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.

Monday, May 26, 2014

garden work today

Nothing like a beautiful Memorial Day weekend for starting a new garden! My husband and I brought at least a dozen carts full if dirt and compost to my new raised garden beds. We hauled it down the hill form our driveway. All 8 of my new beds now have at least some soil in them. One we filled, and so I planted it - dahlias tubers at the back and then 6 rows of popcorn seeds. The seed package said how to protect from racoons. Oh my. I hadn't thought of this. Yes, we have a pair that we see now and then. I guess we'll find out how long it takes of them to find my corn! Then I'll look into electric fences....

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today's harvest - bok choi and salad greens

Sunday, May 25, 2014

today's harvest

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

today's harvest

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

tomato planting time!

What a great day! Perfect planting weather.

At my community garden today we distributed tomato seedlings that we raised at local greenhouse. Four varieties of late blight resistant tomatoes. About 350 plants distributed to 55 gardeners. Legend, Moutain Merit, Defiant and Jasper. Nice big seedlings.

It was a good day to be a gardener! Or a tomato seedling....

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

planting mom and dad's garden

mom and dads garden_1465mom and dads garden_1467 mom and dads garden_1468 I brought my parents 5 or 6 trays of seedlings I raised. We planted them in their old garden and in a newly dug up addition. In their old garden, we planted basil (Nufar), peppers (sweet, Bell, Joe Parker NuMex, Amelia Cayene and Thai hot), eggplants, tomatoes (early planted Siberian Red, Orange Blossom and Pink Beauty) and parsley. In the new addition we planted winter squashes (acorn, Waltham butternut and buttercup) and summer squashes (Yellow Crook and quik pik, and zucchini Elite and Romanescu) and cucumbers (Diva and Straight 8). We reserved a bed for a second area of tomatoes.

The new addition was lawn a few weeks ago. Last week, we bounded the edges with deer fence, and I dug three beds, each about 3x5 ft. To dig, we first laid an inch or two of compost on top of the grass and then I manually turned it all (sod and compost) under. My dad later broke up the clumps of sod a bit and topped it with landscape fabric. He said to me today, "Have you done this before?" I said, "No."

Today, I used scissors to cut holes in the landscape fabric for planting. I planted squashes and cucumbers and for each, I first dug a hole and then added a good handful or three of potting soil, then tamped in the seedling.

Actually we tried a version of this addition last year and it did not work for squashes. Don't know why, though I think partly it was because it was unfenced and the deer ate it. It's an experiment. Theoretically it should be beautiful with big plants and a rich harvest. We'll see.

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mystery tree

mystery tree IMG_7878 I'm trying to figure out the identity of this tree. Its in the backyard of our new home. In the summer it had BIG leaves, maybe 8 inches long as I remember. In the fall, fruit (or nuts) with four wings. Now it is showing off with masses of pink bell-like blossoms. The bumble bees and hummingbirds flit in and out. Its a big tree, 40 or 50 feet tall.

Once I get a good look at the mature leaves, I hope I can follow through with the tree identification at Arborday. But if you know this tree, let me know!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

asparagus harvest

asparagus IMG_7896 asparagus IMG_7904 asparagus IMG_7907 I picked lots of asparagus today. It grows so fast! One day the stalks are a few inches tall - the next, a foot tall! I am picking all of the stalks now as my bed is pretty well established. I'll pick all of the stalks for another week or so, then let them grow into fronds.

I used to steam or saute my asparagus, then this past Easter, I came across a super recipe. Here it is: Emeril suggests roasting it. Yes! its super! Today, I layered on lots of garlic, some olive oil, some herbed sea salt and a bit of Parmesan cheese. I roasted at 400*F for 12 min. It was AMAZING!!! DELICIOUS. Awesome. Tender and sweet. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

working on our new mini-orchard

orchard IMG_7853 apple blossom IMG_7882 cherry blossom IMG_7886 Last weekend, we cleared the slope where our mini-orchard will go. Lots of roots needed to be dug out and removed. I used stakes and string to find the best spots to locate the trees. So far, we have 3 apples. All semi-dwarf. Varieties: Honey Crisp, Liberty and Jonathan. Also a pie cherry, variety: Montmorency. Each tree needs about 18 feet diameter of space.

Next, we will dig compost into the planting holes and plant the trees. The trees will like as much compost as they can get. We'll put up deer fence around each tree. And all those rocks we pulled out of the soil will go into a semi circle just at the lower slope of each tree.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

first harvest of a new season - rhubarb and asparagus

Well, only three tiny stalks of asparagus, but a nice bunch of rhubarb. Three fat stalks. I had lots of strawberries at home so I made a rhubarb strawberry crumble tonight. Yummy! The recipe said "preferably red rhubarb stalks". Well, the green stalked variety proliferates in our community gardens. We all share it. Today I showed a new gardener our help-yourself patch. I think the chartreuse green stalk slices look super with bright red strawberries. They certainly taste great!

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

potato bed ready for planting

Finally, I have a potato bed ready to plant. I've gone over to my community plot several times to work on it, but each time I go there is some other task that needs to be done. Like removing salt marsh hay mulch from my garlic and onions and layering it in my garden paths, emptying my compost bin and sifting the new compost, pruning my pear trees and raspberry canes, top-dressing my asparagus with compost and pruning lots of winter kill from my lilac bush (it sure was a tough winter). Today I brought two wheelbarrows full of rich compost to the potato beds, turned it under and dug troughs.

Finally, the potato bed is ready.

Tonight I cut my seed potatoes into sections with one eye each. They are curing now in the kitchen. I'll plant them tommorow in the prepared beds. Adirondack Blue and Yukon Gold. A dozen eyes of each.

I still have a dozen eyes of Burbank Russet and a couple Kennebec Reds waiting til I have time to prepare another bed.

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Thursday, May 01, 2014

peas are sprouting

sprouting pea seed 7640 I checked on my peas today. Just dug a bit in the soil and found a seed. It had a really long root and just starting to send out a stem. I'll have pea sprouts in no time I bet.

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first bed is full

spring seedlings_7643 first bed planted 7637 Today I filled my first bed in the new garden (actually the second from the edge, but the first one filled). I had half filled it last week and planted peas, and today completed bringing in topsoil and compost from a local farm. I planted broccoli (9 plants - a mix of early and late varieties), Asian greens, endive (escarole frissee and a broad leaved escarole) and 2 varieties of butterhead lettuce (Skyphos and Prizehead). It was a chilly day (45*F for a high) and rain is predicted all night tonight. I hope the seedlings like their new home.

















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