Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Broccoli and Chard

I meant to get the chard in the ground on Sunday, but I was having a relapse of my flu and it didn't get done. I so hate the flu. I get a flu shot every year as I have asthma. And I haven't had the flu in over a decade. This one lasted 12 days. But yesterday I woke up feeling good. Finally. While I had the flu I did get some work done in the garden, but I didn't really enjoy it. Things needed to get planted so I planted. But yesterday I reveled in being in the garden again. So I was out for a couple of hours enjoying myself.

Usually I put the chard and the broccoli in the same bed. But this year I'm not growing any dry beans. I'm 95% sure I can't eat them anymore due to food intolerances. But if I can, I have good access to locally grown heirloom dried beans. This means I can grow more broccoli and I can put the chard in a separate bed. I'm still growing some green beans. Usually I put a row along the back of the bed, but I wanted lettuce and onions in this bed too. And if they are along the back then there is one foot of the bed that is really hard to reach. So I decided to put the pole beans in the middle of the bed. They will get planted once the soil warms up more. Lettuce and bunching onions will be along the front. And I planted chard in the back. Hopefully the chard will really take off before the beans start to block the sun. The back is the north west side of the bed. I'm hoping the chard can take the partial shade. I know lettuce can especially in the summer, but I didn't want it to be on the western side as the afternoon sun can be really hot and they might bolt too quickly.

Once my galvanized steel wire comes. I'm going to make some hoops to go over the chard and I'll put on a netting row cover. That bolt of brown netting is going to last a while even though I'm using it a lot. I have found that the brown fades though. And it fades to green which looks really pretty in the garden. Luckily it didn't fade to some weird color like purple. The green haze on the garden looks nice. So much nicer than the white Agribon.

And speaking of covers, I know I have to tell people why I've got all that bamboo and chicken wire on the chard bed. The cats here are terrible. If I don't keep the soil covered they will leave gifts for me. So the soil always stays covered. I have a lot of 4'x 8' pieces of bird netting that I tack down when the bed isn't in use or seeds are starting to sprout. The hardest time is when I've got plants sprouting but they aren't big enough yet to keep the cats out of the beds. I can't keep the netting on for most plants as the stems get big. Or like this bed, I've still got things that need to go in. And transplants don't go through netting very well. So I do a hodge podge of things. Soon I'll have to get the old tomato cages out because they work well too.

I also put in the broccoli. I thought about putting three rows in, but I figured it would be too crowded that way. There is extra space there through. So I put a row of turnips down the middle. I'm not sure the turnips near the radishes will have time to size up before the melons need to be planted in June. But I might be able to seed the melons around the turnips.

I also checked my carrots. They were up. I took off the agribon that I used to germinate them and I put on a netting row cover. I hadn't covered these in the past. But toward the end of June I start to get carrot fly damage. And I can't leave them in longer or they get unusable. But it isn't quite long enough to get good sized carrots, even with the fast growers that I use in the spring. So yet more row covers. I swear some day the whole garden will be covered.

If the rain holds off then I'll be planting my zinnia today. I also want to get in some cilantro as it hasn't self seeded very well. Though it might just be taking its time to germinate. In fact a lot of things are taking their own sweet time this year. And luckily that includes the weeds. Usually I have to weed the garden pretty vigorously in the spring. I do have to go out and weed a few things now, but there were very few weeds out there. I guess that is the bright lining to a very harsh winter. The cilantro didn't overwinter, but neither did the weeds.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Harvest Monday April 28th, 2014

Sage seems to be the herb of the week that I'm picking. I'm so happy that my sage plants lived over the winter and some seem to be thriving. I didn't weigh any of this as the little I need for a meal doesn't really weigh anything.

I've used the sage on chicken. In soups.

And in cornbread stuffing. The cornbread was gluten free and vegan. So just OK. But the stuffing came out very very tasty. A bit mushy though. The gluten free breads just don't hold together well. Gluten is such a useful protein. I've got a couple of weeks before I'm trying gluten again so I've been experimenting with gluten free baking.

