Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two Silent Evictions

Well, I suppose I only say there were two silent evictions because I didn't see or hear them. For all I know they happened while we were at work/school and there was a stupendously epic calamity that would shake us to our very core.

We have a small overhang over our front door, kind of like a porch with columns. On the inside, the corner columns are flush with the street side, so that means there's a bit of exposed column on the house side. For three years running, birds have set up nests in the two corner columns. We've always enjoyed watching them with their babies. We always thought it odd that they came back to the old nests time and time again.

Until now.

Apparently it's time to lay eggs again and the new family wasn't too stoked about the floor plan. We picked up this nest and showed it to the boy. He loved how tightly it was woven and how sturdy it was.

Then, we saw this:
This is the nest from the other column. See that white fluff? It's fur from our old dog Vladimir who died last year. Those birds would dive bomb him for the fur and we'd always throw the fur in the yard after brushing him. Seems like we're always finding something around to remind us of him. This was a special treat as when the nest was on the column, there was no telling it was stuffed with Vladimir fur.

Whomever the new tenent is didn't waste any time. He's already picked out his carpet and cabinetry and gone out to fetch the paint.
This year, the girl will be old enough to understand watching the birds feed the babies. They always put on quite a racket.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crisis Averted

Since potting up, my tomatoes have all been outside braving the elements. It's only gotten down to the 40's at night, so I figured it wasn't so bad, but I dropped the ball. Last night it was 38. Major tomato faux pas. I came home today to find some of them just completely wilted. they were gone. Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone. Gonner that in Carol Burnett's Gone With the Wind sketch. (Gone's a funny word when viewed in seclusion, isn't it?) I gave them some water on the off chance they'd bounce back. Perhaps they were just thirsty...perhaps they just needed love...

I just went back to check on them and I found myself singing this song. I don't think I've heard it since I was a kid, but you can seem to find anything on youtube!!

I'm stoked.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Inadvertent Lettuce Bed

I know what you're thinking. No, I didn't build another garden bed....but I will next week. Two, as a matter of fact. No, this is something else entirely.

My neighbor came over a few weeks ago enquiring if I would help him with a garden. I made him some lettuce and cabbage starts and called yesterday to say they were ready to go in the ground. Problem was, he never built his garden, so in my garden they went. Thinning seedlings is one thing, but these were bonified plants by this time and I couldn't just toss them.

I had one of my 3x3 boxes that I was saving for an early squash plant, so I threw them in there and I'll start the squash inside and transplant it later.
I didn't transplant the cabbage as I don't have room for it to mature before they'd have to come out, but I haven't thrown the plants out, either. I'm thinking to go dig up a spot in the vacant lot across the street and just see how they do in the bare ground.

So, I have one more lettuce bed. I wish there was some other way to preserve the lettuce harvest as come a few more weeks I'm going to be swimming in lettuce. I'll give as much to my neighbor as he can take, but there's still going to be more. An overly plentiful harvest is a good problem to have.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

EG Has Georgia On His Mind!

Today a wonderful "little talking box" arrived at my door courtesy of EG! Granny once got a little talking box that had quite an adventure and whereas I knew to expect a box from EG I was so excited to see it was a talking box as well!.

I only wish I could have seen the face of the postal worker who delivered it
Inside was a jar of EG's blackberry jam which we can't wait to try. We're going to bust into it after we finish up Granny's strawberry jam which is just delectable. Also in the box was a CD of what I believe are PDF's of gardening manuals. These are going to go a long, long way into helping me gain some valuable knowledge. I'm most hopeful for the info on fruit trees/bushes that will help me diagnose the problems with my blueberry bushes.
Yes, that little box had a lot to say; lots of jokes, songs and quips about Georgia covered the package. But did the box really have to mention having to drop a load, EG? HA!
For all of the wonderful, things EG was so gracious to include in his box, I don't think he realized what the true gift inside it was....
Packing bubbles are every kid's dream. I must admit to popping a few of them, myself.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness, EG.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Playing the Odds

I'd say six out of seven ain't bad.

Six out of my seven potato projects have either sprouted or are showing signs of beginning to sprout.
They get limited sun since I've had to tip the pots to allow me room to hill them as they grow, so I'm happy any are doing well and certainly six out of seven pots is a great average. There's one that got mushy and a bit foul. It has most assuredly rotted in there, so I'll dump it this weekend and wash that pot really well.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Potting Up the Tomatoes

This past Saturday was the most beautiful day we've seen in a long time, seemingly across the country. Seems like everyone was outside stretching their gardening fingers in the soil once again.

