May 29, 2008

Little Vermont Family Garden

If you're going to read a real gardening blog, it's this one. She's an environmentalist, a mom, she grows her own vegetables... she's a REAL person with no frills or fuzzy lenses. I'm always stalking her site and I get impatient when she hasn't updated in a few days.

Little Vermont Family Garden

Now go read.

End of May

May and June are my favorite months for the flower gardens. Everything is blooming and green and there are no wilted leaves from the heat. Snapped a few photos over the past two weeks, not all gardening but outdoors in the garden.. nothing really to report.

Something is eating my roses. I asked around and was told to look for aphids, but didn't see any. I really have no desire to get lost in the depths of rose gardening (I DO have other plants to take care of), so unless it gets really bad I'll leave it alone. The rose photo was taken on May 16th, and I realized that doesn't look any worse today so maybe I'm in luck.

And a few just for fun. :)

They're in the ground!

All veggies in the ground as of Saturday the 24th. They're not much to look at so no photos just yet. I woke up on Sunday to find that something had eaten a Rutgers plant down to the soil, and munched heavily on my Mr. Stripey. Oh! I had tomatoes coming up in the bed from all the rotted ones falling off at the end of last season. I bought the Mr. Stripey tomatoes at the produce stand last year for $1.50. Talk about a great investment! They were big, yellow and orange streaked and very low in acid. So beautiful and very delicious. I put them in many a cucumber salad last year. I replaced the Rutgers plant and put a Black Krim in place of the Mr. Stripey. The Black Krim plants seemed to look the healthiest, which is why I chose to use that in place of the rabbits lunch.

The Chocolate Beauty peppers look better than the Garden Sunshine ones and he Diamond Eggplant look better than the Rosa Blanca. I didn't harden them off, which is probably why. Secretely I'm hoping I lose one of each plant so I can go buy some from the nursery. I saw some pretty neat stuff out there... shhhh. ;)

If only I had more room

More room would mean I wouldn't have to grow things in containers on the patio. Right now I've got Romaine and Red Leaf lettuces, Broccoli, and Snow Peas in various containers. Everything is doing very well except for the broccoli. A friend told me it was hard to grow and apparently it's next to impossible to grow in containers. I may try to pop them in the ground between the eggplant and peppers... I'm a fan of over crowding the garden but I think that might be pushing it. I learned how large eggplant plants get last year and the poor broccoli will be smothered. I have to keep reminding myself why I left space between them and the peppers.
The Snow Peas have flowers on them, not many came up.. (could it be the container?) about 4 plants out of maybe a dozen planted. I didn't plan to actually grow them in a barrel, but it made for a fun project for the kids. I meant to plant some along a chain link fence in the yard but never got around to it and since they need to be in the ground in April.. I guess that will wait till next year.

Finally out of the bedroom

...and on to the sunporch!Sometime in April I moved the vegetables to the sun porch. They got a lot more sun and I didn't have to worry about them tangled up in my bedroom. Late april I transplanted the tomatoes into peat pots. My photo says this was taken on May 18th, but I can't be sure.

The Rutgers sprouts were by far the hardest of all the tomatoes. They also grew a little (ok a lot) crooked, I'll have to look into that for next year if I can find the seeds. A friend of my dad's, ordered theses heriloom seeds for us online (thanks Mary!), I'll have to get dad to ask just where she ordered them from as I haven't seen them anywhere. From what I understand, Rutgers tomatoes aren't very disease resistant... lets keep our fingers crossed that the four I put in the ground survive. I planted a full tray of 36 and another half tray for a full 54 plants. By the time I transplanted to peat pots there were about half of them worthy of keeping (more likely that I didn't kill).

Look what we found in the garden..

We spotted this on May 6th. I've been sneaking out there and trying to snap some photos whlie the mommy bird is gone, so far (thankfully) I haven't been attacked. The nest is only about 4.5 feet off the ground and I worry that a cat will get them, they're doing great so far.

They hatched on March 17th, the same day as Matthew's 3rd birthday party. There are only two hatched at this point, but the 3rd survived just fine. The boys have been really good about staying away from the nest. They watch from the window and can point out the mommy and daddy robins easily. What I always thought was really cool (really cool?) about robins is that they keep their nests very clean. They remove feces, the eggshells.. anything that isn't supposed to be there.

