Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Berry Time at the Plots!!

I spent several hours at the plots on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday I was planning to finish installing the bunny fencing. That didn't happen, I spent most of the time moving the raspberries. They were everywhere in the back of the plots.

Here are two rows of raspberries. The row on the right was there, I had removed all the dead canes and trimmed them a while back. I only had to move one clump from that row since it was too close to one of the beds. The row on the left I planted from canes that were here and there.

You can see in this picture that all of the bunny fencing was finally finished on Wednesday!!

I planted some more canes that I found to the left of the blackberries. I know that all the raspberries are going to need some more attention and some supports. They are nice and tidy and out of the way for now though. I call this area of the plots...Berry Alley.

I still have some canes left over that I dug up on Tuesday.

I am going to plant the canes that I have at home and the canes that I have left over in that nice big space behind this row. The row will run perpendicular to this one. Hopefully I will be able to get that area prepared this weekend.

As you can see, the raspberries are budding! If all the raspberries survive....we are going to have a lot of berries!! That means lots of raspberry jam...yum!!!

 After finishing the bunny fencing on Wednesday, I put a lot of peat moss, sand and some manure in the strawberry bed. The PH was a little higher then strawberries, I am hoping that the peat and manure will lower it a bit. I also added some bone meal and dried blood to this bed and Bed #5. The strawberry bed and the bracsia bed are now ready to be if only mother nature will cooperate!!

I also want to introduce to everyone a local Pennsylvania gardener Jody, who started a blog last week. Please welcome him into the wonderful world of blogging and visit his new garden blog, Spring Garden Acre!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Say it Ain't So

All I have to say about our 10 day weather forecast is...WHAT THE HECK!!!! Look at Thursday and Friday!! It's nice today so I'm off to the plots!


Some sun, then clouds; chilly


A bit of rain and snow


Snow and rain in the morning


A couple of showers possible


Breezy with some sun


Cloudy with rain possible


Mostly cloudy, rain possible


Cooler with rain




Warmer with sun, then clouds

Monday, March 28, 2011

Harvest Monday.........3/28/2011

Spring may be taking it's good old time settling in this year....but it sure looks like it has sprung in the cold frames! The lettuce is growing nicely and there is plenty out there for some nice salads this week. The rainbow chard is absolutely beautiful! This is my first time growing it and am very anxious to try it. The collards and kale look very happy as well.

This week I harvested about 6 oz of Arugula from the cold frames and the last of the overwinter leeks from the garden.

We used the Arugula in a pasta dish with chicken, sundried cherry tomatoes, white wine & garlic. It was absolutely wonderful! I got the recipe idea from reading a post of Villager's last week.

There's quite a bit arugula in the cold frames ready to harvest. I will give those plants a good haircut this morning as soon as it warms up a bit. The temperature outside is a nice balmy 25 F at the moment!

The last of the overwintered leeks were harvested. They weighed in at about 6 oz after they were trimmed. I made leek and potato soup using a little wine in the recipe this time as suggested by Sue. It was a great dinner with some nice crusty bread!

Stop by Daphne's Dandelions, our host of Harvest Monday to see what's going on in gardens around the globe!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Working in the cold at the plots

The temperatures yesterday and today only topped out at about 39 F and it's a bit windy. The sun has been shining and since the downstairs refrigerator contains

75 Strawberry plants in the one crisper drawyer

and Aspargus roots in the other crisper drawyer

and the Broccoli and Cabbage looks like it wants to be planted

and there are Raspberry Canes hiding in a dark part of the basement!

I thought that I better get over to the plots and get some work done. I bundled up in layers and spent a few hours there yesterday and today. It really wasn't bad and I did manage to make some progress.

Yesterday I turned in the manure and compost in Bed #1. This is where the Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts will be planted.

Then I planted 80-90  onion plants along the front edge of the bed.

Today I turned over Bed #6 which is 3' x 32' and will contain the strawberries. Once the wind dies down, in a day or two I will add peat moss, sand and manure to this bed.

After I finished working on the strawberry bed I started to install some bunny fence along the front of the plots. I found some clay dirt in the back where the compost bins will be located and thought it would be good to compact along the fence. This is where the Asparagus will be I need to get the fencing in and beds prepared this week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sometimes you just have to hang more Lights and...

take over another area in the basement!! Since "Old Man Winter" has decided that he wasn't ready to leave yet and my tables runneth over, I thought that I better find some more space in the basement for the seedlings.

The previous owners had left an old plastic table here that has come in handy at times. It's in the tool area of the basement near the boiler. So I cleaned it off and hung another shop light over it. That area of the basement is warmer then where I have the germinating tables located.

