Gardening in the Blind


My Victory Garden
May 30, 2011, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Garden Planning, outdoor gardening, Seedlings, Squash

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This year I was going to do something completely different in the front.  I would need to expand it, tear up the “grass” and supplement the soil.  Well, it took one hot day for me to change my mind.  The soil was rough and the weather was HOT and HUMID.  So I went back to the drawing board quickly.

Here is what I decided on doing:

I expanded the garden by 12″.  I then turned all the soil and leveled it out a bit.  Last year I dumped a lot of leaves on top of the garden, then continued my efforts of supplementing the soil by dumping all my pots on top.  This worked out better then expected.  I think do it again this year for one or two beds.

Next I planted a row of tomatoes.  (at this point 31 tomatoes planted) After planting the 7 tomatoes I marked out two rows of 3′ squares. Here I planted CT field pumpkin, zucchini, ground cherries and butternut squash. The remainder of the space was for terragon and cucumbers.
After a trip to home depot, I put a fence around it and will keep my fingers crossed!

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Changes
May 25, 2011, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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Today was an early day for me, not expected though.  After 11 years at my firm, I was laid off.  I feel so honored to have worked with some of the most talented people in the business in my opinion.  But I now join the ranks of unemployment.
But let us not fret.  It is prime planting time, and I have plenty of time to plant now.  Not to mention plenty of frustrations to take out on the dirt.  So, stay tuned for more as I blog about the exciting changes to my front “victory” garden.



Lavender and more
May 22, 2011, 5:23 pm
Filed under: outdoor gardening, Tomatoes

Lavender, flowers and more!

One might think that planting 140 lavender plugs, 5 white dahlias, 6 other white flower things that are about as tall as the dahlias and dispersing the 6 bags of mulch was a lot for a weekend, but that was just the start!  I mulched around the lilies that I relocated to under the tree, then started to do the front patch where the plants mentioned now reside when I ran out of mulch.  Gee, guess what I will be getting on Friday after the farm…

Deron and I brought all the containers up from downstairs as well as the tomato cages.  Yep, no doubt about it, planting season has arrived.  I planted my swiss chard in a bucket out front.  It is joined by the already planted lettuce buckets, a bucket of broccoli rabe and lastly a bucket of broccoli.  The buckets going down the stairs in the front have broccoli.  I also planted three cabbage even though I keep swearing I will not be planting it again thanks to the green “destructor” worms.  At lass I could not resist.   

Broccoli Rabe in bucket

But that wasn’t enough for me either.  I woke up this morning and started early with tilling the garden beds.  I planted out two of the three tomato beds for a total of 20 tomato plants in the ground.  I still need to plant the companion herbs in the 10 remaining squares, but I am almost there.  I am starting to harden out the remainder of the tomatoes along with a few other plants, leaving 7 trays left to harden off.  I plan to start them after Tuesday as it is supposed to get really hot that day and I don’t want them to wilt from the heat.

Overall it has been a productive weekend.  I was leery as I took back to back boot camp classes on Friday night and didn’t think that I would be able to get up on Saturday.  But not only did I get up early, I was really productive as well.  I hope that next weekend brings productivity again, although I will be off after Thursday for a whole week.  A whole week of planting, digging and tilling the remainder of the garden.  It will be hard as I still have a lot to do, but I have no doubt that I will be doing it.  Stay tune for more of an update!



Fauno….fazzie.
May 22, 2011, 6:28 am
Filed under: animals, chickens

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It seems this week, my suspicions were confirmed.  Fauna is a he.  I have a rooster.  I am trying really hard to rehome so he doesn’t become fried chicken, but atlas I have had to resort to the person I got it from. 
My town has a strict no rooster policy.  I am sad, as he is really lazy, but quite protective of Gertrude. 



Hardening off plants
May 17, 2011, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Herbs, Indoor Gardening, outdoor gardening, Seedlings

It is just about the time I start to harden off plants for the great outdoors.  My plants are much smaller than last year.  I didn’t start my seeds early like I have in the past.  I feel almost self conscious about it.  It was just such a hard winter, it was hard to think of spring.  My fault.

