Sunday, December 31, 2006

my garden on the last day of the year

Garden on the last day of 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

lettuce and endives

escarole endive escarole 5 oak leaf lettuce I was surprised to find my little lettuce patch still growing. I don't go out to the garden very often these days. I had stopped covering the patch in early December because everything was freezing pretty solid, even with the covering. I didn't realize that these plants would survive. Not really very many plants - probably not enough for a single salad serving - but I think they are photogenic and a good crop to consider expanding for next year. Still growing are (clockwise from top left): purple-spotted escarole, curly endive, oak leaf lettuce and plain escarole.

Lactuca sativa

green parsley

parsley on dec 17th parsley2
My parsley is another plant that is doing just fine at the end of December. I have given up on covering it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

first snow on the garden

first snow on the vegetable garden
Just a dusting in our area. My dad says it looks more like powdered sugar than snow. It lasted about an hour.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

a toast to the end of gardening season

garden martini
I think this is about it for my vegetable garden this year. I have one tomato left from the big box of green tomatoes that I picked last month. Pretty much all of the green tomatoes ripened. Outside, I just have carrots, garlic sprouts and parsley left in the garden along with my cover crop of winter rye. We've had a couple of hard frosts and the garden soil is nearly frozen. I'll take a few pictures of the garden plot during the winter - and I am looking forward to planning next year's garden. But for now, here's a toast to a productive and enjoyable season. The beverage is one of my newly invented garden martini's - carrots, celery, cukes and olives!

Topic: martini!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

thanksgiving harvest

thanksgiving harvestchardcarrotsbeetsToday I harvested my Swiss chard and beets. Also, many carrots - maybe half of my remaining crop. It's the day before Thanksgiving. We've been cooking all day. I'll serve these garden vegetables tomorrow.

Daucus carota beets (Beta vulgaris)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

first frost

frost on the grasscovered parsleythermometerWe had a real frost last night. I'm hoping my covered parsley and chard survived it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

field of cow corn

tracks in the mudcob of cow cornnovember cornfieldI think this is a field of cow corn. The farmer is finally bringing it in this weekend. Its been raining for the last 2 or 3 weeks which I think may have slowed him down. Even now his tractor is running in deep mud. It looks like about half of the fields have been cut.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

thanksgiving menu

yellow chardred chard
I have been planning my Thanksgiving menu. I will have 10 people to serve: my parents, my brother and his family, my mother-in-law and us. I am hoping to serve fresh vegetables from my garden: Sauteed Swiss Chard, Glazed Carrots and a dish of roasted winter vegetables that will include beets. I have lots of carrots, so that one should work out. I'm hoping to have enough chard and beets. One week of growing time left. Temperatures were up close to 70 degrees F today, so things are growing.

beets (Beta vulgaris)


30 little garlic sprouts are poking up under the soggy leaves. Amazing how fast they are growing!

Allium sativum

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

late parsley

I've set up hoops and gardening fabric to cover my parsley on cold nights. I wonder how long I can keep using it this winter?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

seed sites

I am collecting a list of US web sites (in my sidebar) for ordering seeds for next year. Time to start the planning. I'd like to expand my vegetable space a little and try some heirloom varieties.


Friday, November 10, 2006

when will we frost?

I think it is very late in the season for us to still be waiting for our first frost. One record I found says the average first frost date for Boston MA is November 10, another says October 30, another says October 10. October 10 is the date I remember from previous years. I think one thing going on is that maps and average dates are being adjusted to reflect recent years. For example, I read this in a Boston Globe archive:

Since 1990, the United States has had its 10 warmest years on record, according to the National Academy of Science. We ... see it in New England's longer growing season (between the last spring frost and the first fall frost), which is eight days longer on average today than in 1950, according to the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
In 1965, most of Massachusetts was in Zone 5 (mimum winter temperatures 10-20 below zero) on the US Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map used by gardeners. Now, according to the proposed draft for a new map, most of the state is in Zone 6 (zero to minus 10) and Boston and southeastern Massachusetts are in Zone 7 (plus 10 degrees to zero).

Well, New England weather is also known to be highly variable. Still I'd like to find a list of first frost dates for my area and see how different this year is. If only I had started a gardening journal earlier .... We are having a spell of nice warm weather now, so I think our frost may be at least another week away.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

not much green is left

the last of the garden 2compost binNov 8 gardenwet lettuce
Its a dark, wet November day. Yesterday I moved all my lettuce plants together into one little patch. The patch has several types of lettuce, endive, a bit of dill and some chard. Now I have less to cover up on cold nights. Yesterday I also cleaned out my remaining tender garden plants. The compost bin is quite full with memories of the summer season.

