Gardening in the Blind


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!



200 and counting
October 4, 2010, 7:45 am
Filed under: Cantainer Gardening, Garden Planning, outdoor gardening

Looking down the rows of garlic growing

This weekend I prepped the area for growing garlic.  I found that we got a bit overzealous with the depth of the garlic last year so this year I wanted it to be just right. 

It starts with tilling the soil to make sure it is rock free and not heavily compacted.  I added some compost on top before it was tilled and put Deron to work.  He asked what he could do.  I doubt he will ask again!  Next I found a wooden dowel that was a little thicker then my thumb in diameter.  I took the tape measure out and placed blue tape 1-1/2″ from the end.  This would act as the indicator for how deep to poke the whole.  The deeper you go, the smaller your heads.  Trust me I learned this the hard way.

So after holes have been made every 4″ or so, you are ready to place the garlic cloves in each hole.  When you look at a clove of garlic, that point that it comes to is the top.  You want the more bulbous end to be down first, the top pointy part on top.  I fill the holes then go back and cover.  It makes it easier for me to be able to count how many I am planting. 

After doing all of this I found I ran out of garlic.  I have space for at least another 50 plus I wanted to experiment with growing it in pots.  I plan on filling the pots with soil, planting the garlic and than burying the pot 3/4 way into one of my beds.  In the spring, I am just going to lift and set out.  I am assuming it should grow just fine.  I am thinking it will be ready to harvest sooner as it will be warmer then the ground.  I will post a picture of this as soon as I get more cloves to plant.



Dog Days of Spring??

Mixed Greens growing in my bucket

This weekend it is HOT.  When I say HOT I mean clearing over 90.  Not to mention the thick humidity today.  I started out with great ambition.  I was digging out the side of my house that gets mostly shade.  By 10:30 I had to go back inside as it was too hot for me.  I was sweating, on the verge of collapse.  I succumbed to humidity.  It was not pretty.  But it could have been worse as I just got back from doing a dog run and in CT it was 98 degrees.  We were just 90 so it was just a little better.  Hard to believe that tomorrow it will be in the 70’s.  Of course it had to wait until I have to work again!

Radishes growing in a bucket in front

On the flip side, yesterday I transplanted broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi and kale.  I planted two containers of lettuce, and I brought out a few more plants to get use to the great outdoors.  Only 3 days out of the next 6 will be in the mid forties for a low.  That is fine for the heartier plants.  I will have to put the little seedlings in the green house at night but they should be fine.  I still have all the tomatoes, and the rest of the more delicate plants inside under lights.  It takes me over an hour every night just to water them.  Imagine what it will take for planting them!

Flower at side of house

I have great plans tonight when it cools a bit.  I am going to turn the soil in the beds for the tomatoes and I am going to plant the carrots in the squares.  It is an exciting time of year.  I can’t wait for this to continue!



Potato Harvest
July 23, 2009, 8:12 am
Filed under: Cantainer Gardening, outdoor gardening, Pest control, Uncategorized
The first two potatoes I found

The first two potatoes I found

Not everything turns out great.  I had to harvest a container of potatoes – the one that was wilting.  I found the potato beetle attacking it and I was afraid it would spread to the rest of the containers.  So, I put a tarp out on the ground and I dumped the container out.  As I sifted through the soil, killing the beetle larva as I found them, I pulled out a few potatoes.  Now when I say a few, I mean a handful out of the soil.  It was too early to harvest really, but I didn’t want to put chemicals on it in order for it to survive.  I can’t tell you the type of potatoes these are – it was one that a friend gave me.  But it looks cute!  I got a whole 5 potatoes.  I rinsed them off carefully and placed them in a brown bag.  Being exposed to light might make them green which would mean toxic and inedible where the green as occurred.  Although this was not very heavy on the potatoes, I am sure that my other pots will be hopefully.

In the picture is the first two potatoes that I gathered out of the container before I dumped it out to harvest.  I was alert to the fact that it looks like something had been eating them.  The rest of the harvest didn’t have this.  In hindsight, I think it was the plastic drainage placed in the bottom of the container that caused it.  But that is how I found the beetle, so I guess it was a good thing!



