October 6, 2019 It’s been awhile!
I have been posting mostly on my insta account @weedie_in_the_garden these days, seems like “the picture is worth a thousand words” is easier to do in between harvesting, preserving cooking and planning next crop!
Although it is sad topping off tomato plants knowing the season has ended, it is also exciting germinating fall crops and getting them into the newly cleared garden bed. I
I have since added Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mustard, Kale and onions. Garlic just arrived! I have not been planting it the past two years, but I alway enjoy having my home grown crop in the summer. Last year I made the mistake of trying the grocery store organic garlic cloves…they never came up. I checked the packaging and realized they had been cultivated in Mexico! They didn’t have a chance with the cold winter…live and learn.
This season I am also venturing into covering my raised beds with “greenhouse” tents. I purchased them from Gardeners supply, they are easy to assemble, they come with a clear plastic zipper panels for extending seasons and green screens for shading during heat of summer.
They are inexpensive (compared to the cost of a real greenhouse) and hopefully will last a few seasons. It is still fairly warm outside and we haven’t had any killing frost yet, I probably jumped the gun on putting it up so early, but I really wanted to see how it worked. So I have one up and three in the garage waiting to be put together
August 17, 2019 Fall Cleanup has started!
This was Friday Evening’s dinner: Corn, Tomato Salad (didn’t use the cucumber) pan seared Schisito peppers add: 1 porterhouse steak for two, glass of wine voila! The tomatoes have been coming in steady and are very good this year. Of coarse, this is the first year we have raised beds (on the ground as opposed to the elevated raised beds)
The corn is not quite a fail, but it is tough, and only a few kernals per ear developed fully. I need to see what the problem was…too wet?, too cool? not enough nutrients? too far apart? We can try again next year, all is not lost.
The garden needs to be cleaned up. Squash leaves have powdery mildew, some tomato plants are spent and need to come out, and I do want to start another crop of fall plantings. Kale, cauliflower, carrots for starters.This year I want to plant succession crops until killer frost if possible. I may want to invest in either glass or plastic film.
Got a great shot of the (catepillar stage) Milkweed Tussock Moth on my butterfly (Asclepias tuberosa) This moth, like the Monarch Butterfly adapts to the toxins of the milkweed and makes itself posionous to predators. Bright colors are also the warning sign to stay clear, but in the evening, or night when it flies about, it looks white. Is the warning color for night polinators white? Ill need to look that up!
Happy to see so many Bees this year as well! The garden has been hopping with butterflies bees and moths. Rarely do I see Hummingbirds 😦 I had three cardinal plants that continually got mowded down to nothing, I guess they stopped trying.
Looking forward to my next crop and setting up the greenhouse downstairs again this year.
July 13, 2019: Mid-July tidy up
Had 5 hours of solid weeding, trimming, and watering today. A lot of time to get up-close to all the critters that help make the food as well. What started out a bit splotchy in spring is filling in nicely now. I have been trying to define pathways and keep the Tansy trimmed low so it acts like a ground cover. Not sure if it is the best of choices, the creeping thyme has done a good job spreading and is in full bloom now.
I happened to see some kind of flying thing injecting (?) inoculating something into the branch of our Red Delishous apple tree, I took a chance with this and I just trimmed off the branch. Come what may, either way I have a feeling it wasn’t going to be good for the tree. I tend to give plants ultamatums: Either you live, or you don’t but I do what I think may be in the best interest for the plant. We will see what comes of this trimming
Tomatoes are starting to ripen, and it is time to plant another batch of peas. For some reason the peas that were doing so well suddenly browned up and had absolutly no root system. Since I have never grown them before, I am not sure what is the normal. I intend to get back to my “to do” list tomorrow, after 5 hours I am in need of cool down time (and maybe a nap)
June 22, 2019: Happy day after Summer Solstice!
