This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

countdown code

I spent so much time making that little line in my sidebar that counts down the number of days until planting time that I wanted to make the code available to anyone else who wants to use it. It can be modified to other plant hardiness zones or your birthday or whatever. My husband says I spent an hour and a half (!) getting this to look good on my site. (Also 2 glasses of wine). Anyway..\.. the code is here. I don't know if it works on every blog template. Help yourself, I hope it counts the right way for you. (By the way, I wrote this by modifying the code at this site.)

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old planting journal

I was looking through boxes in my basement and came across a gardening journal I started in 1998. I only entered about 4 or 5 pages. To tedious to handwrite it, I guess. And no one was leaving me any comments! In 1998 and 1999, I was gardening in a different location, but in 1990 I first turned over my current garden. The area was a weedy lawn before I started planting. We put up a post and rail fence around the garden in the same location of the 4 foot picket fence we have now. 1990 - wow! That means my current garden has been growing for 17 years. I didn't realize it had been so long. As they say, time flies when you're gardening.

S&P

Saturday, January 27, 2007

more seeds

more seeds
The rest of my seed order arrived today. I can begin planting them on April 15th, if the weather is like its been in most previous years. Two and a half months away. That's 77 days - but who's counting? Actually I am. I just added a countdown clock to my sidebar so I don't miss planting day.

S&P

Thursday, January 25, 2007

SEEDS!!!

johnnys seeds
The seeds I ordered from Johnny's Selected Seeds arrived today! So exciting. These are the first of my three orders from three different seed companies.

S&P

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

tag

camera car seat green leaf lettuce extinguisher

I was tagged in the 5 things game. This has been circulating among bloggers for a while and bifurcated carrots tagged me last week. So, here is my list of five previously unrevealed things about me (but maybe you suspected these already):

1. Since I turned over my garden last May, I have taken 7,368 photos with my pocket-sized Pentax Optio camera (a great little 5Mp waterproof camera). That’s 921 pictures a month, 205 pictures a week, and 30 pictures every day. (I’m just glad its not film! Remember those days?) This Christmas, I was given a gift card for a fancy new camera (I’m still deciding what to buy) and I am hoping to take even more pictures next year.

2. I have a bad habit of staying up until 2 or 3 am working or blogging.

3. My car is ALWAYS dirty – dirt from the dog and dirt from gardening. I can’t seem to keep up with cleaning it out.

4. My dog heads for the door when he hears me pick up a frying pan. Very quickly and tail between his legs. And my husband gave me a nice red fire extinguisher for Christmas. What's wrong with my cooking anyway? I just like to get a good sear on the meat and prefer to cook on high. I suppose there have been a few flames now and then....

5. I garden because I find that rows of vegetable plants are very beautiful. Edible produce is an added bonus.

I will now tag the following five bloggers (from some of my favorite blogs) and invite them to list five new things about themselves, if they would like to do this (although since the game has been going on for a while, they may have already revealed everything):

My California Garden in Zone 23
Advantures in my Urban Garden
Gardening in Central Florida
May Dreams Gardens
Susan Gets Native

snowy garden on  January 22, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

planting dates

I've been wishing it were warm enough to garden, or at least to go for a comfortable walk outside. But since it isn't, I've been reviewing my gardening records to see what are good dates for planting crops that need repeat seeding (every 2 weeks). I figure it'll probably be a warmer than usual gardening season, so I'll extend the dates a bit more than usual. I think I'll go by these dates this year:

Lettuce, cool weather types: April 15 through May 15, Sept 1 through Sept 20
Lettuce, warm weather types: May 31 through Aug 15
Bush beans: May 10 through July 31
Pole beans: May 10 through July 31
Soybeans: May 10 through June 20

S&P

Thursday, January 18, 2007

frozen lettuce

frozen lettuce
It doesn't look too good for my lettuce. This may be the end of lettuce season in Boston - after 2 or 3 days with temperatures in the teens.

Lactuca sativa

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

garden plan









This is my plan for this year's vegetable garden. I think I'll increase my space by removing a large rhododendron and a yew that are growing in an area against the house with full sunlight. Like my seed order, I'll probably revise this plan several times. Then who knows if I'll really follow it. But it does give me some sense of how many seeds to buy.

