Friday, February 26, 2010
With the third bed filled, we can now focus on getting the rest of the plastic hoop covers on. Hopefully, we will get that done by Sunday. I posted earlier that my dad was adding upper shelves in the greenhouse and that is coming along quite nice. I can't wait for them to be done so I can fire up the heat and get the gazillion seedlings that are all over my house out of here! (the family is tolerant but it is getting to be a bit much :)....A quick note on the covered hoop house: The temperature inside is holding pretty steady around 62 degrees on a 45 degree day. That should get us a good start on the broccoli and the strawberries. Happy digging!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
There are of course many plants that are also poisonous to cats. But luckily for us our cats (to the left is Spud and to the right is a neighbor cat) are finicky...they turn their noses up to most anything except cat food and love apparently. (Photo by Daisy Girl)
Monday, February 22, 2010
We harvested some spinach and green onions from one of the beds yesterday. It's amazing that they went uncovered all winter and still taste so good.
Today is a busy day.... so my post is short....I'm off to make newspaper pots, clean the greenhouse, and hopefully get some more of my pepper seeds started.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Yesterday I ordered my onions from Dixondale Farms. I ordered Candy Apples, Candy, and a variety pack that contains Copra, Red Zeppelin and Sterling. Now, I believe all that is left to order are the potato starts and I will probably get to that those weekend.
Now it is time to get busy and fire up that greenhouse...woot!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Bent reminded me that he blogged about the first buttercup of 2009 and that was actually our very first blog post.....the date was March 21, 2009. That puts us an entire month ahead of time....Wow....I gotta get busy!
Since bulb onions mature in response to changing amounts of daylight there are varieties that work best depending on what part of the county you live. Short-day varieties grow best in the South. Intermediate-day varieties are grown best in the northern Arizona to Washington D.C. area, and Long-day varieties are best suited for the North. However, there are exceptions to the rules: The Intermediate-day varieties can be grown as early onions in the North....which is what we did.
The best soil for these guys is slightly acidic and well-drained. When the tops start to lay over (by themselves) as in the 2nd photo, then you know they are ready to harvest. Then to cure the onions you just place them in a warm, dry place and away from direct sunlight. Short-day varieties cure for a few days before you clip off the tops and roots. Intermediate-day and Long-day varieties cure for up to three weeks. Most properly cured onions should store up to 8 months in a cool basement or root cellar. Using a mesh bag or other "breathable" material to store them is advisable. Be warned that sweet onions do have a shorter storage life than most.
A bit of trivia to leave you with: Did you know the sweet onion became the Texas state vegetable in 1997?
Monday, February 15, 2010
A quick update on the tomato plants I started in December. This is one of the Sweet 100 varieties. I had to stake it today as it is getting rather top heavy. I lost some of my Roma plants to some type of bug...I'm not sure if the seed was bad or it may have been a fungal thing. I tossed all of them just in case it spread to the other plants. Sad.... but a necessity when you risk losing others to the same thing. I have slowly started increasing the time the tomato plants are exposed to darkness in hopes that the plants will start to flower soon. My attitude on this is if it works great, if not it was just an experiment.
The cuke plants are doing great but the cucumber fruits are pretty small. They may need more light than they are getting there in the window but regardless they are cute :)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
To the left is a picture of some of the herbs I started from seed a few weeks back. They are all doing great so far. I have about 70 pots total of parsley, thyme, several different basils, and oregano. Yesterday, I started my eggplant, celery, cayenne peppers, jalapenos and serrano peppers. In all, I seeded about 65 pots. I'm still impatiently waiting for the rest of my pepper seeds to arrive....seems the seed company is holding them captive because one variety is on back order. I also started a few broccoli seeds as an experiment. I want to see if it will transition well to the greenhouse when we fire up the heat here in a few weeks.
Here is a picture of the greenhouse progress...Dad finished putting in the lower shelves before he fell ill last week. (He scared us as he ended up in the hospital but he is now thankfully on the mend) Eventually he is going to add upper shelves along both sides as well....but for now he has to take it easy.
I'm really excited at all the extra space we are going to have this year and if the weather holds, I don't think buying the propane will put us in the poor house :)
Now the pups are barking anxiously at me....so off we go to enjoy the sun!