Another weekend of no rain forecast,Yay! So I made my “to do” list and started early this morning, first and foremost by deadheading my knockout roses. I know that it may not be necessary (acording to the person I bought them from) but I feel that the decaying petals, and the rain etc, etc.. opens up the plants to so many more issues its just better, and very theraputic to tenderly hands-on trim each spent bloom. In the long run, they look perky and it helps to see the new blooms.
I moved on from there to the vegetable beds. Light fertilization and mulching with straw hopefully will give a boost to my green beans which look a bit yellow to me. My “three sisters” concept of corn, beans and squash is getting off to a wimpy start due to cooler, wet weather here in Westchester, but I am hoping it will take off when the season gets warmer.The soil in the beds is also fresh from..? wherever the landscaper got it from. Its nothing like the landfill (fill in 4 letter word with an “s” here) that the contractors put on the rest of the property. This soil is quality garden bed soil, I had laid down lots of composty material underneath before they filled the beds. Many earth worms, maybe not 15:one shovel full but enough to make me happy for this season.
Looking up towards my apple trees, to my horror I see some Tent Caterpillar webs on the top branch. Not willing to ride it out like I did last year I took my shears and nipped off the webby part. Not sure about the idea of nipping off things at this time of year, but the tree would be stressing over the bugs, and fruiting at the same time anyway, so it seems like a 50/50 chance that it is the lesser of two evils. I spoke nicely to tree while I was snipping, I hope it undersood I had good intentions :). While I had my shears out I trimmed back some of the Tansy which rages out of control after healthy rain (I spoke nicely to Tansy as well 🙂
Overall, the front garden is coming in exactly as I want it to. Nice layering and flowering going on, happy that I thinned some of the JoePye bushes, although they will spread even more than they are now. The Day Lillies are just about ready to bloom, hopefully the deer will steer clear…fingers crossed.
Lovely little magenta flowers blooming (cant remember their names but I will update this post when I get it) they are a great filler plant that creeps throughout the garden, seems to have diminished a bit since last year, not sure why, but happy to see it still spreading.
On another note we ate our first Fig! The tree is doing well, and there are many new leaves and figs on the way. It was not very sweet, not sure why but I am hoping that future figs will taste better due to the TLC they are getting 🙂 The Nectarine tree is coming around as well, I was a bit concerned as it looked way too stressed to spring back, but it did!
June 8th, 2019: Garden update
If you glanced at my home page I mentioned a few updates, however here is where I really get into the gardening talk! The stone paths look amazing now that all the grass(ish) growth has come in. Wildflowers are returning in the areas we wanted to expand as a meadow, and it seems that they lawn mower men have not gotten so agressive and
If you look carefully into the green you can see all the low wildflowers peeking through, I am hoping that they will establish during the summer and then come back a bit heftier next year.
And on an even happier note, two fig trees that I thought were dead (Fig 1 and Fig 2 from last season!) Actually came back from the root! I was so surprised to see Fig 1 cluster of leaves close to the ground, I ran to see if Fig 2 was following suit and there was one small leaf popping its head out of the ground…back from the dead, or so I thought
April 27th, 2019: Progress on Evergreen project
The paths are laid, the equipment area is shored up and secure. We did scatter some seeds, the grass has been planted and covered with straw. I do see some of our flowers peeking out from under the leaf mulch. So looking forward to Mothers Day planting date!
March 29th, 2019: The Evergreen Project Begins
Today we decided we are going to transform our property from an open field of moss, and nasty-not-worth-keeping grass into a freeform wildflower meadow and raised beds. My intent is to photo document the progress.
This is last years wildflower garden. I broke off some of the high leftover wild sticks, some still there. Lots of new perennials coming up under the mulch!
We tossed leftover seeds down the hills to the front and to the left of this patch to expand on it. Last year we had an amazing Jimson weed right at the far corner of the pool, I wonder if it will be coming back
Terrible rivulet erosion going on here 😦 mulch and seeding needed to keep this under control. I think we will have a stone stair installed heading down to the pool equipment. In that way we can naturalize and stop erosion
Finally, the horrendous grass-like stuff that is (barely) covering the field is shameful. I can lift it off in handfuls. We ordered some low wildflower mix with lots of clover and other native perennial wildflowers. The soil is in such bad shape…compacted, and absolutely no nutrients at all. It will be fun watching how we can transform this sterile waste into a beautiful natural rich soil with thriving life above as well as below ground!