I dehydrated the last of the sweet potatoes. I'm going to make a sweet potato flour out of it for baking. A lot of gluten free flour mixes have potato flour. Since I can't eat potatoes, I'm going to try sweet potato flour. Of course mine was a purple sweet potato so the color of the baked goods will be interesting. When dried it is a muddy greyish brown purpley color. But color isn't everything.

I spent money on the garden last week. I bought some galvanized wire to make small hoops for my chard. It added $14.22 to my tally. Now I'm at -451.74 for the year. The number always seems so huge every year. But $321 of that number are amortized costs. $180 of which will be gone by the end of the year. And another 100 in two years. The cost of putting a garden together is so expensive. And though I amortized the cost of things over their expected life, the reality is that I was conservative in my estimates. So at some point my costs will start to drop. But even with the huge upfront costs, I do pull a lot of vegetables out of my garden. And I'm always way in the black by the end of the 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, April 26, 2014

Strawberries and Peas

No photos today. I was rushed to get some gardening in yesterday and I never even thought about photos.

Thursday my strawberry plants showed up on my doorstep. I had ordered Surecrop strawberries. I have some disease in the strawberry bed. Last year I got barely any strawberries. I figured Surecrop might be able to out grow the disease. Sadly most of the strawberry diseases that it might be will stick in the soil for years (a decade even). So removing them and waiting isn't an option. If I can't find a variety that will grow here, then I can't have strawberries. That would be so sad. I love strawberries. One variety that I have - Earliglow - has decent resistance. We will see if they do OK this year. They produced a bit last year. Sadly the Sparkle is susceptible to a lot of things. I still have a few plants of that which seem to be doing OK. I'm not going to rip them out, but if they fail again this year, I will.

I also prepared one more 4'x 8' bed. This has peas along the back foot of the bed and mixed herbs and greens in the front. I planted 4 Ventura celery, 4 Tango celery, 4 celeriac, 6 fennel, 12 lettuces (Red sails, Deer Tongue, Little Gem, and Paris Island), 4 parsley plants, and 4 marjoram. I also scattered some winter savory around the garden. I hope some of it tastes like it is supposed to. Last year the one plant that survived tasted like lemons. I suppose that isn't a terrible thing, but it wasn't what I was going for.

I'm running out of transplants. I have three things left that I grew from seed. I have chard, broccoli, and zinnias. I'm going to try to get to them on Sunday and Monday. I also have to start my basil plants. Basil is the only summer plant that I grow inside as a transplant. Though I suppose the zinnias probably count too. I never really noticed it before but all my summer plants (corn, beans, cucumbers, melons, squash, sweet potatoes) I either direct seed or they don't grow from seeds. OK only the sweet potatoes don't grow from seeds. I know a lot of people start the summer crops indoors, but I've never done that. Sometimes I chit the seed, but that is far as I go for those seeds anymore. They are just too easy to direct seed and I've found that getting the early start really doesn't help them all that much.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Planting the Cabbages

Last fall I sifted through my compost and prepared as many beds as I could. Sadly six of the beds didn't get covered in compost. I just didn't have enough. i will have to buy some more this year. But I decided to try something else too. I'm experimenting with biochar which I got through the Northeast Organic Farmers Association bulk buy that they have every year. Biochar does a lot of what compost does. It help prevent leeching of nutrients and helps retain water in the soil. It also makes the soil more alkaline. Which here in the northeast with our acidic soils, is a good thing. Hopefully I'm not raising the pH too much. I tried to look up application rates and people are all over the board on how much you ought to apply.

Interestingly enough I've used a kind of biochar in the past (and still do). I don't use regular bone meal. I use bone char. It is a slower source of phosphate than most fertilizers and doesn't leach out as much as most phosphate fertilizers do. When I tested my soil when the garden was first put in, it was very low in phosphates. I wanted to be able to put something on the garden that would last and not leach out to contaminate our local water sources. But I wanted the plants to have plenty of phosphorus. Bone char fills both needs.