Lactuca sativa
my bins and systems for composting compost

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

still more garden tomatoes

I haven't bought a tomato since the end of July! Looks like my 18 tomato plants produced 4 months of tomatoes. At two a night, that's alot of tomatoes.

I've almost forgotten what the styrofoam grocery store tomatoes taste like. Last night we ate a nice yellow Brandywine that I picked green a month ago.

I am surprised at how many of my green tomatoes, picked October 13, have ripened. The box was full then of mostly green tomatoes. Only a dozen are still green. Though I was planning to transfer the tomatoes to smaller containers so they wouldn't squish each other, and cover them with paper bags, I didn't do either. I just stuck the boxful on the basement floor and brought the reddest ones upstairs when I needed more.

Solanum lycopersicum

Sunday, November 05, 2006

soil test results

My soil test results came back. (Fast!) I can take it easy next year. All I need to add is nitrogen. Everything else is pretty high. I guess my organic matter is very high at 12.5% (4-10% is optimum). I don't even need to add lime.

Details: pH 6.6, buffer pH 6.7, nitrogen 22 ppm, organic matter 12.5%, phosphorus 33 ppm, poatssium 263 ppm, calcium 2292 ppm, magnesium 231 ppm, cation exchange capacity 21.5 Meq/100g, % base saturation K 4% Mg 11.2% Ca 67.4%, micronutrient levels all normal, lead (estimated total) 246 ppm (low).


topic: soil

may to november

Soon there'll be some snow-covered pics here, then we'll start all over again .....

Friday, November 03, 2006


Yum! Its carrot season. I harvest a few a day and we munch on them raw before dinner. I probably still have a million out there in the dirt. I am going to see how they overwinter. I have read that carrots will keep in the garden until used without splits or loss of flavor. I'd like to mulch with some hay, if I can find a bale. Preferably salt marsh hay.

FYI: These are Red Core Chantenay carrots (Daucus carota var. sativus), a common home garden carrot variety since 1929. Often judged a best tasting carrot. Its a stocky, tapered, rich orange-colored variety that is good for rocky New England soils since it is short rooted (5-7 inches). I think I'll grow some of these again next year.

my garden

aerial views of my home vegetable garden

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Just another dog-in-the-garden picture today. This picture is from yesterday. Today is wet. A driving rain and lots of wind. Dark. It seems like the sun never came up. But nice and warm - in the 60's.

more pictures of skip

Friday, October 27, 2006

marigolds: what's not to like

Tagetes erecta (African marigold) and Tagetes patula (French marigold) - they may be one of my favorite flowers (one of about 8,000). I just love the smell of them. To me it is very strong. A bitter, pungent, distinctive smell. It goes great with the smell of tomato plants. The only thing I dislike is too many of them in one place.

still growing

No frost last night. We went down to 35 degree F.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

vegetable garden view

I took this picture at dusk after I'd covered everything for a cold night.

aerial views of my home vegetable garden

still more pole beans

I went to take down these pole beans yesterday and found many beans still on the vine. New small ones coming along too. I picked enough for a good meal and we ate them last night. So I left the vines up. It seems like a very late season to me. I don't have any gardening records, so I can't really compare. But I hear about snow and cold weather elsewhere in the US. It seems late for Boston to be still growing beans with no frost yet. Our forecast is for cold tonight and the next several days. So our frost is probably just around the corner. I'll cover-up the lettuce tonight.


planting garlic

I've never planted garlic before, but noticed others with on-line garden journals were doing this now. I found a site with real simple instructions. All I had was my cooking garlic, so I will see how this works. I picked out about 30 big cloves. Maybe the variety will not be right for my area. I put it where my squash was and where I planted lettuce seeds a few weeks ago - only one or two lettuce seedlings came up.

Allium sativum

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

soil sample and winter rye

I mailed out a soil sample from my vegetable garden today for pH, nutrient, heavy metal and organic matter testing. I'm really interested to see how far off the nutrients are. Too much phoshate and low pH, I'm guessing. I also have a photo here of my winter rye sprouts. They're coming up fast.

topic: soil test