It was a rainy and cold spring. And, it’s become a rainy and chilly late spring and then it warmed up a bit the last couple of weeks and it rained some more. We had 9 inches of rain in June, alone. I could not get out in the garden because frankly, it was mud and then when it warmed up and dried out a bit, the weeds just went nuts, so I spent this weekend weeding. Now, I hate weeding, but it’s the best we can do in order to keep the competition down. Yes, I could use row covers, but I like to keep the amount of plastic down. (more…)
If you do your shopping at farmers markets or even perhaps a fancy local grocery, you might be seeing these particular items now or in the near future. They are called ‘scapes’ and are a clever by-product of growing garlic. (more…)
Well, to be blunt, this is not ‘my’ plant. It was a gift to me. And like a dummy, I did not follow my usual standard operating procedure, which is to knock the plant out of the pot, shake off all the planting mix and replant it in ‘my’ mix. I just never got to it and I watered this plant at the same time I watered all the other plants, which are in ‘my’ mix (and some of them have, as I’ve mentioned before, a disposable diaper in the bottom of the basket which acts as a ‘water bank’. We’ve actually had quite a wet spring so far – there should have been enough water, but this plant is in major pain here (more…)
And yet – there is something about this time of the year when given half a chance, the plants just…take off. The past two weeks, all we’ve seen on the tomato plants in those baskets has been flowers. Lots of leaves and stem growth too, but just flowers. But patience is a virtue here. (more…)
“Rosa whispered again, “Willy, you did squeeze me, so I will pinch you.” And she pinched. “Ow!Who pinched me?” said Cousin Joan. “Oh, Joan!” said Rosa. “I wanted to pinch Willy, not you.” “And she squeezes, too,” said Willy. Do you know what you two are?” said Cousin Joan. “You are little alligators. Now be still. I want to read.”
(“No Fighting, No Biting!” Else Holmelund Minarik, 1958)
We are now (well, where your Aunt Toby is, at Chez Siberia – anyone who gardens someplace in a higher climate zone has probably already faced this issue, but still) at a stage where annual plants (whether flowers or veggies) have settled in nicely, are rooted firmly, are sending out some good growth and in general, look like that basil plant at the top:
The growing tip at the top is sending out leaves and farther down the stem between the other big leaves are little leaves, nestled in their little spots. What to do? (more…)
I’m not going to make any excuses for ‘being away’, but let’s just say that it’s been a miserable spring. Miserable weather-wise and miserable in many other ways which made me frankly not in the mood to share much of anything. But, I did keep things going in the greenhouse and once things finally warmed up here (which basically has only been in the last two weeks), we were able to get out into the garden and start putting things in. We had two massive frosts during this same period (I was starting to feel as if we were having weather whip-lash here) — literally going from the high 80s to the mid 20s — having to run out and cover up the berry bushes and spray the apple tree because the heat had pushed the tree to blossom all at once (spraying a fruit tree when it’s in blossom in the evening before a big frost will help protect the blossoms from being killed). And then, the next day, having to run out and uncover everything again the next morning. It’s been a crazy spring. (more…)
This tomato is a variety called Tumbling Tom and was developed specifically for hanging basket growing. Yes, even though here at Chez Siberia, we have certainly a big enough garden (though, ahem, I’m thinking we could use another couple of beds…a discussion for another time), I thought we’d try some hanging basket vegetable growing. We have a great, sunny deck which I usually use for hanging baskets of flowers, but who says that hanging basket veggies can’t be decorative too? We just have to make sure they get plenty of water (though I also have a plan to try out recycling baby disposable nappies – just the ones that got wet — as a way to keep moisture in the baskets). (more…)
For folks in warmer places such as the US South and Southwest, this is rather late for you folks – I’m sure you have already gotten your seeds into the ground. But, in general, you can hold this information aside for this fall.
Where I live, our ‘frost-free growing season’ is pretty short: from Mid-May (and that is risky) through the end of September (and again, the last week in September will find a lot of us, 8 years out of 10, covering the tomatoes and peppers at night against frost). That’s less than 150 days and to get actual ripe veggies such as tomatoes and peppers, we can’t just throw seeds in the ground. That will not work. We need actual plants which will start flowering when the nights are warm (putting plants in the ground in May or early June which already have flowers open on them is really a waste – the plants will not ‘set’ fruit. For that, we need night-time temperatures that are at least 55 degrees F. So, we need to time the whole thing (as the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” put it) ‘very carefully’. We want the plants big enough to put into the ground (and the ground warm enough that they don’t get set back) but not so big that they already have flower buds on them. Dicey stuff. (more…)
This is the downstairs half-bath in my son’s house. This house, built in the late 19th century, has extremely tall ceilings and the person who did all the original rehab work on the house basically threw up his hands in the bathroom, put in a toilet and a sink and walked away. (more…)
But not all of them.
And certainly the garlic and onion plants are not here; the garlic won’t arrive until this fall and the onion plants won’t arrive for at least a month.
But first, a message from our sponsor:
If you have not ordered your seeds, bulbs, sets, tubers, or whatever for your garden yet, then get to it, NOW. I ordered these several weeks ago and had to hunt and peck my way through the catalogs along with the web sites because some of the particular varieties were all sold out.
Don’t say you were not warned.
So, what is out there on the table that your Aunty is so excited about?
Afina Cutting Celery. What makes this sort of celery different from the usual sort that you buy in the grocery store? Well it sprouts more like a little bush and doesn’t form big chewy stalks. You can do this as ‘cut and come again.” It is much faster than celery, at 63 days.
Cucumber Ministro. One of my goals this time around was finding varieties which are super short season since the long-range weather boys have said that this summer will be cooler and drying here. This cucumber is 50 days.
Kohlrabi Winner We love eating kohlrabi fresh right out of the garden, sliced up. It makes wonderful coleslaw (or perhaps better spelled ‘kohl-slaw’). This one, like the cucumber above, is 50 days.
Spinach Mix One of the things, as I have noted before, about Pinetree Garden Seeds is that generally, you can find mixes of seeds, which is very nice if you are trying to grow a bed of something which will not all arrive at the same time. This one has spinach varieties which can be picked as early as 35 days. Woohoo!
Peppers One new project for this year is for us to create (or, ahem, try to create) our own paprika this year. Now, theoretically speaking, this should be simplicity itself: Get a lot of peppers which are red ripe, wash thoroughly, take out the seeds, dry, and run through the food processor or crush by hand with a motor and pestle. I picked two varieties which noted, right in the catalog, that they are to be used for paprika:
Alma Pepper (70 days)
Paprika (80 days)
For anyone wondering how ‘smoked paprika’ is made, you add the additional step of putting them in a smoker (many people have those as an attachment on their outdoor grill) once you’ve washed them and taken out the seeds, and smoke them until they are dry. To make sure they are really dry, I’d then run them through a dryer or in the oven on the pilot until they are breakable,
The other seeds are various varieties of ornamental corn, squashes, gourds and pumpkins, including the every-popular “Dill’s Atlantic Giant’. I must remind the DH to put in his reservation for the crane to come and pick up that one for the fair.!
So, what will you be growing this year?