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Posts Tagged ‘seeds’

July’s challenge was about winter gardening and seed saving. Challenges included:

1. Winter gardening

2. Planting carrots for the fall/winter

3. Saving seeds

I missed the deadline for the link-up to the website (here if you want to check out what others have done), but here’s what I’ve done:

1. Winter gardening

Kale and broccoli for transplanting in a few weeks.

Kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts and some herbs for indoors.

 

I reseeded my polyculture beds with greens and other cold weather veggies.

Lettuce and arugula for the fall inside my bean tepee.

 

2. Carrot bed

Carrots and a few other goodies seeds and (hopefully) germinating. The sticks etc are to keep the cats out.

3. Saving seeds

I have saved some chive seeds and plan to try to get some lettuce seeds. I’ve let some of it bolt and I’m waiting for seeds to set. I also plan to save tomato, pepper and cucumber seeds, but I am afraid some are hybrid, so we’ll see. The corn is definitely a saver as are beans.

August challenge is out – preserving food. Whew, I have a head start on that one!!

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Well, it’s the end of May and I’m finally getting around to posting about April’s challenge! That’s mostly because it’s taken me this long to complete it…kind of. It’s also because my time is limited and I’ve been spending it in the garden. The challenge was hard, too, because it has so many parts to it. Not that I’m complaining…I like a good challenge! Okay, enough preliminary small talk….

Challenge Round 1 Plant seeds.

I’ve been starting seeds inside for a few years and the big challenges for me are knowing how much to start with – I usually start with too much – and having room for it all. We started in two batches this year:

Batch 1

  • head lettuce
  • broccoli

 

The earliest starts

I know, I know…use grow lights. That will be on next year’s list of projects. Yes, things get a bit leggy and it will be much better once I have the grow lights, but things seem to have worked out okay without it for now.

Earliest seeds sown outside

Hardening off the lettuce and chard

New transplants

Batch 2

  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • squash
  • cucumbers

Corn started in TP rolls – just pop the whole thing into the ground.

What’s new this year – Chinese greens, broccoli, potatoes, polycultures.

Challenge Round 2 – Pest Prevention

This is still a challenge that I haven’t quite gotten up to speed on yet. I tried to grow some catnip to deter flea beetles, but it didn’t come up. I’ll have to try that again. I did manage to plant some marigolds among the tomatoes this year. That’s supposed to be good, right?

Round 3 Build a Trellis

Finally got around to making an A-frame trellis for the cucumbers. Our neighbors bought the empty lot next to them and cleared the brush. When I asked if I could take some tree branches and sapling trunks, they looked at me like I am crazy – it’s just trash to them – but said yes. I am quite proud of the little trellis I built out of them.

 

Round 4 Grow food for your chickens

If only we had them…

Round 5 Be lazy

Build good soil, mulch, let things reseed and grow perennials is what I took from the challenge post. Hmmm…I am trying to build good soil, however inept I may be at it. Still trying to figure out what to mulch with. Planted some asparagus, have rhubarb…most of the rest is annual. Love reseeding! Happens mostly with weeds, though.

But I think I ace this round based on pure laziness. I could have all the dandelions in my flower bed, but didn’t. I now consider it my dandelion patch and since we eat it, it’s a nutrient accumulator and its roots open up the soil,  I am telling myself that it’s not lazy, it’s smart!

This is just lazy…

Round 6 Share the Bounty

Giving some away…I give away lots of zucchini when the time comes, but let’s face it, giving away zucchini is not an act of sharing, it’s a necessity! But I am inspired to look into giving some of our harvest to a food bank or soup kitchen. More on that later, I hope.

So that’s the April challenge, long since passed, but still working on it here in my garden!

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It was a cold and blustery weekend, so we spent it indoors, sewing and sowing.

Corn in toilet paper rolls, to be plunked roll and all in the ground as soon as it warms a bit.

I saw this cute and easy shirt pattern, and decided to try it. Here is the result:

I was so inspired, I stitched up some shorts for Olivia. She got inspired, too and made her own top.

Cute shorts, cute top, cute girl!

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It’s been 3 weeks since my last post. What have I been doing ? You know, besides the usual?