I usually don't turn the soil over much, but I wanted to incorporate the char into the top 6" of soil. So I mixed it up pretty well. In addition I added a little high nitrogen fertilizer as cabbages are heavy feeders.

Every year I remake my measuring stick. I put in marks at 4" and 6". The stick is 3' long. Since I keep it outside in the garden the marks fade every year and have to be reapplied. I measured out the sections that I was going to plant.

And then planted them all. I planted three michihili Chinese cabbages (2 Green Rockets and one from old seed from Mac). These each got a section that was 2'x3'. The plants are huge. I wish I could find a slightly smaller michihili cabbage, but they all just seem to grow big. I planted three Optiko Napa Chinese cabbage, five Early Jersey cabbage, and five winner kohlrabi. I swore last year I'd grow more kohlrabi, but somehow that didn't happen. The row of choy sum in the foreground was an afterthought. I had the seedlings and didn't have a space to put them. I think they will produce before the big michihilis will need the space.

Then I put on my row cover. I noticed the first cabbage butterfly out yesterday. I hope it didn't lay any eggs on my plants. I had them just sitting out uncovered while they were getting hardened off.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Unwrapping the Figs

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I wasn't really quite physically up to doing gardening chores, but I really wanted to go out and unwrap the figs. So I went out anyway and then came back in and collapsed when I was done.

Figs are not hardy here. They would die back to their roots every year if they weren't protected. So I protect them. I cover them in leaves. Add insulation and then for one fig tree I added more leaves and a tarp. I'm experimenting with the more well wrapped one. I'm hoping I can keep enough of the branches alive to get a first crop. Last year all the breba crop dropped off last year. It might not be possible to keep the branches well enough protected to get one. But it never hurts to try.

The main crop grows off of new growth. So I keep the main trunk of the tree growing horizontal along a supporting pipe. It is very low to the ground which makes it easy for me to insulate. And the new branches will go up the wires. The fig certainly puts on fruit well this way. But in our short and coolish summer it is really iffy if I get a crop. Last year I got a handful of figs. They weren't as sweet as figs grown in a climate made for them, but it was something. Some year I may give up on them but not yet.

I won't really know how much of the trees survived our bad winter until they start to leaf out. I can see some winter damage, but I really can't tell the extent of it yet. My main hope is that the trunk survives. With that, the branches will shoot up quickly.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Harvest Monday April 21st, 2014

Imagine my delight when I saw this last week.

Whoohoo! My first harvest of the year. It wasn't weighed or recorded. It wasn't really big enough for that.

Since I was trying eggs on my elimination diet, I put the chives into some eggs. Yum.

And I am still eating from my stores. I had the flu last week so I ate a lot of rice and fruit and not too much from the stores. I have a lot of greens to still eat up. But sadly just one sweet potato is left. Though it is a huge one.

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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weeping Plum

Yesterday a package showed up at my door. It was my Weeping Santa Rosa Plum tree that I ordered last winter. I'm a bit under the weather right now as I have the flu, but that didn't stop me from going out to plant it. I don't have a lot of space in the yard for more trees. But this one is a small plum it only gets 8'-10' tall. It doesn't produce quite as well as a Santa Rosa but most people think the plums are tastier. It isn't supposed to require a pollinator which is good as I don't have another Japanese plum.

The space I'm growing it in is just three feet wide and the first half foot doesn't really have any soil as it is by the brick path. But it has a nice long area it can spread out into. So I put the roots going along the long part. This section used to contain my self seeding sunflowers. But I've grown a little bored by them especially since I don't really eat sunflower seeds all that much. I was really just feeding the annoying squirrels. I probably will have one sunflower growing though near the corner of the house. At least if the transplant takes.

I'm not going to prune it like a normal tree. It really has to grow linearly so it doesn't block the path. I'm going to try to prune it to two side branches that stay over the bed and not in the path. So it will be interesting to see if I can do it. Trees always reach for the sun which would be the direction of the path. I've put in some T-posts that I'll use to train the main branches and keep the tree growing upright. But I'm not putting in a full trellis. Hopefully it will work.

