Posts Tagged ‘garden journal’

garden notes





It’s been a couple weeks now since I started jotting these notes down, and I have planted another round of seeds since, but I wanted to get this posted anyway. Almost all of the seeds mentioned below are now growing strong. The red romaine is slow to germinate (I remember this now from last year), but 2 tiny sprouts have finally appeared this week. It has been a great early spring for seed starting, with abundant sunshine for new plants to bathe in.

March 17: planted a dozen walla walla, dozen parris island (green romaine), dozen red romaine, dozen lacinato kale, 6 bush buttercup. Most all of the earlier sets of starts have germinated and are doing very well.

The last couple days we had what felt like record warmth for this time of year and every living thing seemed pretty excited about it. Yesterday there were a number of firsts – I saw the first honeybee, buzzing in the rosemary flowers; the first black ants, and when evening came I saw the first bat. We also heard the first osprey, and today saw them soaring overhead. It seems like we have more and more birds in our yard each year, which makes an organic gardener so happy! (so long as they are not eating your food, haha). Steven put some cotton balls left from an empty B-vitamins bottle out for the birds, and watched a crow carry it off today. There is a lot of nesting activity going on, and even a bit of squabbling over nesting materials between the crows and the blue jays. This green, lush, new season brings me so much joy.

What’s happening where you are this time of year? And if you have one, how is your garden coming along?

Read Full Post »

fava beans and ground cherry

cucumbers and romaine

flowering leek

herb  boxes on the patio

more artichokes coming

golden delicious

orange banana tomato, in the hoop house

for last night’s dinner

The garden is at that point where it mostly takes care of itself. I go out to water, weed a little, check for pests and harvest what’s ready and what we need at mealtimes. It’s looking like time for some cleaning up out there though. Today I’m looking forward to some solid garden time. I’m starting to think about planting for fall and there are a few areas that could use some clearing out.

The few kale plants that survived the spring onslaught of root maggots are getting big and beautiful, but yesterday I discovered they are all infested with aphids. They are too heavily infested to keep them I think. Hopefully I’ll do better with kale in the fall.

Tomatoes are just starting to ripen, a few at a time. We have had a chance to try an Orange Banana, a few Black Cherry and one Chadwick Cherry. So delicious! I was actually surprised what full flavor the orange tomato has. It’s great to see some new color in the harvest basket too. Cucumbers are starting to come on pretty heavy and there are a few winter squash that look almost ready. On the other hand, we haven’t even picked our first summer squash yet.

We seem to have a newly inspired love for fresh herbs this year. Having an herb garden on the patio has been even more awesome than we imagined. We eat our meals out there, surrounded by herbs that we love, ready to be picked and added straight to our plates. It’s a tasters paradise.

What’s happening in your garden these days? Are you planning on planting for fall?

Read Full Post »

The gardener, and the essential sun hat.

Melons doing well. Just need to figure out where to put them…

The new planter boxes, built by the builder, have been filling up with herbs this week – mostly transplanted portions of herbs we have been growing in other areas of the yard. So far we have a few varieties of oregano, marjoram, a few varieties of thyme, and chives in them.

Ground cherry, a husk tomato. Thank you Amy! I had never heard of these until Amy shared about them a while back.

Artichokes ready for picking.

I think we are going to have a great winter squash harvest this year.

The hoop house! This is our biggest garden project of late. Steven (the builder) has been busting his butt on this. I am happy to say that we finished it today (shown here just a few hours prior to completion). We have a few small details to go, but it is totally secure and functional now. I am super excited about the potential here.

Tomatoes were the catalyst for the hoop house project. I planted 25 or so tomato plants back in May, not really expecting to keep them all.  After tending them all this time, it would be hard to see them do anything less than their best, and I have to admit, it would be hard to give any of them away either. Some serious labors of love here for the last couple months, with multiple transplants and daily moving outside and inside, tracking with the sun, keeping them safe from wind and rain and deer. Half of them are lined up in the hoop house tonight. Their first night out! I can just FEEL their excitement. They are so ready to get into the ground.

Marigolds. A late and feeble attempt at pest deterrence. It has been a tough spring with root maggots. We lost almost an entire cucumber planting and recently discovered the whole kale patch has hatchings of these fly eggs as well.

Round 3 on beans. This time waiting until they are pretty well established to put out in the garden. Why do slugs like beans so much?? They have eaten 95% of them literally down to the ground. I keep talking about slugs and a possible solution here and will try to get my act together soon… been so busy I haven’t fully been able to get the results I wanted to report on.

Purple basil. New for us this year. Smells amazing (of course!), and the color is so pretty.

Genovese basil.

