Gardening in the Blind

Garden Planning
January 21, 2012, 10:19 am
Filed under: Garden Planning

Coming Soon to a basement near you!

I fell behind this year planning my garden, but I can tell you I am finally done ordering.  This year was a little more money as I was not that good at saving any tomato seeds except for the Radiator Charlie.  I didn’t have any to use for this year.  It was unbelievable as it was the first time that I was out of seeds for them.  I guess it happens.

I decided to change it up a bit for where I purchased the seeds.  I chose to try to stay more local for the most part, however I did order a fair amount from Baker Creek Heirloom.  I ordered 14 different tomato seeds, ground cherries, mixed greens, sweet peppers and tomatillos, radishes and more.  I wanted to make sure that I gave Baker Creek some business as they do a great job protecting seeds and will test them to make sure that each seed was non-gmo.  I feel that the fact that they are actively protecting the heirloom seeds is worth supporting.

Next I explored Comstock, Ferre and Co.  This is located in CT, under an hour away from me.  They are owned by Baker Creek Heirloom.  This seed company has been around for over 200 years.  They were having to close the doors when Baker Creek purchased them to keep the company going.  What came with that was an invaluable amount of documentation, history, seeds and more.  I find it amazing to read the catalog where it shares descriptions found back in the 1800’s and I can still order them.  Going to the store is fun as well.  With all the equipment that they found, they have a kind of museum showcasing how they would sort the seeds, count them etc.  They still use some at the store today.  So I ordered hot peppers, herbs, celeric, kale, cucumbers, beans, parsnips as well as a could squash plants.  I will be blogging about them after I get them started.

I ordered from a new company as well this year.  High Mowing Organic Seeds located in VT is a great family business that has amazingly fast shipping!  I ordered Arugula, more beans, carrots, more cucumbers, more greens, more hot peppers, more herbs and lastly more tomatoes from them.  I hope it is all fantastic as I would love to give them more business next year.

Lastly was two of the oldie but goodies – Johnny Seeds in Maine and Richter’s in Canada.  Richter’s I always order a leek plug tray (12 plugs) as well as any herbs I want to start this year.  I will be having more room this year in my herbal area, so I was excited to be able to get new as well as my hopefully great raised bed in my front that I will be building first thing this spring.  Johnny’s is where I order misc. seeds, shallots and onions.  I can’t wait for spring.  I think that the mild winter we are having has made my spring fever worse as it isn’t that cold, but it is not warm either.  I just want to plant!

I will be working hard to get rid of the mice I have this year and preparing the basement for planting in the next couple of weeks.  I plan on starting my planting earlier this year – mid February with herbs, tomatoes started at the end of February.  It is amazing to be able to go downstairs in my little green oasis waiting for spring!


Chicken Time!
January 18, 2012, 6:26 pm
Filed under: animals, chickens

Eating Popcorn for the first time

I gave my chickens popcorn for the first time recently and decided that I needed to post a couple of photos.  It has been too long.  They have all recovered from the sporty bare butts that they loved all summer.  I guess it is just too cold for them.  Something is different though.  I am not getting eggs from them this winter.  It has gotten so bad that I had to break down and purchase a dozen eggs to cook with.  If I heated the coop they would probably lay, but I decided that I would give them time off.  It is not like I am dying for eggs.  I threaten them with chicken soup, but they just turn around and show the tails.  I guess they know that I would never do anything to them.

Allie showing off for me.

They seem to be very happy with the arrangement.  Although, it has become cold for the next couple of days, so I have to lock them in the coop.  Chickens instantly want to go where they can no longer go.  They are like little children with a bit of a fit.  It can’t be that they are spoiled and the parent is to blame.  I promise it is not me!  But they love me dearly when I reopen the coop to explore in the sand…so atleast it doesn’t last long.

Radiator Charlie Tomato
January 14, 2012, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Tomatoes

Radiator Charlie on the smaller size

This has to be one of my all-time favorite tomato and a have to have in the garden.  I found the seeds on local and have been saving the seeds ever since. They have more flesh then most extra-large tomatoes, thus due to the lack of seeds perfect for people who are sensitive to the acid.  My husband was amazed that he could eat it without the heart-burn medicine.  This is huge for him.

Radiator Charlie’s are a type of mortgage lifter.  It will always amaze me that someone could develop a tomato that would pay off the mortgage.  I really don’t think that you could do that in this day in age.  It is an indeterminate – growing more than one wave of tomatoes.  I also will say that it produces later in the season, but abundantly.   It is a larger plant, but will not spread and take over a bed like Matt’s Wild Cherries.  It is a thicker bushy looking plant.  You need to add support to the plant due to the size and weight of the produce.  My record has been 3-1/2 pounds for one tomato, however, I will say the average is a little over 2 pounds.  I also have not had any problems with the tomatoes splitting, but you need to pick them as soon as they are ripe as I found that birds (at least in my backyard) are highly attracted to them.  I don’t know about you, but I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to the tomatoes,  I don’t like to share!