Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January snow drops

winter sprouts 015
winter sprouts 018 winter sprouts 016

I was surprised to look down in my front yard and see flowers about to bloom. ITS STILL JANUARY!! OK, only a few hours left to the month, but still, I don't remember a winter like this. I'm certainly not complaining. Tomorrow is supposed to be particularly balmy (50's) and Skippy and I are planning a nice lunchtime walk. I have not had to shovel any snow this year. (Yippee) Its tempting to think, what's happening to the climate - but then, the average of this year and last year would be a normal winter. So who knows.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

first snow of the year

Aerial Jan 17, 2012 034

Finally. We got a couple inches of snow last night. Looks like it will melt in the next few days.

Nearly 100 reasons to grow a vegetable garden

I was listening to an NPR radio show this afternoon and heard vegetable gardens mentioned. It was a show about Sugar. Author Robbie McCauley talked about how everyone used to have access to home grown food. She said its a crime that we don't anymore. Here here!

And then Molly commented on an old post of mine that listed reasons to grow your own vegetables. Molly said "..for FUN!"

So I am posting my list again. I've added lots of reasons sent in by other gardeners. The list is almost up to 100 reasons now. I counted about 60.

Nearly 100 reasons to grow a vegetable garden:

For fun! (Molly)

To find the shortest, simplest way between the earth, the hands, and the mouth(Lanza Del Vasto)

To participate in one of the basic parts of living - producing your own food

Free food!

Reduce trips to the grocery store

To reduce pesticides and chemicals in your food

To experience the seasons

To increase vitamin D levels by regular sunlight exposure

To breath fresh air

For physical exercise that produces something tangible

To hear the birds singing

For the beauty of the plants

For the scents, colors and sounds of the garden

To create a work of art

To express yourself with straight even rows or wild tangled patches

A weight bearing activity that can increase bone density

Produce better quality food

To grow rare and heirloom varieties not available commercially

For a quiet break from high stress and electronic activities

For access to super local food

To put your yard into productive use

To beautify your yard

To help support honey bee and butterfly populations

So you can blog about it during data downloads

To produce food you can share

To lower your food costs

So you can meet other gardeners

To know exactly where your food comes from

For a hobby your whole family can participate in

For real food

To support the green movement and reduce your global footprint

To eat more vegetables and less junk food

To play in the dirt

For geosmin, the musky smell of freshly turned soil

For sustainability as an ethical and practical way to live

To support biodiversity

For access to seasonal food

For minimally processed food

For the freshest and sweetest tomatoes

For giant dark red beets

Because enjoyment of the fruit is complete when one is "inextricably entwined with the memory of the plant in its various stages of development" (Kitchen Gardeners International)

For more sunlight

For lots of new crops to celebrate with a martini

For happiness

To remember my grandparents' and my parents' gardens and to grow and enjoy the plants they grew

To care for the earth, ourselves and others

To learn about nature

To experience the interconnectedness of our environment

To educate my children on where their food comes from

To teach my sons to be proud of something they helped cultivate

To protect the land from development (Cazaux)

To get your hands dirty

To appreciate the careful progression of time and the effects of sun and rain

To remain in awe about the miracle of nature - how a tiny seed can grow a tomato plant with multiple fruits some of which were 6 inches across! (Mary)

...the food tast a hole lot better (anonymous)

To revive almost forgotten memories and favorites from childhood that are no longer available unless you grow them. Like a Charlston Grey watermelon! Huge, tasty, full of seeds and so unlike those wimpy, seedless little watermelons we see today. (Phyllis)

For the sense of accomplishment (Barb)

To make your gardens look nicer (Susy)

To have something green and fresh to dream about in cold and dreary January! To be stunned to discover the bean you dropped in the ground grew pods and that those pods are filled with six or eight more beans -- and to be stunned to discover this every time you open another pod. To learn that companion planting works, and in the process, feel like you've been given a gift of the knowledge of all the generations of gardeners that came before.(Pookie)

To sweat, to feel the earth, to be in touch spiritually. Also I honor my Grandfather and other family members. I am growing garlic, parsley and basil from seeds, & seed garlic that goes back up to 90 years old from Italy. (Nick)

Monday, January 16, 2012

winter sunset on the big pond

winter sunset 062

Another very chilly day. The day was ~10-25*F. Fortunately less wind than yesterday. Lots of birds were on the big pond (Fresh Pond in Cambridge). The ones I saw:
20 Canvas back ducks
20 Ring necked ducks
50 Canada geese
a pair of bufflehead ducks
maybe a male wood duck?
lots of sea gulls
a few robins
and a Coopers hawk eating his dinner

Saturday, January 14, 2012

winter flora

winter flowers 037 winter flowers 021
winter flowers 041 winter flowers 015
winter flowers 057 winter flowers 055
winter flowers 054 winter flowers 050
winter flowers 031 winter flowers 028
winter flowers 020 winter flowers 013

When I walked Skippy yesterday I brought my camera and macro lens. I looked for dried things to photograph while Skippy sniffed and played. Usually I wait for him. This time, he waited for me. It doesn't compare with other seasons, but I found a few interesting things. Still no snow here to cover the plants.

Monday, January 09, 2012

my community garden plot

garden plot 095
garden plot 094

Pretty quiet at my garden plot now. The parsnips I planted too late are still in the ground and still too small. The only action is the garlic. I planted this very late too. Tiny sprouts are just poking up in the cracking soil.

Its another winter like 2007 with no snow and mild weather (my favorite type of winter!!!). I was looking back at my records from previous gardens. We were knee-deep last year, but 5 years ago was very much like this year.

tiny garlic sprouts 109

I like this quote that I came across recently
"January is the quietest month in the garden. ... But just because it looks quiet doesn't mean that nothing is happening. The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants. The feasting earthworms tunnel along, aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome the seeds and bare roots to come."
- Rosalie Muller Wright, Editor of Sunset Magazine, 1/99

Friday, January 06, 2012

first seed order of 2012 season

I was quick to inventory my seeds this year. Unlike previous years, they stayed pretty orderly this year in their rubber-banded groups. A group of cucumbers, a group of tomatoes, etc.... I have a box of about 200 seed packs, 1-5 years old. I placed an order at Johnny's this evening. I wanted to get it in before they run out of any of these varieties.

Basil, Nufar (OG)-Packet
Beets, Chioggia Guardsmark (OG)-Packet
Beets, Blankoma-Packet
Beets, Merlin (F1) (OG)-Packet
Cilantro, Calypso-Packet
Cucumber, Diva (Treated)-Packet
Edamame, Butterbeans (OG)-1/2 Pound
Edamame, Envy (OG)-Packet
Onions, Pontiac (F1)-Packet
Parsley, Giant of Italy (OG)-Packet
Peas, Maxigolt-Packet
Peas, Strike (Treated)-Packet
Scallions, Guardsman-Packet
Sunflowers, Maximilian-Packet
Sunflowers, Teddy Bear-Packet
Tomatoes, Cherry, Sun Gold (F1)-Packet
Winter squash, Waltham Butternut (OG)-Packet
Winter squash, Buttercup (Burgess Strain) (OG)-Packet

Pea, Lentil, and Vetch Inoculant (OG)-1 Unit
Soybean Inoculant-1 Unit