April 27, 2012
i took this photo this morning after harvesting some greens from the garden. it’s a nice mix of lettuces and kales with cilantro thrown in as well. there was the most beautiful, delicate frost on the greens and i was glad i was able to get a glimpse of it before we move into milder weather . our combination of greens planted this spring has made for a great salad mix this season, and i’m far from tired of it. we also have some nice mild radishes coming up. we do have some beets coming up, but not many, so i’m glad i planted another row. the carrots are coming along nicely but i’m going to have to get in there and clear out the invasive cilantro that seems to be taking over the garden so it has a chance. anyone for guacamole? hummus with lots of cilantro? green smoothies, heavy on cilantro?
in the last week we have made a few purchases. we bought a new car. even though my car is still running it’s getting a bit scary with 220,000 miles on it. in keeping with my philosophy of buying secondhand i found a volvo v70 station wagon on craigslist from a very nice couple in la salle. what will become of my car? richard found a tractor in tonica and they are willing to take a car in trade for it. we’ve also acquired a 16′ mohawk canoe and a tandem bicycle. we took the canoe out on a small lake sunday and had a great time. we rode a tandem bike when we were in new harmony, indiana and loved it. i think we are set for summer fun, don’t you?
April 10, 2012
last week, richard and i went to southern indiana to visit his sister who lives near evansville. along the way we stopped and stayed at the old rooming house in new harmony, indiana. new harmony was a site used first by george rapp and then robert owens as a social ‘utopian’ experiment; an early attempt at an intentional community i guess you could say. it’s a beautiful town and many of the buildings and structures used by the rappites and owenites have been preserved.
during our trip, the temperatures were summer-like (mid 80’s!) and we actually went swimming in the lake at lincoln state park after a hike. the water was a little chilly, but to me it seemed like the first time you go in in early june; a little chilly at first, but after you get in it feels great.
now that we are back home, the weather is more seasonal, with a freeze warning just last night. no worries in the garden as everything we have growing there is cool weather hardy. in fact, our veggies seem to thrive when we have a dip in the temperature. we did cover the grape vine and peony however. one thing that is noticeably absent this spring is rainfall. we have actually watered our gardens several times so far, and i can’t say that i remember ever having to do that this early in the year. richard mentioned that we are 2 inches behind in rainfall, so i’m a bit concerned about what’s in store for the gardens this summer.
so far we have been enjoying fresh greens; i have been harvesting ruby red lettuce that i started early in our cold frame and to that i add emerging lettuce thinnings, early radish thinnings, volunteer kale and cilantro. every now and then i pull a small carrot that has overwintered and add that too. just in the last week our asparagus has popped up. it all adds up to some yummy meals!
March 27, 2012
things have been pretty busy around here as you can see in the photo. richard and i have been very busy too. the extended warm spell and dry conditions have given us plenty of time to work in the gardens and other parts of the property. to add to our excitement, richard found an add for free red raspberries; all we had to do was go dig them up, so we did and we now have enough for a market garden size raspberry patch. we are busy transplanting them right now, i hope all goes well.
right now, we have: peas, radish, beets, carrots, lettuces all emerging. we have several volunteers coming up such as kale, cilantro, a few carrots and onions; we leave them where they are and plant or weed around them. the garlic wintered nicely and is looking very happy. along with the raspberry canes, i have planted potatoes and spinach. currently we are in a bit of a cool down spell with storms predicted the next few days. i’m hoping to get in another succession planting of lettuce in the ground today.
the compost heap is working nicely and we have started our second batch. when we moved the first batch to bin number two, it started cooling down. still haven’t figured out why it stopped cooking. i’m going to research that and think we can figure out just what made that happen.
hope you are having a pleasant spring.
