Saturday, February 28, 2009

June 2008 in the Vegetable Garden

It snowed several inches again last night. I imagine the crocuses that were blooming are finished, but the moisture will be good for the plants. I have had a fun day with our grandson, and was able to get this post together while he played next to me, and during some time with Grandpa.

By June 3, we were continuing to eat lettuce every day, but it was getting large, and I was still behind in picking it. The lamb's ears were still there, as well as bachelor buttons, what I think were a couple rose campions in the front, middle of the pic, a couple small tomato plants on the left, and an assortment of weeds.

From the front, the Husker Red penstemon, comfrey, either limonium or German statice, and a veronica were blooming June 3.

I'm not sure how long I let the lettuce grow in the onions, but I harvested it in time for them to keep growing. I worked to keep the weeds out because onions won't form well with competition or crowding. This was taken the 3rd, also.

On June 15, the hollyhocks were about to bloom. The potatoes were crowding out the lettuce I had put in their space before they came up.

June 15th must have been the day Larry decorated the compost fence with the "walking sticks" he had brought home from an area lake.

I guess I was proud of the potatoes, since I have two pics of them from the 15th.

The post from July will have a pic showing where the sweet peas are in the garden.

June 18th was the last time in June I took pics in the veggie garden. The onions were forming.

The hollyhocks and larkspur were beginning to bloom next to a tomato plant.

Cucumbers were coming up, with Four O' Clocks visiting from the other side of the fence.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What I Should Have Posted for SkyWatch Friday

Look what I saw in the neighbor's tree yesterday!

They were a little shy.

I saw robins for the first time this year!

SkyWatch Friday 2/27/09

These pis of the sky above the garage were taken February 23, the day I planted my gamble garden. The weather vane was put there by my late father-in-law in the early to mid 1980s, replacing one that had already been there. I hope to get the details of the eagle some time when the lighting is different or I learn how to use my camera settings.

Happy SWF, and go see more skies from all over the world by clicking here, or the icon in the sidebar.  Thanks sponsors!  

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring Planting Time, Sort of

I got my "gamble garden" in today.  I like to plant a few things in late February or early March, partly to feel good that I've started gardening for the season, but also in case it snows a lot and the ground stays too wet to plant for awhile. The plants won't come up until the soil is warm enough, and I'll most likely need to cover them with my green cloth once they are up, and the temps are below freezing. (I'm still hoping to get a cold frame or figure out a hoop house type of thing.) There is a chance they could get killed by the weather, but I've rarely had that happen. I lose more late summer planted crops due to the heat, and not enough moisture.  

These seeds are from 2008. I purchased some on sale at the end of the season, and others were already opened and not full. The spinach is Hybrid Olympia. The name of the radish was torn off last year, but it may be a Cherry Bell. (The writing on the packets was legible in iphoto, but not here. After the spinach is mesclun, Gourmet Greens Mixture, Lolla Rosa lettuce, Nero Toscana kale, and the last lettuce is Black Seeded Simpson.) 

Here's the area before I started working. The soil was loose enough that I didn't have to turn it over. I applied compost in the fall, and it's in a sunnier spot than most of the garden, so it was ready to go.

I have tried different types of rows, and broadcasting, but this year, I saw something similar to this "circle" in a magazine, and decided to try it. I have radishes in some of the rows, and they will come out earlier than the other plants, making more room for them, and for me to pick the greens.

I used to measure planting depth and space between rows in order to follow the directions on the seed packets, but now I eyeball it, and figure I'll thin enough to give everything room to grow.  

Since the seeds are from last year, I planted them closer together than what the package says, as the germination rate may be lower. Plus, I like to eat the thinnings.

I am a pretty laid back gardener. I don't aim for perfection. It's OK if some of the seeds don't stay in their rows as I put the dirt over the seeds.

I have used other things, such as boards, but these days, since I am already using my hoe when I plant, I just use it to tamp down the soil to get a connection between the soil and the seeds. If it was later in the season, I would water the seeds in, but I don't this time of year.

I decided to loosen the soil in the next section, in hopes that the neighborhood cats and squirrels will dig there instead of the newly planted area. I have had to replant due to critters. We'll see. They'll probably just have fun in both sections. I am persistent enough to get a crop, though.