In between all this mix of flowers, I will be adding some additional middle-height shrubs for structure. Another week or so, and I will update.
March 28, 2019: Something Destructive, Something Constructive
Well, mice are at it again 😦 A good chunk of my corn plants have been eaten as well as all of my cucumber seeds unearthed and gone! So I have repotted the larger plants that keep the dome open, and I have put them into an old fish tank with a screen on top. Maybe that will give them a chance to at least get big enough to go outside.
The good news is we built 4 raised beds for outside garden expansion
All leveled and ready, we need to get post tops and soil! We intend to expand into another part of the back garden using the beds to hold more plants so we can harvest more that one green bean or one serving of potatoes! Now if only the mice will allow my plants to grow!
March 27, 2019: Record breaking germination time!
On the 24th I planted some corn in the start pots, put them on the heating pad and covered with the dome. Yesterday I saw sprouts popping through! I have never seen something germinate so fast!
March 24, 2019: Greenhouse Update
Spring has arrived outside, and it is apparent inside as well. The longer light has brought around lemon tree flower buds, flourishing green beans and Blue Hubbard squash flowers. It may be possible to harvest a SERVING of green beans ! I imagine if I were to trellis the beans (do you do that with bush beans?) they may continue to produce. I fertilized again today, realizing that “artificial outside” needs nutrients because it just does not have the mineral content of outside soil.
Today I will plant additional outside plant seeds. Basil, more green beans cucumbers, squash. Six weeks to Mothers day…the day that means it is safe to sew directly into the soil! As I was walking around the garden stepping stones today the sun felt warm, but the buds were still packed away tight on the fruit trees. Outside is still thawing.
March 2, 2019: Round three of seeding
I have put another few green bean plants in, they have germinated and are growing rapidly…I love how quickly they take off! My basil plants started showing green and then of coarse something has snipped off the tops. These are still in domed seed starting packs
This is what is left of the Basil Sprouts 😦
The other thing that I am trying is to revive my trumpet vine sprouts. They have rooted nicely since the fall. I made the mistake of poring in some liquid fertilizer, perhaps the ratio was not correct, or perhaps my ignorance of the wrong chemical combo 5-10-5? 3-0-0 ugh
I think these are suffering from too much nitrogen, and maybe a case of too-wet feet. I repotted them in dryer soil, and put them under the lights, now lets see if they revive.
I also gave a shot of fertilizer to both raised beds. Green beans and squash doing well.
February 23, 2019: Drastic measures!
Time to take out the clippers. I cut back my Lemon Verbena plants, removed any baby leaves and cleared the pot of leaf refuse in an attempt to rid my greenhouse of whitefly. After a thorough clipping I examined the leaves just to confirm that this indeed was what was still flitting around.
It was painful to trim back my plants, but honestly they looked pretty bad, like they were suffering through the winter. I also gave my pepper plant a good cut back, I am not sure what that had, my suspicion was chili thrips which is common in a greenhouse setting.
Another nasty thing I saw lurking was scale. I spotted those on my Bay Laurel plant. A spraying of soap and a bit of alcohol may help until my neem oil arrives on Tuedsay. Can’t come soon enough for me!
Another issue still unresolved arePillbugs! Still wandering through the new squash and bean bed. The stronger plants are holding out, but the slighter stems are nibbled at. I guess another dose of Diatomacious Earth is in order.
February 2, 2019: Challenges and Successes
This is really the first winter of my indoor greenhouse set up. Looking back at the past season I am evaluating what went right, and what went wrong and moving forward how can I adjust to make this a fruitful indoor garden.
