Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Some of the seedlings are really getting big. The onions (Copra, Varsity, Redwing, and Alicia Craig) above were started on January 21st. So they are two months old. If the weather was like normal they would be getting planted right now. As it is they are getting hardened off on the back steps. I'll probably leave them there and just bring them in during the night. When they are under the lights upstairs I can only put the lights on for 12 hours a day. These are long day onions and I don't want them to start bulbing up. Usually I have my lights on about 15 hours a day, but I can't do that with onions. Sometimes I think I need one small separate spot for onions so I can have the correct length of light for all my plants.

One week ago


I have other onions growing under the lights, but they are bunching onions, planted March 10th. Also in this flat are my other slow growers like leeks, sweet alyssum, parsley, and celery. I like to plant all the slow growers in one flat so they don't overwhelm one another. It doesn't always happen that way, but I try. My alpine strawberries that have been in the freezer for two weeks will join them today. Their cold treatment is over and I hope they all germinate.

The lettuce has grown large as you can see. It was planted three weeks ago and is ready to go out if only the weather would cooperate. Not all the lettuce germinated. Some of the seed came from last years trials and I didn't have enough space to trial them all. Two packets never germinated. So I resowed. Now on the other side of this flat it is even more thick and tangled with Asian greens. And the resown lettuce was in the middle. That just wouldn't do as they were getting shaded from both sides. I moved the lettuce down to the way end of the flat and gave space between the brassicas and the newly planted lettuce. They are happier that way.

This is my most troublesome flat. It contains the chard. Chard never grows well under lights. It always seems unhappy. But it never grows well for me direct seeded either. So I grow really floppy chard for a few weeks until I can plant it out. The rest of the brassicas are growing pretty well. These were all planted on March 18th as was the flat below.

Here I'm trying to grow cumin. It is the large section of wispy small plants to the middle left. Last year I tried too, but the plants died from lack of water. It is hard to keep seedlings watered when it isn't at your own house (yet). After transferring houses and keeping remote gardens, I have so much respect for those that keep up Community gardens. Gardening out the back door is so easy. You can keep up with it and see how the plants grow. You can water seedlings every day when the heat is in the 90s. Also in this flat are some flowers and yet more brassicas.

And last but not least of my seedlings are my wintersown seedlings. I have six packs of these. The lettuce are the only ones that have germinated so far. I was so worried that the alpine strawberries wouldn't get enough cold before the weather turned warm. Ha ha. I guess mother nature wants my wintersown strawberries to start well. Yes I have two different batches of strawberries. The ones I'm trying to wintersow and the ones that went under the lights today. I figured if one way doesn't work for them the other will.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Harvest Monday - 28 March 2011

As harvests go I've got nothing, but I have been using my stored food. I have only three servings of frozen chard left. I'm getting close to the end there. This was really the week of the salsa though. It was my husband's fiftieth birthday party and I brought out both my red and green salsas. Above you see a typical favorite lunch of mine. Half of it is a light coleslaw with not my cabbage and not my peppers. Then there is the open faced hmmm I'm not sure what to call it. It has a nice homemade spelt tortilla topped with not my refried beans, not my seasonings, not my cheese, not my tomatoes and at least I can say this, with my homemade salsa with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers from the garden. I'm eating a lot of vegetables now that are not my own. I have noticed that in the freezer I still have a lot of frozen zucchini. In the past I've made zucchini bread over the winter, but this year I really haven't. I've used it in a few soups, but mostly it is still in the freezer. I'll have to work on that.

This week I spent money on the herb garden. I put in an order with the Growers Exchange. They seemed to be the one place that had all the varieties I wanted and more. I've never used them before so only hope they are nice plants.

