Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Hump Day

It's rained and it's chilly! It's a good thing I haven't put out the summer seedlings yet. The cold weather crops are doing great!

Kale and peas. I harvested some kale for dinner last night. It was delicious!

Escarole - They are about 8" in diameter now with lots of leaves! The little 4 leaf seedlings next to them are zinnias.

Broccoli is getting really big. I noticed some holes in the leaves. I'm not sure what to do about them. I read I can use row covers. I might do that.

Radishes and lettuce.

Bok choy - They are starting to look like bok choy now.


My tomato and pepper plants inside the house are doing well. The tomatoes are really tall. The peppers are still slow, but they seem to be doing better since I gave them a larger pot. I'm sure the heat that we're getting this weekend will help.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

FREE Seedlings!

Basil helped me give away my extra seedlings. Someone almost took Basil having mistaken him for a delicious herb she wanted to use for salads. Just kidding!

I put out all the extra seedlings that I can't use. In 20 mins, the neighbors had divided them amongst themselves and everything was gone!

It was a beautiful day to work outside yesterday. I planted some zinnias into the bed with my cucumbers and escarole. I repotted the pepper plants into large containers and started my squashes and watermelon seeds. I picked up some Verbena, Lantana, and Coleus for my planters on the deck.

The forecast is showing a week of raining which is great for the garden. It's quite chilly so I brought my other seedlings back inside instead of keeping them outside to harden off.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Hump Day

We had a quick down pour of rain this week which helped move the veggies along in their growth. It looks like they had a growth spurt.

No tour is complete without a cameo by Basil. That's a raspberry plant next to him. They grow like wild fire, so I'm going to keep it in a large pot.

Pole beans are coming around. I staked them with a 6' pole which isn't enough. I just assumed it will go up and across the fence.

Broccoli plants are getting pretty big. They are about 10-12" across now.

My neat line of sugar snap peas. That's garlic in the very front of the photo.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Johnny Jump Up

It was a little chilly today, but it was the perfect day for some garden maintenance. In the morning, I set up a support for my sugar snap peas. I had something fancier in mind, but this worked last year, so why deviate from a good thing, right?

Basil is so awesome! When I garden, he feels the need to be involved. The peas' support is behind him along with 4 plants of Kale and some Johnny Jump Ups (aka Violas) along the edge.

JJUps are considered edible which is why I wanted to use them in the veggie garden bed. They also come in a variety of purples and yellows which are really pretty. They have such dainty flower petals.

I had an extra one which I potted with my Oregano that I overwintered in the house. Behind it is a Columbine with white flowers that my mom gave me last year.

Columbine 2009 - This is what it looked like last year.

The tomato plants were getting too large for the foam cups that I potted them in, so it was time to upgrade their crib until it's time to move out in mid-May. Of the 4 plants (of each variety), I only kept 2 of each. That's still 8 tomato plants which I'm going to need to find room for. This coming week is suppose to be in the 70s which will help the tomatoes take off. The peppers are still really slow to grow.

In other news, I had to do some damage control and dig up some perennials that my MIL gave me. They were so invasive that they were choking out my other plants. I tried doing it last summer, but the ground was too hard and the roots had really developed. Since it's still early and the soil is really moist from the rain, it was a lot easier to dig up. I hope I got it all. They had wrapped their roots all around my peony and roses.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mid April Update

The fruits of my labor! From last summer and fall, I was working on planting flowers throughout the yard. It's really looking good. I wish you could all see it in person to get the overall view of the garden. In photos, it just doesn't do it justice.

Raised veggie bed. The transplants have settled in nicely and are grower now. It's still too early, but I did pop some pole bean and early-type cucumber seeds into the bed. The sugar snap peas have germinated and will need to be trellised soon. The garlic is also beginning to sprout! We'll have some garlic this fall.

Up-close of the escarole. There's lots of new growth from the center (heart). I use escarole in soups like Italian wedding soup or just any chicken & pasta soup. When eaten blanched or stir fry, it's very bitter.

