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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

today's garden work

It was a beautiful, bright and warm HALLOWEEN day! I was lucky to do garden work all day. There are not so many of these good outdoor days any more as the season moves on toward winter. Here's what I did:

- Finished up my seed list. (Last year I started a list of all the seed packets I have that includes the folder they are stored in and when I planted them. By going through my seeds again now I put misplaced ones back in correct folders and identified seed packets that were used up this year so I know what to buy for next year.)

- From my home garden I harvested some kale and bulb fennel, dug up 3 first year artichoke plants for overwintering in pots in the garage, and dug 4 or 5 Belgian endive plants and set them out to cure under several layers of row cover.

- I photographed 3 types of mushrooms growing in my home garden. One on untreated pine raised bed wood, and two on birch logs that edge my flower bed. I'll get these identified by an expert. I THINK two are edible, one possibly a turkey tail and another maybe an oyster mushroom. I have no idea what the third is.

- I unpacked 4 or 5 of the 10 or so micronutrients that I am collecting mail order to refurbish the soil of my small orchard (3 apple trees, a cherry and a peach).

- And finally, the task that wiped me out, I dug a bed of potatoes at my community garden. I recovered about 20 lbs of beautiful russets from the bed in soil that was REALLY heavy. I was thrilled to get such a good harvest and shouldn't complain, but it was a lot of work!! We have had an unusually rainy fall here and even though I dig potatoes only after a couple dry days, the soil is still heavy. I've dug two beds so far, one more to go, lots of rain in the forecast...

belgian escarole IMG_6401 garden IMG_6405
garden mushroom IMG_6406 garden mushrooms IMG_6409
potato digging IMG_6430 community plot IMG_6434

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

a year of garden photos

May 4: The peas are a few inches high, cover crop of winter rye is tall in some beds, and winter beds have greens growing.
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May 11: I just turned under the winter rye, crabapples and tulips are in bloom.
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May 30: I just planted tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Alliums are blooming. 05-30 IMG_2790

June 18: Everything is growing, including the weeds in the paths. Those are asparagus fronds across the view in the foreground. 06-18 IMG_7487

August 24: Time for eating fresh vegetables! 08-24 DSC00070

October 15: Beds with summer crops are cleared and ready for planting with some small seedlings to overwinter. 10-15 IMG_6023

October 21: Overwintering beds are covered with a single layer of fabric. Soon I'll add a layer of greenhouse plastic. 10-21 IMG_6154

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Check for updates on Skippy’s Veg Garden FB page.

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

greenhouse IMG_2264

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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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