  • Rosemary 'Tuscan Blue'
  • Rosemary 'Arp
  • Rosemary 'Hardy Hill'
  • Mint 'Chocolate'
  • Mint 'Citrus Kitchen'
  • Mint 'Mojito'
  • Mint 'Peppermint'
  • Thyme 'French'
  • Thyme 'English'
  • Tarragon 'French'
  • Anise Hyssop

I wish I could really grow Tuscan Blue rosemary here, but the odds are it will die over the winter. I'm going to plant it along the southwest foundation of the house. Still it will probably die as it is only hardy to zone 8 and I'm in zone 6. The other two rosemarys are hardy in my zone. I could never get them to live in my clay soil in my last garden. They can't survive over the winter with wet feet. So maybe in my current garden they will live. Time will tell.

I was only going to grow two mints. I wanted chocolate mint and peppermint. I like chocolate mint with chamomile and I like regular peppermint with green tea. But the other mints really made me want to try them. I've grown orange mint before, but never tasted the orange flavor. The leaves were pretty, but no flavor like it is supposed to have. So the citrus mint might have more. And the mojito I kept debating on. I'm not a fan of spearmint flavor but I thought maybe I should have a kind of spearmint in the garden just in case I needed it for something. I've never had a mojito, so maybe this will get me to try one.

The two thymes are the typical that I grow in my garden. I like English because it is a hardier plant and a really fast grower. So very reliable. The French thyme is a better tasting thyme, but often I can't harvest enough for all my uses and it is more likely to die over the winter. So I plant both.

In my last garden I had French tarragon for about ten years until it died off finally. Then I could never get it to overwinter again. I'm hoping for success once more. And the Anise Hyssop was bought for the flowers. The bees love it, so I figured why not. The "herb garden" is really three different spots in the garden, but I want them all to have either herbs or flowers that attract bees. Either is good. I don't need all the space for herbs so I'd like to add some interest with flowers and flowers that attract bees are my favorite. Anise Hyssop is both a nice flower for the bees and an herb. I've never tasted it or used it in anyway, but if I hate it, it will still be useful to help out the bees.

I'm growing other herbs, but these were the ones I needed that aren't being grown from seed. And as for the tally, they add $65.19 to the total for the year. I keep adding more and more to my tally. It is going to be an expensive year.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beans, Beans they are good for your . . . Garden

I placed an order for seeds from the Seed Saver's Yearbook. Usually I buy one variety of something. At $4-$5 a pop I try to control myself. But this year is my trial year for beans. I want to find more dried pole beans and in regular seed catalogs there is such a limited supply of pole beans. But in the seed saving community there is an amazing collection. The Yearbooks has 15 rows of of different dried pole bean seeds. The first row had 14 selections; the second 18. I'm not counting the rest for you, but you can probably guess there are around 200+ different varieties to choose from. And this is only dried pole beans.

If you have never seen the Seed Saver's Yearbook, I'll describe it for you. It is a book over 500 pages long printed on cheap paper. There are no photos. Just variety after variety of seed that individual seed savers have grown out. This year there were 13,876 varieties. All of them are open pollinated so you can save seed. These are seeds that don't make the typical seed catalog. People save them because they want to keep our crops' genetic diversity. Or they save seed that is good for their area and have been growing them for years. These people tend not to be commercial operations (though there are a few with small seed businesses), but are people like you and me that want something interesting that the catalogs don't sell. The hard part about this catalog, is picking something. There are just so many choices and the descriptions range from a couple of sentences to just the name and where the seed came from. Sometimes you get the date to maturity, sometimes not.

I wanted to limit myself to just five varieties. Each bean selection would cost me $5 so $25 total. That is a lot of money for a few beans that I don't even know I would like. Picking just five proved very hard. I was looking for kidney like beans for chili and pinto beans for refried beans. I also was looking for any good tasting prolific beans that does well in cool summers. The beans couldn't be long season beans or they wouldn't mature in time.

For the kidney types I had picked out two. Apache Red and Montezuma Red. Montezuma Red had very little description, "delicious chile type, more flavorful than kidney, from Chiapas." It didn't say how long they would take to mature, but the seller was from Colorado. The sellers are listed by codes and the first two letters of the code are their state. I used to live in Colorado and they have a very short growing season. So I can be pretty sure they will mature fast enough. I don't know that they can handle the rain we get as Colorado is a dry state, but I was willing to take that chance. I looked up the seller in the front (which gives info and the address to send the money to), and found out he required that you buy a lot of seed from him to make a purchase. $15 minimum. Well that just won't do. The sellers don't have a listing of all they are selling. Yes he says he has 14 amaranth and 15 barley etc (over 400 in all), but finding them the catalog would take forever. Plus all I wanted were dried beans. Dang. I crossed that one off the list.