I took some time and potted up the tomato transplants. I hadn't counted on all of them germinating and growing so strong. I'm very excited about this first round. I used a variety of left over peat pots and other gardening containers to pot them up
You can see that one mammoth Brandywine in the green pot below. That sucker grows while you watch him, I swear he does.
They all look so happy in their new homes. The temperatures should be in the 40's at night for the next week which is the same temperature as the basement they've been staying in, so I'm going to leave them outside for the next week or so, or until we get down to the 30's at night again. Which it will undoubtedly be before long.
My Big Momma and Yellow Pear that I planted last week still haven't germinated, so I've put those outside as well, hoping that the warm sun will help. I've run out of containers and students are sick of seeing me coming and standing over them while they finish their cottage cheese or yogurt at lunch so I can snag those containers to transplant the rest of the tomatoes in. Some have even taken to collecting their friends' containers and bringing them by. It's great!
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, March 22, 2010

One Down!

19 more teeth to go!

Making Plant Labels

I've only had a few other experience with making plant tags. I used popsicle sticks and sharpie marker, but the marker ran so quickly that the names soon became indistinguishable. The next thing I tried to do was write the names on the side of the containers, but that's now become a scribbled mess from year to year.

This year, I thought to try an idea posed by EG, I believe. He mentioned to fold tin foil and write the name in with a pen. That way, if the pen ink ran, the plant labels could still be read because of the indentation made when you wrote the name to begin with.
They were incredibly easy to make, and I bet if I grow the same variety next year I could use them again, and he's right. I ran one under water long enough to get the ink off and I could still see very clearly what tomato variety it was.

Very cool.

That being said, I transplanted three of the bigger tomatoes yesterday - it's all I had soil for; I need to buy some more today, but they've seemed to explode now that they're in larger pots and that's only after one day! It's fantastic.

Yesterday was beautiful here, today is rainy. I hope you got at least one good gardening day in yourselves.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Expose Your Forks!

Dan started it all here.

Then, Granny got all down and dirty with it here.

And so this game of I'll show you mine if you show me yours began. So now it's time for me to expose my fork. Here it is.....

Wait for it.....

Wait for it.....

OK, so I gave it to the girl to hold to possibly enhance it's size, but size doesn't matter.

It doesn't, does it? ;)

Come join in the fun!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Get it on! Tomato style.

I think I've actually done it. I've started my own tomato seedlings. I don't have any idea why I was so afraid of it. I took this picture two days ago and since then, the one in the front left has germinated, so there's only one that didn't germinate at all. How FANTASTIC!!
The ones planted above were Beefsteak, Black Cherry, Brandywine and Cherokee Purple. I must say the Cherokee Purple are the most vigorous by far. I had such high hopes for the Brandywine and slotted several plants for this year's garden, but from what I've been reading recently, whereas yes, the taste is superb, the production is slim to none. Maybe 2-3 tomatoes per plant and I can't waste space on that. Well, shoot.

I think then I'll just put the one in to test it out and put my luck into some thing more productive. You know what that means! More seeds!!!
I got a Yellow Pear tomato (the tomato that started it all. I just love them, although I've heard others say they're tasteless, they're the perfect tomato for me to take to snack on. I just love them. I also got some Big Momma ones that are supposed to be good sauce making tomatoes and I'd like to give that a try. EEEH, I ordered some steak sandwich, too, but I'm not sure if I'll try those this year since I already have the beefsteak in. We'll see. The cantaloupe is supposed to be a true bush variety which will be interesting. They will be started in a few weeks.

I put six of the Big Mommas to start like the rest of them, but I just put the yellow pear in generic pots outside and hopefully they'll germinate when their time is right. I'm not going to stress overly much about those since I can easily get them as transplants if these don't work out.

It's just so good to see green again, isn't it, folks. I'm ready for the jungle!

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Calling In The Reinforcements

If you're going to build raised beds, let me suggest you stick with two inch thick boards. The majority of my beds are made with two inch boards, but there are four boxes of varying size spread throughout the garden that are one inch boards built with scavenged or left over wood from other projects. The two inch beds have held together fantastically . Five of which I've even doubled the height and they're still all holding together. But...and you knew there was going to be a 'but,' every one of my one inch beds is falling apart.

The planks are warping beyond the scope of the screws' ability to hold the sides together. So, this weekend I called in the reinforcements and the man was kind enough to shore up some of the sides for me. He fixed three beds this weekend, but for some reason, I only shot pictures of this one which was the most difficult to fix.