I figured that I wouldn't want to be outside long as I was coughing and the weather was cool. But my lungs seemed to like it so I did another chore that I hadn't gotten around to.

I wrap up my bamboo in the fall to keep it dry and put it on one of the beds for storage. I had to take it apart and put the poles by the shed so I can use them when I need them. This small chore left my muscles aching and me very tired. I really shouldn't be working outside with the flu. So I spend a few minutes exploring the garden before going in.

The good weather earlier really warmed up the soil and my peas are starting to come up. I'll have to take the netting off soon so they don't get tangled.

The radishes came up a few days ago. I'll have to thin them out soon. Though I didn't sow them too thickly so it shouldn't be too much of a chore.

My romaine lettuce has really grown well. If it would warm up again (and it is supposed to), it won't be long before I can steal a little.

And I was ecstatic to see how well this sage was doing. Sage doesn't like to grow here for some reason. So I think I put five plants in the garden last year. I was hoping to find a place that it would be happy. I seem to have found two places where the sage is growing well. Which is good. I ran out of sage the other day and really need to be able to pick more. This seems really healthy and pickable. I was afraid I'd have to go buy it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Gimmer of Hope

Usually the news doesn't make me happy. Just the opposite. But "Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'", put a smile on my face today. I don't think life of any kind should be patentable. A new process to create a GMO should be patentable, but the seed itself shouldn't be. Life is sacred and shouldn't be owned. We may not be there yet, but for now at least some people want create seed that is sharable.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I swear it was 69F yesterday.

At least the coating of frozen rain was pretty thin. I'm sure it will all melt out quickly. Boston does get snow in April every three or four years. But it isn't something that I expect.

I'm sure my little bunching onion seedlings didn't expect it either. Poor things. Luckily everything I have planted now can handle it. Even the onions seedlings above will be just fine even if they are mad at me for not taking them in last night.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Harvest Monday April 14th, 2014

The week started out with some nice soup. It might be the last major soup dish of the spring unless it gets cold again. Not much came from the garden. The Chinese cabbage was not mine. The carrots, celery , and onions were not mine. I think the only things that were from the garden were garlic and sage.

And speaking of sage, I used the last of the sage to make some homemade sausage. I figured if I couldn't buy premade sausage because they add a lot of nasty things, I'd just make my own. I don't have a grinder or anything, so I just used ground turkey (and not the low fat variety). A couple other seasonings like thyme and onion powder came from the garden too. The applesauce was homemade, but not from my trees. My husband has really been into applesauce recently so I even made more. This time with no sugar and no lemon so I can eat it too. I also ground up the peels to keep the fiber content high. My husband declared that it was good. My daughter complained it wasn't as good as the jars I made in the fall.

Kale, Sweet Potatoes, and Seasonings from the Garden
This seemed to be the week of eating sweet potatoes. I ate them most every day. Last week it was squash.

Sadly I only have three sweet potatoes left, though one of them is huge.

I often switch to sweet potatoes when the pureed squash runs out. And it had last week. So yesterday I made some more. I now have five nice containers in the freezer again. And only three squash left. Though as I walked by the squash (which I store on the stairs going down to the basement), I noticed that one is starting to rot in one small spot. I should have noticed that when I picked which squash to roast. Oh well. Maybe I'll roast up two more to freeze. It is about the time for that anyway as they only store so long.

So some of my stored goods are getting low and some have run out altogether already. I have noticed that my overwintered kale is starting to grow again. Some nice leaves are forming. I hope the rest of what is planted grows quickly. Fresh food would be so nice right now.

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, April 13, 2014

Onions Planted

Well I wanted to finish those onions. I didn't check to see if the bed was finally thawed. I just planted them. Today will almost get to 70F and tomorrow in the mid 70s so if it isn't thawed it ought to be by the end of Monday. I planted one flat a couple of days ago and had one flat left. These are Redwing and Ailsa Craig. You can see the red in the stems of the onions. Well at least in the front onions. The ones farther back are the yellow AC onions. Redwing is a keeper and AC is a large sweet onion that doesn't store well. It can keep for about two months.

