This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

digging parsnips in the spring

On Easter morning (April 21) I dug the last of my parsnips. I’ve never overwintered them before but was told they are really sweet in early spring. So I left half of my crop in the ground last fall.

And, yes, they are excellent after overwintering! I roasted them with some red potatoes, and added olive oil, smoked paprika, and curry powder. Really delicious with our Easter dinner.

Easter morning I also dug a couple overwintered leeks (I have to remember to go dig the rest of them soon), and I picked a nice bunch of overwintered book choy. It’s so nice to be getting garden vegetables again! And digging in the dirt!!

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I've been posting on Facebook too. You can check there with this link. Its quicker for me to post there. I'll try to add all the posts here.

i just noticed...

Organic Gardening BlogsI guess I'm a bit slow, but i just noticed that Feedspot gave this blog an award. Top 30 Organic Gardening Blogs!! Nice. I appreciate that. And they gave out cute badges. I like that too! Thanks Feedspot!

And here's a more current list at Feedspot with more than 100 nice gardening blogs. So much to read!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

planting peas

I planted my peas today. I started them indoors in big flat boxes and cut off paper bags. I'm a fan of planting indoors, mostly because I can watch them grow. But also I can baby the seedlings, making sure they get the right amount of water and light (under plant lights).

For peas, another reason for planting inside - my voracious chipmunks. There are so many chipmunks in my garden and they have, in the past, gone right down the rows and dug up and ate every newly planted pea seed.

The chipmunks are also the reason for the new pea supports I am trying. They are thin wire tomato cages set out in a zigzag pattern. Last year the critters climbed up the branches I used for supports and ate most of the pea pods. I'm hoping the thin metal of the tomato cages won't give them enough to hold onto and climb up on.

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The peas in the back on the support are Oregon Giant, a delicious snow pea that grows very tall. In front of them I have a row of a short snap pea, Sugar Daddy, that doesn't need support.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

today’s harvest

I had my first harvest of the season today. A pretty little head of red butterhead lettuce, some kalelette sprouts, and a handful of big spinach leaves. Delicious.

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Wednesday, April 03, 2019

more baby chick pictures

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I bought a batch of 15 mixed layers from McMurray Hatchery. They say they are a mix of at least 5 good laying types plus one exotic layer. I can see that the single fancy bird is silver and has very pretty feathers. I don't know any of the breeds. If anyone can tell the breed from looking at a chick and you recognize any of these - let me know!!

They are two days old now and are being very good. There was one chick who kept pecking other chicks' eyes yesterday. (She the black blur in the left front of the bottom photo.) Over and over. She spent the night in solitary (the shipping box under the light). She's being good today.

Then there is one very tiny bird that I'm hoping will thrive. (She's that buff one at the upper right of the bottom photo.) She has a hard time pushing her way in to the food. I'm spreading crumbles now and then to see if that helps. In have both of my red heat lights over the crate now my to keep the temperature up at 95 degrees for a week. Next week when they are OK at 85 I can separate any tiny birds and move the second light to a smaller crate.

My plan is to only keep 4 or 5 of the chicks. I have one adult hen laying in my coop outside (with another adult that I am overwintering for someone else). I should limit myself to 4 and 5 is pretty full for my small coop. Five others have been spoken for. If you're local to Lincoln MA and want any let me know. I'll advertise on Craig's list at some point.

Charley is very interested in watching the chicks, Suzie less so. Charley always follows me to go check on them. The chicks are in a very secure crate!

baby chicks!

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I got a box full of one-day-old baby chicks in the mail today. 17 of them! They are very tiny and very cute. They are now under a red heat lamp in a dog crate converted into a chick incubator.

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Sunday, March 31, 2019

winter bed

Whenever we get a couple days with night temperatures above freezing I open up my winter bed. It's not as full as last year since I planted late in the fall, but there are lots of greens coming along. Spinach, lettuce, bok choy, and cabbage. Some overwintered rosemary. I was impressed with my kalettes that didn't mature last year, but look good now.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

spring!!!

The first day of spring - one of my favorite days!

I have 8 trays of seedlings planted so far. Some are doing very well. A tray of wild flower seeds I collected are taking their time to sprout. No problem. Sometimes these take 30 days or so.

I am working on planting my tomato seeds now. A few days late now for me. I have the pots clean and set in trays.  I’ve pulled out the seed packets I'll plant. Maybe I'll have time to plant tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow I'll pick my up mother at the airport marking the end of her winter in Florida. She's looking forward to returning north. I've planned her vegetable garden and have several new ideas to try out to improve her garden this year. Her biggest challenge is tomatoes. I have an idea that the very high phosphorus level in her soil is affecting these plants. My dad liked to add super phosphate, but it eventually accumulates if you aren't testing the soil as you go. I'm looking forward to the growing season.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

my planting progress

I'm planting way too many varieties of vegetable seeds this year. Last year, I cut back on different varieties and planted only my favorites. This year, the opposite. I'm planting a few plants each of many different varieties. I have a big Excel list to keep track of them all.

So far I have planted:
Feb 5: rosemary and thyme
Feb 23: lots of onion varieties, also celeriac and parsley.
March 4: 11 cabbage varieties, also escarole and endive.
March 10: 4 basil varieties, 5 marigolds, 5 eggplants,
          and 15 varieties of peppers.
March 19: radicchio, broccoli and lots of sweet peas.
March 24: bok choy, 6 varieties of lettuce, and 18 varieties of tomatoes
March 25: ginger, cumin, cilantro, Swiss chard, and nasturtiums

I hope to get my peas planted in the garden soon. As soon as the mud dries up a little more. The next indoor planting is cucumbers around April 10.

I'll add to this list as I continue planting.

And finally, here’s how I keep track of what to plant when: Skippy's Calendar App.
It's a planting calendar for a mobile device. I wrote this app and a friend coded it. I have it on my cell phone and refer to it all the time. You can adapt the calendar to your garden by putting in your last frost date. Please leave us a review! And let me know if you find any bugs. (All of the old bugs people have told us about have been fixed.)

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seedlings

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

red-winged blackbirds return - a sign of spring

I was surprised to hear a red-winged blackbird today. Everything is snow covered and seems quite wintery still. I looked up when they returned to my yard in previous years:

2015: March 27
2016: March 5
2018: February 25
2019: March 12

I also looked at the site Journey North, a citizen reporting site. These dates fit with their observations. Some springs are late, some early. This looks like a pretty average one based on the blackbirds.

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

plan for my home vegetable garden

Microsoft PowerPoint - 2019 vegetable garden plans V2.pptx

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plan for my community garden

Microsoft PowerPoint - 2019 vegetable garden plans V2.pptx

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mom's vegetable garden plan

Microsoft PowerPoint - 2019 vegetable garden plans V2.pptx

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