March 11. 2018
It has been a crazy week filled with snow, downed trees and days without power. The house was down to 42 degrees and sitting by the fireplace and kitchen stove was the only place to feel almost warm.
My indoor greenhouse is creeping along. I am happy to see a batch of mushrooms sprouting out here and there, which means that there is a healthy fungi activity going on. I introduced terracotta spikes with water bottles to see how long self-watering can be maintained. It seems to keep the soil damp enough, but a healthy watering in the morning still seems to be best. Heat is 70 to 73 degrees during the day and 55 degrees in the morning when all has been turned off. I think I need to get the heat up a bit hire, and by fixing the walls with the ORCA film the plants may think it is summer.
Secondary leave are coming in on peppers and carrots. Fig one and Fig two are happy!
February 18, 2018
Snow last night accumulated to about 12-13 inches by this morning. Today is about 45 degrees and really great to be outside. Bill and I have bought a rainwater diverter so when the time comes we can set up the rain barrel again. We had to move it with the construction and we set it by a downspout, now we need to finish putting it together.
The peppers and beets I planted last week are sprouting. I will keep them under the lights and heat and then transplant them to my greenhouse beds and see how they do.
February 11, 2018: Old gardening notes.
Dating back to May 1995, May 1996. The garden was in a different location and very ambitious. I had great results, and even the kids would help. I have always gardened, from elementary school up, no matter where I lived.
My dad always had a garden as well. Fond memories of him sitting in the sun, smoking his cigarette, tending to his 365 tomato plants. Zinnias, Marigolds, Cosmos, Four o’Clocks and Balsam seed-fights were summer traditions.
I had salvaged a small maple tree from the side garden in Queens and I put it in my square foot of space that I tended in our yard. When it got too large, my dad and I put it back out on the sidewalk, and there it stayed until the new owners some 30 years later took down all trees and shrubs from the side of the house. I did manage to bring some Japanese Maples to our home, sadly only one survived, but at least its here.
February 11, 2018 …more on the Greenhouse
I have assembled my two Grownomic planters, they look so good, and are so easy to assemble..no nailing, no cutting everything just slips together like Lincoln Logs. I filled them each with two bags of Kellogg organic raised bed soil (and I thought they just made cornflakes…who knew?) I transplanted the greens that I had brought in from the outside beds from the small temporary pots, and I took the first batch of seeds that sprouted from the seed-started pods. I think it is the pac-choy that came up first because the basil has just sprouted and the Jalapeño peppers do take a while to germinate, so we will see when secondary leaves start coming in. I also started some beets (three pods x 3 seeds in each) and carrots.
I have also ordered some fun stuff from WomansWork. Garden gloves (never have too many!) and three spouts that attach to common screw top bottles.
Hoping that we can continue to fix up the greenhouse in two areas: the electric needs to be cleaned up a bit. presently the lights are working off two sources, and an easy water source would be helpful. I do have my rain barrel right outside the door that will be hooked up in the spring, but I would like something inside.
All-in-all it’s moving along as planned, and the days are getting longer!
February 7th, 2018 Update on my “Greenhouse”
Some plants are sprouting (basil) I have transplanted them into larger pots and filled with coconut core. They are getting secondary leaves, and still look pretty sturdy and green. A bean sprouted another one on the way, I am going to keep them in larger pots to see how they do. My Gronomics planters arrived the other day, one has been assembled but I need to get soil, which I will get this week.
My bay tree is failing 😦 I transplanted it into a better mix of soil and trimmed off the dead crispy ends. fingers crossed. The Lemon Verbena pots, on the other hand, are doing very well, and there are Lupins cropping up all over around in the same pot.
Still trying to figure out the perfect humidity/heat ratio, and we should try to put up the walls of white film to keep full spectrum light and heat in the area.
January 21, 2018
January is Planning time!
Went to Home Depot with Bill, bought some seed starting kits from Burpee, as well as some new seeds I will start tomorrow. We took another step in fixing up the indoor Greenhouse downstairs. By adding a heater and setting up some grow lights we increased the temperature from 56 to 66 degrees! The plants weren’t dying, they just were not growing…they weren’t doing anything at all for that matter. Perhaps with the heat, and extra lights the plants will grow robustly.
Little bits at a time!
Planted some Lettuce and Basil , lets see what happens!