It rained a little on me while I was planting. The ground wasn't muddy though as yesterday was warm and sunny. I left a one foot strip at the end by the fence. I'm going to plant lettuce there later in the year. It will get morning sun, but the fence will protect it from the afternoon sun.

I put in the supports for the netting, but haven't put the netting in yet. It was wet and I didn't want to get my bolt muddy. I'll wait until it drys. I don't need it in yet anyway. The protection is for the onion maggots. Typically the height of the spring flight is about the time the lilacs bloom. Or at 700 GDD base 40F. If you have never heard of the GDD I talk a little about it here and here. But the height of the spring flight is not the same as when the insects first come out. Something I learned the painful way with the squash vine borer. And that can easily be half the GDD for onion maggots. Right now we are at 207 base 40F. I know because I use my weather station and a spreadsheet to do the calculations. So I'll make sure to have that netting up soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Onions and Compost

Yesterday morning I was off to plant my allium bed. The garlic as you can see was planted last year and is up and off to a good start. The onion section of the bed was side dressed and aerated for the onion transplants.

My onion transplants were very nice this year. Some years I find the side leaves dying. but this year they were very strong and healthy.

I wanted to plant all my onions but I could only do the Copras. The Ailsa Craig and Redwing will have to wait for a day or two while the back end of the bed thaws out. Sadly it is still frozen halfway down the bed. The temperature difference is remarkable even in the top few inches of soil.

Then it was on to one of my most reviled chores in the garden. Once things have melted out I have to turn over the compost from the winter. I say compost, but what I really mean is the thawed mass of winter scraps from the kitchen.

We do put leaves on top as we put the scraps in. Well at least if the leaves are unfrozen enough to do so. But the reality is that it isn't really a compost pile over the winter. It is just frozen scraps. And when it thaws in the spring it is smelly and gross. And typically it goes anaerobic from too much moisture. So turning it over is pretty disgusting.

Not only that but the cats had started sitting on top of it watching the ground underneath. And yesterday the dog was barking at it. That could mean only one thing. There was a mouse in the compost pile. Now I put hardware cloth underneath the pile and the holes are too small for most mice on the side. But the mice are pretty good at getting in. The side has long narrow holes along to let air in. Well they had chewed through the plastic between two of the holes and it made it big enough for the mice to easily get in and out. Now I know mice are impossible to really keep out of any compost system. But I try. And with my kitty early warning system, I can clean it out and disrupt them enough to keep the place fairly free of mice. The other piles aren't nearly as attractive to them, as we only put kitchen scraps into the protected black one. I've never had a cat stalking any of the other piles.

So I turned the pile over into my main garden compost. I put a little of the goo from the black composter and lots of nice dry garden refuse and leaves to separate them. That ought to fix my smell. But what an icky job.

At least the overly moist compost at the bottom of the composter was filled with worms. Well really the whole container was filled with worms. Personally I think the worms attract the mice more than the kitchen scraps. I'm happy for all those worms though. I get a lot of worm castings in my compost every year.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spinach and Carrots

Another gorgeous day to be working in the garden and another bed prepped and seeded. This time I did the spring spinach bed. You can see above that part of the bed is in shade even though it was the middle of the afternoon. By the time I went inside at 4pm the whole bed was in the shade of my neighbor's house. As the sun gets higher the bed will thaw out more. And I do mean THAW. The first half of the bed was totally unthawed, but the other end was frozen about eight inches down. I could still prep the bed and seed as spinach is pretty hardy, but the bed does need to thaw still.

Sadly the overwinter spinach didn't fare well this year. Usually almost all of the plants make it, but this year I'd say only about half did. I'm still expecting a decent harvest, but I hope the spring spinach does well.

Next up was the carrot bed. The bed had already been prepped before, but since I was doing carrots I figured it didn't hurt to reaerate it. I put a row of bunching onions along the edge. This is hardly all of the seedlings, but I'll scatter more around the garden as I plant.