This table will accommodate 8-10 flats! When the warm weather seedlings are bigger, I will just move them here!!

Just when you think Spring has Sprung

you wake up to SNOW!!! Yes, it is snowing outside! "They" said that we might get some snow....but, "They" are usually wrong!

This was yesterday

This is today!!
It's a good thing we put the tops back on the cold frames last night...just in case of an ice storm!! I had planted some new lettuce and spinach seedlings in them yesterday.

Chives in the herb garden

Tulips in the herb garden

Does this mean that I have to clean my house today??

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Planting Peas and My Tables Runneth Over!!

I was planning on sowing some of the peas here at the house on Sunday. After spending most of the day at the plots I decided to soak the peas in a Vitamin C solution and sow them on Monday. I read that it has been proven that pea seedlings treated with Vitamin C will grow 40% higher. The root length, deeling weight and germination are also greatly enhanced by doing this. To make the solution, dissolve 150 milligrams of Vitamin C in two quarts of water and soak the peas in it for 12 to 48 hours. In the article that I had read the woman then pre-sprouted the peas before coating them with inoculate and planting them. There was no way that I was going to pre-sprout hundreds of peas seeds!! Well, it was so cold and damp yesterday that last night I decided to roll them up in damp paper towels, put them in a plastic bag and place them on the radiator until I was able to plant them some time today.

After spending a couple of hours this morning playing the seedling shuffle and re-potting the Brussels Sprouts, Kohlrabi and some additional broccoli, I decided that I better get outside and plant the peas here at the house. The weather forecast for the next week is not very promising, so I have to take advantage of every minute of decent weather that we have. When I opened up the peas, some of them had already started to sprout after only about 16 hours!! I was in such a hurry to get them planted that I didn't take any pictures.

Around the exterior of the garlic bed, I planted Spring Blush Snap Peas, which are a purple podded snap pea. I'm very excited about this pea. I also planted Little Marvel English peas in this bed.

This bed is in the yard next door. The new owner was nice enough to let me use it. I planted Mammoth Melting Snow Peas around the exterior of this bed. I will also plant my early potatoes here. After they are finshed, which should be mid-July, I'm going to help the woman who will be living there plant some veggies in there.

After planting the peas, I planted about three dozen onion plants here and there in the beds here at the house. The main onion crop will be planted at the plots.

 This is the front germinating table down in the basement. As you can see the early tomatoes are getting huge and the table is almost completely full! It's difficult to get good pictures with those lights on.

This is the back germinating table in the's full too!!!

Here are the seedlings that I re-potted this morning. Since they are cool weather crops, soon I will be able to take them outside with the other tray and a half!! I wish the weather and our schedule would cooperate so we could get the greenhouse up!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Harvest Monday......3/21/2011

We had a small harvest this week from the cold frames. A little lettuce and the remaining pak choi. This pak choi started to bolt just as the others did. I'm sure it was from fluctuating temperatures in the cold frames.

The lettuce in combination with the carrot and radishes from last week made great dinner salads! The pak choi is still waiting in the refrigerator for "The Italian" to make it into a fine dinner this week!

This week's harvest total was 8 oz: 4 oz. of lettuce and 4 oz. of pak choi.

Stop by Daphne's Dandelions, our host of Harvest Monday to see what's going on in gardens around the globe!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We are Gated!!!

"The Italian" and I spent 6 hours yesterday and about 4 hours today at the plots. Yesterday it was very windy and the air was very cold even though the temperature was in the 50's. Today it was much nicer outside. The temperature was in the low 50's and there wasn't much wind. From talking to long time gardeners at the plots, we have learned that it tends to be windy there.

After all that time we finally have the gates installed and added some height to the front fence.

The gates are 5' tall and wide. They are attached to 8' posts. "The Italian" has some kind of water saving system designed that requires these two posts to be that high. He is also going to install turn buckles and gables at the top of the gates to keep them from saging. The old gate to the right was screwed shut and wire fencing was put over it. Although you cannot see it in the picture, I did put bunny fencing at the bottoms of the gates. It does drag on the ground a bit to try to keep the critters out.

I took pieces of 4' high fencing that was left at the plots from the previous gardeners and attached it to the existing fence. There were several old metal posts left there too. "The Italian" hammered them into the ground and I did the grueling task of cutting pieces of heavy wire and wiring everything together. As you can see, there are waves in the fencing...but, it was free and will definitely serve it's purpose!! I have to say that this has been my least favorite thing that we have done at the plots. I wasn't the happiest of campers yesterday and today. It will all be worth it when those beds are full of beautiful veggies though.