October 16, 2017
My hydroponic farm (hahaha) is quite a learning experience. Lentils are sprouted and growing, but they are a bit lanky, even with the grow lights set up. Whats up with that? I need to learn how much light is appropriate, I had them on 24/7 for about a week and the sprouted Arugula was looking a bit burned/dried. I have taken to turning them on only for about 6 hours max. Tonight they were on for about 3. I had planted the extra sprouted lentils in pots of soil, they have shot up about two inches, I have nipped the tops to promote a fuller plant, the color is bright green. I gave all plants a shot of fertilizer “tea” and I rinsed/changed out the water from the setup. I also was a bit concerned about the other little lettuce seeds that are taking waaaayyyy to long to grow, so I open up a row only to find that my hunch (old seeds) was correct. I rinsed the sponges out and planted basil seeds that just arrived from Eden’s Garden.
I potted the Bay tree, and will keep it indoor (I didn’t realize it is zone 8 requirement). Hopefully it will do ok with lights
September 30, 2017
Garden expansion is going well! My plants came in on schedule at September end, and I have been prepping the area outside my raised-bed garden. We have Fruit trees surrounded by fragrant herbs, perennial flowers with a winding stepping stone pathway that I built a couple of weeks ago!
I find it relaxing and rewarding carving out our garden one flower bed at a time.
The Front garden is ready to be reconfigured, I have been rearranging bit by bit, tweaking and dividing plants to tidy up. Tis’ the season!
September 27th, 2017
Harvest time! Tomatoes coming in by the basket! I have decided to try something different this year since I have so many coming ripe at once. I have frozen some plum tomatoes, but I dehydrated the cherry tomatoes.
They are basically like sun-dried tomatoes, but they are not dried by the sun! I am very happy with them. I added a sprinkle of kosher salt and set the dehydrator at 135 degrees for about 24 hours.
I had to order more mason jars to accommodate the canning of all the plum tomatoes. When they come in on Friday I will get busy canning.
And the new, most exciting undertaking (next to the fruit trees) is my hydroponic grow stand and our indoor greenhouse/ garden!
I set up the jumpstart kit from Amazon last night, set up two rows of seed. first row: Arugula, Second Row: Spinach. I am basically giving it a test run, to make sure it doesn’t leak or drip out of any connection. the grow stands from Greenhouse Megastore will be arriving soon, but my plan is to start hydroponically, and then transfer to the traditional system of soil (or some kind of growing media). Maybe I will change my mind…can’t say, but it is all a lot of fun and lots of learning.
I am also enrolled in Cornell Extention MOOC Climate Change class that started September 11 and goes through the 30. All baby steps to eventually become Master Naturalist or at least have some involvement with the science institutions in the area. This has been an exciting September!!
September 2, 2017
Bill and I went to Troy’s Nursery and bought three fruit trees today! It is a learning experience when dealing with pollinators, self-pollinating, cross-pollinating…phew! We ended up getting Red Delicious, and Liberty apple trees (need for two for cross pollinating reasons) and a peach.
I am also ordering some herbs and I intend to increase the size of the garden in a more naturalized, casual format. These new additions will serve as an entry to the orchard area. Added herb plants are:
- Comfrey/ for soil enhancement / mulching
- Bergamot (BeeBalm) / brings pollinators/ color
- Chamomile/fragrance as well as tea
- Catmint/color, and for Sandy
- LemonVerbena/ large greenery, color, fragrance
- “Salem” Rosemary/ culinary, color, fragrance
I am proposing to expand the garden out toward the pool about 6 feet and North about 10 feet. The “orchard” area will accommodate a seating area (quiet space)
August 13, 2017
Tidying up again for the mid summer. Trimmed back annuals that are attempting to go to seed, spent foliage and weeding, weeding, weeding.
Dead heading the roses takes hours, there is a lot to do in one sitting, but I find it relaxing and therapeutic. The roses have really taken off!
Some changes I intend to make for next year’s garden:
- Put the squash and cucumbers on the outside of the garden, rather than in the boxes on the inside. There is just not enough room for cucumbers and squash in a flower box, so this way they can spread their roots.
- Expand the border garden by a few inches, mulch, fertilize and compost the outside
- No potatoes
- Plant garlic in the fall
- Be a little harder on the straggler plants. If there is one thing I learned at work is: the need for real estate makes weeding very easy, and so as with books, I am going to take a hard stand on pulling out late germinating plants. Although healthy looking, they tend to take nutrients from the already established plants and get the garden too congested with leaves.
- Re work the front garden, separate some of the older plants and spread them around in other needy areas.
