Monday, April 25, 2011

Harvest Monday.....4/25/2011

It's another week of harvesting overwintered greens. I harvested the last of the collards as they were bolting. Then I pulled the plants to make room for some warm weather crops. Some more kale was picked and it seems to be holding it's own for now. I also cut more chard. The chard is also trying to bolt.

Kale, Collards and Chard

Harvest Total for the week - 10 oz.

Chard - 3 oz
Collards - 4 oz.
Kale - 3 oz.

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

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This week at the Plots

Everything is slowing progressing at the plots. The days that "The Italian" is home it rains all day, so the remaining beds won't be framed out until mother nature cooperates.

Most of the planting is up to date with the exception of some onions and two special varieties of peas. The weather is supposed to be good in the beginning of the week but that could change at any time.

I planted 4 White Kohlrabi and 3 Purple with some onion sets between them on Tuesday. You can see how windy it is over there from this picture. They are all doing well.

The cabbages are getting toughened up from the wind and growing nicely as well.

I finally planted the Heritage Raspberries that I have had here at the house. I also met the people who planted the other raspberries and blackberries. The woman identified the two varieties of raspberries as Heritage and Roadside Red. I can definitely tell them apart. The blackberries are supposed to be Hull, I could not find any information on them though.

The Pak Choi that is planted at the plots seems to be doing better then the ones I have planted here at the house. That's a good sign!!

The balance of the Sagre potaoes and the Kennebecs were planted in this bed. It's hard to see where I planted them in this picture. It was so windy that day that the top of the soil dried up almost immediately.

While we are on the subject of potatoes....the dang City Squirrels were in the potato bed here at the house! They dug up one potato so I covered the top of the bed with chicken wire. I guess it is time to get the traps out!!

Have a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Additions

We have been wanting to get a Meyer Lemon Tree for some time now. Well, we finally got one! We also purchased a Dwarf Lime Tree and a Dwarf Naval Orange Tree. All three were purchased on-line at Spring Hill Nursery. They had $25. off a $50. dollar order so we decided it was a good time to get them.

They arrived yesterday and were put in new pots this morning.

Meyer Lemon Tree

Dwarf Lime Tree

Dwarf Naval Orange Tree

They will spend a couple of weeks in the front room with the Bay Laurel and then taken outside. Next winter they will most like live in "The Italian's" office upstairs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Home Garden & Early Tomatoes

Although this weather really hasn't been cooperating, I finally have managed to get the home garden planting up to date!

Monday I planted the 10 early tomatoes. Four of them are in the greenhouse bed and the remaining six are in Kozy Koats (water cloches). I planted one each of the following varieties, Matt's Wild Cherry (a/k/a "Garden Helper's Tomato"), Howard's German Red, Pineapple (seed from Diana), Black Cherry & Paul Robeson (seeds from EG). I also planted 4 Cherokee Purple. Each one is from a different seed source. CP's are our favorite eating tomato and I have not been happy with the seeds that I purchased for a couple of years now. Thanks to Diana, Thomas, EG & Daphne we now have  a lot of CP's! It will be very interesting to see if there is much difference in this tomato from these four sources.

Early Tomato in Kozy Koat. It's hard to get a good photo with the red color reflection. The plants are doing well in the cloches.

Tuesday, between rain drops I fixed my old strawberry bed for the new owner next door and did some much cleaning up out back. We were starting to look like "Those" nieghbors! I put the shelves up in the greenhouse and moved 4 flats of plants out there to live. All of the eggplant, peppers, some herbs and misc seedlings are now living happily outside!

Peppers in the greenhouse with 3 extra early tomatoes that presently have no home.

A bud on one of the peppers

More seedlings in the greenhouse. The rosemary is doing well!

Wednesday I finally got to sow 4 large planters of carrots! Between the weather and running to the plots I have not been able to get them in. First I had to turn the compost pile to get some much needed compost to add to the planters! I am hoping that the carrots will love these nice deep pots. The carrots were covered with burlap and a tile to keep them moist. If Granny were here, I would have had her cut some nice round pieces of wood with the jigsaw to cover know how handy she is!!

Carrots sown in planter. I even started to set-up the patio furniture.

I cleaned up the flower pots on the deck and porch and planted some new mint I had grown in a few small pots. Six celery plants were put in at the end of the garlic bed and most of the early potatoes were finally planted! I planted 2.5 lbs of Yukon Gold and 1.25 lbs of Sangre. The balance of the Sangre potatoes and the Kennebecs will be planted at the plots today. It seems so late planting the potatoes, but it really isn't. I always plant my potatoes when the first dandelions bloom and yesterday I saw the first one.

Potato bed next door with early potatoes.

The Sugar Magnolia Purple Snap Peas are doing the best out of all of the peas I have planted at home. The Little Marvel English Peas germination rate is a little sporadic. I may sow some additional ones this weekend.