As of today (May 29th) they're doing well and getting very big. I snuck this photo yesterday. Pretty soon I'll have to start to take them from the window so I don't scare them out of the nest before they're able to fly. I really wanted to try to catch one of the parents feeding them but I don't think it's going to happen without a giant lens.


Finally things are starting to come together. Over the past two years I've been freecycling, ordering, and sharing perennials. Moving them around, seperating them and creating new flower beds. I'm still stuck on a few places. There's a spot by the front door that is half shade/half sun and I can't seem to get the right combination of things there. I'll see what I can do there this fall. There's also a place under the window box by the front door that gets full sun but I've just got it crowded with junk. I even threw some herbs in there (parsely, and basil). There is some purple and white Aster there and I think I'm going to take it out. They're not that pretty, they don't stand up well and they sure don't last long. Not to mention their mess just takes up space after May.

There is some sage there that came back from last year (rightwith purple flowers). I didn't realize sage came back but I guess it's because we've had such a mild winter. My lavender is back as well, although I don't know if that's naturally a perennial or not. The strawberry grass looks wonderful as do the hosta. I seem to get more and more shade every year. My guess is the previous owners of the house would cut back the front tree every year or few years. Since that isn't in my budget, I'll just learn to love shade plants. :)

I put purple, green, and varigated sweet potato vine, dusty miller (oh! which also survived the winter in the flower beds), and petunias in the window boxes. No photos of those just yet, I'd like to wait for them to really grow in and start to hang before I show them off.

Hey Sproutlets :)

I'll have to check out the photos and see if I dated them properly.. my green zebra tomatoes were the first to sprout. I get really excited when they come up, like I've succeeded in something (ok, obviously my life isn't that exciting). Once they're up I panic a little, worried that I'll somehow kill them.

From my photos, looks like the Chocolate Beauty peppers started to show themselves on March 13th. I'm sure the tomatoes sprouted first, followed by the peppers, followed by the eggplant. I was actually a lil worried the eggplant wouldn't come up.

The photo above shows tomato sprouts, not sure which variety though. For some reason I'm leaning toward Black Krim or Green Zebra. Next year I'll post everything as it happens and I wont have to rely on my poor memory. To the right, is a Chocolate Beauty pepper sprout.
Overall I'm happy with them, I just wish I had more room for vegetable beds. I considered getting a spot at Barkley Farms, but when I factored in gas, time and the rental fee I concluded it just wouldn't make much sense. I'll just have to keep my nose to the grindstone and push Joe to keep at it so we can afford to sell and buy a new house, with a bigger, better yard. :)

in the beginning there was peat moss

I started my vegetables from seed again this year. Last spring I started them on March 30th, this year I started them on February 27th. I really wanted to get a jump on things as last year, I thought my plants were a lil small to put in the ground last time.

From seed:
  • Black Krim tomatoes
  • Green Zebra tomatoes
  • Silvery Fur Tree tomatoes
  • Rutgers tomatoes
  • Chocolate Beauty peppers

  • Sunshine Garden peppers

  • Diamond eggplant

  • Rosa Blanca eggplant

  • Outhouse Hollyhock (ok, not a veggie)

  • Snow Peas

Not from seed:

  • Romaine Lettuce

  • Red Leaf Lettuce

  • Broccoli

    The kids helped and had a great time. They planted some of their own in little plastic cups with holes cracked in the bottom. Sure, it made a mess of the dining room but they dug it (no pun intended). Matthew decided to eat dirt and Joey, in true Joey form was 100% completely organized and VERY careful to place one seed in each hole.

All the peat pellets and cups went upstairs into my bedroom next to a sunny, east facing window. I don't remember how many cups, but there were six trays of 36 pellets.


I'd been toying with the idea of starting a gardening blog for some time. I read several, enjoy reading them... and I'm envious that the owners of those blogs can look back and see how their gardens have progessed and what changes have been made from year to year, which is really why I wanted to do this. I'll have to do a few posts over the next few days just to get caught up on what I've done so far, have to start somewhere right?