Friday, April 23, 2010

Out my back door

Yesterday, severe thunderstorms, hail & tornado warnings (nearby but not at my house), snow today...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tomatoes in my shower??

Yes, that's right, I have tomatoes in my shower. I started to think the basement might still be a little chilly for the toms and they might benefit from some upstairs time. Problem is, I only have ONE south-facing window on the upper floors of my house. Here it is:

One benefit to having seedlings in the shower - they're easy to water :-)

On another note, I have finally broken out the colored pencils again and created a garden plan.

I still have a couple tweaks to make - like filling in the tomato varieties and adding the potatoes but it's pretty close. I'll use the ladder trellis in the cucumber ring and the other trellis I built last summer for the winter squash & cukes.

I'd best get busy soon with some outdoor work as spring may have finally sprung. I'm seeing signs of life around the yard now. The grass is beginning to green. The jostaberries have leafed out. Tulips, hyacinths and iris are showing green leaves and the daffodils are blooming. We need some rain soon though or I'll have some serious watering to do this week. We've got a chance of afternoon showers for the next few days, perhaps some moisture will come our way.

These little green sprouts are the new suckers from the Anne raspberries I planted last year. The Carolines are also spreading. I peeked under the leaves around the one blackberry that grew last year and I saw a little green sprout under there.

The rhubarb popped out of the ground quite nicely this past week. No sign yet of the asparagus or strawberries but it's probably not quite time for them yet. Soon enough, we shall see.
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Friday, April 9, 2010

Attention Seed Addicts!!

On an earlier forum post, I was called an Enabler, so for all you addicts out there who would like to be enabled, did you know this weekend, seeds at Home Depot are Buy One Get One Free???

Did I need seeds????
Did I buy seeds????
Do I have any idea where I can plant these??
(call it a head start for next year if they don't fit now!!)

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mmmm...what's growing in my basement?

Ok, maybe I shouldn't ask that question, I'm not having the best luck this past week or so... While working on my caulking/weather-sealing project last week, I discovered the exterior trim around my kitchen window was in bad shape. It was wet and rotten. When I pulled it off, it got worse. I won't know the full extent until it's time to take it all apart, but at least I've got someone to fix it for me. He'll have to pull the trim & siding and the kitchen window for sure. Hopefully it's not too much worse in there.

Anyway, this is what I have and WANT growing in my basement!! This is my indoor lettuce (Mesclun) box and very soon it will be salad time!

It looks like the cat has stopped tromping through the seedlings now. I don't think she did too much damage in the end.

This is what else is growing in my basement. It's my collection of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini & squash. The spaghetti squash is off to a good (though accidentally too early) start. They are the tallest seedlings under the lights. Soon I may have to put them in the window by the mesclun and see if that's enough light for them. Otherwise I'll need to find more ways to prop up the tomatoes & peppers! My Carmen peppers sprouted and soon will be moved downstairs (or squeezed in I should say). Maybe next year I need to get another light (or self control?? Nah, another light).

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Friday, April 2, 2010

New (to me) Varieties

I wasn't going to order any seeds this year. I didn't want to pay the shipping charge for what's sure to be a small order. I really had almost all the seeds I needed already (since I tend to pick up a packet here or there, I'm sure you know how that goes...). Then one day last month, I got an email announcing a free shipping weekend on seeds. I couldn't help it, I just HAD to look...

I couldn't help myself, I ended up placing an order (you KNEW that was coming, didn't you). Some of the seeds I got weren't ones I would have ordered on their own but there were these that I just HAD to try (since that shipping was free after all...). I just wanted to share the ones that convinced me to place an order.

Pepper Carmen
Small Enough for Flowerpots, Sweet Enough for the Whole Family!
Big, horn-shaped fruits have wide shoulders, a tapered shape, and green-to-red color.
75 days from transplanting. Here's a Sweet Italian Pepper you can grow on the porch or balcony as well as in the vegetable patch! Just 28 inches high and about 16 inches wide, these plants are so compact they'll "fit in" anywhere, yet so heavy-bearing and delicious they won a 2006 All-America Selection!
The peppers are horn-shaped, with wide shoulders and a tapering body. They turn from green to deep red, increasing their vitamin content as they redden. And the flavor is remarkable -- super-sweet, either raw or cooked!

Widely adaptable, Carmen is the Pepper your whole family will love. Stuff them, saute them, or chop and eat them fresh from the plant -- this is certain to become your new favorite!

Start seeds indoors or, in climate with short growing seasons, outdoors at least one week after last frost. If starting indoors, allow 7 to 10 weeks for the seeds to mature into seedlings large enough to transplant safely. Fertilize when the blooms appear, and water well. Fruit is most nutritious if allowed to turn red on the plant, but it will have its full complement of flavor even when green.


Cucumber Tanja
Cucumis sativus Tanja

Heavy Yields of Bitter-free Cukes
Very dark skin protects the tender flesh within.
60 days from sowing. Completely bitter free and packed with ultra-tender flavor, these dark green cukes are among the most delicious and succulent in the entire family. Every gardener who prizes the flavor of a cucumber fresh from the cool soil will adore Tanja!
Setting very heavy yields, this plant may be grown in a coldframe in short-autumn climates, proving quite cold tolerant. The cukes reach about 13 1/2 inches long, boast exceptionally dark skin, and are simply scrumptious. Expect heavy yields from these vigorous plants.

Cucumber Park's All-Season Burpless Hybrid
Cucumis sativus Park's All-Season Burpless Hybrid

Seedless, Burpless, and Super Early!
Sets more fruit than any other Cuke we've grown!
48 to 50 days. In just 7 weeks from sowing, you'll start harvesting beautiful cucumber, 8 1/2 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide, with a sweet, crispy flavor! Completely burpless and without a trace of bitterness, they are also seedless if grown apart from other cucumber plants! The heavy-bearing vine needs no bees for pollination, so you don't have to wait till the garden gets going to start harvesting these scrumptious fruits! Strong and vigorous, these vines set more fruit than any other cuke we have ever grown--bar none! That's pretty incredible, considering the heavy-hitters we've seen over the years. Great resistance to Powdery Mildew, Scab, Downy Mildew, and Cucumber Mosaic Virus.
Direct-sow seeds in a sunny spot after all danger of frost is past, or start indoors and transplant when the first true leaf appears. Cucumbers can be allowed to grow on the ground, but for longer, straighter fruit and to save garden space, grow them in a cage or on a trellis, allowing 1 foot between plants. Keep them well-watered, and keep the fruits picked promptly to encourage new fruit sets.

I also ordered Purple Haze carrots (also new to me), Organic Black Beauty Zucchini (what I've grown the last 2 years), Super Sugar Snap Peas and Mustard Savanah Hybrid which I'm hoping is the green in the Mesclun Mix that we liked so much two years ago.
Of course, I didn't really NEED more peppers or cucumbers and now I have to figure out just WHERE I'm going to put them... Perhaps it's a good thing I didn't very specifically plan the beds, just a general layout. I can still work in some details. I might just have to try out some of those Carmen peppers in pots though (grin)!
I am now doing my best to stay at least 10 feet away from all seed racks. Of course, I do plan to purchase seed potatoes tomorrow... I'm only getting 2 kinds this year. That's the plan at least...