This photo is kind of unrelated, but I wanted to share this fleeting view up the driveway. Right now, just a week or so later, that explosion of rhododendron color is gone until next year.



Well the gardener has been quiet for a while, but she has had her hands full. It’s starting to look like a summer garden out there, but it’s taken some real patience to get to this point. A long cool and wet spell brought a record lot of root maggots. I could have taken pictures for you, but maggots are just so gross. After a bit of frantic research I purchased some beneficial nematodes from our neighborhood nursery. I am feeling hopeful about this organic pest control method.  I’ve done 2 applications now in the kale bed, and am watching closely. The lady at the nursery said she has also had successful results with beneficial nematode treatments for pear slugs, so if any of you with fruit trees struggle with those, you might give this a try. Our plum and cherry trees get pear slugs (aka cherry slugs… the leaf eating larvae of the sawfly) every year, so I will definitely be trying it there as well.

I thought I went way overboard with cucumber starts this spring, but in the end I am so glad to have extra plants. Not gonna let maggots get me down! I have a serious love for kale, so am really hoping what’s left out there makes it.

I’ll share more about the hoop house soon. Hopefully tomorrow I will plant all those tomatoes in there!

What’s happening in your garden these days? I’m curious, what are your worst pests?

Read Full Post »

A mini garden update, mostly from the porch… I’ve been slackin’ on my garden updates! Though I must admit, I haven’t spent a huge amount of time in the garden this past week or so.

My little baby plants are growing up fast. I’m not ready to put the real heat lovers in the ground yet, so I’ve started transplanting to bigger containers. Everything is looking healthy with solid root systems developing.

The beets and turnips are peeking above ground now, and the beans are all up and looking great. I started putting copper tape around the perimeter of the garden to keep those darn slugs out. I am feeling pretty hopeful about this non-toxic, non invasive solution, which I will share more about soon. The slugs have been chomping the lower leaves of the peas at an alarming rate, and nearly devastated the echinacea before it could even get going. When I realized what was happening with the echinacea I started to intervene by covering them with cloches at night. They have begun to fill out pretty quickly now (“they” meaning the whole lot of 2 of them. A tiny turnout, but I was happy to see that any of them made it from last year).

Our crazy jungle of kale is finally getting a notable dent put in it. We harvested a couple crates full yesterday, and this morning I blanched and froze it all for future soups. There is now enough space to walk down the paths again, un-encroached upon : )

Looks like we are in for a stretch of sunshine finally, and some warmer temperatures. I’m looking forward to getting some more seeds in the ground this week.

This is not exactly garden related, but it was a sweet sight. These gals must have had a long night. We rarely see them this sprawled out and restful, and never all at once.


Are you going to check out the super moon tonight? The clouds started rolling in here, but I am hoping we can at least get a peek.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Read Full Post »

Taking a little break from the hot sun… It’s like a summer day today – shorts, iced coffees, bumble bees, busy birds, bliss!

This week I planted a few varieties of beans – broad windsor fava, purple podded pole, scarlet runner (saved from last year) and dragon tongue.

4/21 planted bull’s blood beet, turnips and romaine lettuce.

The beds are more and more ready for all the starts that have been growing in containers. We have had so many less weeds this year and our soil is feeling and looking healthier than ever. Persistence in keeping weeds from going to seed has made such a difference over time.

Our temporary garden gate has been in place longer than expected, and it used to open INTO the garden, which meant there was a fair sized void of useful space. We switched it up yesterday so that it opens out, and we now have 8-10 square feet of additional growing space. For such a relatively minor project, I am pretty dang excited about the change. Half of that new space became home to beet seed.

Well I hear those wildflower seeds calling my name. Time to go back outside. Happy Earth Day!

Read Full Post »

It’s warming up here, and is really feeling like spring is here to stay. So happy for that! I hope to plant carrots and beets this weekend, which will be some of the first things I will be planting directly into the ground.

Last week we built the foundation for a pea trellis, in an effort to better support them this year, and to keep them a bit further from the nibbling deer on the other side of the fence. I started 2 dozen peas indoors and they outgrew the peas that I had direct seeded by at least triple, in half the time. A little warmth goes a long way. It’s amazing. Another dozen pea plants have been started, and should be ready to go into the ground next week.

We also put up a wind break last week, to deflect the cold air that can often come blowing off the lake. Conveniently, this also happens to be the north side so we didn’t have to worry about loss of light. This will make a huge difference in providing plants the added warmth and calm needed to get well established. The break was made with old fence pickets, that we recently tore out. That funky old fence has come in handy for so many little projects! It’s satisfying to see it have a new life, even when it seemed so far gone.