Beans are right around the corner!
July 8, 2009, 11:15 am
Filed under: Cantainer Gardening, Companion Planting, outdoor gardening
Flower's on my Dried bean - Vermont Cranberry

Flower's on my Dried bean - Vermont Cranberry

This past weekend I saw something that made me jump for joy.  My beans have flowers!  It is not just one kind either.  It is all kinds.  My bush beans in the bean bead were the first to start flowering.  The Vermont Cranberry bean is a really beautiful plant so far.  It is a lighter green and pale pink to pale violet flowers on the plant.  This is my first year growing dried beans so it will be quite exciting to see what happens.  I have been told to pick some and eat them fresh at first as it will increase the production that you leave on the plant for dried purposes.  I am eager to bring it on!  If there is one thing my husband will be happy over it will be the bean production and it is looking to be good.

Fresh bush bean flower

Fresh bush bean flower

But not to be outdone in any manner, my fresh beans are looking very promising.  Dragon Langerie is a dutch wax bean with pretty purple stripes mottled over creamy yellow pods.  It is said that the yield and flavor are remarkably good.  Maybe that is why it has such pretty purple flowers.  This picture doesn’t even begin to capture the beauty found in the bountiful flowers of this plant.

Scarlet Runner Buds

Scarlet Runner Buds

The scarlet runner pole bean is the most exciting.  You can just see the start of this beautiful flower.  Many grow this just for the flower alone.  The scarlet red flowers are not only pretty but are a huge attraction for the bees.  I think next year if we decide to have some bees I will diffidently have to grow a few poles as a special treat for the bees!

My super fast growing bush beans.

My super fast growing bush beans.

Lastly I just wanted to share a bit of my insanity.  I guess the three pole full of beans and the two types of bush beans isn’t enough for me.  I had to harvest the romaine lettuce that was growing in pots, so I did what any other person would do.  I grabbed the seeds/beans that I had the most of.  It happened to be a bush bean.  So I tossed some around in a circle for all the pots I had remaining (2 plastic, 2 10 gallon smart pots and one 5 gallon smart pot) and a little over a week this is what I have.  It is exciting and amazing that they grow so quickly!



Potato Woes
July 7, 2009, 10:39 am
Filed under: Cantainer Gardening, outdoor gardening, Pest control
My wilting potato plant in the front

My wilting potato plant in the front

I am not 100% sure what has happened with my potato plant.  It is one of the types that was given to me to plant from one of my friends.  I noticed it just the other day while out inspecting in the rain.  It was wilted in the middle of the day like it needed more water.  I thought maybe it needed a little more sun to dry out from the rain.  So, pulling it out a bit I thought that this might work.  I was willing to try.  Maybe too much water was the fact instead of not enough.  But that too did not work. 

I was faced with having to try to figure it out on the Internet.  My conclusion: I think it is bacterial wilt.  Although there isn’t really a non chemical solution, I am going to try to spray NEEM on it tonight.  Hopefully I will see some results.  I am keeping my figures crossed!  It would not be the first time that I misdiagnosed a problem.  I guess that is why I call it gardening in the blind.  This year is a bit of a sink or swim time for me.

A light lavender potato flower

A light lavender potato flower

But on another note, my Yukon Gold potatoes in the smart pots are flowering.  The interesting and strange item I have noticed is that one pot’s flowers are a lovely lavender, the other white.  This is the same potatoes as well.  I am taking notes to see if I see any difference in production at the end of the season.



Healthiest Pepper in the garden
July 6, 2009, 9:43 am
Filed under: Cantainer Gardening, outdoor gardening, Tomatoes

It is diffidently not the best year for tomatoes and peppers.  Mine are looking sad.  Out of the 60+ tomato plants I have just 7 green tomatoes growing.  Boy the odds are not on my side!  My bell peppers are lucky to have any leaves left at all.  They are struggling to just survive let a lone produce anything.  I have lost three hot peppers to rot thanks to the rain.  But yesterday when I was exploring my garden, I found something shocking.  I have two hot pepper plants that are in pots.  One I set out early and thought I was going to loose it although it is a mighty plant and has grown more and more leaves back.

Ceyanne Long Pepper

Cayenne Long Pepper

The other hot pepper plant is different.  This is a pepper I grew by seed and didn’t have room for so I through it in a container and left it on the corner of the stairs up.  I have essentially ignored it and I guess that is exactly what it needed.  It has not had much in the way of pests on it.  Although it has not produced fruit yet, I am betting it will be one of the few this year that I will be able to keep!  If the peppers look good, I might even enter it into the Sturbridge Agricultural Fair.  Yes, because it is an heirloom (Cayenne Long Pepper) it qualifies for the fair.  So I will wait and see and maybe just maybe I might have something worthy of being displayed.  Time will tell.