Archive for the ‘growing season’ Category

In preparation Thursday, September 16th, 2010

The dawn before fall is nearly as good as spring when it comes to gardening, for me at least. The first plants are drying in their beds. The grass has all but stopped growing. The temperature inside need only be regulated by the opening and closing of windows. We are passed the heavy maintenance stage of weeding and watering and wrangling. All the pumpkin vines have shriveled leaving our back steps a staggering of orange orbs with only a couple looking as though they are waiting for Cinderella’s fairy godmother out in the garden bed.

Soya Envy soybeans, dried on plant, collected for next year's crop

Next steps:

  • Continue gathering seeds – so far I have edamame, marigold, pepper, tomato and butternut squash
  • Covering the tomato plants for a few more nights before picking all and leaving them to ripen on newspaper in front of a sunny window
  • Pick the last peppers
  • Make a list of what did well and didn’t for next year
  • Canning tomatoes
  • Cooking and freezing the pumpkin for pies and baby food
  • Help my parents pick apples and pears, with bonus bagfuls to take home
  • Plant fall bulbs – my pick this year was crocus
  • Plant garlic – just waiting for the order to arrive
Crunch, munch and collect Friday, June 18th, 2010

Cerelia's spring veggies garden

So far my daughter’s garden has been getting the most action – harvest wise that is. The second wave of spinach is hopping up, the lettuce are starting to form heads – I keep thinning as they grow. The rainbow swisschard are starting to reach up to the sun and most recently the peas are popping. The carrots are steadily growing and will have the longest existence in the bed except for the errant Trollius we planted in it last year, when it only held flowers. We’d forgotten about it but my daughter found it early in the spring, dug it up and replanted it in nearly the same spot. The happy golden-yellow flower makes me smile every time.

We’ve made salad, dressed sandwiches with the leaf lettuce and spinach, sauteed some swisschard with olive oil and salt and the latest was a tuna casserole amended with chard and peas, which really put a freshness and crunch to a usually mushy, but comforting classic.

Another thing I’m looking to do this year to keep expenses down is to harvest some of my own seed (pea/bean/etc.). I’ve clipped a few articles on it so I’ll have to dig those out soon. In most cases you let the seeds ripen and start to dry on the plant, then cut off the seed head and lay it on newspaper or paper towel to let them dry more thoroughly. Next loosen the seed or pop open the pea/bean and store in envelopes in a cool dry place or in your fridge.

I’m so glad for the regular rains still but I need to NEED TO get some weeding done. I broke down the other night and weeded one bed in the dark – I only lost one little swisschard plant and a whole lot of crab grass.

Bedding down Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

raised garden beds

It’s June 1 and most of the garden is in. The Hubs is supposed to turn a corner of it yet for squash, pumpkin and beans.

In the 3 raised beds:

  1. Onions (Vidalia & Walla Walla?), buttercrunch head lettuce, Okra and soybean (edamame).
  2. Tomatoes, 8 (or whatever seedling survivors I had), purple basil, globe basil, parsley seeds.
  3. Peppers, 6 (some hot, some not?), with a little room leftover to plant . . . ?

The other ground level part of the garden has potatoes (red and yellow), watermelon, cucumber, louffa gourd and a couple volunteer squash/pumpkin (it’s fun to see what makes it through on Mother Nature Alone).

It my daughters bed we’ve been able to harvest radishes and a few salads worth of spinach. The sweet peas, chard and carrots are coming up too, along with a few more heads of buttercrunch.

What I’m concentrating on this year:

  • Weeding a little every day. My scuffle hoe is the best with little weeds, it just scrapes them to smithereens.
  • Sowing, planting in succession. Staggering planting times helps stagger harvest times too.
  • Thinning. Hadn’t done a lot in the past but it really helps with plant health, shape, harvest and weeding. So I’ve kept a buffer zone in between plants.
  • Turning the compost. I usually go with a long composting schedule – I just let it lay and only use it once a year. This year I’m trying to increase its turnover by actually turning it. The better circulation increases it’s breakdown speed.
Spring growing calendar Monday, February 22nd, 2010

This calendar may need some adjustments but should be a pretty good guide of when to start your seeds indoors during the next 2 months. GrowingCalendar Each plant has its optimum time to be germinated both indoors and out. In our zone 4, our growing season for edibles is on the shorter side. Keep this in mind when ordering seeds – most catalogs and seed packets will give you and indication of the veggie or fruits’ fruition time – how long it takes to bear produce, max. growing season 120 days. Plants with longer growing seasons will need to be started indoors or purchased as transplants and stuck in the ground starting around May 15 – our average last frost date. On especially cool years it is good to wait until soil temps are warm so planting even in the first week of June is good as planting into cold ground can set some tender annuals back weeks in growth.