A Short Pencil

Alloway Creek Herb Farm

Alloway Creek Herb Farm

Honey always says, “A short pencil is better than a long memory!” He’s right. But what happens when your pencil marks fade???

The rain has finally stopped for a little while and I made it out to the garden very early this morning (6:00-cows & chicks, 6:30-garden) before the heat of the day settles in. Although it seems as if it may be a rather pleasant sunny day with less humidity….none the less, I got all my outside work done by 10:30 AM and now I’m faced with a mountain of cleaning to do inside. Yuck! I’d much rather be outside playing in the dirt.

I have some important memory notes to jot to myself about the garden. I wish I could actually make a graph on here….but that’s a bit too challenging for me even if I could. So, I have my trusty paper and pencil at hand. But, come next year, I’ll have lost it and just throw it all to the wind and start from scratch!

1. I’m not pleased with the seeds that I purchased from Territorial Seed Co. They did not germinate well.

2. I’m mostly pleased with the veggie seeds that I bought from Cook’s Garden last year. They germinate well and the seeds that I saved germinated this year very very well.

3. Mama Lima’s did not germinate….only 3 came up. I replanted that bed with 3/4 row of Henderson Lima (saved seed), 1/8 Emerite Pole Beans (saved seed) and 1/8 Provider Bush Beans. I still need to run some twine. The rest of that bed is Golden Bantam Sweet Corn (I think 3 rows).

4. Henderson & Emerite seeds I saved germinated very very well. I put in posts and ran twine for them.

5. My tags faded in the sun. I’m not sure anymore which tomatoes are which. I think that the two in the center of the rear narrow bed are the Heirloom that Jennifer gave me last yr. Other than that I’ll have to wait until they produce and then I’ll know. They are either Heirloom Brandywine, Compost Cherry, or Compost Plum. (seeds that came from plants out of the compost!) BUT all of the tomatoes are doing amazing! I tied again. They are at least 18″ tall.

6. The Fordhook Lima and Jackson Wonder Lima from Organica came up very well. Their packets have a nice little chart on them.

7. The lace bugs (?) are eating my eggplants leaves up! Have sprayed with Hot Pepper Spray and Neem Mix. Hopefully they will stop and not kill my plants.

8. The raspberry plants are doing great!

9. Need to pull the Purple Mustard….it’s very hot and tangy…not sweet like last yrs…even though it’s the same seed and variety. ???

10. Spinach has gone to seed.

11. Emerite Pole Beans from Cook’s Garden do very well. Saved seeds germinated very very well.

12. Reseeded some Okra….half germinated.

13. Use Oil Pencil for tags next yr…not sharpie.

14. Put in 3 hills of Summer Squash among the corn as well as Cuc’s maybe 4-5 hills..???

15. Cut Garlic Scapes and will eat for lunch!

16. Seeds of Change herb seeds all germinated well-indoors and outdoors!

17. Grape plants are growing like crazy. Blueberries finally got chicken wire cages….but rabbits ate most of the leaves off of two…one is full of leaves and one looks like it might die.

18. Finally finished planting all the Petunias.

Spring Fever

I love this time of year! I wait expectantly for the man in brown to appear at my door with packages just waiting to burst forth with life. Yep, I’m talking about my garden seeds. Nothing excites me more! Well……just about nothing.

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I’m trying to sprout my India Eggplant seeds. I don’t know if they are Hybrid, so I soaked them overnight and figured, what the heck, it’s worth the try. If they do sprout, then I will be extremely delighted!!!

I received my seed from Territorial Seed Company the other day. I can never remember what I order so it’s quite the surprise to read all the packages. I like the companies that tell you how many seeds are in a pack….not this 3 grams, 1/2 gram. Who the heck knows what a gram of seeds looks like??? Not me. Territorial does say how many seeds are per package.

To my surprise, I ordered 1 lb of corn! All I know is that a pound is 16 oz. I don’t even think I have room to plant a pound of corn! I’ll have to plow the back 40 for this one. Oh, well, I’ll have enough for next year and the next after that too. Plus, it’s an heirloom…..go figure.

My big question is….if it doesn’t say that it’s a hybrid seed, then can you presume that it’s an heirloom??? Or does it mean that it’s open pollination??? Does anyone know the answer to that. I’d hate to go to all the trouble collecting seed that will never sprout. I did that last year! I just ordered Seed To Seed and hopefully will find all the answers to my questions.

So far, here’s what I’ve got planned:

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Renegade Beans 1 oz

Red Ace Beets 1 oz

Golden Bantam Heirloom Corn (yep 1 lb!)

Twinkle Eggplant 1/8 gram (???)

Micro Greens Blend 4 grams

Osaka Purple Mustard 4 grams

Dakota Peas 1/2#

Cinderella Heirloom Pumpkin 3 grams

Bloomsdale Savory Spinach 1 oz

Winter Buttercup Squash 3 grams

Winter Waltham Butternut Squash 3 grams

Purple Turnips 2 grams

Homemade Pickle Cuc’s 1 gram

Soil Thermometer, 100 2″ Peat Pots, 5 Flats and Domes, Natural Jute Twine (2), and plant tags

I pulled my seeds out of the freezer to find LOTS of greens! That’s ok, Honey and I really like them. Most of them are left from last falls order to Cook’s Garden.

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My friend Val sent me a couple neat seeds. Collecting Heirloom seeds could prove to be a very fun thing to do!

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The picture below is of Val’s Chinese 5 Color Hot Peppers. Aren’t they gorgeous!!! I hope they’re not tooooo hot!!!

Courtesy of Plantain Pixie on Flickr.com

I feel so blessed to have a few seeds from Val and hope that I can get them to germinate. Then I’ll have some to share.