Please bear with me if this was way too detailed. I am realizing there are some beginning gardeners who can benefit from seeing how an old gardener does things, even if they are a bit unconventional. I just hope no one follows my way of doing it, with bad results.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

April and May 2008 in my Vegetable Garden

Spring is my favorite season, maybe because I can get back into the garden after a long absence due to winter. I normally plant lettuce quite early, but can't remember when I got my first plants in last year. I wasn't blogging, and didn't write it down.

The first three pics were taken April 22. I planted 3 kinds of onions. I prefer plants over bulbs because the onions get bigger and they don't try to flower. I tend to plant them fairly close, thinking I'm going to thin some to use for green onions. I don't get them thinned as much as I'd planned, and the onions don't get as big as they could, so I tried to give them more room last year.

It's good to keep onions and lettuce from drying out as they are growing. By the time the skins are forming on the onions, the lettuces are all out of the garden, and the onions should be kept on the dry side. Onions can be picked and used at any size all season.

I got some fabric that is for putting on grass seeds or garden plants because it was getting below freezing at night. I had just taken it off the lettuce in this pic, and put it on the peas coming up, to protect them from the rabbits, who normally eat them down to the ground. It worked! I start thinning lettuce by pulling plants out when this size, pulling the roots off, and eating what I've thinned.

There was some lettuce with the peas, too.

May 6, those are hollyhocks growing next to the compost pile, behind the lattice.

Still May 6, the hole on the left is where a holly hock I gave away had been. The violets I let grow and eat are in the middle, next to the "lovely" brick and spigot we used to be able to get water from. I think that flower on the upper right was a false sunflower that I later moved. There is a little volunteer bachelor button in the middle of the bottom.

May 12, look at all those onions!

May 15, from the flower bed in front, that I need to work on this year. I think that blue flower is a comfrey, that I could have put in a GBBD post if I was blogging then.

May 19, the buttercrunch and romaine were forming nicely. I didn't do as good a job of succession planting as usual, so had trouble keeping up with my thinning. The rabbits didn't mind.

May 19, the lamb's ears looked happy, but I dug most of it up to give away. There are a few pea plants in the right side of the picture.

May 22, everything was growing, and you can see garlic in the upper left side of the pic.

May 25, the garlic was thinned and put on the compost pile.

I planted lettuce between the onions and garlic. This was taken May 25, I think, after I thinned.

May 25, from the garlic area:

May 28, there is a potato plant on the upper left, and the row of kale was coming up on the left, too. The bachelor button on the far right was growing well.

May 28, from the entrance to the garden. The vine is perennial sweet pea.

Soon, soon, I will plant what I call my "gamble garden". This is the only gambling I do. The plants won't come up until the soil is warm enough, and then, like last year, there will be some below freezing nights. If I don't get a cold frame, I will use the green cloth again, and if I loose some of the crop, the plants I put in later will be coming along.

Happy Almost Spring!

Who Was Enjoying the Nicer Weather 2/17/09

There have been so many awesome bird pics posted lately, and I keep commenting that I seem to be only seeing sparrows, so, I thought I'd post some pics of them. There is a dove family I saw a week ago, but haven't since, that hangs out in my veggie garden when the weather warms up, maybe before. I haven't seen any robins yet, but someone in my area has. In warmer weather I also see cardinals, and blue jays in our yard, and I hear woodpeckers. There are also geese, I think that live in the nearby cemetery, that fly overhead.

This rabbit was in my new bed that day, and was very slow in getting away from me.

This was what I saw when I first went out:

After looking me over, the squirrel went over to the corn, and ate a little before going up the tree, as I stepped off the porch.

I am seeing more green under the leaves, but it's too soon to remove them.  I think the blogs that are showing little seedlings coming up are causing me to yearn for spring to get here more than the full grown blooming flowers are.  I plan to get some lettuce, spinach, radishes, and kale in soon.  It's a bit early, but I like to take a chance with my first crop, because I figure I can always replant if I lose it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

SkyWatch Friday 2/20/09

This was taken Friday, February 13, 2009:

The rest were taken Feb. 17:

Click to see more SkyWatch Friday pics from all over the world.  Thanks team!