March 20, 2012
happy first day of spring!
richard and i have been hard at work in the spring greens garden. even though the photo might not look like it, there is a lot going on: i have planted a variety of heirloom lettuces, arugala, and spinach. we also have planted radishes, beets, carrots, and oh, i mustn’t forget peas! we have planted sweet peas, which are grown for their flowers. sweet peas are one of my favorite flowers, and i grow them in honor of helen and scott nearing. the other pea is the sugar snap pea which is a favorite of richard’s. along with the pea plants we have built a trellis for them to climb on to. richard did a really nice job on the fence post/ tree limb supports, but i’m not so sure of my twine grid job. after the peas are done we hope to put summer squash and cucumbers that we will trellis too, so i hope my twine job will also hold the weight of the squash and cucumber. keep your fingers crossed for me.
in other garden news:
the garlic is very happy and loving the fertilizer that we applied a month ago.
the newly established compost is heap is coming a long very well. we are turning it to keep it aerated and letting the rain keep it moist. it’s starting to cook ; when we turn it we can feel some heat and also see steam ! this is a good indication that we are on the right track.
i have successfully started lettuce and spinach early in our homemade cold frame (see straw bales and windows at south of garden).
we have started the arduous task of eradicating invasive brush and richard has cleared out a ditch full of it, with the earliest work started in december. this is a very big, long term project and one we will work on as time allows. you have to start somewhere, right?
the turkey vultures have returned and i’m afraid that the eagles have gone. we have 3 species of woodpecker that we enjoy at the feeders. we bought a vinyl record album of bird calls from cornell university, and it’s very enjoyable to listen to.
please note: we are about 1 to 2 weeks earlier on planting this year. this is due to a very mild winter and an extremely warm spring. this past week we have experienced high temps in the upper 70’s lows in the 50’s and 60’s, and have record highs predicted for the next couple of days. we have a weather radio that we keep in the kitchen and listen to in the morning, it’s a great way to know how to plan your workday. we have lots of windows open airing out the stuffy wintriness. also, i fall into fits of sporadic spring cleaning jobs.
never a dull moment.
March 1, 2012
hello and happy march 1st!
richard grew these birdhouse gourds a couple of seasons ago and we made them into homes for our feathered friends last winter. i really appreciate how utilitarian growing and using this particular gourd can be. we didn’t get too fancy by painting them, although, i think a coat of some sort of weatherproofing might be a good idea. however, i don’t think i would be able to put them in the compost heap if they were treated with some sort of paint or varnish. the birds moved in last spring and seem to like them very much and that gives me a good feeling.
we are starting to work on a 3 bin composting system made from standard wooden skids which we have on hand. large amounts of compost are essential for a healthy, fertile, soil and plants. along with the compost bins we have also set up a simple cold frame made from bales of straw and old single pane windows that were laying idle in the attic. i have planted various lettuces and some spinach as well. of course, i’ve got the elusive (for me anyway) corn salad in there as part of my desire to learn how to best make that delicious herb grow.
February 27, 2012
i thought i would post one more of my snow pics. what a difference a few days makes! the snow is gone and i’ve been busy happily spreading beautiful horse manure on the garden. this is a busy and exciting time for gardeners. i enjoy preparing the garden in the spring. last fall i read the gardening memoir grow the good life by michelle owens. i truly enjoyed it and was definitely inspired by her gardening experiences. i’m always so interested in learning from those who have boldly gone feet first into gardening and are not afraid to admit all of the crazy mistakes they’ve made so that the rest of us may learn. thank you michelle!
A late winter poem courtesy of www.poertyfoundation.org
BY JANE COOPER
February 24, 2012
i know i’ve mentioned in several of my posts that we’ve seen very little snow this winter. i can now actually say that we did receive snow today in the early morning hours. snow this time of year reminds me of the book sugar snow by laura ingalls wilder ; one of a series of early little house books i read to my daughter sierra when she was a preschooler. thinking that this snow might not stick around too long, i grabbed my camera and went out this morning to take a few photos; it was nice to have the snow to brighten up the landscape. i have to admit i was getting a little frustrated with our winter palette of brown, brown, and more brown.
it’s hard to believe that we will be noticing asparagus spears poking up out of the ground soon by the looks of our patch in the photo. i’m starting to get very excited about spring and the upcoming gardening season. so far the seeds we have started are in various forms of germination and i’m looking through seed catalogs to round out garden plans for this year. i’m very anxious to try an heirloom winter squash called delicata. also, richard has promised me a spot for a kitchen herb garden right outside the door. i’m such a lucky gal :0).
have a great weekend!