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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

getting ready to plant!

aerial 124 Isn't spring wonderful!

I just now clicked on my label link below for "sideyard aerial photos" and was reminded what a tough winter it was. Only one month ago we had a foot of snow, Feb we were covered with nearly 3 feet, Jan and Dec were cold and dark, and October we had Hurricane Sandy.... All I can say is:

Isn't spring wonderful!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

my seed potatoes are here

I ordered two varieties of potatoes this year. Instead of the 4 or 5 I usually order. I am trying to cut back.... They look really nice. Burbank Russet and German Butterball from Fedco Moose Tubers.

Some years I have planted them right away. Other years I wait and let them sprout a bit. I am wondering what is the "correct" thing to do.

Another thing I'm wondering about is different planting methods. I have always planted in trenches then back filled as the spuds sprout. I end up with potatoes growing in a flat bed. Fields I see have potatoes growing from the tops of hills. I'll have to look this one up.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

spinach harvest

spring spinach 004 I felt nervous going out and picking some spinach from my cold frame. What a day!

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no yard work today - everyone please stay safe

I was planning to work in my yard today, but we have been told by the police to stay inside here in Belmont. There is a man hunt on now for one of the Marathon bombers. It is centered about 2 miles away from us in Watertown.

What a sad and scary situation. Hopefully I can do yard work later in the day. More importantly, we are praying no one else will be injured. We want everyone to be safe.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

books for beginning gardeners?

Does anyone have a good book to recommend for a beginning gardener? I got a nice email from Julie who is planning to start a garden and is looking for a good resource.

Hey Kathy, I'm fairly new to gardening and I'm feeling a little confused about where to start learning about it. I plan to start a garden this spring in my parents backyard and I'm trying to educate myself on the basics of this subject as fast as possible. Don't want to totally mess it up :) Could you recommend any sources to study? If you could only use one book on gardening what would that be for you? ps. I'm planning on raising edible foods in my garden

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backyard flowers

spring flowers 055 - Copyspring flowers 079 spring flowers 104 spring flowers 063 spring flowers106 spring flowers 086 spring flowers 055 spring flowers 076spring flowers 083 - Copy spring flowers 090

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

spring planting in Mom and Dad's garden

Today, my parents and I did the first work of the season on their vegetable garden. Here are before and after photos.

mom and dad's garden 038 BEFORE

mom and dad's garden 046 AFTER

Only a couple hours work. We raked, then weeded and marked out paths. My Mom had her pad and pen and wrote down what we planted where. Dad and I planted seeds and seedlings. We did our best to leave enough room for the warmer weather crops, like beans and tomatoes, and to plan for crop rotation. Dad put row cover over the newly transplanted lettuce seedlings to protect them a bit from drying out. Last, we watered all the new transplants from a gallon jug - rain is expected in a couple days.

Now we will wait and see what grows.

mom and dad's garden 045 mom and dad's garden 040 mom and dad's garden 044 mom and dad's garden 041

Monday, April 15, 2013

update

I've been preoccupied the past few weeks with a couple things and have neglected my blog: Firstly, our community garden's annual Spring Work Day was last weekend. As the coordinator for the Gardens, this took a lot of my time for planning. Second, I took a week of vacation in the beautiful Bermuda sunshine to recharge after a long New England winter. Both the Work Day and Bermuda were wonderful and I hope to post descriptions and photos of each, as well as get back to regular posts.

It's the best time of year now, it seems to me. So much anticipation. In my mind and in little seed pots, I have gardens taking shape. I have empty canvases of dirt to fill. Tiny pea and beet sprouts are coming up in my community plot. And I finally have dirt under my nails and there is SUN.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

fruit trees sprayed with dormant oil

Today I sprayed my apple (dwarf Fugi) and two pear trees (a Keiffer and a Bartlett) with a dormant oil spray. I also gave one of my grapes (a Cabernet Sauvignon) a spray too. The buds are nicely swollen and I am pleased to see that there are a few flowers buds ready to pop on the pears this year - finally. (I have been pruning them wrong and removing the buds for 2 years.) It was a warm sunny day - up to about 50*F, and bugs just starting to get active. I think this is the perfect timing for the oil spray. I diluted it to 4 Tbs in a 1 qt spray bottle, then soaked all the branches well.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

first spring harvest - a bowlful of greens

first harvest of the season 009 I picked a bowlful of greens from my cold frame today. They made a wonderful salad, and I am happy that this is the start of a new season of garden fresh food.

My cold frame contents suffered a lot mid winter from very low temperatures. About half the plants were damaged (mostly bok choy and lettuce) and died. Survivors perked up as light and temperatures increased. Now it's quite full. After taking this picture, I pulled the bolted bok choy. I think probably bok choy is not a good crop for my cold frame. (Trial and error is often the best way to learn...)

first harvest of the season 012 first harvest of the season 004 spring cold frame 006 By seeing my heavily reinforced cold frame, I am reminded how much snow was piled up on it this winter. Hardship has built quite a bit of character into my frame! It has also made me very appreciative of spring.

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant."

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seedlings hardening off

seedlings hardening off 019 I'm preparing these seedlings for transplanting soon. They've been coddled by staying inside under artificial lights. "Hardening off" will gradually get them used to wind, bright sunlight and temperatures variations. Our temperatures are really nice now - staying above 40*F at night - so the seedlings are staying out day and night for a few days.















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