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. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

seedlings

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wild kale

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These have grown really fast. I think they are pretty cold hardy, so I hope I can plant them out in a cold frame in March.

I got this mix from Territorial. They describe it as:

30 days. Gardeners who love to grow edible ornamentals will go crazy over this exciting mix. A fabulous array of Siberian kales of unique shapes and hues. Diverse leaf profiles range from delicate waves to tight frilly curls. Color shades from light greens to blue-greens to purples and reds. Up to 24 inches tall, these kales are mild and very cold tolerant. A winter salad gardener's delight
30 days! No wonder its growing so fast.

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eggplant

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tomatoes

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Tomato seeds should be planted 6 weeks before the last frost. I planted these 4 weeks early to see if I can get tomatoes earlier this year. Plus I'm trying the variety Beaver Lodge - an ultra early (50 days). These early planted plants will need to be planted into big pots before transplanting out to the garden and will be heavy to carry in and out as they harden off. Plus, when I tried early tomatoes last year, I still got my first ripe fruits at the same time as the plants started at 6 weeks. But, some people have success with early planting, so I'm trying again.

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thyme

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I grew a lot of thyme last year. It did very well and hopefully will come back and do even better this year. But I planted more seeds any way. I'd love to have too much thyme. Is this possible?

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onions

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purple cone flower (echinacea)

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I hand collected cone flower seeds last fall. I also tried planting some outside in milk bottles in case they need a cold treatment. But I am happy to see one little sprout here. Maybe more will come.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

leaf buds

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There are some signs of life out there. These are lilac, honeysuckle and wild rose buds in the bushes near my garden.

lc. trick or treat

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Friday, February 26, 2010

still too early for gardening

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Though I would like to go turn my garden, plant and tend - its still too early. I planted my 10 week BLF seeds at 12 weeks BLF (before the last frost). I have tomatoes and eggplants sprouted already. Kale is getting its third set of leaves.

So -- Skippy and I went to the beach instead! Its a wild day at the shore. New England has a big Nor' Easter off shore and the waves are impressive. There was sea weed over the roads from flooding at high tide last night. More flooding is expected tonight. Skippy and I walked out on the sand at low tide this afternoon (Salem MA).

We don't usually go to the beach in the off season, but its a good time. Dogs are allowed on most beaches here from Oct through May. And since I had business in Salem, we stopped by. Its only a 30 min drive from home.

The lobster pots and dingies were pulled up and stacked here and there. Power boats on the shore were plastic wrapped, sail boats stood empty in the wind. Scattered in the sand was all sorts of storm washed debris. I collected a pocket full of sea glass. Every color. So much of this rare summer treasure that I wondered if it was only trash. No - its a treasure.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

sprouts

Seeds that have sprouted so far: onions, tomatoes, eggplants, parsley, thyme, lavender, broccoli and kale. Tomorrow I will take pictures of each.

Monday, February 22, 2010

mums

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These are a couple mums from my Valentines Day bouquet. (Thanks hubby :) They remind me of a beautiful mum my parents grow (Chrysanthemum Sheffield Pink) that I'd like to have in my garden. Since I found a bunch of milk bottles in my neighbor's recycling bin today, I think I'll mail order these seeds (and some other perennial flowers) and set up a few more winter sowing bottles.

- Oops, looks like Sheffield Pink doesn't breed true from seed. I'll have to see if my parents can divide theirs. For the bottles, I think I'll sow dill, thyme and rudbeckia.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

skippy's spring haircut

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Skippy's is trimmed and ready for spring mud and puddles and fun!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

winter sowing

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I found 3 plastic milk jugs and planted then today. Two seeds I collected: Purple cone flower (Echinacea) and Feverfew (from Victoria's garden). Also a package of lavender seeds. I used wooden labels inside the jugs. (Last time I did this, I wrote on jugs and ink washed off.) I tucked then the jugs in with some old hay out in the yard - and put my gnome in charge of them.

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potato order placed

I meant to order these a few weeks ago, but didn't actually do it. Now the order is placed - the day after the discounts ended :( I'm excited about the varieties I found though. Three of the four show resistance to late blight!! I should have had these last year. I got only 4 orders - last year I got 5 and this was a bit too much.

Here are the Moose Tubers' catalog descriptions:

Irish Cobbler Early. Buff skin, white flesh. Slightly larger than a golf ball, great for roasting or mashing, with a smooth creamy texture. Legend has it that an Irish shoemaker in the northeastern United States selected this variety from plants he grew from an Early Rose seed ball. First cataloged in 1876. Even dug early, Cobblers will store throughout the season. Resistant to mild mosaic and immune to wart. Medium-sized plant has white-tipped lilac flowers.

All Blue Mid-season. Dark purple skin, purple flesh. Russian Blue is another name for this brilliantly loud specialty spud. Keeps its color when cooked, yields aplenty, and stores decently. Mildly resistant to late blight, hollow heart, second growth and shatter bruise. Susceptible to common scab, bacterial ring rot, and golden nematode. Vigorous plants with blue blossoms. LBR.

Butte Late. Medium russet skin, white flesh. For all you fungal watchdogs out there, here is another variety field-resistant to late blight. A fine russeted pattern details the bronzed skin of the mealy white-fleshed Butte. Versatile in the kitchen, try it baked, fried, smashed, hashed, or whatever. All winter long! Released in 1977 from Idaho. Also resistant to common scab, hollow heart, and net necrosis. Produces best with wide spacing (16–18''), fertile soil, and regular watering. LBR.

Green Mountain. Late. Buff skin, white flesh Largely displaced from commercial potato seed circulation, this variety is the number-one pick for blight resistance. An outstanding heirloom that’s also just right for baking; so dig them once and keep the oven on all winter long. Its nice appearance and great flavor don’t fade in storage. Somewhat liable to succumb to pest damage and viral diseases, but show resistance to fusarium storage rot, black leg, and verticillium wilt. LBR.

(LBR means late blight resistance.)

All are new varieties for me except Green Mountain, which I grew last year and loved. It has fantastic crisp pure white flesh and keeps great. Last year I grew a different Russet (Rio Grande) which was great, but picked Butte this year for the LBR. I've heard Irish Cobbler recommended for its flavor. And I really looking forward to the blue potatoes to perk things up!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

building a hoophouse

I just love hoop houses and low tunnels. Here's a link. Maybe I'll get to try one this year.

onion sprouts

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More and more little onions sprouts keep popping up.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

snow day

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This is the same stone wall I photographed a few days ago. Everything looks different today.

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Here's my garden:

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

lights are ON!

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I have sprouts!!! My lights are on!

My first sprouts of the 2010 season are Ruby Ring onions. Of eight onion varieties I planted, these are the first ones up. No sign of any of the others yet. Welcome little Ruby's!

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