Usually I take about two feet of the front of this bed for lettuce but this year I want more carrots. I had to plant something in the first six inches or so since the bed depth near to the brick path is pretty shallow. This is the reason for the onions. But the rest of the area is all carrots (except for the back which is a foot long strip of peas). I planted 10 little rows of Mokum, which is an old favorite of mine. The other nine rows closer to the path are Yaya. I've never had these before so don't know how well they will do here, but I've heard good things about them. Both are fairly quick growers. I've always been disappointed in SugarSnax in the spring. It tastes great as a fall carrot and gets really big, but as a spring carrot it is bitter and not very sweet.

After it was seeded I put a double layer of old agribon (with holes in it) to cover the soil. Then watered it. This will keep the soil moist until the carrots sprout. And it also keeps me from washing away the seeds when I water. Unlike a board if the carrots sprout under it, the poor things won't be squished.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Over the Fence

Last year one of my neighbors asked for a rhubarb division. I gave it to him, but told him that it wasn't really the time to split rhubarb and it might not live. It didn't. Yesterday our soil was thawed out (I do have one shady corner that is still frozen about 7" down, but most of the garden is thawed) so it was a great time to dig up the rhubarb plant and split it.

I put the division into a bucket to give to him. He lives just over my back fence. But as we say in New England, you can't get there from here. There are no gates in our fence on that side of the house. We have thought about it, but have never put one in. So I had to go the long way around about two or three blocks. It seems so silly for it to be so long since our back yards touch. I told him when he was done with the bucket he could just toss it back over the fence. At least it could take the short route. He later emailed me to tell me it was planted. I hope it grows well for him.

Then it was on to planting. Yesterday I did the Asian greens bed. I prepared the soil and planted those early starts. From left to right I have bok choy, tatsoi, and mizuna. The bok choy is smaller because when I seeded it, I seeded it in the wrong cells. It was seeded with my parsley. I decided to let the parsley grow and reseeded the bok choy. I'm hoping that in a month I'll have a good harvest. The rest of the bed was direct seeded with bok choy, tatsoi, mizuna, and choy sum. I do have some transplants growing upstairs. We will see which is bigger in a couple of weeks. I might just use the transplants as I suspect they will be better than the direct seeded ones.

When I was done I put a netting row cover on it. Now they just need to grow. Grow little babies. Grow!

Last fall when my daughter came to stay with her dog, I wanted to be able to bring him into the garden. But dogs of course love dirt. And they love eating organic fertilizer. So I put up some bamboo and string to tell the dog where not to go. My daughter's dog is very trainable, but I found he does need a visual clue when he gets excited. He could easily jump over it, but it is just enough to remind him. I used some old bamboo that was breaking and small. I didn't like it much as all the sticks are of different size and some were sharp where they broke.

So I replaced them with some old stakes. These stakes used to be next to my beds. They were to keep the middle of each 4'x8' from expanding due to the pressure of the dirt. Well the reality is that the stakes never touched the side of the bed after the first year. So they weren't really doing anything. Yesterday I pulled them out and used them to hold up the string. It looks much better now doesn't it? I didn't have enough stakes for the whole garden. The west bed in the circle garden still uses bamboo, but all the other beds at least are nicer.

I had plenty of time to do more yesterday, but today is supposed to be a gorgeous day too, so I wanted to save one of my beds to dig up. Really the weather is supposed to be gorgeous and above normal temperatures for the next week. We might get some rain on Friday and maybe Saturday morning which would be nice. But other than that it will be mostly sunny and warm. We went straight from winter to late spring weather. It sure makes planting easier. Usually I'm out sowing and planting and freezing my butt off. I remember so many spring days planting spinach in a down coat with frozen hands. Planting with a light wind breaker and a sun hat is so much nicer. I just hope the soil in the spinach bed is all defrosted today.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gardening for Granny and the First Plants Go in the Ground

Many of you may know Carol from Annie's Kitchen Garden. Those that do, know her affectionately as Granny. She is one of my oldest garden blogging friends. We both started blogging in 2008, though I think I didn't find her until early in 2009. Most people stop blogging after a few years, but Granny is still going strong. You can just tell how much she loves blogging and loves her blogging friends. Personally I'm thankful she has blogged for so long as she is filled with humor and gardening wisdom. I've been gardening for several decades now, but she has even taught me a few tricks. So when she blogged about being diagnosed with metastatic cancer, my heart just broke. In addition she lost the use of her hand and arm for a while so typing was hard. She thought she wouldn't have a garden at all this year. But her family rallied around her and are coming over once a week to help out so she can have the garden she loves so much.