S&P

garden planning (drawings and diagrams)

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Monday, January 15, 2007

seed order

I'm planning to order seeds from several sources this year, including many varieties I can't find locally. I like the looks of the mixes (lettuce and beets) and heirloom varieties that they offer. I find it too much work to raise my own seedling indoors, so I only buy seeds that I can plant directly in the garden. Here's my list (which I'll revise until I actually place the order):

(revised Wednesday, January 17)
(revised again Thursday, January 18)
(revised again and ordered Saturday, January 20)

Johnny's Selected Seeds
Carrots, Cosmic purple
Chard, Bright Lights Multicolor
Cucumber, Diva (treated)
Cucumber, Striped Armenian
Endive, Neos (“Chicory Frisee”)
Escarole, Natacha
Beans, Provider, Green bush bean
Inoculant for beans and peas
Lettuce, Allstar gourmet mix
Lettuce, Parris Island
Lettuce, Sylvesta
Radicchio, Indigo (F1)
Snap pea, Sugar Sprint
Zucchini, Cashflow (F1) (treated)

The Cook's Garden
Beet, Rainbow Mix
Cilantro
Lettuce, Heatwave Blend
Soybean, Early Hakucho
Summer Squash Sunburst Patty Pan
Sunflower Russian Giant

Seeds of Change
Beans, Haricot Vert "Maxibel" Bush
Beans, Italian Snap Pole
Beans, Black Seeded Blue Lake Pole Bean
Carrot, Oxhart
Carrot, Red Core Chantenay
Kale, Dinosaur

Last year I used alot of lettuce seeds, since I seeded almost every 2-3 weeks. Some seedings sprouted, some didn't. I had no lettuce in the heat of the summer, so I'm trying the Heatwave Mix from The Cook's Garden this year. This order has 4 packs of lettuce seeds, as well as escarole and endive for cool weather.

This order has 25 packs of seeds. Too much! But all look like fun to grow. I can always share the seeds with my parents. They always like extra seeds and plants.

buttercup squash seeds
I'm also collecting some seeds. I saved some tomatillo seeds the other day. And I saved some buttercup squash seeds this week (above). I think I'll try planting them in the back of my flower garden. There were empty spaces with full sun there last year.

S&P

bare january garden

vegetable garden jan 15, 2007
I was really hoping to see snow on my garden 3 feet deep by now. We have a cold rain today. Maybe snow flurries tomorrow.

aerial views of my home vegetable garden

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

garden photos from 2006

garden 2006
I'm getting tired of taking lettuce and carrot pictures (that's about all that's left in my garden now), so I picked out some garden photos from last year and assembled them into a composite. I'm working on my seed order this week and its almost ready to go. I have to remember that I only have at most 350 square feet of garden space. I can't plant everything...

Edit: Well, I over estimated my gardening space. I got out my tape measure and it turns out my garden beds are 3.5 x 9 feet. I have 4 raised beds and two similar sized areas elsewhere. That's 189 square feet. I can round it off to 200, I suppose, but not 350.

S&P

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

winter lettuce

winter lettuce My lettuce is hanging in there. Its an icy cold day and the ground is frozen. If I had planted more, this would still be a nice winter crop. Next year....

Lactuca sativa

garden review

As part of the planning process for next year's vegetable garden, I've made a list of what were good crops and what were poor crops last year. I've also noted what I'd like to do differently (or the same) next year for each crop.

Good crops:
Basil (same)
Carrots (try a longer orange variety, also, purple and white)
Cucumbers (try 2 varieties this year)
Jalepeno peppers (maybe)
Lettuce (more varieties; add escarole, radicchio and endive)
Tomatoes (same, but no more Yellow Brandywine)

Poor crops:
Beans, pole and bush (try again with inoculant)
Beets (these were flooded by spring rain, try again)
Celery (terrible, why bother)
Peas, snap and shell (try again with inoculant)
Pumpkins (give up, I don’t have room)
Scallions (these were flooded by spring rain, try again)
Summer squash, Yellow crook neck (try zucchini instead)
Winter squash, butternut (try a different location)

S&P

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Friday, January 05, 2007

fresh garden carrots

garden carrots
My carrots get sweeter as the winter goes on. These are very sweet. Many are still in the garden. The lettuce, parsley and garlic are looking good. This week is bringing record warmth (in the 60's!) and the plants seem to be growing again.

Daucus carota

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

snowy garden

shovels in the snow parsley in the snow
This dusting of snow lasted a day or two.















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