Oh...look at the plot to the right of more weeds!!! We have newbie gardener nieighbors who have been waiting over a year to get a plot. I was so thrilled when we got there yesterday and saw that the weeds have been removed. They really seem like nice people. They also have a four year old son who will give my "Little Garden Helper" someone to play with.

Speaking of "My Little Garden Helper", he is going to Florida tomorrow to see his other grandparents. He has only seen his grandmother once and has never seen his grandfather. I'm feeling quite teary knowing that my little guy is leaving on a jet plane and will be gone for two weeks.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Plotting Along an update

The weather has been good and we have been able to get some more work done at the plots.

Bed 1 (3' x 34') on the right I dug last week and added some compost to yesterday. Bed 2, the next one to the left is 4' x 30'. This bed took me two afternoons to turn over. It was covered with abandoned strawberries, a lot of thick grass and a bunch of living weed roots. I put all of the strawberries in a few bucket and added a little dirt to them. Since I had already ordered 75 strawberry plants for the strawberry bed, we don't need them. I was hoping that I would find a gardener to take them. Well, today a new gardening couple at the Community Gardens were there and were very happy to take them off my hands. It was so hot today, that I was afraid they would dry up and die. They took them home to separate them and pot them up until they are ready to be planted.

Yesterday, "The Italian" and I dug bed #5. This bed is 4' x 28' and it only took the two of us 1 1/2 hours to dig it!! Boy, turning over a bed goes a lot faster when you have a good helper!!
Today I went over to the plots by myself to install the bunny fencing along the left side. This had to be done since it is behind Bed #6 which is the strawberry bed. This bed needs to get turned over and ready ASAP!! I think my strawberry plants will be shipped next week.

This fencing was a pain in the you know what to install!! The neighbors to the left of us had installed fence but it was not buried in the ground. I took shorter pieces of fencing that I had here to bury in the ground and attach to the existing fencing. This side of the plot 47' long....3' longer then the right side. Well, I had to dig and cut wire and attach and dig behind the cold frame....boy, I was a dirty mess when I got home. It took me 3 1/2 hours to install that fencing!!!

While I was at the plots, look what "The Italian" made....the gates for the plots!!! Aren't they just wonderful??? We will take them over there tomorrow, cover them with wire fencing, install the posts and put them up!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guess what today is?????

It's somebody's Birthday!!! No, it's not mine or "The Italian's"

No it's not
Miss Banana's

 Alvin's 9th BD!!! Now he's the same age as us!!

The Great Blind Vole Catcher!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Home Veggie Garden Mid-March

Since we had rain this morning, I did not go to the plots. I have spent several hours over there the past two days, but have not taken any pictures. I will take pictures of the plots tomorrow and post an update on them in the next day or two.

The weather was nice this afternoon so I decided to clean out the veggie and perennial beds. Here are some photos of what is going on in the veggie department at home.

I weeded  and loosened up the soil in the two cold frames. Now all I have to do is move some of the plants around next week. There is a lot of wasted space in them.

Some Arugula and Lettuce in the cold frames.

Kale and Rainbow Chard in the cold frames

The garlic bed behind the cold frames. There is one Brussels Sprout plant from last year that looks like it may give us a harvest after all.

These little guys spent the day outside and will soon begin to spend the nights out there too.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Harvest Monday ...... 3/14/2011

This past week I harvested a few small radishes and an anemic looking carrot from the cold frames. It's not much.....but it's a harvest! There's some lettuce and some more pak choi out there ready to be harvested, which I will do later today.

I will weigh these when we use them tonight in a salad with some fresh lettuce just waiting for me out in the cold frames.

Stop by Daphne's Dandelions, our host of Harvest Monday to see what's going on in gardens around the globe!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Digging at the Plots

Even though Mother Nature is still not cooperating with my gardening schedule, "The Italian" and I did get some work done at the plots. Yesterday the two of us went over there for a couple of hours. I did some digging and "The Italian" re-measured everything, straightened up and inventoried the fencing, posts etc. that was left there.

Today my "Little Garden Helper" was supposed to come over and go to the plots with us. Well, he woke up with a cold and did not come over. Even though the weather today was much colder then it was supposed to be, I decided to go to the plots and finish digging the one bed. "The Italian" stayed  home and worked on the drawings for the plots and his water storage system. I will post the drawings in a day or two.

The one side bed which is 3' x 34' is turned over. I also installed the bunny fencing along this side. This bed will have broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and I really need to get it ready to go!

I started to dig this bed where one of the two varieties of asparagus will be planted....but, I got so darn cold I went home!

We are planning to get at least three more large beds dug this week and framed out....we will see if Mother Nature cooperates with our plans!!!