A journal of my home vegetable garden. Skippy and Suzie thinks it's their garden, but I do all the work. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6). I have a community garden plot and a big new garden in my backyard. I try to grow all of my family's vegetables using sustainable organic methods.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

potato order

I just ordered my seed potatoes. Fedco/Moose Tubers has a nice selection of "Keepers" that includes: German Butterball, Katahdin, Elba, Red Pontiac, and Russet Burbank. 2 1/2 lbs of each for only $19. Can't beat it. I'll pick of a few blues at the supermarket to add to my planting.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

seedlings

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Had my lights off the seedlings today to move things around and so I took some photos. They are growing fast! I'm thinking by March 1 they will need to go out to the cold frame.

catalogs

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I'm trying to limit myself to just a few more packets of seeds. I placed an order from Johnny's yesterday. Carrots, squash, parsnips, etc. And I've circled a bunch of things from the Kitazawa catalog. So many seeds, so little space.... My son has been asking me several times now to please grow popcorn again this year. How can I refuse? He says it tastes much better than anything we've been able to buy. He's a real connoisseur! I don't know where I will find space - popcorn needs at least 4 x 4 feet. I'll have to look at my garden diagram again and see what I can leave out. I shouldn't buy any more seeds.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

pussy willows

pussy willows

Monday, February 14, 2011

valentine's day rose

a valentine rose

I have a hard tome photographing red and magenta with my camera. These Valentines roses were a real challenge. The petals are marbled, reminding me of old tulip varieties. I can't say the photo does the rose justice, but its my best attempt. Happy Valentine's Day!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

sprouting sweets and saving squash seeds

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Today, I finally remembered to bring my small (finger-sized) sweet potatoes upstairs to see if the warmer temperature will get them to sprout. (I left the big ones downstairs to keep for eating.) I'd like to get the sweet potatoes to sprout soon. They start off slow.

Also, I roasted a nice buttercup squash from my local CSA and couldn't resist saving a few of the fat seeds. It is a nice variety with thick orange flesh that tasted great and kept very well until now. Even though squashes do cross pollinate, I think ones grown on a farm have a good chance of being pollinated by the same variety. But if they did cross pollinate, it will be fun to see what I get. I'll try a couple plants and see what they produce.

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a nice gardening book

Microsoft PowerPoint - Presentation1

Timberpress sent me a copy of a new book that I really enjoyed reading. "Sugar snaps and Strawberries" by Andrea Bellamy.

Its about small-space edible gardening and has really nice photos of container gardens. Great photo (page 46) of a garden planted in an old canoe! Nice section (page 58) on building raised beds. And (page 67) a chart of "the dirty dozen": 10 fruits and vegetables that consistently test highest for pesticide residues. They include kale, potatoes and spinach. Makes me glad to know I grow these at home. A nice book for a new gardener or an old one - to sift thorough as we wait for the gardening season.

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PBS video clips

I thought I'd share an email I got yesterday. The videos are very nice. I like the ones about composting with worms. This year, I will be trying harder to make really good compost.

Skippy,

My name is Daniel Buckley and I work for WGBH Boston... I .. wanted to reach out to you as an advocate for gardening, because of a project that we at PBS worked on this summer.

So as part of a new project called Design Squad Nation, we traveled to London to team up with a group called Global Generation to build a mobile garden for transporting the fresh/sustainable produce to local restaurants.

Here is a list of links to our videos...for you to check out.

Sneak Peek
Judy’s Composter
Rooftop Garden
Learning how to weld
Animation: how to make a wormery
Garden to go episode

Thanks ...

Daniel

Friday, February 11, 2011

a balmy day in the cold frame

cold frame note cold frame and outside  temp

Today at 1:45 pm the temperature inside my cold frame hit a high of 44.1*F (6.7*C)!!! Outside high was only 26*F (-3.3*C). Grow spinach, grow.

Yesterday, I wrote myself a note on my kitchen black board to remember to pull the tarp off my frame in the morning and replace it in the evening. I followed the note today. The sun is still having trouble emerging from behind the neighboring house much of the day. But at 12:00 it hits the cold frame, and from then on the frame gets full sun.

I forgot to put some snow inside the cold frame to water the plants. A task for tomorrow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

this is our backyard

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Our backyard is buried under snow. Yesterday Channel 5 said, "Boston has had a colossal 70 inches of snow!" Don't we know it.

Skippy gets to run around in series of paths we have dug. The 5 foot fence is now standing only a foot or two above the snowdrifts. The snow is glazed with a layer of ice, but still loose underneath, so we can't walk on it. What a winter!

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

sunlight for the cold frame

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I pulled off the tarp covering my cold frame today and let the plants get a couple hours of sun. We are now getting 10 hours and 19 minutes of sunlight per day here in the Boston area. Theoretically enough for plants to grow. Only its too cold. Tonight's predicted low is 5*F (-15*C). Brr. The cold frame never goes much below 25*F.

Its my first year with a cold frame and I think the plants look surprisingly good. Especially the spinach. I will try to give it a few hours of sunlight daily now and see if I can get it to start growing.

It looks like I should bring out a bucket of water for the dry soil.

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

seedlings

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Friday, February 04, 2011

snow scenes

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We have 3 feet of packed powder on our trails. I am going to see if I can buy a pair of snow shoes so I can go on some of the unpacked trails. I wonder if they make any in Skippy's size.

snow covered community garden plots

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

garden aerial

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Here's a photo taken before the cold frame was cleared off.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

cleared off cold frame

My son went out this evening and cleared the heavy snow and ice layer off of my cold frame (for a small fee...). It was a good foot of heavy ice and slush and I was afraid it would crush the panels. We have not had a winter like this that I can remember and the panels were not designed to hold hundreds of pounds of weight. The panels still look fine. Now they are ready to get covered with another snow layer again - I hear another storm is coming on Saturday.

snow

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That's a 5 foot fence and a totally covered bench. I've stopped saving my kitchen scraps because there's no way to get to my compost bin. And 5 inches of snow/ice are predicted to fall on top of all this tomorrow. Arrgh!!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

first sprout

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My first sprout is a cute little endive from a seed mix I made. The lights are on and more are popping up fast, oblivious to the outside weather.

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