About those Onion Seedlings…. and… Spring is Springing!

Here’s my first tiny little dose of spring for you…

It’s really going to happen!

I believe that this particular crocus is always the first one every year. It’s in the exact same spot of my front yard, next to the walkway.

I don’t remember seeing it in February before but it’s out there this morning, as beautiful as can be.

IMG_1037

And then there are the onions…

IMG_1023I planted them on Saturday and left them covered up and in the dark. I think they should have had light for half the time.

IMG_1024Yesterday was a very busy day and I didn’t have a chance to check them. It was a nice treat to look under the wrap this morning to see that they were well on their way!

IMG_1027The only problem is this hairy looking mold.

I don’t know…

I’ve never seen this before and I’m wondering if it’s going to be a problem going forward.

Anyone have experience with this?

There’s getting to be a bit of a time crunch so I’m reluctant to start over but that may be best.

Weigh in if you have any suggestions!

About the onions:

–I planted them in damp seed starting mix

–about three or four seeds to a cell, 1/4 inch deep or so

–covered them with saran wrap (because I couldn’t find the plastic cover that goes with the cells)

–and put them on a heating pad to keep the soil at 70 degrees. I’m leaving them on the heat until most have germinated.

It’s as simple as that.

I planted four varieties… sweet Spanish, candy, southport red globe and Alisa Craig exhibition. The Alisa Craig were kind of a cheat because I used leftover seed. Generally onion seeds are only considered to be viable for a year, but I had some space so I thought I’d plant one row of cell spaces and see what happens.

I did look around at different planting methods. There were plenty of suggestions such as spreading the seeds randomly or in rows in an open container then moving them to cells or pots, direct sowing, and not worrying about drainage  (really)?  I had good results last year so I decided to let history repeat itself. I’ll try to keep you posted on  how things are going.

Further along on the spring is springing subject:

IMG_1030Swiss chard that wintered over, I kid you not!

I was very sure that the -10 temp of a few weeks ago pretty much eliminated anything that might be borderline. Swiss chard is amazingly hardy!

IMG_1033Because it’s 58 degrees outside today I moved this plexiglass over this little bed to warm the soil and create an area to start some lettuce soon. I covered that open edge with some boards, then my camera died so you can’t see it finished…

We have nothing to loose other than a $1.49 package of seed..

IMG_1029The snowdrops are popping… not sure about the cause of the blurriness of this shot, it may  be related to the mud in the yard and the indoor shoes that I was wearing…

IMG_1035And the daffodils are coming up too. February is kind of early for daffodils but if we stay in this weather pattern they should be okay.

How’s your garden growing?

I hope that spring is springing early for you too!

Lots of love,

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden- May 31, 2015

Hello from finally rainy Salem, Massachusetts!

I haven’t posted in quite a while. There’s been so much going on here; sick children, graduating children, coming home from college children, going to college children, dancing and soccer and proms. Big life events can be great subjects for blogging but they don’t jive so well with gardening and garden blogging, especially the sickness. I’ve been pretty consumed with the needs of my family, as I should be.

So, the garden isn’t quite where it usually is at this point in May, but that’s okay.  I can always catch up on the bean planting or substitute things or buy bigger plants that are further along. It will all work out in the end, or not, and that’s okay too.

IMG_8924These are the rainclouds that I was trying to out plant and out photograph before they burst this afternoon. I just made it and now we’re under a flash flood warning. It’s been so dry that the flood warning is welcome.

IMG_8913I post a pic of this view every year. It’s raining hard and is expected to continue through Tuesday, so I’m not sure that the iris flowers will survive. I’m glad I took this photo when I did.

