Saturday, February 25, 2012


It's a little chilly to be working in the garden today, but with the sun, the flowering bulbs and the looming springtime chore list I can hardly stay indoors. I'm slowly moving compost, bucket by bucket, to the garden. President's day has passed so spring seeds could be planted, although the weather for the week doesn't give me reason to put seed in cold ground. In the basement the first tomato seed has germinated. I planted them 9 days ago. It's still cool down there.

Most activity is coming in the form of spring bulbs. Mom allowed me to babysit this Amaryllis while she was on vaca so someone would enjoy the picoteed flower. Notice the yellow flowers? Those are from the cabbage core I sit in water to regrow. The chickens will enjoy it soon.

Now is a good time to take pics of the landscape to make note of where more bulbs can be planted next fall when you will have no idea where to put them. There are always gaps for me to fill in. Now...if I can remember to access these pics as a reminder. 

This was a new crocus variety for me- Goldilocks. It has purple on the outside of the flowers. They are dainty, but prolific. I hope they spread well. 

The mild winter has meant I've kept Rosemary alive this year. It has also resulted in an overwintered Nicotiana. ha! That is a first. I understand the USDA has released their new zone maps, but in order to mask some of the effects of climate change they included a larger range of annual T's to temper the blow. It still resulted in all of us moving towards a more southerly climate. Yikes. 
A healthy overwintered Nicotiana along the south side of the house.

I'm new to Figs. I saw these early buds bursting and assumed (wrongly) that they were leaf buds. Turns out they were actual figs! I knew figs could grow without fertilization, but had no idea they formed before leaves! Wow. Interesting. You can see the leaves are now unfurling. I'm going to have to read up more on these guys.
Figs forming in winter.

Other activities include chitting of some potatoes I used in my botany class that I bought at the store. Why not? They are little nuggets. I also have some tiny leftover potatoes from last year's harvest ready for sprouting.

Feeding ourselves: I'm down to 2 jars of salsa left. We have eaten all of the almost 150 onions I grew. I had to buy onions for the first time yesterday and we are running low on the peach jam. Looks like PB sans J is in the near future. We do have endless numbers of green onions still in the garden however.
All but one of the Tronchuda cabbages in the pot at the back porch passed away. The potato onions are thriving still. Has there been a culture that worshiped the lowly onion? I think I'm going to start one.

The daylilies are waking.

The lettuce sewn last fall from collected seed is almost ready.

Almost the first Daffodil.

The Sapsucker holes running with sap has brought the bees in droves to drink from the Maple in the front yard on warmer days.

Overwintered Geranium in bloom. 

Spring IS coming. Winter IS on the way out. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Is it too early?

My favorite way to spend Superbowl Sunday is by doing anything but watching the Superbowl. I find it neither a bowl or super. So, let's garden eh?

Is it too early to start my spring garden? Maybe in some years, but after an entire week of 50-60's I find my turnip seeds have germinated in the garden. I have Tronchuda cabbage, Dinosaur Kale and Perpetual Chard basking in the half-sunny sky for the first time since germinating in the basement. What the heck? Let's start the hardening off already.
From upper left to lower right. Two trays of each- Perpetual Chard, Tronchuda Cabbage and Dinosaur Kale.

It was warm enough for the snakes to start sunbathing too.

Other stuff in the garden growing well- Miner's Lettuce. Returns on it's own each year. Can't beat that.

Mache at eating stage. It also reseeds and comes back on its own.

And when you can't garden you consume the fruits of your labor. I've started to dabble in wine-making. Here is the first racking of the Apple, Pomegranate & Orange Wine experiment. It is a very pretty color.

I've also got a bottle of Wild Plum Wine that I made with no added sugar or yeast. The color and taste are amazing. I made it from frozen fruit in November and this is the first rack and separation from fruit. 
Skins and fruit dripping. Wild Plum. 

The other thing that happened this week is the Black Mission Fig started to bud out. I had just given it a good drink and I noticed the buds swelling this morning so I moved it to a window. 

Other stuff I have going- sauerkraut & kimchi making and a loaf of bread. Lots of fermentation in the house! Love it. Happy Sunday whatever you are doing!