Gardening in the Blind


Two Beds Down

Well I finally tilled two beds and fully planted it out last weekend.  I have been composting chicken poop on top of my beds for over three months.  I felt it was ready to be integrated in the soil.  Unlike rabbit poop, chicken poop is considered hot and needs to be fully composted before you plant in it as it will burn seedlings otherwise.

Onions, Shallots and Leeks oh my!

So after it was spread evenly on the bed, I tilled the first bed.  Last year this bed contained parsnips and arugula.  This year it is going to be the onion bed.  Leeks, shallots and onions are planted with a variety of carrots as the onions help to hide the smell and prevent the carrot fly.  I have 56 leeks, 13 shallots and 59 onions planted.  Hopefully this will be a start for us to use.  I am in hopes of a great crop of shallots this year – they were extra-large.

Moving to the next bed I tilled it in and decided it was going to be the lettuce bed.  Last year it was tomatoes so this will help keep the soil healthy by planting the greens.   It is housing brussels sprouts, 1/2 bed of arugula and many mixed greens.  I had so many mixed greens in packets that each row I planted was a different mix.  It should be interesting to see how it progresses.  The arugula was coming up after just three days.  If you have been a long-term reader you will already know that we are crazy for the arugula.  I usually plant out a complete bed, though this year I am trying to control myself a little more and plant only 1/2 a bed for right now.  I keep reminding myself that I need moderation.  I have to say, moderation is totally over rated so far.  I am going to be creative in my bucket planting for out front this year and don’t be surprised if arugula is included!

Stay tuned in for the first of the tomato beds.  I have a nice variety planted and will discuss them.  But until then enjoy the picture!

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Surprise Plants
May 13, 2012, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Garden Planning, Herbs, outdoor gardening

Winter was mild.  Well that is a understatment.  It was bitter-sweet to find some of my plants that were not supposed to survive the winter growing back.  The first I found was tarragon.  This is true tarragon for all the skeptics out there.  It has not only come back, but more than doubled in size.  The picture shows one of three clumps I have growing.  The funny part about this is that I have a 6 pack of tarragon that I planted thinking I would need more.  So, this year I will not be short tarragon at all.  Matter of fact, if you have any delicious recipes that use this herb, please be kind enough to share with me.  I see a lot in my future.  Deron is in charge of finding some recipes to use tarragon, chives and the next unexpected plant growing in my garden….

Lovage is growing wild in one of my beds.  What started out as a cute little plant is now about 30-36″ high.  Again, I have one Lovage plant that I started as this plant was not supposed to over winter.  But it did with a vengeance!  I can’t even give my plant away that I started.  No one is interested as they have never heard of it.  I share a leaf or two with them so that they can see it tastes like celery, but they are put off by the texture.  Not sure why, it has the same texture as parsley and plenty of people eat that!  Nonetheless, Deron and I will find many different ways to use it besides soups.

Lastly, I am just happy as pie to see that the lavender that I planted down at the street survived not only the winter, but the repaving of our roads and sidewalks.  Really nice surprise!  I can’t wait for it to flower and have lavender in the house!



It has been too long
February 21, 2012, 3:29 pm
Filed under: chickens, Garden Planning, Indoor Gardening, pests

soon to be started in a basement near you!

It has been too long since I lasted chatted.  We have been too busy lately.  Between dance classes, rock climbing and the gym we really don’t have much time to do anything else.  I am not so keen on this schedule, but we are trying to train for the Tough Mudder in May.  I have a lot of running to go so I am prepared for it.  I have also started a weekday “Paleo” Diet.  That means no gluten, dairy, grains etc.  It makes me appreciate the garden and miss it even more.  But I am in hopes that with the warm week ahead, the ground will thaw so that I can dig out my parsnips.  My mouth waters just at the thought of eating them!

I am still getting some seeds filtering in that were on back order.  I don’t think that I will ever be disappointed when I open the mailbox and see another package sent to me.  It makes me feel so special.  I bribed my husband to deal with the mice in the basement.  We went to Home Depot and picked three different options for traps.  So far we have only caught one well fed mouse.  Deron is in hopes of more as I promised him a nice manhattan for every dead mouse he had to deal with.  It has proven to be a wonder bribe in the past and continues to be.  The trickiest part is hiding the alcohol so he can not find it!

