Saturday, March 26, 2011

Winter's final laugh

I doubt anyone is stumbling upon this from various warm countries across the world, or even the US, but just in case you don't know, there's one (final) deep freeze/snow storm coming. Damn it! I was hoping that the groundhog would've been right, that spring would come early, and that all the don't plant seed naysayers would be wrong. I'm not too worried, I got my tarps and trash bags out there to cover up all my seedlings. Most of my scallions/onions and garlic have sprouted, and I think maybe my spinach is slowly starting to peek out from the ground.
Nothing seems to be showing in my other bed yet, but I'm not completely sure. I think I might see the potatoes slowly coming out. I don't know. I'm just hoping that they'll weather this storm.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

More preparations

I know, I know, I know, I keep doing all these things waaaay to early. Maybe not way too early. I only planted one thing, and I planted it inside...I hope that makes it ok.
In exciting news, (Or at least exciting to me) the ground cherry seeds that I planted all the way back in February (actually, a month ago!) randomly sprouted. I had given up on them, really. Even stopped watering them. I learned my lesson, I guess. I would guesstimate that 5 of the 9 seeds I planted sprouted on the 16th. I keep reading that sometimes it's good to let herbs "suffer" a little bit because it makes their flavor stronger, but I didn't think it would work for ground cherries. So, I guess we'll see if they manage to keep on kicking.

3 Glacier tomato (heirloom!) and 2 black cherry tomato plants were transplanted into bigger containers today.

I think next year instead of trying to fit each of my various seedling/transplant planters into small crevices on 2 tv dinner tables in front of one window to be warmed by 2 strategically placed and angled desk lamps, I'm going to buy cheap shelving, and rig up some lamps on each level. I am amazing. I also plan to rig up my own trellis for my peas and snow peas. I'm surprisingly more hopeful for the grow shelves than the trellis.

So yeah, I transplanted those. I'm out of space really. I still have one planter to fit in front of that window. It's the only safe place from the kitties! Anyway.

The only thing I planted were my strawberry seeds. I'm pretty sure it's been 3 weeks since I took them out of the  freezer.....I always thought that was a really interesting concept- freeze the seeds so they think they're in the ground, then thaw them out before you plant them.

And then the Weekend Seedling Sprouting Update:
Oregano, basil and catnip sprouted on 3.15.11, which meant I thought everything that was gonna sprout inside had sprouted UNTIL
Ground cherry sprouted 3.16.11 (probably)
One or two each of the garlic and onion seem to have sprouted around 3.17 or 3.18


I dug up part of the ground approximately 1'x7' directly in front of the fence, and then worked in some garden soil. I was gonna plant my tomato transplants in the first two weeks of April, but then I realized I was dumb and tomatoes need HOT weather. So, if I can keep them alive maybe.... May. I also think I might hold off on the fruit bushes. I'm really worried about the availability of copious amounts of sunshine once the trees get all their leaves in, and I would much rather focus on growing veggies that will produce in one season versus a berry bush that would take a couple years. Maybe next year. Or once I see how much sun is actually gonna be there.
So, I guess we'll see what happens during this coming week!

(This is garlic I stuck in a half barrel planter last November. I keep waiting for the stalks to turn brown and fall off, but I really just want to dig one up and look at it now!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Taters, et al

A new weekend, a new round of planting. I'm a little bit worried I might be a little bit behind; maybe I shouldn't have planted just seeds, but bought transplants. Or started them inside back in January....I don't think I have that much dedication.
Anyway, onto the lists. I'm good at lists. And this way I can keep a better record of what happens when.

Some of the herbs have started sprouting- Dill on the 10th, Parsley (sorta) on the 11th, Thyme on the 12th, Sweet Marjoram on the 13th. I say sorta because the parsley that I planted was from a Chia planter set/herb garden thing that Janice gave me. It comes with these soil sponges that you soak in water (hence, sponge, har har har) and then sprinkle the seeds on top. Seriously. I thought it was kind of weird, but I went with it. I mean, the company that can help me grow a Chia Sponge Bob should be able to help me grow herbs with their exclusive soil sponge, right? But really it looks kinda like the sprout is growing backwards, pushing out of the seed and the into the soil. I'm a little dubious as to how this will work well, but I'm willing to see what happens.

And then yesterday I took advantage of the lovely weather to plant in my new fangled raised bed:
2 Pontiac red potato sets
2 Russet potato sets
11 Beet seeds
9 Broccoli seeds
13 (? 12?) Carrot seeds
And then in one of the piles of dirt, the only one of the three that I could dig down more than 3" and not find clay, I planted 4 pea seeds and 4 snow pea seeds. I got some round cage supports, and more garden soil to put along the for planting of warm weather crops.

Taters!


See, boring. It's not going to be very exciting, I imagine, till things start sprouting (fingers crossed. I'm really nervous) and then I get to harvest them and make yummy food (Zucchini and carrot jam anyone? My bread maker has a jam setting!)