Proper lighting. The lighting has worked out well. Full spectrum has resulted in sturdy, happy green leaves. length of time seemed fine roughly 12 hours maybe a tad more or less over a week
Workshop area. The area in which I actually plant, repot was working fine until today. I find what is happening is that I need to set up a new germination area. Once the seeds sprout I have to get them out of the domed tray or they start to touch the top, or worse, I need that surface and I need the worklight. I will need to reconfigure some space.
Pest Control: This has been my biggest challenge so far this winter. What the mice don’t eat, the pillbugs finished off. It is so disheartening to see all the little sprouts pop out one day, and by the next morning…nothing. Trapping, and Diatamaceos Earth, peppermint cottonballs are all in place and I will be watching to see how all this heavy artillery will be playing out. I would like to actually see SOMETHING grow to maturity. Carniverous plants have helped control the gnats as well until I put the DE down.
Grow Film, heating and humidity: We sectioned off the main area with wooden screens we have carried with us since Brooklyn days. By closing off the platform area, and covering / enclosing the window side with the grow film (Beware of Killer Harvests! is there tag line), adding a simple humidifier and free standing oil heater, I have been able to maintain a 65-73 degree temperature with a 25-35 percent relative humidity. Still not sure if this is the ideal, but we will see when I actually get plants into the beds.
Installation of Shelving with Root cellar bins will be helpful for utility storage and (wishful thinking) bumper crops of root veggies!
I will be working on these adjustments and just keep trying to get it all to work
January 26, 2019 Greenhouse updated: on the offence!
We are well into winter. I harvested the last of my indoor basil, and lost the rest to an infestations of microscopic thrips that sucked the life out of the leaves and made it incredibly unappealing to eat. So out they came and a healthy dose of soapy water on the remaining Swiss Chard, which is starting to come around again. I hated the thought of having no green, so I am leaving them in until I get other crops to grow. But first to rid my greenhouse of mice and pillbugs.
Step one: We have sucessfully removed a number of mice. I am not going to admit how many, but we got rid of half by trap and release, and half the old fashioned way. I miss my cat, she had sucessfully kept all furry intruders at bay and I never realized how good she was at it until now. I now will keep the mice (if any) away from my greenhouse with some peppermint-oil soaked cottonballs. I had a few sprouted squash plants that I put into one of my raised beds, and I put a camera on it to see if I could catch a glimpse of any mice in the act of eating my sprouts, and instead what I caught on camera was major pillbug activity! Honestly looked like a highway!
Step Two: Diatomaceous Earth. I have purchased some food grade Diatomaceous earth from Chewy.com and I sprinkeled it onto the cleared area. Lets see if this clears out the infestation, and my sprouts can grow. I have also preped some beets, radishes, green beans to sprout and I want to put them in the raised bed as soon as they are ready to see if I can actually grow something with some kind of pest eating it before it gets secondary leaves.
It has been quite a learning winter.
Sept 23, 2018 HAPPY FALL!
Fall is officially here! Our Favorite time of year. Today I was repotting, seed prepping and cleaning up the greenhouse to prepare for the plants that are still outside to be moved in.
Bill hung up the wall hanging system in the cellar so I have an organized space to winterize all the tools. Simple solution was to paint some wood flats that have been in the cellar for ages, and hang them on a painted cement wall
I moved all the greenhouse Basil and Swiss chard to the one planter and I moved the peppers I grew from seed inside and put them in with the pathetic greenhouse tomatoes. Looking at the pics below it actually looks pretty good! I will have fresh basil all winter, and hopefully, I can keep the Swiss Chard growing as well! I still need to figure out the relative humidity/heat issue this winter. The soil seems better, nutrient-rich, but growth has been slow, Leaves are the right color, not pale or lanky, and the micro carrots, even though they were micro in size, were really tasty! Beet greens (but no beets) were tasty as well, maybe the soil was too dense? I may need to add some vermiculite to make things a little lighter.
July 13, 2018
Now maybe I’m being a romantic, or maybe I’ve just watched one too many Disney films in my time, but since the disappearance of Caterpillar from my dill plant, I thought nothing but the worst fell on the little fella. Today as I am watering my raised beds I notice this Black Swallowtail on the gravel fanning his wings.
