Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Potatoes and ponderings

My dad and I spent most of yesterday planting potato seed in the family garden. We utilized the potato planting tools that were passed down from both of my grandpas. They still work like a charm.....the only problem was that the newly tilled soil still has a lot of sod pieces in it. This made it a little tough to get to the 5 inch depth we were shooting for. I think that all in all we did a pretty good job though : )
Preparing for the farmer's market has unfortunately put me a bit behind my planting schedule so I happily accepted when dad offered to help with the potatoes.

As we spent the day working together I reflected on our past as father and daughter. Like any relationship, there were good times and difficult times....As a little girl, I remember dad throwing me up on his shoulders when my small feet were too tired to take another step....I remember him setting up the boy scout tent in our backyard so my brothers and I could sleep outside during the summer... I also remember the fishing trips to Hayden Lake, the long family bike rides at Farragut State Park, and the vacations to Penticton BC. Those moments I will never forget. I would however, like to forget my "trying" teenage years full of rebellion and chaos....but I thank both my parents for their patience and love and for always leading through example. My mom, of course, is no longer here on earth... but she's here in spirit and still guiding us all. I am grateful to both of them and all of life's lessons they have taught me.....And for the record....I was looking.... : )

This poem in "A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul" by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan says it all for me:

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking

When you thought I wasn't looking you hung my first painting on the refrigerator

And I wanted to paint another.

When you thought I wasn't looking you fed a stray cat and I thought it was good to be kind to animals

When you thought I wasn't looking you baked a birthday cake just for me

And I knew that little things were special things

When you thought I wasn't looking you said a prayer

And I believed there was a God that I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn't looking you kissed me good-night

And I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come from your eyes

And I learned that sometimes things hurt but that it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking you smiled

And it made me want to look that pretty too.

When you thought I wasn't looking you cared

And I wanted to be everything I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking I looked...

And wanted to say thanks for all those things you did

When you thought I wasn't looking.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Market work day

Saturday was the official Kootenai County Farmer's Market work day. Basically, working members of the market volunteer their time to set up booths, paint them and clean up the surrounding area. It was a very chilly and blustery day but everyone seemed determined to move forward and get the tasks done. Since this is my first year at the market, I didn't really know anyone but I quickly made friends with several very nice people. Daisy Girl and I spent most of our time helping move the booths and painting. There were lots of people involved and I was actually a bit surprised that things went so seamlessly.... they have quite a organized system.

I found out that our booth will be #9 which is located in the northeast corner of the market near Prairie Ave. The market opens on May 8th which is Mother's Day weekend. We will have vegetable starts for sale during early May and then produce once our crops start to mature. We will have lots of cauliflower, broccoli, cukes and tomatoes. I'm excited and nervous about opening day...nervous because I think I should have more plants growing but my greenhouse is maxed out...I guess this year will be the test run and by next year I will have a better idea of what to expect...(maybe I will need another greenhouse.) If nothing else, it should prove to be a fun experience. : )

See you at the market!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The welcome and the uninvited.

This is a pic of one of the tomatoes that I started in the closet back in early February. It has been in the greenhouse now for nearly a month and although it looks a little rough, I think it's going to pull through. The temps in the greenhouse can go as low as 50 degrees until the heat kicks on.... so all the fluctuation has probably stressed it a bit. I have been waiting ever so patiently for the buds to flower and I got my wish yesterday....the first bloom!!! I hope this means early tomatoes but we shall see!

We had about a week of really nice temperatures and the peppers were really diggin that...they are really starting to get stocky now. I was going to give them a shot of organic fertilizer yesterday but it turns out the fertilizer I had just purchased was full of nasty moths....I have never seen anything like it...and yes they were alive...(See pic below)...I know it's a poor picture but I think you can get the idea....I guess I won't be buying that brand anymore...jeez what if they hadn't hatched out until I fertilized in the greenhouse.......I would not be happy about that!

Below the nasty moths is a pic of the broccoli and the Tango celery....they are really starting to get big now too...hopefully they will be good and strong by May 9th...the first day of the farmer's market.

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Corn rows and onion overload.

I put in 6 rows of corn seed yesterday which will equate to approximately 500 plants. (in the garden on the left) Once they start popping up I will thin them to about 10 inches apart...I failed at proper thinning last year and we had a lower than usual yield...yes, I have learned my thinning lesson : )

Today I will go and help my dad rake out the new gardens... we still have to remove some sod clumps and then they should be ready to go!

Thanks to my husband and brother we also got the Walla Walla Sweet onions in the ground over the weekend. Now I just have to find room for the 150 Texas Sweet onions that came via UPS yesterday....oops forgot about that order...lol! Did I mention that if you have a spare garden I would gladly utilize it... : )

I have lots of work to do... so I'm off to dig it up!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peas, pumpkins and a neurotic dog.

A week or so ago we had 50 mph wind gusts which caused a lot of damage to the cold frames. I decided to take the plastic off the peas since the temps are near 70 today anyway and the forecast is calling for more of the same nice weather. I'm afraid they will fry under the plastic.... The chives are growing like crazy and separating them will be my next task..........I also started sowing my lettuce seed today. From Seed Savers, I planted Forellenschuss and Rossa di Trento. From last year's seed inventory, I planted some Yugoslavian Red lettuce and baby romaine. Tomorrow I hope to finish putting in the greens and perhaps some more beets.
The Atlantic Giant pumpkins are looking pretty....hopefully they won't take over the greenhouse before they can go in the ground. Bent suggested we go ahead and put them in the ground with a cold frame over them...I'm not quite ready to chance that yet, but maybe in the next couple of weeks. They are my babies afterall...

