Sunday, April 10, 2011


A little about what I'm going to attempt to grow this year:

beans {purple bush, cranberry}
blueberries (bluecrop, bluejay, elliott)
corn {rainbow, strawberry popcorn}
herbs {lemon balm, lemon basil, catnip, oregano, spearmint, sweet basil, tarragon}
lettuce (some mix of red and green romaine, tango, red leaf, butterhead)
peppers {red sweet, bell}
squash {white scallop, butternut, pumpkin, round green}
strawberries (everbearing, 2 varieties, wild yellow, perhaps june bearers)
tomatillos {verde, purple, dr. wyche's yellow}
tomatoes {roma, yellow cherry, red cherry, nebraska wedding, kellogg's breakfast, bison red,

For reference, I am in zone 6, near enough to zone 5 that I consider us to be in zone 5. I thought I would share a few pictures of the seedlings in their current state:

wild strawberries
roma tomato
sweet red pepper
tomatillo verde
Some parsnips, carrots, snow peas, and lettuce seeds went into the garden beds on Friday so hopefully they will sprout over the next few weeks.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Not so springlike here...

Such a mixed weather week. We had a couple of days where it was up around 50 and I could get out to start clearing out the cold plot. However, that was quickly followed by a storm that dumped 10" of new snow right back on top.

In true form, it was 5o again today and thus begins the seemingly never ending melting process in ye old rural America.

This of course leaves me frustrated but not deterred from carrying on with plant based activities. I would be lying if I said I am not chomping at the bit to get the turnips, rutabagas, carrots, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in the ground. I was incredibly pleased that almost the entire cold plot was permafrost free when I was out digging. I am hoping to be able to get some seeds in the ground next weekend.

I am amazed at how well the seedlings are doing indoors this year. The cat tried to chomp on this particular romanesco broccoli but apparently did not like the taste enough to do anything more than maul it.

While the weather was cooperating I was able to check on last years herbs to see if we would have anyone returning for a round 2. It was a real lift to the spirit to see pretty green things peeking out!

Lemon Balm - started from seed spring 2010

Blueberry - cutting from established bush spring 2010

Oregano - Transplant from established neighbor plant spring 2010

I am happy to see the lemon balm and the oregano looking healthy and strong. I value these two herbs highly. The lemon balm is used all over our house for internal consumption and external applications varying from cleaning to personal care and hygiene. The blueberry is perhaps the most exciting development as it's got beautiful new green bud growth showing. It was an experiment last year with one of my favorite experiment partners. She took cutting from her established high bush blueberry plants to see if they would propagate. We spent an afternoon repotting those that survived to sport new roots and I was the happy beneficiary of two of the cuttings. I am hoping they will be robust enough to blossom and fruit this year.

I have been starting seeds indoors for weeks now. I do a flat of 18 pots at a time per week. The end goal is to have robust tomato and pepper plants that have a reasonable head start on the short growing season here. I also need to be able to can some tomatoes in advance of the sprout that will be joining the clan right in the midst of canning season. I had an abundance of leftover pots and saved seeds from last year after pulling everything out and taking inventory.

This gave me an excellent opportunity to share with friends.

So I invited a couple of like minded individuals over to throw a potting party. Lesson number one learned, next year this will be a kid free event. We had three toddler boys and one sweet baby girl who seemingly was cutting teeth and not happy to be present. While I am all about kids being involved in the growing process, it was just a bit too much commotion to be able to reasonably convey the necessary information for growing and sustaining seedlings. All parties involved agreed that next time, men folk get to hang with the kids and we can kick back, relax, have some wine and enjoy the process. That being said, it was great. We had fun and I got to pass on some of our seeds and materials.

Next week, I have signed up to attend a free organic gardening class being sponsored by MOFGA. They are hosting this class in a huge amount of locations on this date. Find one close to you and get growing!