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!


Garlic and More
April 15, 2010, 8:47 am
Filed under: Companion Planting, Cooking/Canning/Drying, Herbs, outdoor gardening

Looking down the rows of garlic growing


After sweating a bit worrying about the garlic that I planted (see this post) I realized it was going to be ok.  Worse case I get no garlic and peas this year.  Afterall, with all the rain fall we have been getting, the both the pea bed and the garlic area got way too much.  But it stopped raining long enough for my water management hat to go on and solve the flooding issues.  I am happy to say I think I only lost about 10 heads of garlic.  I told Deron he needed to start now trying to find things that he can make with the garlic scape.  Delicious with many opportunities for use the scape is one of my favorites. 

My large amount of chives already


So, an outside update.  Spring has sprung.  I have lots starting to grow.  I am amazed at the fact that both my garlic chives and regular chives are ready for a trimming.  Our next salad is going to have plenty of chives chopped up in it! 

I have planted Kale by seed and it is starting to come up as well.  This is the time of year that I really want to push a long so I can plant everything. 

My soapwort is spreading out!!!

As I moved down the deck I noticed something very exciting.  My “new” herb I planted last year, Soapwort is doing terrific!  It is hard to believe that it started out last year so tiny and delicate.  Now it is out to rule the world or at least a space in my garden.

Planting time continues (a little bit)
March 15, 2010, 4:03 am
Filed under: Companion Planting, Garden Planning, Indoor Gardening, Seedlings, Tomatoes

Newly planted cells

This weekend as mentioned in the last post was very rainy.  So after I rearranged the seedlings, I planted more.  I planted Eucalyptus, Mallow (Mautian and Tall), Parsley, Horehound, Jacob’s ladder, Hollyhock (tall and double flower), Thyme, and another Cilantro pot.  Then Deron can downstairs in time to do his packet of early tomato seeds.  Last year was Cherokee Purple.  This year is Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifters.

So far the tomato count is 24.  It will be climbing again soon.  It seems I am a pro at throwing in a tomato here and a tomato there.  I believe when I am done with the beds and other plantings I should be close to 45 this year.  This is a considerable cut from last year, but I hope it will be a good tomato year and we will be able to harvest more than last year!  (It was really bad last year due to the weather and late blight)

Stay tuned for more information on some of the herbs listed above as well as updates on the growth.

Tomato Beds
March 13, 2010, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Companion Planting, Garden Planning, Tomatoes, Uncategorized

Cutting Board of tomatoes before I canned them

The easiest for me to lay out contain tomatoes.  The recommended minimum spacing is 18″.  I like to squeeze it a bit.  Due to the size of my bed (4′ x 8′) I like to divide the bed into 16″ squares.  This makes 3 squares across and 6 down.  Next I figure each row will have 2 tomatoes and one of a companion plant.  Bed one will contain Marigolds and parley with the center square horehound for extra productive plants.  The other tomato bed will have carrots and marigolds.


Bed One will look like this:

4 Marigolds, 1 tomato, 1 tomato

1 tomato, 1 Horehound, 1 tomato

1 tomato, 1 tomato, 2 parsley

2 parsley, 1 tomato, 1 tomato

1 tomato, 1 Horehound, 1 tomato

1 tomato, 1 tomato, 4 Marigold

Remember each represents one 16″ square.

Bed three will look like this:

25 Carrots, 1 tomato, 1 tomato

1 tomato, 1 horehound, 1 tomato

1 tomato, 1 tomato, 25 Carrots

25 Carrots, 1 tomato, 1 tomato

1 tomato, 1 horehound, 1 tomato

1 tomato, 1 tomato, 25 Carrots

With this bed, I will do what is called succession sowing.  I will plant a row of carrots, wait 1-2 weeks plant another row etc. until all 5 rows are planted within each square.  This will allow for the carrot harvest to last longer!

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!

Attack of the Green Plants Outdoors!
May 17, 2009, 8:41 am
Filed under: Companion Planting, Herbs, outdoor gardening, Seedlings
Some of the plants resting on my terraced walls in the back yard

Some of the plants resting on my terraced walls in the back yard

I have sadly reached a point with my little seedlings that I need to show them some tough love.  I now have all plants outside adjusting to the great outdoors.  (After two and 1/2 hours)  I have trays in the front, all over my deck and even covering my table and grill out back.  The lights are off (except one shelf where I have Deron’s Meyer Lemon still under the lights) and the room is getting cooler by the minute.  My first time growing seeds indoors is coming to a close.  All things must end.  Sad but true.  But the outdoors is soon to be blessed with mucho green living things.  That is always a good thing.