The next one was Apache Red. This was from a Massachusetts grower. My own home state. So of course it ought to grow. I just hope he has been growing it for more than one year as this last year was abnormally hot and dry. Part of the description, "high yield of red seed, similar to kidney beans, for soups or chili". The funny thing is that I mailed out the orders on Tuesday. On Friday I had a package in the mail. I wasn't expecting anything. They always take three days to get the order mailed in and three days to get back. So a week is usually the quickest they could get here and I've had them take a month. But since we all live in eastern Mass it was just a one day turn around and this seed saver was on the ball and fast. My first seeds are here. So exciting!

I didn't see any more kidney substitutes, but there were a few pintos on the list. I ordered Mexican Pinto (73-114 days) and Ga Ga Hut Pinto (95 days). I'm hoping the Mexican pinto can actually produce here, but I'm not too sure at 114 days. Probably not well. I'm guessing the 73 days is as a snap bean as many dried beans can substitute as snap beans. The Mexican bean is from Heritage Farm at the Seed Saver Exchange. They grow things out constantly too keep the seed fresh. Rotating what they grow each year. They hope that anyone getting the seeds from them will offer it up next year or at least share the seed around to keep it alive. I may not list in the catalog, but if I can get enough seed from it, you can bet it will be on my list of seed to give away this fall. I'll try to follow their request.

The other two beans are just fun beans. One is an old time Maine heirloom, Norridgewock. At 85-90 days it will produce here. Heck any bean from Maine will produce here. The description reads, "white seed with purple patch over hilum covering about half of the seedcoat, attractive, deserves preservation, collected from the late Elizabeth Miller of Norridgewock, ME, who said the variety went back to pre-Civil War times, deep roots in the area, indeed she believed it might have originated in the original Abnaki village of Norridgewock, which was destroyed by the English settlers in the 1700s." Another description said it was very productive in the wet summer of 2009 in Maine. Now this bean out to produce for me in any year.

The last bean is Tarbais Alaric 95 days. This is the traditional bean to use for cassoulet. I've never made cassoulet, but it is a nice thin skinned, creamy textured bean. Which seems like a good one to grow as it is very different from my other beans. I'll see how it does here.

At some point I'm going to have to count how many different varieties of bean I'm growing this year. I've received a lot from all of you earlier in the year and now with these five I have so many more. Many of the trials will be very small. Some beans I only have five seeds of which is quite enough to trial the bean. Then I need to pick the ones I will keep for future years. Its going to be a fun beany year. I just hope we have a dry late August and early September.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sometimes Mother Nature . . .

I hazily remember last week. The ground didn't freeze every night. We had a day with a high of 70F. I was working outside. It was so beautiful. I even blogged five times since so much was happening. I was deluded into thinking that spring would come early. But something inside me said to not plant my peas yet.

Then we had the first day of spring. My how things change. Monday we had a snow storm. It looked liked it would stick since the snow fell hard all day, but lo and behold, no snow stuck. The week before was just too warm and the ground had warmed up.

Don't look at the pretty arch into my garden. Don't look at the bales of peat moss that need digging into the blueberry patch. Look at the horrible white stuff covering the garden beds. Isn't it sad. I know it will melt off very soon, but what happened to spring? What happened to my warm sunny days?

Our average temperature this time of year is supposed to be 49F with an average low of 29F. The Channel 7 forecast says it won't even be in the 40s for the rest of the week. And on Friday and Saturday nights it will be in the teens. I ought to be hardening off my onions outside every day. Mother Nature can be such a bitch.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Harvest Monday - 21 March 2011

No harvests were had this week. I did however eat a lot from the stores. From applesauce to relish to frozen chard. However the theme this week was, with out a doubt, beans.