I have a three day workshop I am taking this weekend for my mid-life crisis of changing my profession.  I am going to try to become a personal trainer.  It should be quite fun.  When I finish the weekend, we are going to celebrate by organizing the basement for planting to start.  Hard to believe that it is already that time again.  I will keep you posted as I plant.  This year I am changing a few things for when to start, I hope to see a better production by doing so.  Only time will tell.

The girls are still not laying.  I just purchased a new feed in hopes that might encourage them.  I really miss my eggs that is for sure!

 



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!



Giving Thanks
November 28, 2011, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, Garden Planning, local eating, Tomatoes

What does herbs still growing outside have to do with giving thanks?  In my house it made a terrific blend for the turkey. (The turkey was from Many Hands Farm, organic and free-range.  The BEST!) As I glanced at my thanksgiving table,  I was proud of myself in knowing that Deron and I have completed a full year of organic eating.  The food is better all around.

So just what am I thankful for this year?  I am thankful that I am not worrying about GMO’s because we are eating organic food.  I am thankful that this lifestyle has only encouraged more changes for us.  We are going to the gym more, we signed up for the Tough Mudder in May and have a big adventurous year planned for next year.  We are not only getting into the best shape we have ever been in, but we are also going to expand the garden for next year!  Too much excitment I tell ya!

On top of all this, I got a new digital camera.  My new Nikon digital camera will hopefully make the pictures more exciting and encourage everyone to get out and start growing!  Starting in January I will be starting a once a week blog about different types of tomatoes.  Just in time to start planning your own garden.

I am hopefully going to start a make shift hydroponic system that I am building myself in January as well.  I will blog all about it.  Yet another item to look forward to.  If you have anything you would like me to discuss, please feel free to let me know and I will do my best to include it.

Most of all of this I give thanks for having readers like you!  Thanks for finding me at least a little interesting!



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

image

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!



Busy Weekend

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The snow is melted, the weather is beautiful – in the 60’s- and I have had spring fever for a while now.  So, it has been a very busy time in our household.  No rest for us this weekend.  I went to Harvey’s garden center to see what they had and see if the asparagus was ready yet.  Of course it was not ready, which was quite the disappointment, but I started to notice the price of seedlings.  Wow, they were expensive.  I did however, purchase a small primrose.  It was just so pretty I could not pass it up.  That was the start of a busy outdoor weekend for me.

On Saturday, I woke up and worked on cleaning my herb beds which were a mess.  I just didn’t have the time I needed last fall to get everything done.  After cleaning the first level, I was so excited to see my chives, oregano, mint and lemon balm all starting to have new growth.  My lavender survived the winter, that is a first for me.  I then made my way out front and cleaned my buckets so I could plant lettuce in them.  All pots should have both green and red lettuce in it.  My mouth was watering just thinking about it.  Oh how I can’t wait.  After finishing planting the lettuce, I made my way to the side of the house, where I cleaned and prepped for planting my kale and mustard.  I seeded the mustard, the kale will have to wait a bit.  By then I needed a nap which turned into a very long nap.  But I still danced out on the deck while Deron was making dinner.  It was so grand having daylight still at 7pm. 

Today, Sunday, I had to clean the coops for the chickens.  I decided to have the chickens in the portable coop while I cleaned it out.  They loved it!  I scrubbed the coop out and started to prep the bed next to them.  Amelia was raising a lot of ruckus, so I decided to let them back into their own coop.  As I picked Amelia up first to bring her to the coop, she pooped all over me.  Gotta love it!  She ran to the nest box when I put her in.  I finished bringing the girls back and changed.  I figured there was no reason to change until I moved them all. 

I changed and took the boys for individual walks.  It was great to be out with them.  They loved it as well as they were both perfect!  I then went to work on Bed #1.  This is the raised bed that is closest to last year’s compost bin.  It gets a little bit of shade when the trees fill out, so I decided this year it would be the lettuce bed.  I planted 2 rows of parsnips, 2 rows of red swiss chard, 1 row black spanish radish and 1 row of lettuce.   I will plant more in a couple of weeks. 

Now, I just have pate to make, seedlings to water as well as plant downstairs and do the work I brought home to do this weekend!  I think it is the start of busy days/nights for me!

The picture is of a younger red tail hawk that has been hanging around our yard. It is quite beautiful!