Thursday, March 22, 2018

Whacky Doo Winter

Tomatoes. I have about sixty plants. 😐
Spring is on the calendar and I, in anxious anticipation, started all manner of seedlings in all places. Fortunately small lettuces do not mind frost/freeze if covered so we re-covered, again. A gardening version of spin the bottle.
I put out broccoli seedlings and Swiss chard thinking a warming trend would begin a-a-and had to cover. Beets, you're on your own. Maybe I will cover them before the cold settles tonight. Maybe. Bright sunny days yield frost at night this year.
RobCo Master Gardeners' Spring Symposium featured Greg LeHoullier, self proclaimed Tomato Man. First, he declared tomato seeds are viable for up to twelve years. Good thing I hoard seeds. Testing his theory I found my six year olds were. I also used a modified version of his germination method and now have entirely too many of every type of tomato I planted.
Here's the list:
Mountain Magic
Mountain Fresh
Yellow pear
Lemon Ice (dwarf)
Pink Passion (dwarf)
All have been separated, replanted and are thriving.
Now we wait for warmer weather. And, I will buy some more heirloom tomato seeds.
There are other seedlings up. Beets, leeks, ground cherries, borage.
Failed twice are the basil seeds.

Monday, March 12, 2018

New Bed

The New Bed has been mapped out, filled with composted manure and a few plants put in. Not the best timing for planting. Lured to it by the warm weather we have re-covered established beds and will cover the new planting. Maybe double cover and put some of those candle heaters under tonight. And tomorrow night. A long overdue reminder: Small towns list toward boring, therefore I garden.
Recent reading and videos are leading me down the path of No Dig (Charles Dowding, UK) and Craig LeHoullier (Cary, NC). The New Bed is no dig. Tomatoes many types and varieties are up and growing under lights upstairs. Elliot Coleman's, Winter Harvest started year round growing. Future posts will refer back to these methods.

A long overdue reminder: Small towns list toward boring, therefore I garden. Apparently those whose winters are longer learn crafts, quilt and build stuff. I would lose me mind and be perpetually medicated or learn to build stuff because sitting is not for me.

Monday, March 5, 2018


I know not to brag about the weather. So help me. My garden is back under wraps with night time temps in the low 30's. The trials of gardening...

Monday, February 26, 2018


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Winter has been over for weeks here in Southeastern NC. Despite a doozie of a head cold I stumbled outside in bursts to plant according to the Mother Earth News, "What to Plant Now" monthly guide. Call it global warming or luck, I did not have to cover beds because temps were in the 70's and 80's. I did have to water.

We now have a transition garden with direct seeding of lettuce, carrots, onions, potatoes, beets and radishes up and at 'em. Rutabagas and kale are the winter hold overs. The potatoes are a shock. They are already pushing up. The ground is warm enough for them to do that.

I stumbled into a fabulous throw back to the 1970's while in Charlottesville, VA. recently. Like falling down Alice's rabbit hole it was a hippy throwback owned by two hippy women about my age. The only thing missing were the macrame hanging plant holders. I came away with hundreds of dollars worth of organic, heritage seeds, potting mix and garden ephemera. The very best find was seedling mix that is not hydrophobic. Hallelujah! I also caved and bought a heating pad for seedlings and grow light. Uh, duh. Why did I wait so long?

Following what I hope will be a soaking rain today, we will put an herb/flower bed in where the tree-that-died-after-Matthew was. It is currently a big, ugly, scar in our backyard. Losing a tree abruptly is hard for many reasons but this was a very serviceable shade tree. I miss it. All this to say that my annual new, exciting plants will be herbs I've never grown-borage, chamomile, horseradish and others with the anchor being a Serviceberry. Soon the whole world will be green and blooming!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

We Are Off!

Final count: 24
Spring has come early. Very early. Reading the tea leaves, because second guessing Mother Nature is like that, I planted onion, potato, lettuce, carrot, radish, peas seeds last week. More will go in today. Upstairs under grow lights broccoli and herbs are germinated and growing. Rough estimates show about thirty, that's right 30, broccoli plants, most are DiCicco. Yikes.

All the tiny seeds and seedlings must be watered daily or kaput. All that work for nothing.

Rutabagas are almost ready to eat. Kale is harvested weekly. Romaine lettuce, that overwintered, has put on growth from warm days and is wonderfully tender. Cabbages are coming out one by one. Because I planted the parsley where it could be covered it survived "The Epic Cold of January 2018" and we are eating it in something every day.

Referencing the heat and cold here:  Chives are up, thyme died. Oregano and mint were seriously knocked back. Rosemary took the cold well. Parsley, I covered and even then some died. Bay, growing in a pot, has minor leaf damage.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Radishes and Lettuce

Today I will plant both in one of the raised beds. Gosh. I hope it works. I will take photos if they germinate. Stay tuned folks.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Seed germination test

I bought Wando (green) peas sometime back at a garden supply store, brought them home and did not put the year on the bag. I planted some, then stored them without dating. Bad news. Good news.  I could remember buying them. So they weren't ancient. Not wanting to risk failure, I chitted them (as the British say) or did a germination test.
Here's how it's done: Damp paper towel, 10 seeds to make the math easier, a plastic bag. Wet the paper towel, lay the seeds on them folding half the towel over the seeds and tuck them into the bag. Check back a few days later to see if they are swelling or sending out a shoot. 
In the case of the Wando beans I had 100% germination. Back to the British. They plant their chits. Me too because in just two weeks I'll be planting round one of our spring garden peas. 
So excited!
Isn't that just the sweetest sight?! I know there are only eight. Two rolled onto the floor when I opened the bag.