Above are the tiger eye beans that Dan sent me last year. It was the first time tasting them. And sadly the last as I finished them up. They lost their beauty with cooking. They reminded me most of kidney beans in a way, but they were much softer. The skin wasn't very noticeable and inside had a very creamy texture. Much creamier than any other bean I've had. Too bad this one isn't a pole bean. I made a very yummy ham soup out of all of it.

Tomato sauce, tomato juice, and beans for the chili

The next bean treat was chili. This time I planned ahead and used my own beans. The black beans are Trail of Tears. I got these seeds a couple of years ago from the Ottawa Gardener. I've been growing them and handing out seeds to my blogging friends ever since. They are so prolific. The others are an early kidney from Fedco.

While I made the chili my stove tried to kill me again. I thought we had come to an understanding. I hadn't burnt myself on it in months. I'd learned the way of the gas stove over time. I guess since it couldn't burn me anymore, it would try to blow me up. Or suffocate me. Hard to tell what it was going for. But I was making the aforementioned chili above. The bean boiled over. I turned the stove down so it was just simmering and went about my business. A while later I smelled gas. I checked the stove and the burner was off. Or rather the flame was off but the burner was still turned on. Well luckily it was a nice day out or at least 45F which wasn't freezing. I turned off the stove. Turned off the furnace. Threw open all the windows. Once the gas had dissipated, which I might point out had gotten all the way to the attic room, I gave my stove a good talking to and turned it on again and finished my chili. Now I've learned one more thing about the stove. If it boils over, check the flame. I've boiled over so many things in the last 9 months and this had never happened, but now I know it can.

I hope your Harvest Monday is less exciting than mine. And happy spring to all of you in the north.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Nice Weather

We had some really sunny and warm weather on Thursday and Friday. On Friday it even got up to 70 degrees for the first time. So of course I went outside to do a little gardening.

Now Friday was really windy. I tried putting up my hoops to make a little greenhouse to harden seedlings off during really windy days. But when I got the plastic on, it just flattened them. So they need more support. I'm thinking a ridgeline down the middle, but I think it also has to be attached to the end of the bed or the whole thing will just flatten at once. It might be better to have it lower too. Some really strong winds go along the garden, but the wind is much less lower down. Right now the hoops are 9' long. I think about 18" shorter would be better. That would take the ridge line down about 9". If anyone else does this, how do you keep it all from blowing flat in a really strong wind?

I also got to test how my screening does in a wind. I put some reed fencing in front of the compost piles to screen them. I didn't want to tack them onto the compost structure too much since I want them easy to take off. So the less the better for me. But it wasn't quite enough in the wind so I made one more attachment and it held. So that will work now. Later I'll find out how annoying it is to take on and off. I'll find out if is worth the trouble.

Then I prepared one of my cranberry beds. Well it isn't "mine". The fenced in vegetable garden is mine and the rock wall garden is mine. Which means I do all the work and reap all the rewards. But the rest of the yard which will be planted in a lot of edible fruit will be owned by both townhouses. Which means the work is shared and the harvest will be too. We have two cranberry patches. I added a bale of peat moss to the one closest to my side of the house. I'm not making a bog, but the soil does need to be acidic. The testing said it was about a pH of 7. Way too high for cranberries. I'm hoping the peat moss is enough to lower the pH enough for them to be happy. I'll have my neighbors work on the other patch this week. We also need to do the same thing to where the blueberries will be planted. I have one bale right now that we haven't used yet, but we probably need about three more bales.

Friday, March 18, 2011

More sowing

I always find it amusing that I do my sowing in the room that I sew. Right now the sewing machine is all covered up because of all the dirt flying around. I guess it is better than my old house where I made a muddy mess of the laundry room, but at least there I had a sink to clean up in.

Last weeks sowings are mostly up

I made two more flats of soil blocks this week and filled them all up.

