Tuesday, March 30, 2010

spring at my plot

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plot 030 rhubarb sprouts plot 008 garlic sprouts
plot 046 excavated pea sprout plot 058

These photos are from Sunday. I was excited to see all the plants starting to grow. My little red tulip is in full bloom. Daffodil buds are coming up. The rhubarb is poking up. Garlic looks nice after the long winter. I couldn't see any pea sprouts, so I dug up a seed. They're coming along. I bet they'll be up in a couple days. No asparagus sprouts yet.

I did a bit of garden work. We brought a few loads of horse manure and spread it on the beds that will grow squashes and corn this year. And I weeded and cleaned up the asparagus bed.

Skippy dug himself a nice hole and napped.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

pea trellis??

I checked on my peas yesterday and they're not up yet. I should put up a trellis soon. It works best to put it up when you plant the peas or very soon after sprouting. I haven't decided what to use yet. After using 10 or 12 different trellis solutions, I have yet to find one that I really like. I have 3 types planted so far: 2 ft, 2 1/2 ft, and 3 ft vines. Any suggestions?

cold frame

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frame 014 frame 002

My cold frame (planted with cold weather greens) is getting 10-20*F above outside temperature on sunny days, but falls to outside temperature without sun.

Last night was very chilly - 29*. We covered it with a plastic tarp that covers up some of the open hinges where air can flow in and gives it an extra layer of insulation. At 30* outside right now, its 46* inside! The plants look cozy.

I read that a cold frame is a good place for hardening off seedlings. I'll give this a try later for my tomatoes and other warm weather seedlings. Still too cold out there for them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

today's sowing list

(6 weeks before the last frost)

Cherokee Purple (Sand Hill)
Mortgage Lifter (Ohio Heirloom)
Sungold (Johnny's)
New Girl (Johnny's)
Purple Calabash (Sand Hill)
Opalka (Reimer)
San Marzano Gigante 3 (Territorial)
Big Beef (Johnny's)
Brandywine (Johnny's)
Giant Belgium (Sand Hill)
Tomango (Sand Hill)
Oxheart Red (Sand Hill)
Pink Beauty (Johnny's)
Orange Blossom (Johnny's)
Box Car Willie (Reimer)

Cabbages and greens:
Elegance Greens Mix (Johnny's)
Chinese Broccoli, Green Lance (Johnny's)
Cabbage, Dan's surprise seed, Baby Bok Choy
Cabbage, Wong Bok (Botanical Interests)
Cabbage, Super Red (Johnny's)
Cabbage, Savoy Alcosa (Johnny's)
Radicchio, Palla Rossa Ashalim (Botanical Interests)

old new chair for my plot

I made a great find yesterday. (How I love trash day!!) Someone left a beaten up old Adirondack chair at their curbside. It needs a new board here and nail there. And a fresh coat of paint. (I'm thinking green.) It'll be perfect in my plot. Its so comfortable! And nothing like the flat arms of an Adirondack chair to hold clippers, seed packages, camera and beverages! I look forward to sitting in it and watching my plants grow.

sitting pretty

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Isn't she pretty! I love the bright dash of blue on the female mallard. They're all paired up now and hanging out near their nest sites. This duck's partner left the photo fast when he saw Skippy.

Most of our creeks show the evidence of the torrent that passed through last week. Muddy waters, debris and bare branches. The birds seem very happy though.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

magazine photos

A few of my garden photos will be in the upcoming issue issue of GROW, a the vegetable gardening issue of Fine Gardening Magazine. I am really excited to see how they look in print. I don't think the issue is out yet, but I'm watching for it.

finished cold frame

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cold frame 008 lettuce 014
parsley 017 cold frame 006

I've never used a cold frame before. I planted it today with cold weather greens that should be OK down to about 30*F. Our weather is so balmy right now, but it will drop during this week. The frame is in a very sunny placation, so a few days of of sunlight should warm up the soil well. I'm hoping it will be full of salad greens soon.

Seedlings transplanted into the cold frame:
Lettuce, Rouge d'hiver and Black seeded Simpson
Escarole, broadleaf
Kale, Tuscan, Winterbor and wild mix
Broccoli, Blue wind and Marathon

Friday, March 19, 2010

happy birthday Dad!

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For my Dad, the Dutchman! Happy Birthday. These Red Riding Hood's are inside in a pot, but a sign of things to come. We have a nice new Trader's Joe's near us now and I love the inexpensive spring flowers at this time of year. Hope you have a good day!


My new Wall-O-Water tomatoes shelters arrived yesterday. I'm hoping to get them set up very soon. The direction say to set them up, then wait 1 week, then put the tomatoes in. Don't know if I have that much patience. And since I have too many early tomatoes (7 seedlings), I think I'll try planting one a day starting right away.

My regular tomato planting time is next week - 6 weeks before my last frost.

planting peas and favas

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plot work 019 plot work 022

I did get my peas planted on Wednesday - St Patrick's Day. I planted three rows:

Sugar Sprint (Johnny's) snap pea, 2 ft vines, 58 days
Caselode shelling pea (Johnny's), shelling pea, 2 1/2 ft vines, 57 days
RSVPea (Burpee) shelling pea, 3 1/2 ft vines, 56 days

And I planted a block of crimson-flowered fava beans that Dan grew and hand-collected.