IMG_8917Things are getting underway out in the herb garden. That’s parsley in the foreground. The oregano came back strongly, along with some dianthus, thyme and chives. I just put that brownish lovage in the back and added the new rosemary plants. Rosemary doesn’t winter over here unless we have an extremely mild winter, which is rare.IMG_8920 Looking from the other direction the cilantro was started from seed. IMG_8923 The blueberry bushes are loaded with berries! I need to plant more blueberry bushes. IMG_8925The Solomon’s seal is about to bloom…IMG_8926…along with my favorite yellow iris,IMG_8930 and the German iris.IMG_8931 Here’s a first for us; horseradish in bloom! It emits an odor of horseradish all around it. I don’t really love horseradish, but I’m kind of enjoying this. I hope the flowers don’t take away from root formation.IMG_8933 I planted a little bit of broccoli… so cute!IMG_8936 And the lettuce is happy. This is thriving because Michael does a good job of watering it for me with the leftover chicken water.

Here’s an interesting fact about this lettuce; the mesclun mix on the right was fertilized with vermicompost a few weeks ago and the row on the left wasn’t. Vermicompost is the way to go! I have a nice little worm bin here under my desk and all I do is feed them fruit and veggie scraps and keep an eye on the moisture content of the box. I harvest the compost once in a while and the “tea” or liquid that the worms produce every few weeks. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. I should blog about my worms more. IMG_8937I started these onions from seed in the early spring and transplanted them a few weeks ago. I need to make sure they don’t dry out and keep fertilizing them. Maybe I’ll try some vermicompost.
IMG_8941 Looking back, there’s lots of open space. IMG_8943I still have basil, tomato and foxglove seedlings,IMG_8914along with peppers.IMG_8942I dug this big pot of dill out of the front yard yesterday because we reconfigured the landscaping out there. Dill doesn’t really transplant that well, it’s better grown from seed. These are small enough that they might settle in if their handled carefully.

If any of you local friends want some dill just let me know! It will be here for a few days until the rain stops.

How’s your garden growing? I miss you and your comments and your blogs! Leave me an update so I can stop by and check in!

Love, Michele

 

What’s Happening in the Garden, July 30, 2014

I truly can’t believe that it’s been almost a month since I posted a garden update. Where does the time go?  We’ve been doing everything… camping, hiking, visiting, working, gardening… you name it! It’s a crazy busy summer! While we’ve been so busy lots has happened in the garden.

IMG_6833We have tomatoes!! These are super sweet 100s… I haven’t grown this variety before so I’m looking forward to tasting them.

IMG_6846There are tomato plants tucked in all over the place. One of the great things about growing from seed is the sheer abundance of  plants when it’s time to plant. I’d better get that canning thing down because I’m going to need to do something with these tomatoes.

IMG_6827Yes, their a little bit too close together but I think they’ll be okay. I keep watching for blight so I can remove the yellow branches right away, and believe it or not, hardly anything is touching the ground.

IMG_6822We’ve picked several zucchini and more are on the way. I like to get them when their on the small side so their not too seedy. There is evidence of squash borer. I haven’t figured out how to organically prevent it from hitting my plants, but I have figured out how to deal with it to limit the damage….

IMG_6823I bury the base of the plant where the borers work their evil and the plant reroots almost immediately and keeps right on growing and producing. If you cut open the stalk you will clearly see the wormy little borers eating away. Not everyone handles that well. I think it’s kind of interesting.

IMG_6829There’s basil everywhere too. The flowers on this plant should have been cut back at the beginning of the bud stage. The photo that I took after I cut it was blurry, but you get the idea. You’ll have beautiful basil for a long time this summer if you cut it back!

IMG_6824The red onions look just about ready. I planted them close to the surface as I think I was supposed to and now their very high in the soil? Should I have covered them with soil as they grew or is this okay? It seems like they would have gotten bigger if they had stayed submerged a little bit longer.
IMG_6834The asparagus is gone for the year. It needs to be weeded and fertilized to shore it up for next spring.

IMG_6835The cucumbers are incredible this year! I guess the rain helped, along with researching the variety. I’ve harvested many and there’s lots more coming!

IMG_6845Okay, so, this is kind of a problem. I clearly wasn’t thinking when I put watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkin in the same row.

IMG_6840The good news is that we have some fruit.

