Friday, March 23, 2012


Hoophouse tomatoes
Against my better judgment I planted my tomatoes in the hoophouse on March 19th.  The warm, sunny weather was like a siren's song luring me out to the garden, shovel in hand.  So I moved the hoophouse off the greens pretty confident that they will do just fine without any protection, probably better because it was getting a bit too warm in there.  I deeply planted the heirlooms, romas, beefsteaks and cherries in the warm soil, with a handful of oatmeal and eggshells, for good measure.  The extended forecast is for temps in the 70s for the next week.  Even if it does cool off a bit, which I'm sure it will, the hoophouse will keep the tomatoes nice and warm.  And if I am making a huge mistake and the plants die or languish, I have more starts on the windowsill, just in case.  Some of the tomato plants are getting pretty big and I'd rather have them outside, than inside leaning over the freshly started herbs and flowers.  So we shall see!  While I was out in the garden I noticed that the lettuce that I seeded in the open bed is sprouting and the broccoli and cabbage starts that I planted last week are doing OK out in the open.  I bought netting at Joann Fabrics, sewed it together lengthwise and made a cover for the broccoli and cabbage.  And just in the nick of time!  Cabbage moths were out flittering around the garden today. 
Netting tent
Today, the 23rd, I planted onion sets and asparagus.  Hooray!  I've always wanted to grow asparagus!  And although we won't be able to start eating even a little bit of it until next spring, it is worth it.  It has it's own little dedicated raised bed filled with compost and year old manure. 

This year I've learned that it is easier to start vegetables inside on the windowsill than to direct seed into the garden.  This may be because of the very warm weather that we've been having and the timing of everything is off.  But the spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard that I sowed directly into the garden hasn't come up yet.  I'm not counting it out just yet, but it's been a month and -- nada.  On the other hand, the lettuce, mesclun, turnips, peas and kale are up.  The tomato plants in the hoophouse look very green and happy and unless we get an Alberta Clipper, I think that they are home free.  My windowsill starts are doing well.  All the flowers up are (marigold, coleus, zinnias) as are the tomatoes for friends and family, herbs (parsley, marjoran, chives, basil and rosemary).  I'm waiting for the peppers to pop any day now. 

The front flower garden is in bloom with daffodils, and forsythia.  It's very yellow out there.  It must be spring!

It's weird though. I was looking at old pictures of last year's garden at this time and notice that I was picking a ton of greens (I'm starting to cut lettuce, but not the bushels like last year) from the garden because so much had wintered over. Not so this year. My timing was totally off for a fall crop of anything.  So I marked my garden chart and hopefully will get the timing right for this year's fall crop.  Live and learn! 

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