July 23, 2017
Today was a tidying up day throughout the garden. I found about 8 young Rose of Sharon shoots sprouting up, I pulled them and have them ready to transplant elsewhere where they can tap-root their hearts out! I had no idea that this bush was so invasive!
I trimmed back the lupins and gathered seeds out of the pods. Columbine seeds were harvested as well. I did plant some lupins and butterfly weed seeds in the seed starter hopefully I can get some nice seedlings by fall.
July 15, 2017
The garden is doing nicely. We are harvesting herbs mostly. A peculiar thing is happening to my cucumbers, not sure why. I thought I had purchased the standard long cucumber, however, they have been ripening as curly, deformed (but tasty!) fruit. Does anyone have any idea why this is happening?
The rest of the garden looks great. Potatoes are not so hot this year, greenery died off sooner than usual without blooming. I may harvest, and plant beets after I check to see if there will be enough time to mature.
June 22, 2017
Summer is here! The garden is taking off. I purchased a Yimbly Tumbler to help with my composting and to keep my puppy from eating scraps from the top of the heap! I purchased a soil tester to keep track of the quality of my garden bed soil. So, I am armed and ready for another season of Gardening at 3 Pines.
Cucumbers look good! And first round of Zuccini flowers are out. After topping off the pots with compost a new crop of cherry tomatoes sprouted. I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with.
May 21st, 2017
After a week off after Mothers Day (which was lovely, Thank You fam!) We have planted our garden. Home Depot purchased tomatoes, lettuce(s) herbs and Local Nursery flats of flowers all went into the soil during the course of the week.
With a little “help” from Toulouse I got a lot of work done. He assisted in loosening up the potting soil before I repotted some flowers throughout the garden, and made sure that there were no critters lurking in the dirt, after all he is a terrier and that is his job.
Bill put his peppers in for a second year in our raised beds. They had done well last year, he has varied the types slightly, with only one “crazy hot” style. We cut back on the amount of tomatoes as well, best give them room to grow this year. Last years were a bit snug with six in a bed, this year only 4 in each should bring larger tomatoes
The weather was 90+ for two days really waaay too hot to be outside,but we were out anyway 🙂 I used soil from last years composting to fill in some areas that were a little low on soil. I was really impressed at the result! So its time to start saving kitchen scraps again!
We also learned from last year, that although the Zinnias were beautiful, the did overtake the garden edging, so this year we are keeping it low and putting impatiens along the edge. Lets see how this works for the cucumbers and zucchini this year.
May 7, 2017
Its Spring again! Time to plan out the garden beds. All is cleaned up ready for a new summer season of plants!
There is some lettuce sprouting, I have transplanted them into the “Greens” section of the one flower bed. My chives have come back in full force as you can see. Rhubarb is coming back, and the Blueberries look really good so far, lets hope that we can actually EAT some this year!
Spring 2016 The Very Beginning of it all
Its Spring 2016 and we finally have a GardenSpot to build upon. For the past two years no matter what we tried, all was trashed. The roofers did their roofing, the painters did their painting, and the garden…well, the garden just seemed to get underfoot.
Now to get down to business. Last weekend (March 12&13) I went to get all the soil for the raised beds. I went with Organic Raised Bed Mix by Miracle Grow…hopefully they truly made an organic mix I am going on faith with this. I purchased two 1.5 cu ft of organic garden soil as well to fill in the tops/cover as I go when ready to transplant into the beds.I also added a couple of scoops of organic potting soil so it loosened up a bit.
All raised beds in place, gravel placed on the ground. The grey may look a little stark, but I have plans to fill other areas with additional pots of flowers, herbs, trellised growing veggies and in the final garden I want it to look magical, and colorful. The landscape architect still needs to fence this in, and the fencing that I choose will end up as a nice trellis, filling in as a green wall on the north side of the garden. Cucumbers, an squash can grow vertically, and they give a lot of bang for the buck all season long so they will probably be the plant of choice on the north side
March 19, 2016:
Beets are up after four days after I planted them in the seed starter. Just read that they are not good for transplanting, oh well. I did plant the rest of the lettuce, arugula and butterfly plants. Mary and I went to Home Depot and got the final planter filled with soil. Snow due in tomorrow’s forecast.