IMG_6841The bad news is that there appears to be some cross pollination happening. This is a very watermelon like cantaloupe.

IMG_6843Just across from the melon patch is a huge horseradish patch. I still have some in the freezer from last year.

IMG_6862The blueberries, covered with bird netting, are happily producing.

IMG_6855However, these brown dying branches on one of the two plants is a concern. Anyone know what’s happening here?

IMG_6857We have potatoes in the cat pot again… I mixed tons of compost in so I’m hoping for great tuber development.

IMG_6825My favorite border is hanging on. Maybe some good deadheading will bring back another bloom?

IMG_6820We made a little goldfish pond on the deck this year. It’s just a plastic barrel filled with water, pond plants and fish. It’s so easy and a nice addition to our sitting area where we enjoy our view.

IMG_6859Life is so good here…

Enjoy your blessings today!

Love, Michele


Cucumberly Neighbors

My very sad excuse for a cucumber this year… holy moly what happened here?IMG_2126 The very lovely cucumbers that our dear neighbor Becky sent over… these are real cucs!IMG_2125 What my youngest daughter did with one of the cucumbers just above (she even took the photo, she was so cute )  😉 IMG_2119 This, Mom, is a cucumber!IMG_2124

Guess I’ll try to grow them down in the garden again next year..

Thank God for great neighbors!

Enjoy everything, especially all of your homegrown cucs!

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden-September 8

Good Morning! We’ve made it through the first three days of school here. That always feels like a huge accomplishment to me. All of my kids seem to be happy and settling in well in all of their new environments.  I think we’re off to a great start for the school year. Out in the garden things are still perking along. As much as I wanted to have a great fall garden going, our August activities took over and I didn’t get much planted. One of the things that I love about gardening is my hope and plan for next year. Next year there will be brussel sprouts at the very least! Since I just shared that with the world I’ll be feeling very accountable next summer and I’ll find those plants or grow some!

okay, so… here’s the potatoes. I’m waiting for that last plant to die back before we pull them out. Will there be potatoes?? We’ll find out soon!

The pumpkins are ready and just in time… see that dying foliage? I think the squash borer got to them but the pumpkins can be picked so we made it!

Here’s the other one. They really are beautiful!

I’m still picking tomatoes. Roma, roma, roma… really the best tomato to grow if you want to do lots of cooking with them.

More basil! I cut it back hard a month or so ago and now there’s more to freeze and dry.

And the mesclun is ready! I’ll try to add another little bed of this somewhere. If the temps stay warm we’ll have it for awhile!

Peppers are coming along. I never grow enough to really “process and preserve” them the way I’d like to but we’re enjoying them as we pick them.

I cut the oregano way back too. I’ll cut it before it flowers and dry it in the oven. I hope it turns out as nicely as my basil did in August.

Kentucky pole beans. I keep saying that they needed poles, poor things..

A little tiny foxglove peeking out. I love foxglove! It’s nice to see a hint of it in September.

The liatris that I planted are being eaten by bunnies. Enough said. 

This guy keeps an eye on everything.. 

Here’s a view in over the fence. Please notice my complete lack of perfection.  Will someone please pull out those cucumber plants on the left? Really!! It doesn’t have to be perfect all the time, just loved and enjoyed.

And it is!  Off to a kid’s dentist appointment and then the first game of the season for my little guys’ soccer team. Go Tornados!!

Happy Saturday!  Love you all!

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden — August 24

I’m a bit behind on my “What’s Happening” update.  Packing and going to camp in New Hampshire took lots and lots of time. We didn’t exactly rough it (other than sleeping in tents) on this camping trip. One of the huge, huge benefits of camping at Calumet is that you can eat in their dining hall or on their beach for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With so many kids, we usually cook many of our meals at our campsite, but since this year’s trip was just for three nights we enjoyed the luxury of eating inside. That said, I still had a zillion loads of wash to do and lots of things to put away and catch up on. So, here we are, the soccer and golf seasons have started for my high school kids and fall is right around the corner. I’m trying to make the most of my garden time!