The last photo up there is something I had never seen until a couple days ago. One of our rhubarb plants is about to flower. The experts say that’s not a great sign, and to cut the flowering stalk off (and fertilize or replace your plant!). I must say though, I have a lot of curiosity about seeing it bloom.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. It’s supposed to be sunny here, and I am excited to spend a lot of time in the garden!

Read Full Post »

We woke up to sunshine, warmth and blue skies today. All the seedlings got a spectacular sun bath outside. And so did we! The tomato seeds have all germinated aside from a few cherry tomatoes, which were older seed. Basil is up, and squashes, cucumbers and melons are starting to come up as well. It’s been quite cool and dark here lately, so I have been rotating the seed trays on a seed heat mat (which we actually purchased for brewing beer). It has made quite a difference.


3/22 Planted a second, larger batch of snap peas, and broccoli. After seeing this tray full of peas that Amy had, I decided to try starting some in trays this time. I think some of my first planting has been dug up by chipmunks. Planted wildflower seeds along the side of the drive, mammoth sunflowers alongside the garden, and dug our “test bed” a little bit wider. It was a pretty decent success last year (this is where we experiment with what the deer will eat or not, as well as where we plant certain things for birds and insects).

3/23 It felt great to get out into the garden again. Cleaned up the mess left from the snow storm, fertilized the artichokes, and came in with a beautiful harvest of  arugula, kale, collards, carrots, kale florets (taste like tender broccoli) and calendula flowers. I think we will have a roasted potato, carrot, kale and mushroom torte for dinner, with arugula salad.


I was honored to be a guest over at tend this week. Have a look, if you’d like.

Enjoy the weekend everyone! Happy spring!!

Read Full Post »

This week offered us some beautiful days, perfect for getting busy outside.

March 7:: Planted the first set of starts:: Cherokee purple, chadwick cherry, and orange banana tomatoes; black night and chinese 5 color hot peppers; cucumbers, summer squash, winter squash, melons (!), feverfew and basil.

Transplanted some indoor plants, including the white sage.

Fed those in need with organic fertilizer.

Cleaned up a few beds in the garden. Weeding is so easy this time of year, while everything is soft and moist.

Worked on a plan for a new garden area, to be created at the site of the future greenhouse. This is super exciting – both the idea of a greenhouse, and the potential to expand beyond our current small space for growing vegetables.

We will need to wait to order compost, as the compost available is very wet from sitting all winter in the rain. We made the mistake last year of ordering before they got their new load in, and it was clumpy, heavy, sticky and not much fun to work with.

Goals for the week ahead include planting more starts, planting peas and beans in the garden, and building some floating row covers.

I can’t tell you how much I love this time of year!

Read Full Post »

The seed catalogues are out, and our saved and leftover seeds are on the dining table. It’s time to start planting! From what I can tell, with a brief look back in time, we are going to get an earlier start this year than last, which is a big plus. Last year we had a tough start with our outdoor plantings (ridiculous amounts of rain, colder than average temperatures, and a bounty of slugs which ravaged everything). I got a late start on our indoor plant starts, which means we still have hot peppers blooming (and fruiting!) in the house; and some of our heat lovers, like tomatoes, barely made it to full ripeness in time. This year I plan to flip that equation, and get an earlier start indoors with more seeds, and be more prepared outdoors with floating row covers and some more extensive slug prevention methods. We have some ideas on that, which I will share more about soon.

The garden has quite a lot of food in it at the moment. A bounty of kale, a bed full of carrots, a wild spread of arugula, a small patch of spinach, and a number of other odds and ends. It has been left to it’s devices for the duration of the winter, and has taken care of itself. These plants love cooler temperatures and don’t require a lot of care, as long as they have adequate water (of which there has been plenty).

We are starting to ramp up our consumption of greens about now, as we will want to ready those beds for new plantings soon. Interestingly enough, this time of year tends to perfectly align with when I begin to really crave greens.


A few goals for this early season time:

– Clean up the empty beds.

– Order a truckload of compost.

– Create at least one new planting bed, to increase our gardening area. This is easier said than done, because as you can see – we have company that doesn’t mind eating anything and everything available to them.

– Finish our existing garden fence with trim and a gate.



Recently, Ginny presented the idea of keeping a garden journal on her blog this year. This idea really appeals to me and I look forward to seeing what she’s up to. I have been sharing our gardening endeavors here in the past, but this year I will try for a more deliberate approach. I like the idea of choosing a day to organize my thoughts each week, and look back on our garden’s progress. So I begin today! I will try to post each Friday, or maybe every other Friday.

Read Full Post »