[Digression: I started feeling really bad about not writing for so long.  And then I got irritated at feeling bad because this is supposed to be FUN! And mostly for me anyway, so why all the negative feelings? Then I read this and it really struck a nerve. If you blog, do read it. You’ll feel better about infrequent blogging!]

Knitting socks…this pair is for daughter #1 and

…this pair for daughter #2.

They don't look it in the photo, but they are the same size!

 

Making a quilt for a colleagues who just had their first baby.

Starting a few seedlings

(I know, I know…they are very leggy because I don’t use grow lights. It’s on the project list!)

Making more frames for raised beds.

Positioning before digging it in.

Ready for planting!

Chasing the cat out of the new raised beds. (See photo above – can you spot little cat tracks?)

Enjoying beautiful spring weather, celebrating the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts of America with a brisk sunrise ceremony, traveling to Warsaw to hear Jane Goodall (!) speak at a teacher’s conference, celebrating my daughter’s 10th birthday,  attending student art shows and music recitals..and NOT looking at my blog stats.

 

 

 

 

 

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Planning the Garden

Where do I start? One piece of advice I saw said, “Read everything you can find…” Are you serious?! Everything? Have you heard of the internet? No, I don’t think I’ll be reading everything I can find.

Definitely TMI!!

Reading the books I have is quite enough information, thank you. Here’s what I’m using as my main resources:

  • Crockett’s Victory Garden, James Underwood Crockett
  • Gaia’s Garden, Toby Hemenway
  • The Backyard Homestead, Ed. Carleen Madigan
  • Your Organic Garden, Jeff Cox and Rodale
  • A Grower’s Guide to Herbs, Geoffrey Burnie and John Fenton-Smith
  • Tips for the Lazy Gardener, Linda Tilgner

At first I was so overwhelmed I did’t know where to start.

So, I broke the process down into a couple of parts

  1. What do we want to grow?
  2. Where can I get seeds/plants?
  3. How much do we need to plant?
  4. Where should I place them in the garden?
  5. What requirements do they have once planted?
  6. When should I start seeds and where?

What do we want to grow?

This is the easiest part. Ask the family, make a list. What could be simpler? Except there’s almost nothing that everybody likes and lots that only I like! The list is pretty long…40 vegetables and 30 herbs at last count. Don’t even get me started on fruit…

Where can I get seeds or plants?

This is a bit trickier because of all the choices out there. Growing heirloom varieties appeals to me, but I’m not sure where to source them locally. Buying from a local garden center also makes sense as presumably what they have on offer is suited to grow here.  And some of the seed companies are Czech, so I would be sourcing my seeds locally. But they might not be (in fact, almost surely are not) organic, chemically untreated, non-GMO, etc. It’s dizzying trying to weigh the pros and cons of these choices.

Then there is just the overwhelming number of varieties to choose from. I read somewhere there are more than 3000 varieties of heirloom tomatoes to choose from.  This is pretty much true for all the other kinds of vegetables we want to plant, too. Ack!

In the end, I decided to use what I have saved from last year, which covers about 3/4 of the veggies and half of the herbs.

photo from their website

My next stop is the local garden center, Chládek in Střešovice. It’s a Czech company that I have seen expand dramatically in the years I’ve lived here. I think they source many of their plants and seeds locally. And a friend who is an avid gardener tells me that they will order things if they don’t have them in stock, so perhaps they will be able to find some of the more obscure things on my list for me.

How much do I need to grow?

Some of my books give indications of quantity needed per person. Northwest Edible Life, my favorite blog, has an Annual Produce Planner available for download. And I have a little bit of experience, so I came up with some quantities and for the rest we’ll just have to wing it! For the most part, though, the answer is, way more than I have been growing!! Which  leads me to the next point…

Where in my garden should I grow all this?

At the moment I have no idea…I’ll share as soon as I figure it all out.

When should I start my seeds?

Organic Gardening magazine’s website has a wonderful tool to help with this: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/seed-starting-chart

I’m looking at starting on 24 February with onions.

The latest 3-week spell of cold weather and snow has made spring seem much farther away than it did in December when it was much warmer (!), but the days are getting longer. It better warm up soon – sitting indoors with nothing to do but plan has meant a longer and longer wish list!

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