Rainy days and Sundays always get me down when I can not garden!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Frozen Creek and Waiting for the Return of the Ducks!

Although our creek is mostly frozen, we are keeping an eye out for the return of the ducks.  Over the past few years, we have kept track of their return.  The earliest date was 1/19 and the latest date was 2/15. 



Replacement shovel.

I contacted the manufacture about my broken shovel.  I am happy to report back that they replaced it, no questions asked!  Isn't it nice when a company stands by their products!?!

Check them out by clicking on the links below...




The original shovel that broke.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Start of Winter Sowing

Decide on the container to be used.  I like milk jugs, but you can use other types of plastic containers.  
Fill line
Cut drainage holes.  I found it is easier to take a sharp pair of scissors and cut around the outer edge vs punching holes in the bottom.
Drainage holes cut into the bottoms of the jugs.
Cut around the jug an inch or two above the fill line.  Leave a small section intact to create a hinge. 
I gave the containers a final washing to make sure they were free of milk residue etc.  
Fill the containers with about 4" with dirt.  I used a combination of potting soil mixed with seed starting soil.  Add seeds and top with more dirt.  Water enough to moisten the soil.

Tape your containers shut to create mini greenhouses.  I use electrical tape, which seems to hold up well outside.
Once taped shut, you will not open your mini greenhouses until the spring time.
Place outside in a sunny location and let mother nature do the rest! I've done this with both the caps on and off.  If you leave the caps on remember to remove in early spring and water as needed,

14+ Inches

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Getting Started and LSF

When starting your garden, ask yourself  "When is my last spring frost date?" Depending on the area that you live and garden in, you will have you own LSF. For me, it is between April 7 (earliest) to April 23 (latest).  Knowing this date allows you to "time" out your vegetable gardening activities. 

Next, when can I plant outdoors relative to the LSF?  Depending on what you are growing, this can be anywhere from 8 weeks before the LSF to several weeks after the LSF.  It also depends if you are direct sowing in the garden or using transplants.  (Buying plants may take the guess work out for newer gardeners.  Most garden centers and seed catalogs will have plants available at the appropriate time for your area.)

What if you wish to start your own indoors to be transplanted into the garden? Again, you would have to know when you can transplant outdoors according to the LSF?  In addition, how long does it take the seedling to reach transplant size?  Once you know this, you can figure out when to start your seeds indoors.  For example, tomatoes take 6-8 weeks to reach transplant size.  They can be planted outdoors 1-2 weeks after the LSF.  Counting back (6-8 weeks) from the outdoor planting date, you have your indoor start date!  

So remember, before you can go any farther, first determine the average date of your last spring frost for your area.  Take the time in January to decide on what it is you wish to grow and how, order seeds, and start "timing" know for a successful start!

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."  --- Cicero


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Planning My Earliest (ever) Spring Garden!

It's New Years Day and I am planning my spring garden, or I should say, my earliest possible spring garden! I went through the seeds leftover from last year, made a list of what I needed and even placed my first seed order of 2014.  Over the next two months, I plan on covering the remaining beds with either cold frames or hoop houses to help extend the growing season.

My earliest spring garden will consist of salad greens, lettuces, a few root vegetables, and some herbs.  This can be started as soon as the soil can be worked.  The use of the cold frames and hoop houses should help expedite the soil preparations.  Salad greens and lettuces like it on the cooler side and will not bolt in the early spring.  Since they are easy and quick to grow from seed, I plan to direct sow them into the ground. This is also the time to start radishes, beets, parsnips, carrots, kohlrabi and onions.  The following herbs also don't mind the cooler weather and can be direct sown- dill, chives, cilantro, parsley, sage and fennel.

Leafy greens love nitrogen, so add a little compost or manure to the soil prior to starting.  Since it is so early in the growing season, there is really no garden pest.  Also, many greens are "cut and come again", offering multiple harvest.

You can also consider direct sowing broccoli, cabbage, and  cauliflower. However, I like to start these indoors and transplant them out into the garden at their appropriate times.  And don't forget that the unofficial planting date for peas is March 17.

So, even though it is only the first day of the New Year, I am eagerly looking forward to early spring and getting back out into the garden again!

Happy New Year!