outside and hand tilled our two 8'x18' plots in a local community garden.  We finally got some seeds in the ground and have our fingers crossed for success.  We put in:

Heirloom Sugar Snap Peas (2 rows)
Chantenay Carrots (2 rows)
Lunar White Carrots (1 row)
Lutz Green Leaf Beets (2 rows)
Heirloom Gourmet Blend of Beets from Botanical Interests (2 rows)
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach (3 rows)
Mammoth Melting Sugar Peas (2 rows)
Scarlet Nantes Carrots (2 rows)
Snow Oregon Giant Sugar Peas (3 rows)
Early White Vienna Kohlrabi (2 rows)
Rainbow Mix Carrots (2 rows)
Heirloom Arugula (2 rows)

This weekend, the goal is to get the Chard, lettuce, and any remaining cold weather seeds that we want in the ground at our house.
Last weekend, we also put the tomatoes and nasturtiums outside to harden off.  The herbs are still in the flat in the basement and are being very slow in their progress.  Hopefully their growth will pick up soon, but they currently seem stuck at the primary leaf stage and am not sure why...

A few weeks ago, we dug up the crowns of asparagus in our square foot garden bed because they haven't produced much of anything for the past 2 years.  They seemed rather cramped under the surface, so we broke them up and planted them all around the house, giving them a lot more room.  We will wait and see if any come back but we figured we had nothing to lose.  It looks like one spear has already popped up by the trash cans, so we have hope!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Progress and set backs

I managed to move the Nasturtiums and tomatoes to bigger individual containers this week and gave them a dose of fish fertilizer for a little boost.  I then put the dome back on the other babies because the Marjoram made it very clear that they weren't happy....by all promptly dying the day I removed the dome.  Ouch.  I reseeded those along with a few lost sage and lavender, but you can't make them all happy and the few baby Nasturtiums that weren't ready to make the leap to independence decided to voice their protest of being treated like infants and being put back under the dome by dying almost immediately.  Everything wants to make a statement.  Oh well....I managed to keep the tomatoes and Nasturtiums that I did move very much
 alive, which is a first for me (to have a successful transplant like that without casualties).  Woohoo!!  Here are a few pics.  Also, I was supposed to start the Kohlrabi outside on March 15...so far, no luck with that since the soil still tends to be pretty hard.  Hopefully soon I can get out to the new plots and put those seeds in the ground!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I started the nasturtiums today.  So far, everything seems to be germinating beautifully except OF COURSE the Ground Cherries....yet again...I have never had one successful germination from those darn seeds!!  I guess it's time to start thinking about what will go in the garden in their place.  Right now, I'm facing two major issues:
1.  Kohlrabi is supposed to be started direct in the ground at about this time, but the ground is no good yet.  I guess we play the waiting game and see when I can work the soil.  I hate getting a late start!
2.  I started all my seeds in one big flat, this is the first time I've tried this.  I'm going to transplant them to seedling trays with their own spots when they get their first set of true leaves.  Unfortunately, the tomatoes have grown leaps and bounds, while the other seeds are still really tiny.  The tomatoes are pressing against the plastic dome while all the others still need that moisture.  I don't want to stunt or damage my tomato plants by leaving the dome on, but I also don't want to risk the tiny seedlings by removing that extra moisture.  I'm afraid of trying to transplant the tomato plants when they are so small....  Any ideas?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Starting the 2014 Garden!

Today I set up the seed starting station in the basement (with some new improvements like a light timer - 16 hours of light, 8 hours off - and Christmas lights under my seed flat to help heat from the bottom).  I'll test the soil temperature over the next few days to see if we are getting enough heat for our little seeds to be happy (as of March 4 at 7:30, it seems to be working quite effectively - honestly, I'm shocked!).

This year I'm taking a heavier approach to growing herbs and some decorative items in hopes of selling some of them this year (not to mention the fact that I seem quite good at growing perennial herbs as opposed to peppers and melons!).  We are also expanding the garden with a community space that will give us two 20'x10' beds which is pretty exciting!

Today I started the following:

  • Green Sage (Tomato Bob): A great herb either fresh or dry that compliments soups, sausages, and stuffing.  (16 plants)
  • Red Ruffled Eggplant (Baker Creek): This is decorative (but also edible as well) and produced branches with what look like little baby pumpkins.  (12 plants)
  • Munstead Strain Lavender (Baker Creek): Beautiful flowers and very aromatic. (16 plants)
  • Ground Cherry (Baker Creek): Tart, sweet berries that are good for eating raw or putting in jams, pies, and preserves. (10 plants)
  • Black Cherry Tomatoes (Tomato Bob): A delicious cherry tomato that we grew last year and couldn't get enough of! (10 plants)
  • Sweet Marjoram (Tomato Bob): An herb mainly used in Greek cooking for soups, salads, and flavored vinegars. (16 plants)
  • Yolo Wonder Pepper (Tomato Bob): Sweet pepper good for stuffing. (6 plants)