March 20, 2016:
A bit more shopping and planning today. We went to Home Depot to check up on Window boxes, but nothing that struck us. We did get some additional seeds and planting supplies, and when we got home we did a layout to scale and this is what we came up with:
I then went online and came up with a company called “Hooks and Lattice” Window boxes made to any size needed, they had a beautiful variety, and I think I settled on this style. I have a few questions so I have a call into them and we will see… We would need to get some stain to match the color of the deck. I think we will get two and put them on the windows facing east and northeast (see layout) as they will get the most sun, and also the flowers that I intend on putting in there will bring bees and be seen from the rest of the backyard.
Enough for today. Snow in the forecast for tonight and that means a mess going to work tomorrow 😦
March 21, 2016
March 22, 2016
Pretty much all seeds germinating!
Fresh seeds make a difference for sure . I will need to get the beets out ASAP so they don’t get spindly
March 23, 2016
The beets were growing so fast, I have put them outside today. I didn’t want to take a chance of them getting spindly and unhealthy. The rest of the tray is sprouted and so I have removed the tray top, and am allowing them to be in the open air. More than likely I will add more potatoes to that flat, and consider it the root veggie bed.
April 2, 2016
Does this look familiar? Snow again last night! It won’t last, not after 60 degree days we have had. I have put the beets outside, but the cold days that we had all but finished them off only a few sprouts remain, can’t say I didn’t expect that to happen!
I also had put the potatoes out, I think they will do fine they are a few inches into the soil, but if they don’t make it I will put a few more in, no worry.
The Lettuce varieties I had started need have all sprouted and I need to get them outside as soon as it stops snowing in the evenings!
April 23, 2016
The weather has been chilly, and some mornings below freezing. We had gone to home depot last weekend and picked up some additional hanging flower pots, trellises and some early season greens …we just are itching to see something growing in these garden beds. The next week was warming up, less frosty mornings, a plastic covering over the greens were able to keep the frost off. The arrival of the window boxes was an exciting day! We installed them after staining, under the porch windows, and when it stops raining this weekend I will start filling them with potting soil. These boxes will be for flowers preferably perennials, but some annuals for instant gratification.
The trellises are mounted behind the pots that I intend to have climbing plants. Cucumbers, squash (I am going to train them to go “up” perhaps a climbing flower to mix in some color). My intention was to have them define the garden space without putting up an occlusive fence. As long as the property perimeter fencing is done, I won’t need any deer netting. Lets hope the fencing goes up before the season ends.
I had planted some seeds, and some potatoes in my root veggie bed, today Saturday I have noticed that the beets are sprouting, and some potatoes are breaking through! I love growing potatoes because you can actually get a few meals out of a plant. Unlike green beans (yuk) where you watch a plant grow an entire season and you get…a bowl. I am not willing to invest an entire garden bed on green beans….
Beautiful day today, we got may thing accomplished! Bill stained the outside of the garden beds, I was hesitant as I thought it was a lot of work, and it was but they look amazing!
We purchased some annuals and I put them into the window boxes as well as the hanging baskets. I also dug a border garden and planted some annual zinnias. This will help define the borders of the garden without actually fencing it
These are sunset pics, kind of hard to see detail, but the idea is there!
May 12, 2016
The Plants have arrived!!
Bill always gets hot pepper plants from a nursery in New Jersey. The nursery packages the plants up so well, each package is an engineering piece of art! I am positive that the box to joust around in transit, and no harm will come to any of the seedlings.
So this Sunday we will put them into the garden, and finally after two years we can hope for a harvest of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini &acorn squash.
As for the rest of the plants, they are all settling in and growing nicely, herbs mostly , but the potatoes are doing well, beets have sprouted and I have planted some perennial flowers to add to the garden as well.
May 14th 2016
My garden has undergone many changes in the past two seasons, one being that I have moved the compost pile to a new location in closer proximity to the garden. Now that it is only down a staircase, I thought it would make more sense to have the compost near the garden, and near the kitchen for obvious reasons.
I have had a question on my mind that has been bothering me since I have started this years garden. I put organic garden soil in the beds, I plant organic plants, and I use organic fertilizer. The kitchen scraps that I add to my compost pile are not always “organic” as in veggies and greens that are not labeled “organic” but are not GMO. My question is can I put non “organic” compost material in my organic garden and still consider my garden an “Organic Garden”?
According to Brooklyn Botanic Garden (this is a great article BTW) http://www.bbg.org/gardening/article/composting_basics
- Question: In the article, it says put organic fruit and veggie scraps—does that mean we can only compost organically grown veggies and fruit waste?