I guess the only other thing that is vaguely interesting is we...well, Bryan...got the water sprinkler set up. Meh.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Scallions, garlic, spinach and onions

It's been a very productive few days, not just with gardening. I'm slightly knee deep (more like ankle deep now) in a redecorating project of the guest bed room. That is really in it's final stages, since everything has been painted, all that's left are the little accent parts: the night table that I'm stripping and repainting (hurray for chemical strippers!), the lamp I got from Salvation Army that I spray painted to match the sconces, buying a lamp shade for said lamp, buying outlets (the outlets in that room were black. And I have it on good authority, since we pulled off the cable connection cover, that the room was originally painted a light neon/pastel pink. I'm not a fan of how that room probably looked before the house was sold) and outlet covers, buying a fancy cover for the light switch and spray painting THAT to match the sconces and lamp, and putting on the drawer knobs that I am also spray painting to match. That's gonna be tomorrow. 

But since I deemed this to be a blog primarily about gardening, I will now discuss gardening progress. And what progress it was! 

Friday I cleaned out the raised bed that had been left behind by the previous owner. My guess is that it's about 5x5. I cleaned out the last of the weeds and worked in some manure/humus that I'd gotten from Lowes, so it would be ready for the onion sets that I bought. I also wanted to plant the last of my garlic, and try again with my spinach. 

Like I said back in November when I was trying to grow anything and everything indoors, and bought a bunch of seeds that I couldn't plant yet, I did try to get some spinach started in a self-watering container, but those didn't even try to sprout. I'm a little dubious about it this time, but if it doesn't work, I'm going to just buy some transplants. Bryan's not a fan of spinach, so there's no point in growing a ton of it. 

Then, today we made another raised bed. A few weeks ago, along with a rototiller from the 1950's, my parents gave Bryan and I some 8' long boards to load/unload the tiller with. This morning, we went over to his parents house and dug up a bunch of "virgin soil", loaded it in his dad's truck, they grabbed a 12' piece of scrap lumber they had, and brought it back to our house. 
While they assembled it, I worked on cleaning out the 3 piles of dirt we found after getting rid of all the leaves. I haven't decided what exactly I'll do with those. Bryan's mom suggested vining crops, like melons. I have some zucchini growing, so I might put a couple of those plants there. Or I thought it would be good for potatoes/carrots/beets. We'll see. I might have gotten in over my head.



 All filled and ready to plant! Now to figure out what to put here. My biggest problem are delusions of grandeur. I want to plant a ton of veggies so I never have to buy them from the grocery store again. But where do I keep them all? And where to plant everything? How many potatoes will I really get from each seed potato? I love potatoes, maybe I should plant 80 of them and eat potatoes forever? I work 40 hours a week, how will I have time to weed and water and chat it up with my plants about my day at work? How much of this is gonna be ruined by bugs and pests and animals? Do I plant more to make up for the possible loss? I should start small but I really want to go BIG. (That's what she said)

Here you can see the 3 dirt piles. I kinda wish there were about 7 more.

 So once everyone was gone, I finally started planting. The 4 rows you see here are onions, but the first two rows I planted the sets closer together so that I could used them as scallions- 40 in all. And the other two rows have almost 30 onions.
After that I planted 2 rows of garlic equaling almost 30 cloves, and 2 rows of spinach. Since those have to be spaced out more, I only planted 13 seeds in all. 

Where to go from here? Guess we'll see. My plan is to plant several berry bushes (blue, black, rasp) along the fence (at least 2 of each for cross pollination), and then since it was such a good suggestion from Bryan's mom, I'm going to follow through with it: farther along the fence I'll plant my tomatoes, cucumbers and the pea and snap pea seeds I just bought at Home Depot tonight.
On my list of veggies left to plant are beets, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, various herbs, and strawberries. I bought some strawberry seeds last fall, but I'm half considering buying seedlings and scraping those seeds all together. Part of me feels like I need to give it a go anyway, especially considering I spent money on it....
Since it's raining tomorrow, I'm gonna work on redecorating things, so I won't have to think so much about how many/what/where/when to plant. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Inaugural Post

Here I am, back in the world of blogging. But instead of boring post about my life, I go with a themed post.
All about gardening.

I spent most of the winter reading Gardening for Dummies, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegetable Gardening, various gardening forums, planned and re-planned my garden layout on Gardeners.com and many other things after getting a bug up my ass for some reason about gardening. Over the course of several weeks, I bought a ton of self-watering containers and ordered seeds in the middle of December.
I tried to start all these plants inside; I had big grandiose ideas involving way more vegetables than I could ever cook...
Yeah, I started too early. And I discovered the hard way that you should never plant basil and rosemary together. But it's finally March. And I can finally really start to plant things that will go outside and grow and make lots of food! I'm never going to have to go grocery shopping ever again.
Ok, I know that's not true, but still. I'm super excited.

Last week I planted summer squash, cucumbers, glacier tomatoes, black cherry tomatoes, bush green beans, bush wax beans, ground cherry and....corn.... in those little jiffy planters. (I know right? Why did I put corn in the jiffy planters? Why am I planting corn? I don't know. I was caught up in the moment) I put the plastic piece over top of it, stuck it under a window on a table, and placed a desk lamp on a timer over it.
In 5 days, almost everything had sprouted!
I'm a master gardener.
Today, I transplanted them.

And this weekend, Bryan and I are tearing up the front yard (just a little bit) and putting in a raised bed, and I'm gonna plant onions, potatoes, and maybe some of the other cold season crops.

Bush green beans

Corn...(I know)

Cucumbers (front) and summer squash (back)

More summer squash



I amuse myself. But to be fair, those are all my real nails, just with the acrylic stuff on them. 

Artistic

All my seedlings <3