Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Sprung

Just a few updates and going-ons.
Pics I took outside today are pooey.

Two weeks ago the earth was brown and grey. I knew it would green up fast and she did. Today, although rainy, the following are in bloom: first Daffodils, a Maple, Manchurian apricot, first Chionodoxa, first Hyacinth in the dome, Spicebush, the grass is green and the violets are showing their first leaves. Most crocuses are finishing. The larger types are just beginning.
I collected Red Russian Kale and Collards for a salad.
One of my favorite salad dressings: 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 small shallots, 2 Tbs White Wine Vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1Tbs Maple Syrup- whiz it up, toss in chopped greens, let rest for the day. 


Dome Happenings and Thoughts
 Red Russian Kale seedlings
Gah! Look at those pigments!

 Hellebores need to be transplanted

 Hyacinth, Pansies and Green Onions
42F with the door open


Inside view
Reflections: Really like the way this style of greenhouse turned out for me. Things I need to improve:
wall up the sides of the trench with boards- some erosion occurred. The floor was a little muddy- probably need some better floor material or more rock at the bottom. Maybe re-dig and replace the rock with a thicker layer. A few holes were made in the plastic by the neighbor cat and need to be repaired. Probably will end up rolling over the plastic for the summer. I'm hoping many of the greens in here will reseed and repopulate themselves. They do so much better on their own time and planting than when I'm in charge. Need to recover the door- plastic is completely torn. 
I  like that I can start seeds in flats, grow plants in soil and overwinter plants in pots and feel like I have sufficient space. What seemed very sparse vegetation in winter has mostly filled in. 
Problems: slugs and the neighbor cat!

Basement business
Second move from basement to outside yesterday: Hollyhocks, Feverfew, Rudbeckia, Salvias
First transplanting from hardening off on Saturday- lettuce & greens

 Time to start transplanting maters.
Last year I started them later or they germinated later and I left them
in these flats in their soil cubes. It was a lot colder and longer last winter.
Since the plants have taken off and I have more space under lights with moving
plants out or starting more in the dome I decided to do the first transplant.
Dr Wyches, Queen & Harless Creek varieties were done this morn.
 First mater transplants

 Blue Angel Salvia seedlings-  post stratification emerging.

 First Cannas up (above)
First Basils up (below)
 Basils planted on March 5 germinating.

And now I'm making a list of all of the seeds I need to plant outdoors: more peas, poppies, cornflowers, nigella, rattail radish, arugula, borage, carrots, parsnips, dill, turnips, rutabagas, parsley root

It done Greened Up! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Screw it. I'm gardening.

February 5, 2015
Maybe you've seen the meme of a gardener in the snow with this title? That's how I feel most winter days. It's 27 degrees outside and I'm building tomato cages, but I can't stop myself. Addict.

A few thoughts about the cages. I'm trying them instead of my old method. The 2x3 holes are not ideal, but I plan on cutting some larger holes to access maters. I hope they are sturdy enough. I'll probably tie them all together, have tie downs and landscape fabric stakes. They are only 4ft tall. So, lots of things I'm not sure about, but willing to give it a go. The old wooden 1x2's I used last 2-3yrs, so I had to do rebuilding each year. I am looking for something a little easier & reusable. One roll of this coated fencing made 10 cages at about $3.65 each, which is very reasonable. It's an experiment. I'll report back how it goes.

Seedling ID



 Morning Glories- pink striped

 Salvias-top and bottom
Notice how the mint members have similar cotyledons
I just like how they are flat on one side and rounded on the other.
Can I have a favorite cotyledon or is that weird?

Overwintering Updates
 The pathetic chilies at this time of the year.
Ivy Geraniums have begun to bloom again.



March 10, 2015
The above notes were saved as a draft and I'm just now getting around to posting with updates. 
I started to wonder if my gardening addiction isn't related to the soil microbes that are associated with positive feelings. Maybe my addiction is really soil/bacteria related and less about the plants and I just don't know it. I suppose it's a relatively harmless addiction to have if one must have any.

On Sunday March 1 we received almost 6 inches of snow. Might it be our last? This week is suppose to be in the 50's with lows in the 40's.
Dome updates:
 Collards are looking nice and no bug holes!
First hyacinth to emerge (below).

 First seedlings to germinate (above).
Kale bouncing back nicely. No sign of slugs yet.

Well, if there is going to be an assault to the dome I
would prefer it happen in March.
And it did. I suspect the neighbor cat. The plastic
on this door was 2 years old so it is a little weak and the cat is
of healthy weight. And he likes to sit on the dome. Ugh.
 Chard, leeks and shallots perking up (below)

Basement seedling updates
 Above: Rustic Colors and Chimchiminee Black Eyed Susans
Below: Celery

 Above: Cipollini Onions- red
Below: Hollyhocks and Blanketflower

 Above: Peppers. Going to need to restart a few varieties.
Below: Salvias (2x) and Feverfew

Tomato seedlings!

First Harden off day-March 10, 2015
With the promise of above freezing temps for the next 5 days, along with the drizzly gray day it seemed as good a time as any to start hardening off some early-seeded plants from the basement.

These spent 1 hour in the light rain and then went under the east porch for protection. 
 Above: fennel, parsley, lovage and valerian
Below: spring greens and lettuces I've been cutting from since November

Book recommendation
I just started reading Eating on the Wild Side, but I am enjoying and thinking. The premise is that we have, for the most part, been selecting against nutrition since the dawn of agriculture some 10,000 years ago and should consider eating either more wild foods, more foods closest to their wild relatives or planting seeds of plants that have been bred to have higher nutritional content (think purple carrots). So far the highlights for me have been that artichokes are healthier than I thought and so I'm going to eat more of them and that smaller onions have more nutritional value than larger ones. Green onions, shallots and leeks are healthier than bulbous onions and sweet onions have the least nutritional value. In many foods the stronger the flavor, the more nutrients it probably has- bitter greens for example. When we selected for sugars, we lost other nutrients.

Food Stuff and my "More of this" List
Empty jars slowly create promises to fill tomorrow. I'm eating a lot from jars this fall-winter-spring and have a running list of "more of this" to freeze or can next summer.  Today's soup, for example, came from 1 jar of enchilada sauce, 1 jar of tomato sauce, 1 jar of zucchini, 1 bag of corn (all frozen) and 1 can of store-bought black beans, plus spices and brown rice.              Enchilada Soup

More of This List:
Frozen pesto
Frozen garlic
Frozen Okra (for gumbo)
Frozen Zucchini (I sauted in olive oil and then packed in quart jars)
Frozen Roasted Fresh Salsa (best salsa I've made)
Frozen whole roma tomatoes
Frozen cut corn
Frozen Broccoli and Cauliflower (from Scharf's when in season)
Frozen sauted Hen of the Woods mushroom (or at least- do this again as it turned out well)
Frozen- chopped, olive oiled onions in jars
Frozen- fresh herbs in olive oil
Frozen Lamb's Quarter

More dried herbs: oregano, thyme, Thai basil

Because I like to plan even if I don't actually follow the plans. I know. Whatever.
The 2015 Summer Garden plan on paper. Even though I've mostly switched to garden journaling here, instead of on paper, I still make a paper plan and a big ole To Do list. 
 The many gardens and lists

Time to get yo shit together, according to Clyde:
Clyde's Garden Planner says I could have done my first plantings 9 days ago! Damn. Of course, the ground was frozen then, but it's time for first plantings of: onion sets, peas and spinach outside. 

I haven't done any of these yet! Geesh. Gotta get on that.

TEN. Count them- 10 days until the first day of spring, folks. 
Remember when we thought it would never warm up- like last week, remember?