Sunday, April 3, 2016

First Harvest!

Four short weeks after I planted* spinach, argula, Romaine and kale, I picked my first harvest!

I know it's this crazy early, warm spring, but couldn't be more thrilled.  I hope this means that the market will see little of me until July!.

Ten days and I can put seeds in the ground (tomatoes, ground cherries, and scallions from GrowJourney) and then a week later the bedding plants!  Can hardly wait!

*I started with four-packs, not seeds.  Will try that in the fall. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Spring!

Altho we are expecting cold, rain and perhaps snow today to celebrate the first day of spring, it does not appear that the temperatures will fall to freezing, so most of the things that are blooming too early will be fine.  And, perhaps more importantly, the too-early-spring will continue.

I continue to be a Doubting Thomas, so am working on "infrastructure" and avoiding the desire to start sticking plants into the ground.  Have raked, raked, raked and cleaned the beds so that i can order a big delivery of summer mulch in the next couple of weeks. Am replacing rotted borders and have finished "restoration pruning" on several shrubs that were in bad condition. 

Am re-setting all the paving stones in the garden walk.  Over the years the soil builds up and they "bury themselves".  A few bags of paving sand and a lot of lifting and shifting later and the whole walk will "rise" from the dirt!
With its hole filled with sand, the paver (under gloves) can go back in place and be above ground again.
But, i am having fun in the greenhouse at "school", where I volunteer in the Horticulture department on Thursday mornings.  In the fall it was mainly cleaning up the outdoor beds and mulching - a lot like what i was doing at home.  

But planting time for the greenhouses is a whole different story.

The college grows plants for one of the local historical sites and holds a spring plant sale in late April, so we have been planting seeds and transplanting from starter cell packs to plastic four-packs and hanging pots for weeks now.  It's all planned out by the head of the greenhouse and i just follow orders, but it has shown me a whole different side of the growing industry.

Everything is timed to be ready to go into the ground on May 1st.

The historical site will pick up many, many flats of summer annuals ready to go into their oh-so-lovely gardens.  We will sell flowers and veggies to local gardeners to kick off the local growing season.  And, we will plant both annuals and veggies in our demonstration gardens on campus.  And, then the maintenance will start! 

Here, is literally what i have been doing for the past few weeks.  

In mid-February (weeks 6 and 7) I planted seeds in starter cell packs. Two weeks ago (week 10) i transplanted them  to four-packs.... the ones below.  All of these plants will be going to the historic site ... and i planted them.  Remarkably, they are all thriving.  
 I realize that has more to do with greenhouse conditions than with my good work, but for the first couple of weeks i did live in fear that i had done them all wrong and none would germinate. 

All of the white tags below are mine, too, and will either go in the plant sale or into the demo gardens.

I've never had any real interest in growing from seed, but if someone would give me a greenhouse, i think i could do it!

Hope your spring will get off to a good start this week!  Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hope You are Seeing ....

.... some of this in your "neck of the woods".

A surprising second flush of blooms on the camellia.  Lots of winter damage, but still the imperative to bloom must be really strong. 

Too soon, too soon. 

If the frost next week is not too heavy, we really may have turned the corner.  One can only hope. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday Workday - Veggie Garden!

This bizarre winter/spring that we are having is providing all sorts of opportunities to get things done early.   Beginning on Monday and going for the next ten days we are 10-20 degrees above normal ... normal being high 50's and this warm stretch ranging from mid-60's to the low 80's.  What?

There's plenty to be done, but i'm concentrating on getting the veggie garden up and ready for the plants when they arrive.

I've bought soil mixture and made soil mixture - and mixed the two together.  

I've created a cold frame in the hope of getting some seeds started outside early.  (Our last freeze date is April 6 or 15 - depending on your authority - so i am trying to push it by three weeks.)  Am hoping to use this warm spell to heat the soil enough to germinate the seeds now, and then protect them in the cold frame until they are large enough to harden off after the last frost.
Am testing early seeding in the cold frame - with seeds held back in case i need to re-seed in mid-April.
I've set up two more planters - one for peas and one for a second blueberry.  
The "tuteur" was a Christmas gift from friends.

It's filled with little birds!
And, i've started planting cool season herbs and greens - lettuce, spinach, arugula, broccoli, kale, cilantro and Italian parsley plants and spinach and kale seeds.

I joined GrowJourney and the first seeds (cherry tomatoes, eggplant and spinach) have already arrived and are planted in cells in the cold frame, with scallions, beets and ground cherries due later this week.  If you are not familiar with GrowJourney, see Marie's post here on "Sixty-six Square Feet (Plus)" for good information.

There's another order of tomato plants, peas and an additional container-sized blueberry due to arrive over the next couple of weeks.  In other words, spring planting is well underway - even if it's not really spring. 
The first breath of spring!

Next week ... more early flowers!