Tomato and zinnia seedlings. The tomatoes took off last weekend when we had that burst of warm weather. It's about time that I repot them into their 3rd set of cups. By mid May, they will be ready to place outdoors. I'm going to mix Zinnias into the raised garden bed so that there is some color throughout.

In other news, the spinach, radishes, lettuce, and bok choy are doing well on the side raised bed. Some of my perennial herbs are coming back too.

Friday, April 9, 2010


It's been a busy week for me. I had this post saved and since then my seedlings have done a lot of growth so these photos are outdated now, but here they are anyway.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Early Spring Crops

The radishes, lettuce, spinach and bok choy seeds have germinated in raised bed along the side of the house.

You can start to see the pattern I created with the seeds in order to save space and sow herbs later as it gets warmer.

I cleaned up the back of the yard and look how pretty the tulips and hostas are coming up in their bright green colors. I can't wait to see what the blooms look like.

My husband mowed the lawn and edged along all my garden beds. It looks so nice when it's neat and tidy.

Over the weekend, I also sowed the pole beans, dill, and chard. It's too cold to start them, but I figured they will germinate when temperatures warm up. I just felt like sticking them into the ground so I wouldn't have to think about it later.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Today, I spent some time tidying up the yard and touching up the edges around my flower beds.

I expanded the area around my "island". After I planted so many things around the tree, the area around the plants just wasn't enough to keep it neat. I had to bring it out about 18" to give the island more room to maintain its shape. I rounded out this end and exenuated its curves.

This doesn't look pretty, but it was necessary. Until the seedlings and seeds grow in, I had to gently throw a net around my plants. It's squirrel season and they are doing a number in the garden beds looking for their peanuts. If they don't find their peanut, they keep digging and digging in the same spot. Otherwise, the raised beds are awesome and I love working in them.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Cheated

For those of you who thought this was a post about how I had some torrid affair with some young, hot piece on the side, shame on you! Just kidding. Sorry to disappoint.

Yes, I cheated. I bought nursery starts. There is nothing wrong with it. Do you hear me rationalizing this? I think I deserve it after starting my own seeds these last 3 years and caring for them ever so lovingly for weeks on end. Or at least until "the soil temperature has warmed to 50F" as those seed packets tell me (those dictators!). Actually, there's nothing wrong with using nursery started plants. It doesn't make you less of a gardener. The reason you should buy nursery starts is because these are cold weather crops so they need to go in now and you had to have started them 8 weeks ago already.

Okay, how cute is my dog Basil?! I know you're all envious and want a dog named after an herb who licks and poses for his mommy while she's acting like a crazy person at the garden nursery.
He's guarding my kale, brussel sprouts, parsley, cabbage, escarole, celery and broccoli. He even tasted the celery and gives his approval for my choice of lover.

Close up of the broccoli seedlings. See how the roots have wrapped around. That's what is known as being "root bound". The roots are literally bound up which can be a real problem if they were really dense. This is nothing compared to say a Mum you might have bought one year as a drive by gift when you had to go to dinner at someone's house. Do you recall that it dried up and died right away? That's because it's root bound and can't soak up any water you give it. The solution is to cut away at the roots. I didn't have to do that here since the roots are very tender and will easily make it's way through and acclimate to my soil.

Close up of the Kale. I have never grown or eaten Kale before, but I often see it on Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals. I like the sound of the word "Kale". Kaaaaaaaaale. I think I like the way it's going to cook down and make hearty meals. The word even sounds hearty when you say it. Kale is also full of vitamins.

From front to back, I planted Kale with 2 rows of sugar snap peas. I will trellis them as soon as they begin to germinate. In the center bed, I planted the broccoli and celery in a "yin yang" pattern just to change it up. In the very back bed, I planted escarole. This weekend, I will plant more peas and sow some carrots. I am thinking of planting the cabbage and brussel sprouts in the back of the yard since they need a lot of room.

Close up of the broccoli. I am going to plant some 'bright lights' chard in between the broccoli. As the broccoli matures, the kale will fill in. When the broccoli is read to harvest, I will replace them with the eggplant plants. In the back corner, I will plant some pole beans and zinnias. I left room along the front edge of the bed to plant nasturtiums, bush basil and marigolds.