What would you think? I’m taking the high road and assuming he was hanging out to say his farewells and off he went!
Garden is filling in, tomatoes from compost are everywhere! Not so sure about my Elderberry bushes, they may be in too much sun, but I can always move them if this is the case. Tansy, Yarrow and St.John’s Wort are making a nice little alcove after I trimmed and tied up a bit.
Oh, and one more note about the Swallowtail, If there is some kind of superstition that butterflies are a sign of a loved one, today would have been my fathers birthday. He passed away in 1976. He would have been 108 years old if he was alive. Happy Birthday, Dad.
July 4th, 2018
It has been soupy hot the last few days with temperatures pretty near 100 degrees. I was finally able to get the last few wild grasses and perennials in, completing my garden expansion for this season. New editions: Elderberry, Lavender, Fountain grass & Yucca.
Checking in on my front garden I have noticed that the Whorled Loostrife on one side of the stoop has been
decimated by caterpillars. Last year the same thing happened. This is the last flower standing for the season.
On the other hand, my butterfly plants are in full bloom and looking as beautiful as ever. I have put a few more into the back garden, hopefully they will return. I had grown some from seed last year, but when I planted them they did not survive.
June 1, 2018: Branching out
The weather was good, so much was accomplished in the garden this weekend! The highlight was getting the rain barrel pump to work once again! Four years ago, when we were renovating the backyard we had taken it out of service. It was unused for two additional years while we were setting up the garden and just never got around to attaching the diverter kit. The leathers all had to be replaced, and so did the plunger as well as the drop pipe (which somehow dropped off) in other words every part of the hand pump had to be replaced. So now it works! the water smells pretty foul, not sure why it should as there is nothing but rainwater in there. It is an old Jack Daniels barrel, maybe that has something to do with the odor, but water is only going on plants.
Added a few new plants this weekend as well. I have been trying to add color variety and so I got this “Thunder and Lightning” plant and a beautiful PurpleLeaf Sand Cherry. Another beautiful addition today was a copper-colored shrub “Copernicus” The photo does not do the beautiful color justice, but the new leaves are literally copper in color. I had purchased a few other plants at the Botanical Garden which went in last weekend as well which are all doing well. Little by little I am building out the garden so there is less lawn to deal with.I intend to build it out and just stop the mowing in that area so I can see what comes up. In addition, I want to build up the quality of the soil because I have no idea where it came from and every shovel full I dig has so many rocks in it I am able to build small borders around every plant (not going to waste good stones!) I also purchased some beautiful garden art trellis’s. They are black metal silhouettes of birds and leaves in a circular frame. Little touches here and there, by the end of the season it will be transformed into a completely different look!
May 20, 2018: Spring has arrived and with it WEEDING!
Spring is what it is supposed to be, April showers bring May Flowers. May has continued that mantra as it is slowly warming up. Mothers day was the usual deadline to get plants outdoors, and so here we are today on the 20, with a healthy crop of weeds, and veggies just being put into the ground.
I have brought up my peppers, and tomatoes that I started from seed, They are still tiny compared to what one gets in a professional greenhouse. It keeps raining in between planting, so I will just get plants in when I get a chance
April 6, 2018 Spring?
I keep checking my indoor garden. So Slooooowww. Not sure if I am doing the right thing Is it natural for indoor plants to take so long? Some Swiss chard germinated in three days! I used my new heat pad under the seed starter, but I think I need to move them into the planters or they will get too lanky. It is very different from outdoor gardening. With outdoor gardens, you sew seed, hope it doesn’t wash away or get eaten by birds or bugs, watch it grow into sturdy plants. Inside once germinated it slowly develops into bonsai-size micro greens. So Frustrating.
My lentils are looking good…I think… I have actually never grown them nor do I have any idea what to expect them to look like.
Green beans look healthy. It Figures that the one thing I’m not crazy about grows the best One of the plants has started to bloom. I imagine I will need to hand pollinate that since there are no bees inside. There are however gnats, do they count?
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, let’s 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