On Tuesday I put in the following:

  • Broccoli: Packman, Piracicaba, Windsor
  • Cabbage: Ruby Perfection
  • Chard: Argentata, Rubarb
  • Chinese Cabbage: Rubicon, Michihili
  • Asian Greens: Chinese Kale and Choy Sum

On Friday I put in:

  • Asian Greens: Fun Jen, Shanghai Bok Choy, White Stem Bok Choy
  • Flowers: Forget-me-nots, Achillea Cerise Queen
  • Herbs: Cumin (30 cells since they go so close together) and Cilantro (two wintersown packs)

Onions enjoy the out of doors

So now I have six flats under my lights and six packs of wintersown plants. In two weeks I will have a lot more to sow. All the peppers will be sown then. I've started to harden off my onions a bit this week as they will be the first plants kicked out into the cruel windy world. Today it got to 70 degrees by 1:40 (as I type). Wow. That is the first time over 70 this year. I hope the onions like the nice heat and the sunshine.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Making Soil Blocks

A couple of years ago I started using soil blocks. They have a real learning curve to them. At the start figuring out how to make the block stick together right was hard. I finally started making the soil wet enough. Basically if you can't pick up a handful of mix and squeeze out a little water, it is too dry. I figured out that I should check to make sure the blocks formed well by pushing up with my hand on the bottom. Occasionally one doesn't have enough soil and it would fall apart. Instead now I find that wayward block and manually push in more soil. I've gotten much faster at it.

I also figured out how to water them easily. Most of the recommendation say use a spray bottle. You must be kidding. My hand would get so tired using a spray bottle. It would take forever and promote fungal diseases. Instead I made the system above. The bottom tray is just a flat, with no holes. Inside I put a mesh flat (the ones you get when you buy plants at a nursery). When I needed more of these mesh flats, I asked my friends for some. I now have a stack bigger than I need (thanks Noa!).

The blocks can't stay seated well on them. So on top of that I put screening. This keeps all the blocks flat. I can pick up the flat with holes in it and move it to a flat filled with water and set it there until the blocks are soaked through. Then I move it back to its own holeless flat again. Easy and fast. I think one addition would help even more. If I raised the mesh flat off of the holeless flat so there was some more airflow underneath the blocks, there would be better air pruning of the roots. Now occasionally the roots grow through the screening and run along the bottom for a short bit.

I do not use water straight from the tap. I let the water sit a day (like you would for your fish). This removes all the chlorine from the water. I think the plants grow better that way. Plants really hate tap water. Too many chemicals in it. It amazes me that we survive drinking it.

A soil blocker

Some people hate soil blocks and some love them. Their disadvantage is mainly the learning curve. Until you figure it out, the blocks can fall apart. Mine don't anymore (as long as I use tongs if I want to move them early on). Also it takes longer to plant up. I don't think in the long run they take longer since planting is much faster. I find it really hard to get transplants out of the plastic 6-packs. These I just plop in. Also there is no pot clean up at the end of the season.

One of the main advantages is the blocks don't get root bound they are air pruned. Plants can't grow after they become root bound unless you break up the root which severely shocks the plant. Though I do have issues occasionally when I put the blocks too close together and the roots from one grow into another block. I knife solves that problem easily enough. The other advantage is that there is no root disturbance when the blocks are planted. As long as they have been hardened off appropriately, they have no transplant shock.

And there are no little plastic pots to float around the garden all year long. Don't tell me you pick up all your pots when you should. I don't want to hear it. Mine tend to end up in a pile in the corner of the garden and then the wind blows them around. I also don't have to clean out the dirty pots and six packs. Have you ever tried to clean out a six pack? The brush doesn't really fit into them and they are so hard to clean out. I confess to using the dishwasher on occasion. But no more as I don't use them anymore. Ha!