I'll be heading over to the plots shortly and will post what has been going on over there tomorrow. Have a great gardening day everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earth Day Reading Project

Marcia at Birds, Blooms, Books etc, invited me to participate in the Earth Day Reading Project hosted by Sage Butterfly. You are supposed to do a post on three books that have inspired you to "Be Green".

After several days of thinking about books that originally inspired me to "Be Green", I really can't think of any. I can say that I think I have always been a Greeny and that "The Book of Life" has been my inspiration.

I was born on a farm and lived on one most of my life. I was that little girl who was always out in nature and playing in the dirt. We always grew our own food, preserved and did not waste. Ever since I can remember I have always thought that disposable & pre-packaged products were very wasteful and very rarely use any of them. For instance, we do not use paper napkins, plates etc. and very rarely use paper towels. We are the neighbors that very rarely have any garbage, since we recycle and compost....that gets the neighbors talking!

I do have three great gardening books that I just love and have been very helpful to me growing organically.

"The Vegetable Gardeners Bible" by Edward C Smith, is the book that I refer to the most and is definitely my favorite. This book has just about everything you need in one place. It is very easy to look up anything and find want you want in no time.

"Carrots Love Tomatoes" by Louise Riotte, is another great organic gardening book and my second most used resource. She has extensive knowledge in companion planting and there are a lot of nice hand sketched garden layouts in this book.

"Four Season Harvest" by Eliot Coleman is my latest inspiration in organic gardening and growing veggies year round. This year I am planning to use more of his techniques and try to grow more vegetables for us during the winter.

Celebrate Earth Day by "Being Green"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Harvest Monday.......4/18/2011

After spending over 4 hours in the basement yesterday playing with my seedlings, I decided to face the fierce winds and go outside! First I re-arranged the greenhouse/"Garden Helper's" new playhouse. I moved the toys around and set-up the shelves for the warm weather crops.

While I was out there I noticed that the cold frame crops needed some immediate harvesting. Boy, that was fun in 50mph wind gusts! I harvested the last of the overwintered Arugula and then pulled the plants. I really wanted to add a little compost to the cold frames and do some planting...but, that was totally out of the question with the high winds. I was pleasently surprised with how much I harvested!

Arugula, Lettuce, Collards, Kale & Chard
This is what I harvested on Sunday!

Total Harvest this week: 2.6875 lbs
Arugula - 5 oz.
Brussels Sprouts - 4 oz.
Chard - 10 oz.
Collards - 4 oz.
Kale - 4 oz.
Lettuce - 1lb.

Stop by Daphne's Dandelions our host of Harvest Monday to see what veggie gardeners are up to around the globe!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy 1st Blogiversary to my Blog

Tomorrow it will one year since I started this blog. Boy, what a year it has been for our garden! We went from a very small urban garden to having the plots (the farm) at the community gardens too! I had only read a few blogs for a couple of months before I decided to start my blog. My initial thought was that it would make me keep record of my garden. I really had no idea it would turn out to be so much more.

My first follower was Dan and my second was Granny. I was so happy because they were two of the 3 blogs that I had been reading! The first garden blogger to post a comment was Granny! Today I have 80 followers and get a lot of wonderful comments daily on my posts, which mean so much to me.

I have to say that I sometimes feel like I don't show my appreciation as much as I should to all of my readers out there in blog land. I really admire how EG always thanks each and every new follower to his blog. I really had intended to do that as well. So, I am saying it now to each and every one of you who follow or read my blog....THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

I have learned so much from all of the great gardeners out there! It is so wonderful to be in touch with so many good people from around the world! You all keep me entertained and amazed on a daily basis, to say the least. I am grateful for all of the support, wonderful seeds & gifts received and the words of encouragement I have been given while starting those plots! When I come home tired or the weather holds me up, all of your kind words keep me going....they really do.

Yep, that's me and my computer! With that being said, I have to say thanks to my new good friend Granny.....Thanks so much for all your words of wisdom, being the pistol that you are and also being there for "The Italian" and I!!

Here' to a Great Gardening Year and Bountiful Harvests for all of us out there in blog land!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Almost Finished Digging at the Plots!

I have spent the past two days turning over the last two big beds at the plots. I am happy to say that the only digging that I have left to do is one small bed in the back for the raspberries that have been hiding in the basement!!

Bed #3 was turned over on Thursday. This bed is 5'x 25' and will be the main tomato bed (Tomato Alley). "The Italian" informed me last night that he cut the wood to make it 5'x 26'. I don't think that it will take me more then a few minutes to turn over that extra foot!

Bed #4 was done on Friday. This bed is also 5'x 26'.

I am happy to say that 80 of the 82 strawberry roots that were planted 12 days ago are growing nicely. The remaining two may make it. I only ordered 75 so we are ahead of what I had planned. One can never have too many strawberries!

