Archive for April, 2009

Of Garlic, Raspberries and Rhubarb, Compost, Asparagus, and Boots

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

I’ve really only been in my garden for two days this spring. The first time out I weeded strawberries and that was it. Today, I did a little here and there trying to catch up after two weeks on the road. Since I’m on the road again tomorrow until next Tuesday, I took the afternoon off to garden. I’m constantly trying to prove to myself that one can maintain a large vegetable garden in spite of a hectic travel schedule. It’s possible, but it’s not nearly as easy as if I were home every day.

First task – pull all the straw mulch away from the garlic and prep the bed for planting greens in between the garlic and on the outside slopes. That one turned out very well.

Next – Trim back the raspberries, clean the bed it shares with the rhubarb and work in a couple buckets of compost.

Third – Clean up last year’s pile of compost – slice off all the weeds that have sprouted and use a fork to pile it high.

Next – Define the new compost pile. I’ll start a third pile soon. Nothing else will go into this one. Over the season I’ll pile it up a couple times and continually pull out weeds. It will be ready late this year.

Last – Weed the asparagus bed. The picture here is before I weeded, but I got it done and I picked our first asparagus of the year which we will have at supper tonight.

In addition to all of the above I did a lot of stand up weeding with my long handled CobraHead. I love that tool! Wherever I saw a weed poking through the mulch, I sliced it off.

Boots likes to help me in the garden. She’s mostly a pain because she demands attention and gets in the way, but she is lovable and as gentle a cat as there is. Here she is rolling in the gravel driveway. She’s a little piggy who loves to get dirty.

It’s Shiitake Time!

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

I harvested our first shiitakes of the year yesterday. We’ve had a lot of rain this month, and the weather finally warmed up. Perfect conditions for the shiitakes to start fruiting.

These shiitakes are from logs that Noel plugged two years ago. He and his friend Michael recently plugged a new set of logs with mushroom spawn, but it will probably be a few months before the new ones start to fruit.

I still haven’t eaten the mushrooms that I harvested yesterday. I may try Judy’s Shiitake and Tofu Recipe, or perhaps I’ll wait until Geoff comes to visit tomorrow and let him do the cooking. Shiitakes also make an excellent pizza topping (way better than button mushrooms, which I can’t stand), so we may go that route. We’ll probably end up doing both. There are plenty of mushrooms out there right now, so I have a feeling we will have a number of shiitake-based meals this week.

Oh, Snap!!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

I don’t exactly know when this happened, but I discovered it at 5:45pm today, and it wasn’t like that at 4pm when I left for the post office. We’ve had three days of pretty steady rain, and the wind has been rather gusty today, so I guess this is what can happen. We’re pretty lucky it fell in the direction it did — that tree was right next to power lines!

On the plus side, now we can scratch “Chop down old dead tree” off the to do list.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Annie in Austin's Gravatar Oh wow – you were lucky, Anneliese! Tree’s down and there’s no car under it either…sometimes they aim for automobiles ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

# Posted By Annie in Austin | 4/24/09 1:37 PM
Anneliese's Gravatar Hi Annie!

Fortunately, the cars aren’t usually parked where they’re in danger of trees falling on them. The house, on the other hand, is not "out of the woods" so to speak.

There were several large pecan trees in the parking lot at my old apartment in Austin. During a thunderstorm, a very large limb fell onto the parking spot only three cars away from where mine was parked. The targeted spot was miraculously empty at the time.

# Posted By Anneliese | 4/24/09 2:26 PM

GBBD April 2009

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Today was a good Bloom Day. The weather was beautiful, and we actually had a few different blooms. Spring might just finally be here to stay. Noel and Judy are leaving tomorrow for the Cincinnati Flower Show , so we all spent a lot of time outside today while loading the van and getting other tasks done.

These Scillas are planted around the base of the hickory tree by our back door. They keep creeping farther into the lawn each year, but nobody minds. That part of the lawn doesn’t seem to want to grow much grass anyway.

The snowdrops have stuck around. They stand out nicely from the surrounding Scillas.

These daffodils showed up today by the west side of the house. I took this picture just after noon.

A little after 4pm, I noticed that they had opened up, so I took another quick shot before getting back to work.

So there you have it! Happy Bloom Day!

Who Puts 28 Great Tomatoes In That Little Bitty Flat?

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

I started my tomato seeds today. A little late, but I think I’ll be okay. My flats hold 28 five ounce Dixie cups almost perfectly. I usually start about 30 different tomatoes. So with one cup of tomatillo seeds pushing the cup count to 31, here is the result.

My potting soil is a blend of half Jiffy® mix and half an organic potting soil called Sunshine® that I picked up at Paradigm Gardens, a relatively new store here in Madison that specializes primarily in hydroponic and indoor growing but is branching out into outdoor gardening items (like CobraHead weeders).

I’ll plant seven seeds per cup if the seed is relatively new. If it’s older seed, I’ll plant 10 to 15 to have a chance of something coming up. I don’t have time to do sprouting tests. If the seed fails to germinate in the cup, I just toss out the remaining seed. I water the seeds with regular tap water until they sprout, then I’ll feed them with various fish fertilizers and composts teas that I’ve accumulated from fellow vendors at garden shows.

We grow an interesting assortment. With one exception, everything is open pollinated. Here’s the list of seeds and sources: Toma Verde Tomatillo – Fedco; Polish Linguisa – Tomato Growers Supply; Belle Star – Fedco; Amish Paste – our saved seed; Sun Sugar – Tomato Growers –(our only hybrid – it’s like a Sungold); Camp Joy – Renee’s Garden; Red Pear – our seed; Yellow Pear – our seed; Peach – our seed: Chadwick – Seeds of Change; Green Zebra – our seed; Persimmon – Tomato Growers Supply; An unknown persimmon-like tomato – our seed; Paul Robson – Tomato Growers Supply; Mexico – Tomato Growers supply; Cherokee Purple – our seed; Nyagous – Seed Savers Exchange; Cosmonaut Volkov – Fedco; Wayahead – Jung Seeds; Millionaire – Baker Creek; Great White – Baker Creek; Crimson Carmelo – Renee’s Garden; Aunt Ruby’s German Green – Fedco; Mammoth German Gold – Tomato Growers Supply; German gold – our seed (our favorite sandwich tomato); Hillbilly Potato Leaf – Seeds Saver Exchange; Unknown big red pointed tomato – our seed; Large Pink Brandywine – our seed.

And outside the box, three other Brandywine types, all our seed that we refer to as Big Red Brandywine, Small Red Brandywine and just Brandywine.

After the seeds are sprouted and they get some growth behind them, I’ll pot off about four of each variety. Typically, I’ll plant the two best of each in the garden. I usually plant 60 tomato plants.