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.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

my tomatoes are finally in

Finally!! I planted my peppers, eggplants, cukes, squashes, and tomatoes in my garden on Monday. It’s been a slow, cool spring here. I can’t eemember ever waiting til May 20(!) to pjant yomatoes. I planted the warm weather crops in my mom’s garden today. It was 60 with a light drizzle all day. The good news is that night time temperatures are staying warm - above 50. we‘re just waiting for a nice run of 70 and 80 Degree days. Most gardeners I talk to are waiting for June 1 to plant. (Entered on my cellphone with limited editing ability. Pkease excuse my type-o’s.)

Monday, May 14, 2018

favorite week - planting corn and beans and transplanting tomatoes

This is one of my favorite weeks in the vegetable garden. Highlights are transplanting tomato seedlings outside and sowing bean and corn seeds.

I transplant my hardened off tomato seedlings to the garden when night time low temperatures are routinely above 45F and mostly above 50F. I transplanted my mom’s tomatoes today (Mother’s Day). In the next 10 days, no local temps below 45F are predicted, and over 50% of nights are above 50F. Another good measure is soil temperature, which should be above 55F for planting our tomatoes. I’m still trying to find my soil thermometer. (I know it’s here somewhere...)

Planting seeds in the ground is less risky than transplanting seedlings. If the soil is too cold and wet the seeds will rot and will not sprout, but there is a lot of leeway. Mostly, spring planted seeds will begin to grow when the soil warms up to the appropriate temperature.

I will plant corn and green bean seed directly in the garden, but my soybean seed I plant indoors in pots because the chipmunks eat the unsprouted seeds. Argh. I’ll plant a few big trays of soybean seeds inside.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

favorite sounds

As I go to bed, I am listening out the window to rain falling after a nice spring day in the garden. One of my favorite sounds. I can just imagine the plants growing and the soil drinking in the moisture.

Friday, May 04, 2018

today's harvest

harvest IMG_2361

Charley is so happy to get something other than greens from the garden. A big bunch of asparagus! I gave him the bottom ends off of them. Yummy! It's my first year harvesting this 3 year old bed.

Also in this harvest: Two small lettuce heads (Cherokee and Rhazes), some bolting arugula (still delicious), and a few leaves of a broad-leaved escarole.

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Thursday, May 03, 2018

planting brassicas

Today I planted a half bed of brassicas: Red and Murdoch cabbage, broccoli Blue Wind and Bay Meadows. Also cauliflower Snowball Y and, in my lettuce bed, radicchio. My seedlings are all about 3 inches tall. I will need another bed for more brassicas. I have some nice broccilini seedlings: Happy Rich and Piracicaba. Also bok choy.

The weather has turned warm so fast. I don’t see any nights below 47 through May 10. I am thinking it’s Ok to plant tomato seedlings out soon. But I’ll plant out in order of hardiness. The root crops will go out next. tomorrow? Beets, celeriac, carrots, parsnips, celery, onions - I have lots of onions, leeks, scallions.

Busy, busy time of year!!

Btw, my cold and bronchitis seem to be gone. Yeah!!! It’s time to be healthy and active in the garden.

Monday, April 23, 2018

my new greenhouse - an unheated small hoophouse

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

My cold seems to maybe be getting a bit better. It’s been dragging on almost a week now.

Today I finally got done work done and planted my cucumber and winter squash seeds. One tray each. Also up potted 4 or 5 types of flowers and brought them down to my new greenhouse. The greenhouse is running about 60-70F during the day and 40F at night. Perfect for peas, onions, and other cool weather crops. for now, my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other warm weather crops are still on my living room floor. I bring them in and out as temps go above 50F.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

My new bees are happy in their new home! Today was a beautiful day for them. I put most of my seedlings out on the patio to get some sun and fresh air. I up-potted 60 tomato seedlings last night and they were outside too. I opened up my winter tunnels to the nice spring air and am thinking I may not need to cover them up much more this season. They are looking really nice. (I’ll add pictures here this weekend.)

Monday, April 09, 2018

honey bees

I picked up a package of bees today. Both of my hives died early last winter - it was a very hard fall/winter for bees here. I have heard that the overwintering rate in our area for experienced bee keepers was about 20%. One out of 5 hives survived. I almost decided it wasn't worth keeping bees and if I have to buy new ones every year, but I went ahead and got one hive anyway.

They are not off to a good start. Tonight will be very cold and I was told to keep them inside at 60F overnight and install them tomorrow. I was also told to spray sugar water on the frame near the queen to make sure they stay in a cluster and keep each other warm. I hear our weather will warm up at the end of this week, but we have another cold spell coming in soon after that. Our trees are all blooming, but the bees can't fly to gather any nectar until temperatures are above 50F or so.

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Sunday, April 08, 2018

hoop house taking shape

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The swallows have arrived!

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Saturday, April 07, 2018

hoop greenhouse construction

We're building a hoop house today!! It will be 10x12 ft and will go in the backyard, unheated, and should hold lots of seedling trays. It will be a temporary, spring-only structure to give extra space during April and May. Today is a chilly wet day, so we are enjoying this as an garage project for now. We bent the first hoop and it looks good. So far, so good!!

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Friday, April 06, 2018

charley with snow flakes

charley with snow flakes IMG_2094 All right all ready with the April snow!!! What a slow spring!! We're still having temperatures in the 30-40's (F). Charley likes it. I'm looking forward to 50-60's. I hear it'll get warm next Thursday. I won't hold my breath.

up-potting

I transplanted my peppers and eggplants into larger pots today. ...a bit of a mess in the kitchen, but I love working with all these little seedlings.

up potting in the kitchen IMG_2081 up potting IMG_2083

Sunday, April 01, 2018

easter eggs

easter eggs IMG_2059

My chickens did a great job and laid all colors of eggs. I don't need to dye them for the Easter basket! White, brown speckled, blue, and green. I boiled up a half dozen for deviled egg Easter appetizers. I'll put them on a platter with my garden arugula.

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