All of the broccoli plants are doing well and have new growth. 8 Calabrese and 6 Walthan 29 have been planted so far. I have a few more broccoli seedlings to plant there on Sunday.

This Cabbage is Tet Noire, seeds from Jane at "A Kitchen Garden in Khei Maui" is also showing signs of new growth. I planted 3 of this variety and 3 Red Acre. The Tet Noire leaves are bigger then the Red Acre.

3 Chiefton Savoy Cabbages were planted. They are also growing nicely.

6 Pak Choi  have been sown in between the broccoli & cabbage. They also seem very happy. I have to say that I am very pleased with everything that I have planted at the plots so far. I was a little apprehensive as to how well everything would grow since I have not added a lot of compost to the beds yet. I'm still waiting for my nephew to find me some good clean compost. I haven't found any that I feel comfortable to use there.

I finally remembered to get something to mark the plants with. I purchased 300 large Popsicle sticks at the craft store for $4. I was then able to take the plastic cups that where next to the plants out and replace them with markers!

I have met a lot of great gardeners at the plots. There is a very nice woman who will be a great help. "Whitey" the oldest gardener at the gardens, sent her over to talk to me. He says we are both Gardening Nuts!! She has been gardening there for many years and has quite an interesting gardening background. She used to tend to Mrs. Rodale's gardens at her home until she passed away. Yes, that is "The" Mrs. Rodale! I'm sure she will be very helpful since she is a completely organic gardener with many many years of experience.

Another one of the gardeners there "Bill", who is two plots to the right of us, brought me a great gift the other day....Calla Lilies! He grows them from seed and gave me 8 rhizomes each of two varieties. In the 80's & 90's I had many Calla Lilies....but one year I didn't bring them in for the winter and lost them. Since they are quite expensive I never purchased any more.

These will be planted in pots on the deck.

I would like to introduce to everyone a local gardener, Todd. He lives right here in the Lehigh Valley where we live. He has a very good, well written, informative gardening blog. Stop by his blog, BBOG, Big Blog of Gardening. He has a lot of great information to share!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Home Gardens Mid-April....A Pictorial

Everything here at the house is moving along slowly but surely. Boy what a difference from last year!

Left Cold Frame, overwintered carrots are finally growing and some spinach & pak choi has been sown

Right Cold Frame, the arugula is about finished, some spinach has been sown here too. I will sow more when I pull the arugula plants

The peas are finally coming up

I planted some pak choi in empty spaces in the garlic bed

Some color in the perennial beds & herb garden

Carrots have been sown in between the cloches. More carrots will be sown today in 4 large pots.

There are some good brussels sprouts on this plant. I will cut them off today and finally pull the plant. This year I started them earlier.

Lilacs are filling out. Last year they were in bloom at this time, a month earlier then normal.

Oregano is coming up nicely

The chives are also pretty big and we have been using them for cooking

Spring flowers are blooming in the perennial beds

Four flats of cold crops & some herbs have been hardening off under the bench on the back porch and most will be planted at the plots this weekend

The early tomatoes at 8 weeks old. They have been spending most of the time outside and will be planted in the cloches this weekend. Last year they were in the cloches about 10 days earlier.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Little Garden Helper sowing carrots & garden art

My "Little Garden Helper" is finally home from visiting with his other grandparents in Florida. He was very excited to see that the greenhouse was up and wanted to plant seeds. It has been raining for the last two days. So I decided to get out some carrot seed mats and take him in the greenhouse to plant some carrots. It was much warmer and dry in there.

I gave him a gardening tool and he started loosening the soil. He always amazes me with how he knows just what to do in the garden. I really think that farming must just run in the blood.

He wanted to know where the seeds were. I showed him how they were glued to the paper. I told him that they had to be covered with the dirt and he did it. Then we went in to the garage to get some boards to lay on top of the carrots. While we were in there we found some great toys!

Since he could walk, I would always let him play in the dirt of an empty bed. What little boy doesn't love playing in dirt??

We had a great time!

Now we have some great garden art in the greenhouse!
Please note, no onions were hurt during the process.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Green Harvest Monday.....4/11/2011

It was a greens week in the harvest department. All of the harvests so far this year have come from the cold frames with the exception of some herbs. I am so grateful that we managed to get them built last fall, especially with the spring weather we have had.

Nice basket of Kale. I just love the blue/green color.

Some Rainbow Chard and Collards.
This is the first time that I have grown chard or even eaten it. None of the pretty pink or red ones were ready to pick, just the yellow and white. I'm sure that it will get much bigger....but they really looked like they needed to be cut a little.  I also love the color and look of Collards. The blue/green is just so so pretty!

I also harvested some more Arugula this week. It is so wanting to bolt. I keep snipping out the buds. It may be the last week for those plants as the temperature today is supposed to get into the 80's.

Total Harvest this week: 1.375 lbs

Arugual - 3 oz.
Chard - 8 oz.
Collards - 7 oz.
Kale - 4 oz.

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