Monday, February 8, 2010
My grandfather planted this tree after homesteading in the Dalton Gardens area and amazingly enough the tree continues to produce record size fruit. The home to the left, where the apple tree resides, is that of my grandparents who have long since passed away. The story on how my grandparents met is very cool and grandma loved to tell the story. I loved to listen and would sit with her on her sunny porch sipping tea and eating cookies as she told it. Her thick french accent made it all the more enticing to listen to. The story goes something like this: My grandfather was an MP in WWI and stationed in Mimizan, France. His job included securing various buildings in the village. One of those buildings happened to be a hotel owned by my grandmother's parents. Here, they met and courted for the duration of my grandfather's military term. The two could not go anywhere alone during their courtship as my grandmother's parents made her have a chaperon at all times. Although, according to grandma they were able to ditch them every once in a while. (The need for the chaperon was in part because she was very young -14 years younger than my grandpa.) When my grandfather's military term was over, he left France and headed back to the states. He left with only a promise to return and marry my grandmother. From what I can remember of the story my grandfather then homesteaded a property in Glacier, Montana. He stayed his required number of years according to the Homestead Act and once he had title to the property he sold it. With the proceeds, he was able to make his way back to Mimizan, France and it was there that he asked my grandmother's parents the permission to marry their daughter. They were married soon after.... and get this....the wedding party, which took place at the family owned hotel, went on for an entire week. (Do the French know how to party or what?)
The newlywed couple resided in Mimizan for (I don't know the exact timeline) quite some time and later boarded a ship and headed for the U.S. (The boat ride took nearly two weeks.) My grandfather and grandmother eventually homesteaded in the rural outskirts of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho what is now called Dalton Gardens. It was many years later that my grandparents had enough money saved to bring my grandmother's parents to the U.S. as well. My grandpa spent his free time adding on to his home so they would have enough space for their growing family. Later, upon arriving here, my grandma's parents lived with them up until they passed away some years later.
I was lucky to be able to grow up in an area surrounded by family and equally lucky to have the wonderful stories to share with my children. By the way...my childhood home is the one on the right and this is where the family garden is. This same property was all vegetable garden at one point as my grandpa was also an avid gardener. Hmmmm...not a bad idea :)
That must be where I get it :)
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Today I happened to be going through garden photos and found this one. Mom's favorite summer flowers were petunias. She would buy the Wave Petunias and fill an entire garden. We planted those (above) from seed last year and they were beautiful. (I think she had something to do with it :) For some reason the petunias reminded me of a passage from the book "Motherless Daughters" by Hope Edelman. It relates to how our mothers continue to influence our lives long after they are gone. Working together in the garden is but a small part of how my parents influenced me but it was the most memorable. Here is the passage:
By Hope Edelman
"In the redwood ecosystem, buds for future trees are contained in pods called burls, tough brown knobs that cling to the bark of the mother tree. When the mother tree is logged, blown over, or destroyed by fire-when, in other words, she dies-the trauma stimulates the burls' growth hormones. The seeds release, and trees sprout around her, creating the circle of daughters. The daughter trees grow by absorbing the sunlight their mothers cedes them when she dies. The receive the moisture and nutrients they need from their mother's root system, which remains intact underground even after her leaves die. Although the daughters exist independently of their mother above ground, they continue to draw sustenance from her underneath.
For years, I searched for my mother in the air or the cosmos around me. I kept forgetting to look under my feet. The foundation she gave me in my first seventeen years was a solid one. If it hadn't been, I don't think I could have managed on my own after she died....I am fooling myself when I say that my mother exists now only in the photograph on my bulletin board or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay."
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
It's hard to believe that we are still reaping the benefits of the garden and it is almost time to start all over again. This is really only our second season of serious canning so we are gaining a better perspective on how much food we need to get us through the winter. I think we overdid it on the pickles and the pickled peppers (the nursery rhyme how many peppers did Peter Piper pick has new meaning to me) but we were able to give away a lot of those to family and friends. Sharing the bounty is really half the fun for me anyway. Below is a pic of pickles mixed with various garden peppers. We made some into relish and it turned out really good.
Below the pickle picture is our mammoth dill plants. We go through lots of it during the pickling process. The dill plants really did great at my dad's garden. In fact, some reached nearly 5 feet tall. I think they did so well because they were planted behind the pole bean trellis which allowed for some partial shade in the late afternoon. Unfortunately, we had poor results with the dill at my home garden last year. The plants got some sort of bug and never recovered. (that's is why I have the philosophy that you can never have too many plants :) Needless to say, I have already ordered several packets!
Happy garden thoughts to all!