We have zinnias scattered around, I love the bright orange zinnias!

Here’s some mesclun that I planted on Saturday, I hope it keeps growing at this rate so we can enjoy it soon!

We have several pepper plants producing fruit. Peppers can be a little tricky for me, so this makes me happy.

I think there will be salsa in the next few days!

We have lots of Roma tomatoes. I froze a few gallons (whole) and made pizza sauce. We eat fresh tomatoes non-stop so we can never have too many.

The pumpkin vine is creeping quickly past the chicken coop.., Michael put that light there to help us remember not to step on it. Good idea!Here’s one of the pumpkins! There’s another one that’s this size (about fifteen inches long) and at  least a couple of smaller ones. Pumpkin carving will be extra fun this year!

Here’s my disaster, the cucumber beetles have pretty much wiped out the cucumbers. I did try hard to use a large size photo to show you. First the computer couldn’t seem to export this photo to my blog, then it wouldn’t size correctly. I don’t care, in the  interest of transparency, I’m sharing this smaller photo so you can see what happened. I need to pull the plants and add something in, maybe kale or brussel sprouts if I can find some plants. I need about ten more hours in my day! and next year remind me to take a break from the cucs!

In the chicken coop, this girl has suddenly taken to pecking at my foot. I don’t know what’s up with that but it hurts! Our egg production is better than it was a few weeks ago.  Here’s the strange thing: around the time that I posted that we had an egg deficit, one of our chickens started to look  unwell. This happens sometimes with older chickens, they stop eating and start to look tired and glassy eyed. They just seem to be ready to pass on. Well, we had a buff orphington who was going through this and I was trying to shore her up with some extra vitamins, food, and water in a corner of the coop. Strangely as soon as she died (very peacefully) the chickens started laying again. Three eggs that day, and we’ve had an average of six a day since. Any thoughts on this chicken keepers? Share your thoughts in the comments below please!

Is this a weed? Michael and I have been going back and forth about it for a few weeks. I have to admit that I think he’s right, it is a weed. But I like it.

The kentucky pole beans are growing. Next time I need to remember that they need poles. I think they’d be happier.

And finally, the potatoes. Their supposed to wilt and die just before their ready to harvest. I added soil as they grew but I’m worried that I didn’t keep up with them. I think we’ll check to see if it worked in the next week or so. I will be thrilled if we get a potato out of this pot!

I’m looking forward to drying some of this rosemary and thyme. I tried to dry bananas last week but they didn’t turn out as well as the basil did. We may try some apple slices.

There’s my update! How’s your garden growing? Share, share, share!!

Love,  Michele

What’s Happening In the Garden- July 28

We’ve had pretty unsettled weather here this week. Lots of thunderstorm warnings and showers. We did have drought early in the spring but from my perspective our summer has been pretty typical.  Plenty of sunny days and rain at reasonable intervals. I think that our water table may still be down a bit from the spring and a slightly lower rainfall amount overall. I’m very worried for gardeners and farmers across the US who are experiencing their most severe drought in many years. If you missed it yesterday be sure to check out the post that I re-blogged from A Healthy Life for Me about how hot weather affects the garden.  While your there be sure to check out the recipes too!

Here in the Salem Garden, things are coming right along. The Black-eyed Susan and Echinacea are in full bloom. I remember the neighbor who gave me my first clump of Black-Eyed Susan saying that they are “like sunshine”.  They really are!

This single  Sunflower popped up on the edge of the yard this week. I had no idea it was there. We didn’t plant it on purpose it just reseeded from somewhere. What a nice surprise!

Here’s our first Zinnia bloom! I should have plenty for cutting in a few days.

The pole beans found the fence and trellis. I’m wondering if they need a more pole-like structure to climb on.  

This large plant is Horseradish. This is its second year and it has come into its own. I need to weed around it and add some compost.

It’s time to make some pesto! I’ll try to freeze some this week. I did clip back those flower buds after I took this photo. Be sure to clip the flower buds off of the Basil daily. It makes a big difference!

