Friday, December 26, 2014

seed sorting

I've been reading piles of seed catalogs this week. They keep arriving in the mail. I circle and make wish lists. If I ordered everything that's caught my eye, I'd go broke and have closets filled with seeds. Plus I'm sure I already have many of these seeds. So today I'm sorting my old seeds.

sorting seeds IMG_1299

My seed baskets are a jumble after a busy year. I'm piling the same types of seeds together. Lettuces, tomatoes, squashes.... The seeds I remember not sprouting this year go in the trash along with seeds that are just way too old. I came across an endive packet from 2008, gourds from 2007. 8 years old! They might sprout, but if I haven't used them by now, obviously not one of my favorites.

I have lots of bean seeds that have fallen out of packets. Don't know why I save them. I have baggies full of mixed bean seeds. Maybe I'll plant a random bean plot and see what happens. Then again, maybe I'll be organized this year and only grow labeled varieties in separate rows so I know what they are......

After sorting my seeds, I wrapped each type of plant with a rubber band and then put them back in my seed box - alphabetically. I feel so organized now. Soon, I need to get some kind of garden plan drawn up for 2015 so I know what I have room for. THEN, finally, I can go back to my wish lists, check them against what I have, see if I have room for them, and THEN ORDER SOME fun new stuff.

sorting seeds IMG_1302sorting seeds IMG_1303

Thursday, December 25, 2014

christmas day

Pictures of my garden on Christmas Day. Happy Holidays all! christmas rose IMG_1283 baby savoy cabbage IMG_1212christmas day garden IMG_1241 chickens IMG_1203cbaby broccoli IMG_1210 christmas day garden IMG_1207 I hate to show it, but here's what the voles have done to my tunnel. vole-eaten tunnel IMG_1215 I was told that castor oil is the solution to voles in winter tunnels. I see several web sites that explain how to use it. Next year I will have a beautiful tunnel!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

what is the #1 mistake that new gardeners make?

I was asked a question the other day by a blogger. "What is the #1 mistake that new gardeners make?" My answer:
Mistakes are how you learn!! The #1 mistake is not having tried gardening earlier because of worrying about making a mistake!

That said, I have found that the most important things in getting a large harvest are making sure you have (1) regular irrigation, (2) appropriate soil, and (3) at least 4 hours of midday sun. Also think about growing what you like to eat and including a variety of plants.

The most important thing in enjoying gardening is to just get into the soil and don’t worry about failure. Enjoy the feel of the soil, the sunlight, the opportunity for hard work, the beauty of the plants. See how things work out and then ask others, read, and learn about what you want to do next year.
I assume the blogger will post lots of answers from different gardens. I will see if I can get a link to share.

What do you think is the #1 mistake that new gardeners make?

Sunday, December 07, 2014

chipmunks (or voles?) party in the tunnel

My plastic tunnel with winter greens has hit the end of its season. :-( Last week, chipmunks discovered it. They tunneled in and out in many places. They feasted on the greens. They ate tops off the most tender lettuce, baby romain, butterheads and oak leaf. It looks like a little weed whacker went through. They stretched up and ate baby broccoli heads. They started to eat escarole frisée heads and kale. Once I discovered the damage, I harvested almost everything I could. The baby broccoli, all the frisée, any romaine and butterhead they missed, also Asian greens that they hadn't found yet. I left the kale and will take a look at that in a couple days.

Disappointing. But I think I've been really lucky with my new garden location this year. I kind of expected more critter damage than I've had. All I've had problems with this year is cabbage worm and the nasty compost comtaminant. That said, I'm afraid that chipmunks are impossible to exclude from a garden. My usual advice to gardeners with chipmunk trouble is to keep a wide cleared border and don't plant things they like. Right now, that's pretty much anything green and tasty.