This bracket had to be put on from the inside and anchored to the box behind it since the entire box and filling would have to be removed in order to fix the back end. It's my smallest box, height wise, and wouldn't get moved around anyway. It has spinach in it now.
That entire left side flopped over and here you can see why. The front plank is so warped that the man couldn't even screw in the reinforcing bracket unless he attached it to the bottom.
There's another tip you can see right there. See the grain on that piece? See how it's facing outwards? That was a mistake on my part when the boxes were built to begin with. If I would have put the grain facing in, it wouldn't be bowing out like it is. Live and learn.
So now all of the small boxes are ready to be amended and planted in mid April. MAN! I can't believe it's almost time to get those summer crops in. Sadly, my fall crops are almost non existent at this point because of our cold winter and we're still below average temperatures. I'm wondering if those plants will even make it to maturity before I rip them out for the summer plants. I've got to get those squash and zucchini in the ground at the first opportunity to get them producing before our first round of Squash Vine Borers hits. We're lucky enough to have warm enough temperatures to have two full life cycles of those *$*# things, but if we get started early enough, we'll still get a decent harvest. I wanted to direct sow them, but it looks more and more like I'll be starting transplants.
The plants last year on March 30th are about 7-10 times larger than they are now. I'm not thinking they'll catch that far up in just a few days. I'm going to have some big decisions to make, I sure am.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Acorns and Worms and Grubs

I cleared out the weeds in between the two beds in the corner yard. As I was ripping them out, I saw tons of little off white grubs and tiny, almost, clear worm like creatures. I'm assuming these are not good. I haven't seen any in the beds, just in the grass around and between them. I'm wondering how large of a problem these could turn out to be since I don't know exactly what they are.

I was amazed at how many of the acorns that fell from the large tree rooted in the path. Some of those suckers pierced right through the landscape fabric to the ground beneath. Actually, all of the weeds did. I'm thinking that weed block wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

BUT! While I was digging around for white grubbie things, I found two large earthworms which I promptly relocated to one of my beds. This was the first time I've ever seen worms in our ground so I was thrilled! Hopefully that means there may be some in those beds after all!

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Three warm days and two more days of rain and BAM!!!!!! Look at how straight up those garlic leaves got. They were all so sad looking last week when I took pictures of them and now they're reaching for the sky. It's amazing. The onions look great also.
The magic is being worked all over. The radishes are sprouting, The bok choy I direct seeded is starting to come up and....
The carrots are sprouting, the carrots are sprouting.
Things are starting to happen, my friends. Hold on to yer butts!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tomato Seedling Leggy-ness-ocity

My glorious first born tomato seedlings spent their first day outside with their vented covering. At least three more germinated with the good outdoor sunshine and heat. I planted two seeds per hole and there are 2-3 in which both seeds sprouted.


1. Assuming that I can, at what point should I consider removing one of the sprouts in the double sprouted cells and repotting it. Can it even be done? I'm worried to wait too long to where the roots will entangle.

2. Is legginess (sp?) really an issue with tomato transplants since you repot/replant them deeply each time?

Thank you for helping me learn!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


It was the most beautiful day today. Temperatures were in the high 50's, the wind was light and the sun was strong. Just fantastic for being outside. The tiny cabbage and lettuce seedlings I'm growing for my neighbors came outside for some sunbathing and so did my little tomato plants. That one in the picture from the other day was so tall and long when I got home yesterday. I immediately put them all under the lights in the basement. It may be too cold for the others to germinate down there, so I put them outside today as well with their little greenhouse thingie on. I vented it and man, it still got mighty warm in there. Hopefully with the good temperatures expected over the next few days I'll get the rest of them to germinate. I'm hopeful!

Radishes are peaking their heads out everywhere and I'm eager to see some little carrot frills, but nothing yet. The neighborhood came out of hiding and we let the kids run nutso-psycho all over the place and mine just turned their bath water red with the dirt still on their bodies.

A good day was had by all.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thank Goodness Summer Is On Its Way!!

This was on our local news this week. I can't wait for my own vegetables again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seed Starting Sing Along

Ok. Let's all sing the Richard Strauss song from 2001: A Space Oddysey.





Da Dahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Now let's shake it up a bit. Everyone do the cabbage patch dance and sing, "It's a tomato. It's a tomaaaato."
I'm stupid excited. It's my first tomato from seed. Thanks, Dan!!!!! Only three or four have sprouted, so I'll leave them where they are for now until the majority of them do and then put them under the lights. Problem....IT'S FREEZING in the basement. Dare I put them outside still in their dome and hope they get a bit more heat and sun at the same time or just stick them under the basement light and hope for the best?
The morning comes early. Sweet tomato starting dreams.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Onions - Will They Bulb?

Sure enough, it snowed again today. The flakes were so fat and so wet that they really didn't do much sticking, but it sure did come down hard for hours. It was really pretty.

Last weekend I was out taking pictures and snapped these of the onions. I've tried onions before, but they've never bulbed up. The ones last fall got hollowed out by some insect and the ones last spring just bolted right out of the gate. These were planted in the fall and they look thick and good now.

Yellow onions
Purple onions
I don't remember the variety, but they were plants from the store.
The stalks look good and thick right now. So, what's the trick? When will they, or rather will they bulb up? I'm so worried they should have done something or moved in that general direction by now.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.