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, July 30, 2013

Suzie comes home on Friday

Suzie is the smallest female of the litter. She is all black just like Skippy. We can't wait to bring her home on Friday afternoon. My dad has suggested that she should have a blog of her own: " Suzie's Flower Garden". We'll see if she is up to that!

today's harvest

I don't know how I missed my first zucchini! But it is a big one. I am making zucchini bread tonight. In addition to the zuc, my harvest included a pretty little eggplant, a yellow crook squash and a white patty pan squash, lots of lettuce and herbs, and a couple cukes. harvest 058

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

broccoli harvest

broccoli harvest 122 My broccoli seemed to grow full sized heads almost overnight. Just a few days ago (it seems) the heads started to form. Little florets hidden in the center of the plant. And now - all of a sudden - I have three big heads! I harvested these yesterday. We ate one of the heads at dinner last night. I cut it into long section, stir fried briefly in a little leftover bacon fat with garlic, ginger root and a chili pepper, then added water and steamed just until tender. Yummy.

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my how to videos

This spring I made another series of "How To" videos for eHow. They're pretty basic topics. Here's a list with links:
How to sow spinach seeds
How to sow pumpkin seeds
How to plant Black-seeded Simpson lettuce
How to raise romaine lettuce
How to transplant Romaine lettuce seedlings
How to grow butterleaf lettuce
How to grow from seed tape
How to plant carrots using seed tape
How to cultivate sugar snap peas
Is there a difference between sweet peas and sugar snap peas
How to sprout potatoes
How to propagate Habanero pepper seed
How to propagate marigold seeds
How long until marigolds flower from seed

These are videos I made last fall:
How to grow sprouted garlic
How to remove dahlias
How do I store dahlia tubers
How to harvest summer squash
How to pick squash
How to harvest chili peppers
The easiest way to grow leeks
How to save seeds
How to protect seeds with burlap
How do I plant pea seeds in the fall

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

the first summer squash of the season

yellow squash 003 Two beautiful yellow crooknecks!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

nourishmat at kickstarter

Has anyone seen this? http://www.earthstarter.com/ What do you think? It looks great for kids and new gardeners.

our new puppy, Suzie, and her 2 sisters!

puppies 097 I went to visit the puppies today. They are 5 weeks old now and SO cute. They are playing and chewing and so interested in everything. We don't know which pup will be ours yet - the breeder will choose when they are 8 weeks old. We just know now that it will be one of these three females. There is one brother in the litter, too (not in this photo).

More puppy pictures: my Flickr site

Not to be outdone, here's a photo of Skippy today. He had a nice walk along a lake shore with quick swims every few minutes of the way. skippy 102

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Monday, July 15, 2013

garden pollinators

While I'm weeding in my garden these days the sound of little wings is so loud! (That and the sound of my sweat dripping in this heat wave...)
pollinator 043 pollinator 077 pollinator 071
I have heard there are thousands of native bees and other pollinators in New England. I bet many are tiny. As I look around for pollinators to photograph, I see many are really small. I notice bees, wasps, flies and butterflies. I know the flies have big eyes, and bees have smaller eyes, and wasps have waists (in general - except for the exceptions).
pollinator 065 pollinator 039 pollinator 038 pollinator 031 Sometimes its hard to get a photo of just one pollinator! pollinator 037 pollinator 027 pollinator 024 pollinator 020 pollinator 012 pollinator 005 pollinator 001 Most of my pollinator photos ended up being on the little yellow dill flowers. I've read that these are great to have in the garden as they attract beneficial insects. I let the dill come up where it self seeds from the previous year - all over the garden. Some pollinators were also on borage, echinacia, daisies and Johnny-jump-ups. If you want a plant that attracts pollinators, walk through a local nursery and select the plant with the most bees on it! pollinator 082 I need to ask our local bee keepers about their honey bees this year. We have four set of boxes near our community gardens where I took these photos. In previous years, it seems I have seen more honey bees in my garden. On the day I took these pictures, I only saw one honey bee (though a really nice one who got the number one photo spot!) among at least ten or twenty other types of bees.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

organic spray box for a community garden

Today I set up a box at our community garden containing organic sprays for gardeners to use.