We have red tomatoes! Yay! A little wilt too. These Cherry tomato plants are across the garden from the Roma. I find Roma tomatoes to be a very disease resistant variety, but I’ll be sure to pick from the Cherry plants last and wash my hands well before I touch the Roma again. I hope that helps to prevent it from spreading, at least for a while.
The first gladioli is blooming! Hopefully we’ll see lots of these in the next week or so.

Time to get outside! There’s lots to do!

What’s growing in your garden?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Enjoy Everything!!

Michele

Zucchini Rotini

The zucchini is growing faster than we can eat it all ready.

Here’s a quick and simple dish that I made for dinner on Sunday. It was delicious!!

The Rotel tomatoes made it quite zippy. My family likes that but if yours is more conservative I’d suggest using fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes or even the mild Rotel.

Michele’s Zucchini Rotini

1 Lb Rotini pasta

3 T butter

2 T Olive oil

2 T minced onion

1 pinch of sugar

1 t Garlic powder or 1 T chopped fresh garlic

1 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips. I left the skin on half and pealed the other half so as not to overwhelm anyone with too much good nutrition

1 can of Rotel Tomatoes

1 handful of chopped basil

½ cup of half and half, or light or heavy cream

grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta to al dente. While pasta is cooking melt butter and olive oil together in skillet. Add onion and sugar and sauté until onion starts to brown. The sugar helps the onion to caramelize a little bit. Add the garlic and zucchini and sauté until it starts to soften. Add the can of tomatoes and the basil. Cook for a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain cooked pasta.

Pour the zucchini sauce over the pasta, then stir in a little half and half (if your not worried about fat content go for the cream instead) just  to moisten the dish and add some extra dimension.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

What’s Happening in the Garden

It’s always fun to return after a good amount of time away from the garden to see the changes.

Here’s what we came home to this week after our twelve day road trip.

Our pot of potatoes took off!

The bee balm had bloomed

along with the lavender

.

The cucumbers had come along nicely.

Maybe this will be a good year for cucumbers since I only planted a few?

The carrots needed  weeding and thinning asap.

There were plenty of peas for the 4th..

Did you know that in the state of Maine salmon and peas is the traditional Fourth of July dinner?

It was time to pinch back the basil!

And the zucchini had done it’s thing

along with the Roma tomatoes!

It really felt like magic to come back to this.

What are you growing?

How are things in your garden?

Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Michele

Sweet Peas, Veggies and Herbs!

First of all, thank you, thank you for all of your wonderful suggestions yesterday about what to do with the Green Monster! I’m newly energized and I’m  working hard on pulling that area together. I was feeling quite overwhelmed before I asked for your help.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share a photo of our progress soon. It’s such a shady, private spot. I love to sit there for a minute first thing in the morning or when we take a break during the day. It’s going to be a little oasis in our oasis.

Here’s an update on how things are going out in the garden this week:

The sweet peas are almost ready!

Here’s a beautiful post about sweet peas that  AmySue at A Healthy Life for Me wrote last week

http://ahealthylifeforme.com/2012/06/05/peas-peas-everywhere/

Her recipes and photos are wonderful!

The basil and tomatoes are coming along (notice that the bunny food/poop grass is still trying to surface). I decided to try  salt marsh hay as mulch this year to retain moisture and keep weeds and wilt away. We’ll see how it goes. I’d better get cages around those tomato plants soon.

I planted  few red cabbage plants in this  extra space and we’re enjoying the lettuce. Better get it while we can because lettuce is happiest in cool weather, once it gets hot it will bolt and be gone! The zucchini has settled in nicely and I planted a treat just beyond the lettuce… zinnias to cut and enjoy in August

Lemon balm, thyme and lavender…

And here’s our first purple coneflower blossom of the season! There will be many more to come..

It’s very rainy here  but it’s supposed to clear up over the next few days. Perfect weather for growing everything!

Thanks for stopping!

Enjoy Everything today!

Michele