- BBG Staff answer: Here, “organic” means anything derived from living matter. Any such materials that will decay during the composting process will work. That being said, the fewer residual pesticides from garden clippings or kitchen waste the better for your compost, especially if it is intended for growing edibles.
I have my answer-sort of. I have a feeling that over time without pesticides , lots of organic matter and lots of TLC the garden can be considered an Organic Garden..we’ll see how it goes.
May 15, 2016
We put in our plants today. It was a bit windy, and on the chilly side (52 degrees), but all are in the dirt.
I just have to show you the amazing variety of lettuce and greens we have been eating already! Photo on right is a shot of the plants were put in today. It may not look like much as of yet, they were only in maybe 1/2 hour so they are still a bit in shock.
May 29th, 2016
It has been a week or two of just maintenance, watering , cultivating watching and waiting do see what was going to happen to the wind-blown half of the garden. As it went, we lost two tomatoes, one that was a goner since it arrived, it just finally completed the task of withering away, the other was a surprise death, but we rallied and Bill bought three more beefsteak-type tomatoes and two plants of cherry tomatoes that are suppose to get 6’high.
And to update the status of our perennial garden upfront: plants have returned, not the same ones that were blooming first last year, but bleeding hearts, shasta daisies iris’s and here is a new one; LUPINES!!! Believe it or not after all my life of gardening in Queens and in Westchester this is the first time I have been able to actually bring a lupine to the flowering point. I am having difficulty with the wild grasses but they are coming around gradually.
June 11, 2016
We have been eating salad for two months now! the zucchini, cucumbers and squash have started to take off. I fertilized everything today and cultivated the soil all around the plants to work it in. I repotted the Hibiscus until I can find a permanent home for it.
Fence is going up around the property, so bambi will have to remain in the woods and out of my garden. I planted the rest of the lupines that I started from seed, and I need to start a new crop of greens. The “Home Depot” collection is growing scarce, my arugula bolted, so I need to trim back the shoots and see if I can extend the plants a bit more.
July 8th, 2016
An update. June 18th I took many pictures, artsy-type pics of the potato blossoms and basically all the flowers that are open now. But also I wanted to document how nicely the layout is working, and how full and colorful things are looking!
Today I wanted to show what kind of veggies are coming in! We have three types of tomatoes (meaning plum, beefsteak-type and cherry/grape size tomatoes.
We also have some peppers coming in (I think it’s time to harvest some of these they are getting pretty big!) We have noted that next year we will stick to ordering just the peppers from this mail order company. Tomatoes aren’t bad, but they had gotten off to a rough start. On the whole they are looking better now, but the ones we got from the local nursery look wayyyy better.
I am tying up my cucumbers and squash to train them to go up the trellis, still not crazy about the way they look… a bit yellow-leafed.
Eggplant is total dud. It has the same 4 leaves that had sprouted right after I put it in
Couldn’t wait to check the beets, I really should have thinned them out, I don’t think they will amount to much. Next batch I know better. I have re-inserted them into the dirt and crossed my fingers.
July 23, 2016
We have been eating potatoes, peppers (not together, although that would be the makings of a Western Omelette by adding eggs) and harvesting basil for pesto sauce. Tomatoes are ripening (cherry and grape size version) and the others are following probably by next week. I am a bit disappointed with the zucchini , squash and cucumbers. I realize the male/female flower situation with the squash, but I think the issue may be that they are in the smaller flower pots, and the dirt may not have come to the top of the pot. All that aside, the garden is coming along very well and we are pleased with the progress.
Some changes that may come: I would love to get my rain barrel up and running again. It took a beating when the house was power washed and bleached. A little TLC and the proper connections will have it working again.
Sept 19, 2016
Well the season is just about over. We took down the tomato plants yesterday. It was sad, but we got a fairly decent crop of the tomatoes we chose. The cherry tomatoes were great, good turnout, a lot of production, not sure we well get quite so many next year. Peppers were also very good, they are still producing. we were satisfied with the choice of peppers (devils tounge so hot as well as the habaneros…almost TOO hot) Bill made a great sweet/hot sauce from them. Potatoes were fun, in fact I must have left one in the ground, I am getting another plant! Basil was amazing until sept 1st when there was a cold snap and all the leaves turned yellow and dropped off! I learned my lesson to harvest early and often! there are still scallions, rosemary, lavender, oregano and a new crop of lettuce coming up, so not totally finished yet! The Zinnias are taking over the outside borders, they came out surprisingly well