On a side note...Buddy (one of our Viszla pups) has developed a neurosis of sorts...I have no idea why...but he has developed a fear of being near the garden....He will act all scared, go in the greenhouse and not come out....(wait that's me that does that)....I thought perhaps he got a jolt from the electric fence but the fence is set to come on at 6pm and we are always at the garden much earlier than that....He is even freaking out on bugs...like flies especially... and then I thought maybe he got stung by a bee...(he used to eat bees last year). It's a doggy mystery for sure....perhaps I should call a dog shrink...lol...All I know is that Buddy's sister just wants him to go out and play.

Monday, April 12, 2010

And you thought I was kidding...

I have no idea how we managed last year with just two and a half shelves in the greenhouse. Even with the addition of 2 upper shelves and 2 lower shelves it appears I am running out of room....oh what to do? I was half way kidding a while back when I mentioned using the space below the bottom shelves for more plants....but guess what? I have no choice but to move the mature herbs and broccoli down below to make room for our larger transplants....namely, the four Atlantic Giant pumpkins that are taking up lots of space...it's unbelievable how fast they are growing and they have already set some fruit....It's like someone snuck in and pumped them full of steroids or something... lol! In addition, the peppers were repotted into larger pots so space is really getting limited. Last year we were able to plant most everything into the ground by late May and early June. Hopefully the current weather trend holds and we can plant most of the garden a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. If not, Dan's (at Urban Veggie Blog) idea of utilizing the greenhouse walkway may still come to pass. : )

An important message to pet owners

A good friend of ours sent me an email this morning regarding the possible dangers of cocoa mulch. Apparently, the mulch which is sold in many retail stores contains a potentially fatal chemical that could kill your pets. Click here for the story

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Almost there!

It appears that the greenhouse is nearly full of plants now...unless I were to utilize the floor beneath the shelves...which I am seriously considering.... I moved over 100 baby broccoli plants into their new home yesterday and now I am repotting my celery and cabbage. Last year I didn't need to repot many plants before putting them in the garden but I started them several weeks later than this season. Many gardeners in our area are skittish on starting plants too soon for fear of frost....not me! I say go forth and garden boldly! I am lucky to have the greenhouse because it does buy more time...I also gain growing time and save on propane by utilizing the closet space with grow lights before moving things out to the greenhouse...(sorry family).

Below is a picture of some Totem Patio tomatoes...they were started under LED lights. I wish now I would have planted more as they appear to be doing quite well. Below the Totem's are some Cherokee Purple tomatoes (Thank you Thomas!!!) and they are coming along nicely as well. The next pic was my experimental broccoli...I wanted to see how it would do in the greenhouse.... I wish I grew more of those also...The very last pic is our Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkins for which I may need more room real soon!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cukes gone crazy!

Just a quick greenhouse update: We started nearly 100 more cukes just a few weeks ago and they are growing like crazy...so much that we had to already repot them from their original peet starter pots. The main variety we grow are the Straight 8's because they make great slicers. In addition, we are growing Organic Lemon cukes, Eurekas, A & C Pickling, Cucinos and Iznik. The Cucinos are more of a greenhouse cuke (they did great in my windowsill during the winter months) but I'm going to try growing them on a trellis in the garden. We also started an additional 80 broccoli, 80 cabbage and over 100 celery plants...all of which need repotting and thus the short blog post today! Happy spring planting! Oh and for you local folks following on Facebook be sure to check out the discussion tab on The Beer Garden fan page...I am posting several great recipes and updates on what will be available at market time!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mr. Miyagi style

Ever since my brothers and I were little, my parents always found unique ways to teach us valuable life lessons....Mr. Miyaga style. Much like in the movie, The Karate Kid, many of these lessons came with a task such as washing the car, mowing the lawn, cleaning the pasture, or weeding the garden....I can hear Mr. Miyaga now..."wax on, wax off".

It was a family rite of passage when you became old enough to mow the lawn...(and we're not talking riding lawn mower here) ....and this was of course only after your several year term of car washing and cow poop duty. Lawn duty was a big deal because you got $20 a week....(this was a 2-3 hour job). Regardless of the task at hand, dad always taught us to do a good job and if we didn't....he would firmly but gently make us do it over....In fact, his phrase, "if you're going to do something, do it right the first time" is forever etched in my mind. In addition to teaching us kids to work hard he always taught us to be kind, play fair and to do your part. I don't think I realized it at the time, (like Daniel in the movie) but those menial chores actually taught me things like patience, kindness, honesty and team work. This past weekend was no exception. Our family got together over the Easter weekend and my dad, having recently purchased a new rototiller, decided we should have a lesson on how to operate it. As you can see from the picture, there is some definite team work going on here....by the time dad was done "teaching" the boys how to operate the rototiller, the garden tilling was nearly done. Way to go dad!

Check out the pic below for a close up version of the new rototiller!