Thursday, April 26, 2012


Finally we are having the Spring that we should have had all along!  After a much needed 3" of rain and cooler temperatures, the garden is responding by producing excellent salads with herbs for our lunches and dinners.  After all these greens, we should be the healthiest people on earth!  The Mesclun (ds 3/8) was starting to bolt so I picked it all one day to be mixed in with the Black seeded Simpson lettuce.  The tomato plants that were planted in the hoophouse are doing great and starting to flower.  We'll have early tomatoes again this year.  The tomatoes that I started for friends on March 12 were moved into bigger pots and are nestled in the hoophouse waiting for their turn in the soil.  The hoophouse is very full with tomato plants, squash starts, gourd starts, herbs and flowers.  The cooler night temperatures haven't effected their growth it seems, although during the day, I open the hoophouse as much as possible to prevent condensation build-up.  On the warmer, sunny days, the flaps are all the way open, whereas on the cooler, cloudy days, I just open the roof a little bit.  I still feel like it is the best design for me.  As you can see from the picture, I already put the plastic fencing over the tomatoes to provide support and will add a second one 2-3' above that as they grow and when I remove the hoophouse.  The tomatoes grow through the fencing for protection from the wind. 

But my garden isn't all about the hoophouse!!!!  The 'open garden' is looking great and the broccoli, cabbage and Brussel Sprouts that I have under a net are the stars of the garden, so far.  The netting is working to keep out the cabbage moths, so no leaves have been chewed and no eggs have been laid, I hope.  The asparagus root (ds 3/23) hasn't yet made an appearance, although I look for it everyday.  I can't wait to see those feathery fronds!  The peas are reaching for the vertical netting, and the wintered over Swiss Chard is producing again!  Didn't think it would survive the winter, but since we had such a mild one, it did!  Hooray!  Welcome back Swiss Chard!! 

P.S.  One last thing.  Blogger changed it's format and now it is especially user unfriendly!  That is why my picture of the garden at the top of the page is so small.  I spent an hour trying to make it large like it was before all of these great changes.  Why do they do that?  And when they change something, do they actually sit down and try to make a page?  Ugh!!!


HOOPHOUSE:  Roma tomatoes (si 1/31, t HH 2/22\\ si 3/12, t HH 4/20); Beefsteak Tomatoes (si 2/3, t HH 3/13\\ si 3/12, t HH 4/20); Heirloom tomatoes (si 2/7, t HH 3/13\\ si 3/12, t HH 4/20); Cherry tomatoes (si 2/16, t HH 3/13\\ si 3/12, t HH 4/20), Peppers (si 3/18, t HH 4/20); Butternut squash (si 4/10, t HH 4/20); gourds (si 4/10, t HH 4/20); Herbs - Basil, Parsley, Marjoram, Chives, Rosemary (si 3/12, t HH 4/17); Flowers - Marigolds, zinnias, coleus, pansies (si 3/12, t HH 4/17); Nasturiums (ds HH 4/18)

GARDEN:  Garlic (wo); Swiss Chard (wo, si 1/16, ds 3/8); Peas (ds 3/8, 4/18); Brussel Spts (si 2/16, ds 3/8, t HH 3/13, t garden 3/16); Parsnips (ds 3/8); lettuce (si 1/27, ds HH 2/22, ds 3/8, ds 4/18); Mesclun (ds 3/8, B 4/16; 4/2); Kale (ds 3/8); Spinach (si 1/31, si 4/2, si 4/10, ds 4/18); onion sets (ds 3/23); asparagus root (ds 3/23); Dill (ds 4/6); Broccoli (si 2/9, t HH 3/6, t garden 3/13); cabbage (si 3/5, t garden 3/16)

ds = direct sow; si = sow inside; t = transplant; HH = hoophouse; B = bolted

Friday, April 13, 2012


Watering with a sprinkler certainly helps, but nothing compares to a good old fashioned rain storm.  And that's just what we need.  We MAY get a thunderstorm tomorrow night, according to the forecast, and I'll bet I'm one of the only ones around here that is hoping for one.  That is, me and the farmers.  Although we have been pretty dry, the seeds are sprouting and the garden is greening up.  We've been eating lettuce and greens almost every night and they are so delicious.  Nothing beats fresh picked greens.  The peas are up as are the onions.  I gave them a little haircut to stimulate their root growth.  The asparagus is taking its good old time and still sleeping beneath the soil.  The hoophouse tomatoes are doing great and are looking green and bushy.  I can't wait to try the heirlooms!  The really interesting plants this year are the broccoli and cabbage plants.  They seem to be loving the cooler weather and look very healthy.  The netting is helping keep them bug free and I am anxious to feast on fresh broccoli and cole slaw.  Yum!  Just planted dill today into the herb bed, along with the oregano, chives and parsley that wintered over.   Everything is out in the garden, except for the flower sprouts and the slow growing peppers.  I even put my friends' tomato plants out into the hoophouse to free up a little windowsill space and give them a little elbow room. 

My grandsons were here for Easter and help me in the garden.  They loved digging with their new little shovel and raking with the new yellow rake.  Two and four - not too young to learn!!!  Get them in the dirt at an early age! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s!  That's the current temps here - perfect for the cool season crops.  The lettuce and mesclun are responding to the cooler temperatures now, whereas when it was in the 70s they stalled.  I know - it's all about the temperatures.  Not just the ambient air temperature, but also the soil temperature.  I check these often, but you know, there's not too much you can do when the weather changes, especially so drastically.  The peas have popped up and will need support before long.  The broccoli looks like it is thriving and even the red cabbage (I bought starts at the market!!!) looks happy in the garden.  The chives and oregano are up and being used in our nightly salads.  And the tomatoes -- those poor cold tomatoes shivering in the hoophouse -- seem to be surviving.  We'll see how they do over the next few weeks.  After one below freezing night, I removed the heater thinking that it was ridiculous to heat a plastic hoophouse.  So they are on their own.  The older tomato plants are fairing better than the younger ones.  When I look at last year's tomatoes at this time of year, not only did they survive, but went on to produce a bounty of fruit. 

The windowsill rack is full of vegetables starts, flowers, herbs and decorative garden plants, slowly growing, waiting for their day in the garden.  So we are in full production mode at this time.  Recently I checked out Burpee's website and found that they have a very useful garden calendar that is specific to your location.  Just enter your zip code and up pops a timeline, similar to what I already have created for myself, with information of when to start seeds inside, when to transplant and when to direct sow into the garden.  It also has information for fall crops.  Unfortunately I couldn't print the page, but I did use it to create a page of my own.  Check it out.  It has proven to be a very useful tool.