I had some "help" from the canine crew. Bannor, my brother's dog who's here for the week, was especially interested. I thought it was great that he wanted to check out the seeds - Skippy has never shown much interest. But he wasn't only sniffing, he popped a fava seed in his mouth and enjoyed crunching on it for quite a while. Oops. I covered them up more quickly after that!

I also spread some cover crop seed on beds that I will use for corn and squashes this year. This is an experiment as I don't know if it will grow much before I turn the soil.

plot work 033

honey CSA

Joan's hive location has been approved for the meadow next to the community gardens! Yeah!! And she has a nice new website advertising her CSA: Little Red Truck Farm - Honey CSA. I signed up for my share today. Her hives will be set up in April.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

honey bee on crocus

bee on crocus 041

Here's a sight I've never seen before. A honeybee on St Patrick's Day! I think this is a sign of a good season coming :)

Honeybees usually don't show up in my yard 'til late June (post). But here it is only March! - not even Spring yet - and a beautiful honeybee as fat as can bee is loaded down with crocus pollen. Maybe he's from Joan's hives, which are up on her second story deck a couple blocks from me. I'm so glad they've made it through the winter.

Joan had concerns last year year that her bees would not survive the winter, since last summer was so rainy and cool and the bees stored very little honey.

Joan is going to set up a honey CSA in Belmont this year, hopefully near the community gardens to help with pollination there. The hive locations have not been set yet. It's a lengthy procedure to go through the committees and approvals needed.

My husband spotted this article in today's Boston Globe: New York city has approved beekeeping! Awesome! Its the thing to do now that Michelle has a hive on the South Lawn...

pea planting day

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pea seeds 003 clover seed 006

Happy St Patrick's Day! Its a beautiful sunny day - perfect to plant the peas! And some fava beans. I have my seed packages out. And the inoculant.

I'll also spread some clover seed in the squash and corn beds to see if I can get any cover crop growth to turn under before planting these beds in late May.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


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seedlings 072

I put my seedlings out in the sun for a couple hours for the first time today. Right at mid day. Its just under 50*F today and bright full sun. SO nice! It seems the little plants grew a whole inch while they were out. I'll continue gradually increasing their time outside.

My husband has purchased materials to make a cold frame for me. It was going to be ready this weekend, but we ended up pumping water out the basement instead of making it. Maybe next weekend....

gift for a friend

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This is a beautiful book that I was given to review. It has wonderful pictures and seems perfect for my friend and her very young girls who are budding gardeners. I also gave them broccoli and pea seeds, since broccoli is their favorite vegetable. They are container gardeners with a rooftop patio, so I'm interested to see how these will do for them. Its time to plant both now!

The Family Kitchen Garden: How to Plant, Grow, and Cook Together (link)
By Karen Liebreich, Jutta Wagner, and Annette Wendland
(Review copy from Timber Press)

lenten rose

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Helleborus niger - in the rain.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Belmont is flooded

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We are underwater here! I bet we've had 10 inches of rain over the past 3 days. The community gardens are submerged in many areas. We haven't had a flood like this in at least 20 years - maybe ever. It would be nice if the storm would move out soon. We have beautiful warm DRY! weather predicted after it leaves and I am looking to getting to work in the garden.

flood 035 flood 037

Below are photos from around town. The high school was closed today - the access road was flooded. My teenager got to help pump water from our basement - a non-stop effort as we only have a little wet-vac. Friends tell me stories about not being about to get home because of closed roads. The worst was Beaver Brook, which runs near our community garden plots. Its way out of it banks and more like Beaver River.

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flood 052

Saturday, March 13, 2010

wet garden rules sign


I posted a list of the garden "rules" in the little kiosk at the community garden today. But they are probably too wet too read. And who's going to be out there in this weather!! (tomorrow we are expecting 4 inches of rain!)


my plot - planning for planting peas

my plot

Still nothing going on in my plot. But on the next dry day I am planning to plant my peas! This will probably be next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Plan: I will find my dogs a nice spot to rest and then I will lime the pea bed (where squash grew last year). Since my soil was very acidic (5.5) on the last soil test I'll use the maximum rate of 20 lbs per 100 sq ft. I'll work this in with a cultivator. I am not planning to turn or otherwise amend the soil. Peas are my soil builders and will grow fine in depleted soil. I'll plant a short row of each of my varieties leaving room for one or two later plantings. I plan to plant snap peas, snow peas, green shell peas and crimson flowered fava beans.

Friday, March 12, 2010

birds in the woods

coopers hawk 063 - Copy
hairy woodpecker 019

I think these are a Cooper's Hawk and a male Hairy Woodpecker. There is so much bird activity in the woods and fields now. It is very exciting. Breeding is starting in earnest.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


buddies 056

Here are more photos of Skippy playing with his buddy Bannor. They have such fun! A lot of running and playing - but SO much sniffing. What DO they smell??!

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bannor 029 sniffing 021
buddies 051