Celery and Thyme Seedlings

Because plants have not gotten use to the bright sun, one must gently expose them so that you don’t get a sunburn.  Many plants will not survive or be as productive as they should when they have to try to recover from a sunburn.  To prevent this from happening, you can not have tough love with them.  You need to be gentle and loving.  This week is partly cloudy and raining, but still in the high 50’s-low 60’s.  This has proven easy for the plants to have a transition.  I started with my thyme, lavender and leeks.  I set them out on my covered front porch that will get limited sun and be protected from the rain.  I bring them in the first couple of nights and leave in my bathroom, setting them back outside in the morning.  After 2-3 nights indoors, I start to leave them outdoors for nights as well.  I will slowly move them to a protected space that gets even more sun, then pending on the plant, I will plant them.  The whole process takes about 1-1/2 weeks to 2 weeks to complete.  Yesterday I brought out celery and more thyme.  Tomorrow I will bring out the rest of the thyme, marjoram, summer savory and maybe a few more herbs.  I won’t start the vegetables until this weekend, when the weather gets just a little better.



Volunteering for the love of a farm and cheese…
May 10, 2011, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Farming | Tags:

Moving plants around and giving some away!

I decided that I needed a class to take my cheese making to a new level.  I looked at the NOFA website  (Northeast Organic Farming Association) and found the perfect class.  For $85, I took a day long cheese-making class at Robinson Farm.  Visit the farm’s website to see just what Robinson farm looks like.  I came home with an 8 pound wheel of cheese that needs aged for about 4 months.  Anyway, after the class I got to chatting with the owners.  One thing lead to another and I am now volunteering at the farm on Friday mornings. 

Last Friday was my first day on the job.  It was fun and exciting, yet I realize that I need to gain a lot more knowledge before Deron and I have our own farm.  This farm is a nice size, but bigger then I would want.  They have some chickens, grow some produce and milk about 35 cows – not only selling raw milk at the stand, but the cheese that they make at the farm.  

I spent the morning wiping down each swiss cheese to clean it, turning it over and then wiping it down with brine.  When I was finished with the swiss cheese, I helped with packaging the cheeses up and helped collect eggs from the chickens.  The eggs needed cleaned before they went into the stand, so it was soaked in water, wiped clean and placed in cartons.  I like my motto “Poo is a sign of freshness”.  This allows me to not have to refrigerate the eggs.  (As soon as you clean them, you have to refrigerate as you just washed the protective coating off.)

Just spending the 4 hours at the farm was enough to put a smile on my face.  I can’t tell you how it has aided in getting me through the week so far.  I was still talking about it on Sunday to anyone I could!  Deron repeatedly asked me to give it a break.  I just couldn’t.  I can’t wait to see what I have in store for me this week!



What to do on a weekend
May 9, 2011, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Herbs, outdoor gardening

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I would like to think that I will be caught up someday.  That all the plants will just magically reappear exactly where they need to go and just start producing exactly the way they should.  But, atlas that isn’t happening.

This weekend I decided to tackle all the outdoor plant rearranging that was needed.  I started by moving my Primrose to the shaded “woodlands” and then digging up the horehound and feverfew and planting it over where the Primrose was.  I am trying to slowly tackle rearranging all plants down by the front of the house as I am going to plant a field of lavender down there this year.  It will look sparse this year, but hopefully will fill out in time.  I potted my extra lemon balm and runners as well as the oregano runners (My chickens not only got oregano, which they loved, but a couple of worms and an insect of some sort).  I then moved the marshmallow and some tall mallow out of the front  and planted in the backyard.

I got my second wind about then.  I dug up 6 clumps of the lilies from the front yard and planted it under the tree in the front.  I have one more row to do and I am done with that area.  I can’t wait.  It is a good thing that I have a lot of lilies in the front patch.  They grew a lot!  When it was all said and done, I still need to direct seed my kale and catch up on the planting indoors.  But I guess that is what nights are for!

I will update this week with what is going on downstairs!