The Long Winter

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It’s January and in the Mid Atlantic States we are just getting geared up for a long winter. When I was homeschooling the kids the winter months were always the hardest to get through. February seemed to drag on forever.

Since my health was taking huge leaps and bounds last winter after starting Dr Zhang’s protocol for Lyme Disease, I was optimistic about gardening again. I began planning a bigger garden and actually had great success at starting my seed indoors. That was a first!

It’s funny that the two things you can look forward to after Christmas are Tax Forms and Seed Catalogs. One I hate and the other I love.

I’ve been pouring through my collection of catalogs and if for nothing else it lifts my spirits during the long winter months. Just the thought of digging in the soil and nurturing plants from seed gives me joy. The memory kicks in and I long for those Indian Eggplant that I got from Cook’s Garden. And once I can get my hands in the dirt again my garlic from Johnny’s will be ready.

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One little problem. I decided to also begin using mostly if not all heirloom seeds last year…..and the reason for doing that is because you can save your seeds. My freezer has a special box that I placed all my seeds in. I labeled all the bags and thought of all the money I’d save.

So, now I sit and dream of spring. Enjoying all the colorful pages of the seed catalogs. My favorite so far for new varieties would be Seeds Of Change.

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Hopefully I’ll expand my garden yet again and have plenty of room for vines. My plan last year didn’t work well enough for me. I used the old split rail fence for my climbers. The trouble is they just love going every where. So, hopefully I can get Honey to build me 3-4 more long boxes and I can spread out a bit more.

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I’d love to be able to grow some crops for my cows. Maybe some turnips or parsnips. I read that Mangels are a real treat and they give some really nice milk. Funny, I haven’t found any Mangel seeds. I’ll have to keep looking.

Well, if you’ve got the winter blues, pull out your seed catalogs or go online and click “send catalog”! It will be a sure cure!

Finally a use for Pantyhose

Well, I’ve done it. I’m about to hang myself with these things. In all my 50 years of living, I’ve NEVER liked pantyhose. Who has???? But for the first time in my life, I’ve actually found some use for them and it’s a pretty good use too.

Kinda looks like a strand of pearls. It’s my onions.

They are finally cured and I’ve dropped them one by one into my pantyhose! (Can’t believe I wore a “B”!) I used twisty ties between each onion. This will prevent them from rotting and if one goes they all don’t go. And dropped all the left overs in the top.

The problem at this point is how to hang this lovely strand of onions. They are way too heavy to wear!

I’d cut these up trying to hang my melons. They are easier to handle in these shorter lengths, but not near as lovely.

By the way, these onions are called Walla Walla from Cook’s Garden and they are without a doubt the most wonderful onions I’ve ever tasted; sweet with a nice bite!

Footnote about Cook’s Garden. Everything I ordered from them which was just about everything, came in a quick manner. BUT, they zoned me wrong. I don’t know what program they use, but it’s wrong. So, they really messed up my plans to plant asparagus, which was zoned to arrive way too late, so I canceled it.

They also don’t get their orders correct. So, make sure if you do use them you always count your seed packs.

They are not small and therefore I won’t use them again. It’s not that I’m that unhappy with them, but I’d rather support the smaller guy who’s trying hard like Landreth Seed Co or some of the others in my links.

My New Growing Challenge~Crows!

My trusty guard owl on the fence.

My growing challenge for this week is those DangBum Crows!!! I’ve been gardening since I was knee high to a grasshopper and I’ve never had crows! I’m not sure if it’s because our property now is grown and there are more places for the to roost???? I don’t know, but I do know they are a pain in my backside.

Poor corn

They have torn havoc on my corn and now they seem to think my little tiny pepper plants are for their pleasure also. If you remember, I started these peppers indoors this winter….my first growing challenge. Then it took forever, but they got in the ground. And, I’m not sure why, but these peppers just aren’t growing much, so they’ve gotten lots of TLC. Then I transplant them to a bigger space so they can reach out to the sun and grow. That’s when the crows came by and pulled a couple out of the soil. No, they didn’t eat them. They left them to die. 😦 They come in and bomb the plastic owl that’s perched there to protect my garden. It’s when I see Mr. Owl knocked over that I know the crows have been back.

I strung string around my little plants to give the crows a visual illusion!

It is working for the corn now….but it’s too late for the corn.

My tiny little pepper.

I finally bought a Jalapeño because I’m afraid when it’s time for Salsa, my little guys would still be growing.

Other than the crows everything else is growing splendidly! I’m very pleased with my little garden! 😀

Ariel view from the top of some cinder blocks.

The spinach is done. I saved one plant to try and salvage seeds. I’ve never done that, so here’s another Growing Challenge.

Spinach Seed Head

Beautiful bag of greens. They have been so good this year! I really love young kale.

Hair cuts for everyone. All the greens got cut off. They keep putting out though.

My last planting (3rd) of pole beans are really doing great. I think it’s the soil, they really are booming and I got the string up not a day too soon. They are grabbing for it and climbing.

My tomatoes are staked well. I have to keep them tied or they’ll take over the entire space.

Almost all my tomatoes are from volunteer seeds, only three were purchased from Cooks Garden.

Full beds means NO weeds!

My newest herb garden. The sage I started from seed are doing great as well as the borage.

The little fence is to keep the “Toto” dog Lady out. Even though she still manages to get in!

I tried casting lots of herb seeds on the soil this year. Not much produced though. I did get lovely Ca Poppies and I think these are Echinacea Purpurea. Does anyone know? I’ve had to wait on the weeds to grow, because I can identify them by site….but not herb seedlings.

My potatoes are really doing swell! They are big and I haven’t had a one potato bug!

Now lets pray there are potatoes under that ground!!! 😀