In addition 1st Man thought it would wonderful if all of Granny's gardening friends could come together and garden for granny on their own blogs. He asked for someone to make a banner so everyone joining in would have a way of showing their support. Gammy Tammy made a beautiful banner which I now have on my sidebar. So this gardening post if for you Granny. I'm sure it will be obvious why I picked this one.

Sunday was just a beautiful day. Usually my family plays MMORPG games together every Sunday. We take an hour lunch break, but last Sunday I requested an extra hour. The weather was great and I needed to turn over more soil and plant. My garden plan has the eastern part of the circle garden only having radishes in it in the spring (transitioning to melons come June 1st). But I found when I did a more detailed plan that my space for lettuce was pretty meager. And I hardly needed the whole bed for radishes. So I figured I could put the earliest lettuce in this bed. I'm pretty sure I can get it out by June 1st.

I grew four types of lettuce for transplanting. The Red Sails I bought myself so that is pretty boring. But one year I was doing lettuce trials and gardening bloggers from all over sent me seeds to try. One of them was Granny. She sent me Paris Island seeds. I've grown them every year since. And collected seeds from them and grown them again. Two other seeds, Deer Tongue and Little Gem came from Dan in Canada. I've also grown them every year and collected seeds. Well this year both Dan and Granny didn't have seeds for Little Gem and wanted to grow it. So I mailed some off to them earlier this year. I'll be happy knowing each time she has a salad with Little Gem this year she will be eating seeds I collected.

So I fertilized the soil and loosened it up. I don't really turn my soil over, but I do aerate it with a garden fork. Then I planted out three plants from each of the ones mentioned above. On the other side of the bed I planted radishes and salad turnips. The turnips are an experiment. I usually plant them under my Michihili cabbage and pick them over time. They don't all come ready at once like radishes tend to. But will they be ready to be picked by June 1st?. We will see. If not maybe I can work around them.

You may have noticed the netting over the beds. I use row covers of different kinds extensively in my garden. But the first person I ever saw using netting that you would find at a fabric store as a row cover was Granny. I tried it last year with the typical white netting that you can get anywhere. It is about as strong as Agribon (so not very strong), but you can see through it. When I was looking for netting this year in bulk I figured I would get a brown netting as darker colors blend in more, but the green offered was a little too dark. At less than $1 a yard, it is cheaper than Agribon. It also doesn't hold heat like Agribon will, which is a positive or negative depending on the use. It also more easily lets rain through(a positive) and wind through(a negative) . When it rips it is much much easier to sew shut again. However it does stretch weirdly over time. And yes I do need a row cover over the radishes as otherwise the root maggots destroy them.

This is the view out of my kitchen door. Doesn't it look so much nicer than Agribon? Thanks for the idea Granny. The netting is so see through I wasn't sure the dog would notice it fast enough to avoid it when running around the garden. So I left up the string (which I have on all my beds) to remind him the beds are off limits.

I wasn't sure if I had time to get another bed done, so instead I cleaned up my herb circle in the middle of the circle garden (and why I call it the circle garden).

OK so you can't see a lot of difference. But I trimmed back a lot of the dead parts on my rosemary. I trimmed back the oregano and both of the thymes. The English thyme fared pretty well, but the French theme is mostly dead. When new growth starts up, I'll probably have to trim even more off of it. French thyme is my favorite thyme, but English thyme is more reliable. This is why I have another patch of French thyme elsewhere in the garden. As with my rosemary I like more than one just in case my main plant dies on me over the winter.