Size does matter! Personally I love the 1 1/2" block. It is my favorite. Most go for the 2" blocker with the microblocker that fits right in to the 2" one. I love the idea of the latter system. Seed one seed in the small blocks. When they come up move them to a 2" blocks. But in reality I don't use it. The 2" blocks are too big for most of my transplants. I often transplant at 3 weeks for Asian greens and lettuce. And 3-4 weeks for other brassicas. The 1 1/2" is large enough to support that and fits 72 blocks in a flat. 2" blocks only fit half that number. The other major transplants that I do are my tomatoes and peppers. I prefer to start with a 1 1/2" block and transplant them into tall but thin newspaper pots. I think I might use the 2" blocker this year for the peppers though. I'm growing over 40 of them and the newspaper pots take way too long to make. So once again it might get use.

So how many of you all use soil blocks or have tried them? It is a big up front investment. I used the money my MIL gave me for my birthday one year as otherwise I wouldn't have tried them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sowing Seeds

I started this post with a description of soil blocks and how I use them and which ones I like, but it got way too big. So I've broken it up. Today is what got planted and tomorrow is all about my soil blocks.

You can barely see the masking tape labels

Last week I made two whole flats of soil blocks and planted them up. All my lettuce and some Asian greens in one flat. I think some of the lettuce seed that I'm trying will end up being too old, but I'll just resow the blocks again if they don't come up. Bunching onions, alpine strawberries (which are in the freezer right now), celery, sweet alyssum, and leeks in the other flat. You might notice that I put the slower germinaters and growers in one flat and the fast growers in the other. I can move them around with tongs, but it is easier if I don't have to.

I also made some blocks for wintersown plants. I should have gotten them out a couple weeks ago, but I was out of soil then. I hope there will be enough cold weather left for them. Or I'll have to call them springsown plants. I have Alpine strawberries both yellow and red. Some lettuce as a trial. I want to see how long they take to germinate and grow in these containers. I might want to do my spring lettuce this way, but maybe not. Maybe just the later plants this way. And some herbs like oregano and sage. I have a lot more to plant up this week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Harvest Monday - 14 March 2011

I have been eating from my stores. Above I used some of my Cherokee Trail of Tears to make a bean and apple salad. I have a few apples left from the fall and am trying to use them up before they all rot. The salad wasn't made using a recipe, but contains 1/2c dried beans, an apple, an orange, half a red pepper, about 1/4c of sweet onion, 1/4 c cilnatro, a couple tablespoons of vinegar, a dash of chipolte pepper, and salt.

I also have been eating my frozen chard every week. I rarely show it or talk about it. It isn't as sexy or photogenic as the beans or the canned items, but it is there and a workhorse of what got saved last year.

What I was really hoping for though was a harvest from my overwintered crops. Everything melted out and thawed this last week. The rock wall bed that had overwintering plants in it had totally thawed. The plastic had huge puddles of collected water weighing everything down.

This is what the support structure looked like after the plastic was removed. Pretty sad right?

And this is what the plants looked like. Now the tatsoi above looks like it will regrow, but those nice rosettes had rotted stems below them. There were only a couple that I thought might or might not survive.

Of the other plants the Fun Jen looks like it is fairly healthy. But I don't have high hopes for it. I see signs of it wanting to bolt. The roots seem healthy as I pulled up a few. Still I'm giving them less than even odds of putting out anything edible this spring. But if they do succeed in only putting out blossoms, you can bet that I'm going to see how they taste. Most of the Asian greens that bolt put out good tasting flowers.

And as for Harvest Monday. Don't those overwintered turnips look good?

Well they weren't. Almost all of theme were rotted to the core. I had two that seemed OK. These were the largest of the turnips. The small ones seemed to have more issues. The smaller the turnip; the larger the brown rotting spot was. I haven't weighed the two nice ones yet. I was afraid to taste them. I will and if they are OK they will be added to the tally. Two tiny turnips won't weigh much, but it would be something.

But the bed got totally cleaned up. I'm hoping but not expecting much.

Interestingly enough, the unprotected things fared better. The tunnel collapse probably helped to rot things out. Above is some of the overwintered spinach. The spinach is spotty here and there along the rock wall garden. It sprouted spotty in the fall. It doesn't look like I had any winter kill at all. I also had two Tom Thumb lettuce plants survive under the protection of the parsley. The parsley will probably sprout, but not in time before I rip it out for the flowers that will go there this summer. And last but not least, my Dwarf Curled Kale all survived. They are still small as they were when they started winter. They might get big enough before they need to get ripped out. So future Harvest Mondays might happen in a month. Time will tell.

