Sunday, March 01, 2015
fig tree is leafing out
Last year I bought a little fig tree to replace my previous tree that died last winter. Last year, I left the tree outside - very stupid of me. This year, I planted the tree in a large planter inside. Back in October or November it dropped all of its leaves. I was worried it was dead, but it is leafing out now. I'll take that as a sign of spring, even though that is a giant pile of snow outside the window.
Labels: fig tree
Saturday, February 28, 2015
goodbye to coldest and snowiest February
Its the last day of a remarkable month. February 2015 has ended up breaking records in Boston as the coldest and the snowiest February ever (64.8 inches - 5.4 feet). At least its a short month. I hope March is better.
March is not starting out great: a snowstorm is forecast soon that is supposed to break our snowfall record making 2015 the snowiest winter on record in Boston. (We're at 102 inches now - the record is here is 107.)
I suppose some people love the snow, but at this point, it's really in the way. Parking and driving are difficult, roofs are collapsing and it takes so long to clear after each storm. I hear the kids will need Saturday classes this spring to make up for snow days. And I was at a talk by a Mass wildlife official tonight who said wildlife is really suffering. She noted, as I've seen in our yard, that there are hardly any wildlife tracks around now. The animals are just lying low, waiting til the snow thaws. You can't walk in 5 feet of powder without snowshoes.
On a positive note, I'm really glad to be planting seeds and am eagerly watching for my first seedlings to sprout.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Tonight I planted broccoli, cabbage, eggplant and radicchio. Varieties are here.
I'm experimenting with different seed cell sizes. I put the eggplants in larger cells (I sowed 2 seeds per cell and will thin to 1 per cell) as they need to grow 'til the soil warms and will be pretty large before planting out. The cabbage goes out sooner (the middle of April, but only if I can get at the garden through the snow!), so I put them in smaller cells. In the past, I've planted 4 or more broccoli seedlings in single larger cells, but want to see if they do better if I don't rip the roots apart to separate plants at transplant time.
Note added: see comments. I accidentally planted the broccoli 2 weeks too soon. Oops.
Labels: sowing 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
new garden calendar app - beta testers needed
Note added 2-25-2015: Thanks so much to all who emailed me for Beta testing! I will not be taking any more testers. I hope the app will be available for sale by early next week. It will be either $0.99 or 1.99 USD at the Apple store. I'll post a link here too.I've been working on an I-phone version of my planting calendar. It will be posted at the Apple Store soon and I'm looking for some beta testers. If you are a vegetable gardener who grows you own plants from seed and are interested in a free copy of the app and agree to provide me feedback, please email me at: email@example.com
This app is similar to my on-line version (on the sidebar of this blog) but has more features. It includes transplanting and succession sowing dates, has more crops, allows crop selection and, of course, works on an I-phone. Once you set up your calendar based on your last spring frost date, the app will automatically open to the current date and show you what planting tasks need to be done that week.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
I collected eight plastic bottle at our Town recycling center. I cut them open then added potting soil and planted flower seeds. After taping the bottles, I dug out a spot for them in a south facing area of my yard and then buried the bottles. This method is good for all sorts of cold hardy seeds, especially flower seeds that often need a chilling period. The bottle makes a nice little greenhouse and the hole at the top is perfect for letting in just the right amount of moisture.
I've tried this a couple times before. Sprouting has always been really good the hardest part is getting the seedlings out of the bottles before they are fried or rot.
Labels: winter sowing
Saturday, February 21, 2015
first seed sowing of 2015
It's my day of planting seeds!! I'm a few days late from my schedule - the winter seems like it might never end, so that's probably OK. I planted celeriac, onions, shallots and leeks. Varieties are listed here: 2015 planting list.
I also set up eight bottles of flower seeds using the winter planting method. I'll post photos and details tomorrow.
Labels: sowing 2015
Monday, February 16, 2015
snow, snow, snow
I'm watching to see if my garden hoops get covered with snow this year. The fence is 5 feet high. I certainly hope it doesn't get covered!
I'm also wondering if I'll be able to find places to put my raw compost if we get any more snow. After each storm, I dig out a couple of the bins up near my kitchen. (The garden bin is covered with deep snow with no path to get there - I certainly can't use that one.) The snow mixes with raw compost and and the bins fill up very fast. I need to clean out my chicken coop soon and I suppose I'll have to dig a hole in the snow and pile the coop waste in and plan to put it into a bin after the snow melts.
And speaking of the chicken coop, yes, its still there. I dig it out after every snow storm and clean off the glass roof. The power plug failed a week ago and it took a few days for us to notice. The coop morning light went out and the water froze up. We fixed it, but the older hens stopped laying. I'm getting two eggs a day now from my two young hens.
We've dug paths in the yard to get to the bird feeders, compost bins, chicken coop, and for the dogs to get around. To get out to the garden area, I put on my snow shoes and slog through the snow. It seems we are flattening a new path every other day. Its really pretty, but a lot of work.
This week's snow storms are predicted for Tuesday and Thursday.....
Friday, February 13, 2015
planning my parents garden
My dad has kidney disease and has just started on dialysis. He has a pretty restricted diet as he can't eat foods that are high in phosphorus or potassium. His doctor has given him a list of all of his dos and don'ts. No tomatoes, no beets, no peas, etc. We looked at this list while planning what to plant in his vegetable garden this year. (I don't know if these vegetables are OK for all kidney patients, so please check with your own doctor if you have kidney disease.)
Kidney-safe plants for Mom and Dad's garden:
(I don't know why winter squash isn't here. I have to ask if that's OK and if they want it this year. They usually like acorn squash a couple big pumpkins.)
A few of these non-kidney-safe plants for Mom:
And we talked about basil. Its hard to know whether to plant it with the new basil mildew. I was going to pass it up, but my parents would like some. I'll write a separate post about that.
Labels: planting list
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
winter birds in Florida
I went to visit my parents in southern Florida (Naples area) last week. Talk about a great time to get a break from New England! It was sunny the whole time, 70's, and no snow! Fortunately I was able to get into and out of Logan between storms with out delays. I was lucky. Anyway, here are the birds I saw down there.
Friday, February 06, 2015
winter birds in my backyard
The big bluejays get first dibs at my feeder, while little birds wait in the trees for them to have their fill and move on. I love the little catkin-like buds on my star magnolia where the little birds wait. With all this snow I am trying to keep the feeders full. I should get a bigger feeder because the birds empty it in a couple hours.
The big guys in the sky are the red tailed hawks. A pair hangs out in our back yard. I took these photos while the female was perched watching my chickens through the new glass roof. Look at her craning her neck to see in!
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Saturday, January 31, 2015
skippy and suzie break a trail to my garden
Yesterday I made it all the way down to my garden and took this picture. What a day! No garden visible, but still magical.
Someone suggested I use a dog sled to get down there. Huh!! If only I had one. But second best, my dogs did an awesome job breaking a trail for me. Suzie went in the lead, ears flapping and barely taller than the snow cover. Skippy went next and I took up the rear with my snow shoes. By the time the 3 of us passed, we had made a nice trail. Coming back was easy. Except that the trail wasn't very straight. Suzie did a bit of zig-zagging. Who am I to complain, I was so pleased to see the dogs make a trail.