The little Cucumber plant Lynn gave me

The little Cucumber plant Lynn gave me

So, after the planters yesterday, I continued my efforts towards planting some of these little plants to release a little of my burden of moving all the plants indoor at night.  I have over 13 trays still.  I moved on to cucumbers.  I tilled the area where I am planting them (I had to extend the space to make room for the trellis I am using) and placed the trellis in the ground firmly.  I had two type of cucumber seedlings given to me.  I will be doing the other trellis by seed hopefully today.  I planted the seedlings on each corner and will plant a seed in the center.  I am placing the trellis’ on either side in the ground as you walk up the stairs from the deck.  They should look nice covered with cucumbers.  I have never tried cucumbers on a trellis, but I am told it works out fabulously.

Brussel Sprouts with just a couple of leaves of cilantro showing on the side.S

Brussel Sprouts with just a couple of leaves of cilantro showing on the side.

I next planted a winter savory by the cucumbers.  I wanted this herb because some recipes for herb de provence calls for it.  Then I moved onto planting at the opposite end for two brussel sprouts and cilantro between them to keep pests away.  Brussel Sprouts are the kind of veggetable that either you love or love to hate.  I happen to love them.   I was overly excited to find a space in my garden for them.  I can’t get enough of them.  Now if I could only get Deron to think the same way.

This is the walnut tree with the bamboo under it behind my beds.

This is the walnut tree with the bamboo under it behind my beds.

After that was the two additional broccoli plants I found, the soapwort plant, some thyme, dill and one marigold next to the cucumbers as well.  All in all I would say it was a success as I planted enough to have one less tray to carry in at night.  Tonight is suppose to be very cold so I will cover the tomatoes with row cover and bring the planters into the garage for the night.  I am just thankful that Deron is still being patient with me.  When we were bringing in all the plants last night, his only requirement was that we still are able to get to the toilet.  I was able to accomodate that request, but barely!

Friend or foe
May 10, 2009, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Companion Planting, Herbs, outdoor gardening, Seedlings

As the season is starting up with a rapid pace to get things done, I have had to make many changes to the garden layout.  It seems every time I look at my layout and consult my favorite companion planting book Carrots love Tomatoes, I have found I have placed something somewhere that should not be together.  I do know that Marigolds and nasturtiums can go just about anywhere as well as my lovage.  So Tomatoes and Potatoes can not be close to each other, but my potatoes can be close to the beans or the horseradish.  My beans can not be near any onions, but is beneficial to cucumbers.  Tomatoes can handle pole beans, a lot of other items can’t.  But Fennel is the great evil of a vegetable garden.  They are now placed out front by my little pine bushes.

Stopping to smell the liliacs

Stopping to smell the lilacs

So after all this research I sat down to reflect on what I have learned.  I don’t remember gardening being so complicated.  When did science start to take a huge role in what to do and not?  What happened to the idea that we just through some seeds/plants down and hope for the best?  I kind of feel like that while I am planting the seeds. 

This weekend I woke up thinking I was just right where I needed to be.  I went on doing my errands and dropped off some plants to my friend Gwen.  She gave me a quick tour of her garden.  I realized I was behind the ball with planting in my garden.  She had her beans planted, beets planted and lots more.  She was hardening off her hot peppers, tomatoes and many more plants.  I started to get a bit anxious on my way home.  I had placed some trays out to get hardened off, but had not planted many seeds up to this point.  I needed to get started.

Chive Blossoms

Chive Blossoms

So, given my feelings of urgency, I set out to do something about it.  I brought down my seed containers (yes it is plural) and set outside with my plans and seeds and calendar to make a list of what when.  I started with my planting of parsnips as they are the longest germination/harvest time.  I then planted my beets, purple top turnips, Kale, more carrots, more arugula, transplanted my two broccoli and finally the horseradish.  I planted my catnip plants that I grew as well.  Barkley loves supervised visits to the deck to chew the catnip.  I was going to plant the bean bed but needed to get my bamboo tepees and more incoluant for the seeds.  I am in hopes that I can build the tepees for the pole beans during the week so when Friday comes I will be set for planting the bed.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it happens.  I also need to till the ground between the deck and the raised gardens so I can plant the cucumber on Saturday.  I can honestly say I am too tired to work sometimes when Monday’s role around, but unfortunately I have to go.  It makes for a long week when you start out tired.

As a side note, Deron made a salad and I was able to go outside and picked some chives and garlic chives for it.  I also picked some mint for our water.  It is the best feeling just running out to grab something to eat.  I know it is a pain until all is planted, but then it is just watering, weeding and picking oh my!