And I fixed my fruit tally. I found not all the columns had added up. I also added in the Felco F-6 pruners that I ordered. I have crappy ones, but they just don't cut well. Everyone says that the Felcos will last forever, so in the long run I'm guessing they will be cheaper.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Farmer Daphne

This year I joined the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA). So I'm a farmer. Right? Well OK maybe not. But I did join. They have a bulk buy every year and this year I wanted to stock up on things. Especially those that are hard to find around my area. Like the Vermont Compost Company's Fort Vee Potting Mix. I used it one year and it grew the best transplants. My mix does well, but not quite as well as theirs.

Now I don't have a car. My husband does, but it is a tiny little Prius and he took it to work. So I borrowed a friend's minivan for the trip. I told him I'd have it back to him by about 11:30 as he had an appointment in the afternoon. When I got there I was informed that the Vermont Compost delivery that was supposed to have come yesterday like all the other shipments did, had been delayed. One person said it wouldn't come until the next day; one said it would come by noon. Dang. Was I going to have to go out to Natick again? I waited for an hour, chatting with the helper. In general just praying it would show up before I had to leave. And then the truck finally showed up. I was so happy to see it. I had my potting mix.

I've been told not to lift heavy things by my doctor. I have a bad shoulder. But there I was lifting about 10 bags which were 50# each. Then on the other side I had to unload them all and get them into the basement. Ouch. I had originally thought the pick up was on March 12th at this location. That would have been a weekend which means manly help. But no, March 9th meant I had to do it all alone. Next time I'll read those dates more carefully.

That was not to be my only excitement for the day though. The UPS man came with not one, but two deliveries. I opened the door and he told me he had my garden in his truck. I had two packages of tomato cage extensions. And I had three packages of bamboo.

In between the two orders, I was busy trying to figure out what other orders to place. I placed an order for Agribon from Johnny's. And I've been looking through the SSE Yearbook. I want to get some pinto type beans from there. Maybe a few others while I'm at it. I think I'll need a couple days more to make a decision though. They have so many dried beans to choose from. I am awash in gardening wealth.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Harvest Monday - 7 March 2011

I've found when I eat, I have a tendency to eat the same things over and over. This week pizza was on the menu.

You were really hoping for a finished photo weren't you? Well I didn't get a photo of any of the pizzas made this week. Weirdly one day I took a photo of the ingredients used from the garden. Tomato sauce, frozen basil, garlic. But no end photos. Sometimes I wonder about myself. My stock of tomato sauce is holding up well. I think it will make it until next August. But not if I keep making pizzas for lunch every day.

I seem to have gotten out of soup mode since the weather has been warming up. The garden is really melting out now. The weather is forecasted to be in the 40Fs all week, so I expect the last of the snow to be gone by the end of the week. Then the ground just has to thaw. I need to get some plastic on it to warm it up on sunny days. It won't be too long until gardening season is back.

I did spend money this week. I bought 8'x1" bamboo and 4'x5/8" bamboo for stakes and poles. I'm not talking a few poles. I bought 100 of the first and 75 of the second. That is a lot of bamboo. I did a calculation for how many poles I would need to make my trellises. I need a lot to make them. I have three sets of bean trellies all the way across a bed for 22 poles each. That is 66. Plus I want to make a couple other structures here and there. They sell them in 50 packages so 100 it was. The 4' ones will be braces for my structures and also stakes. Again I'm buying for the long haul. It ought to last a while. I have extras when one dies. The bamboo itself was cheap, but the shipping basically doubled the price (which was $130). I'm talking overly long packages and 100lbs of weight all the way from the other coast. I thought about doing it in pipes, but I really like bamboo better. I love the look of bamboo. I love that it is easy to cut or drill. It is lighter than wood. So bamboo it is. I'll be adding it to my tally later when I get the final invoice on Wednesday when they arrive.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.