The box includes:
- Precut 6 x 10 foot sections of row cover,
- Baggies of Sluggo
- A large, 1 gal sprayer with premixed Copper fungicide
- Small spray bottle of premixed Oxidate
- A bag of Dipel, wetting agent bottle and small sprayer

Recommendations:
- To protect against late blight on tomatoes: we recommend spraying tomatoes alternately with Oxidate and Copper, before every rain and at least every 7 days.
- To treat powdery mildew: we recommend spraying squashes and cucumbers with Oxidate every 2 weeks.
- To control corn ear worms: we recommend spraying Dipel into the tips of corn ears after the silk starts to dry every 7-14 days.
- For cabbage worms and flea beetles, we recommend using row cover on new plantings of all brassicas (e.g. cabbage, kale, broccoli, mustards, arugula, cauliflower, collards) and eggplants (remove when eggplants begin to flower).

We will see how this works.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

mystery squash

mystery squash 010 I have a mystery squash that's sprouted under my garden rake - right in the middle of my garden path. I don't think it will shade any other plants here, so it is still growing so far. I have no idea what it is.

What do you think it is? Looks like a cucumber to me. I love the mystery of an unknown plant (though of course it's something I grew last year).

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

late blight - arrgh!

I got a notice today that late blight appears to be in our area. Its within 200 miles away - in Franklin County, western MA. **#@&!!! *^&&%%*!!

Map: http://www.usablight.org/?q=map

At our community garden, we had such a bad experience with late blight last year that we contracted to have late blight resistant tomato seedlings grown for us by a local grower this spring. (I wish I could find the newspaper article link - another **%^$@!)

Our garden is supplying a few organic pest controls to all gardeners. Now that late blight is in the area, our recommendation is to spray all tomatoes and potatoes before rains and at least every 7 days alternating between Oxidate (Johnny's) and copper fungicide.

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today's harvest

harvest 022 harvest 023 harvest 026 Today's harvest: My first beet of the season, a gigantic bag full of lettuce, and a nice bunch of garlic.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

toad returns

I finally gave my garden a deep watering today. I didn't bother the past few days as I didn't have time to water deeply. And our community garden has limited water and it not really worth watering if anyone else is watering. (Next year we are getting a new system! Yippee!)

As I was watering, I discovered my old garden toad from the last two years. He is still here !!! He had dug into the soil under the squashes. As I watered, he moved on to another, likely drier, location.
toad 019

He's (she's?) a really BIG toad.

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Monday, July 08, 2013

garden after vacation

I returned to a bone dry garden that I hardly recognized as it had grown so much! And so many weeds. I had weeded before I left and did not expect to see so many pigweed, lambsquarters, crabgrass, chickweed, plantain, etc, etc.

My escarole frisee was so pretty when I left and I thought a week would make it perfect. Here's the pretty photo: Copy of 046

When I got back - one week later - it had bolted to 4 feet high! If I had the space to spare, I would have let it go and collected the seed. bolted escarole bed before 001

Here's the bed after I quickly pulled it. Much of it I saved for salads, but there was lots to go to the compost bin. bolted escarole bed after 025

My potatoes were through blooming and looking really good. (Where did the potato beetles go? I released bean beetle wasps a couple weeks ago - I wonder if they got the potato beetles too?) potatoes 008

My tomatoes are still small but growing (along with the weeds...)and the lettuce underplanting. tomato bed 009

My squashes are just starting to grow and need to be trained up the trellis. I did this and they are off to a good start. squashes 006

Lots of other things are looking really good too. Its so nice to be back. echinecia 002 beets 021 Copy of 035 bagged pears 012 Copy of 031 watermelon and garlic 014 kale bed 007 Copy of 033 Copy of 037

Saturday, July 06, 2013

vacation from the garden

Boy, am I looking forward to get back in my garden!

I've spent the past week in the mountains of Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. With my two sisters and our families we had an amazing adventure. At Yellowstone, we saw herds of 2000+ bison with newborn calves, we wandered through alpine flower fields in a July hailstorm (altitude 11,000 feet), we watched coyotes hunting, grizzly bears mating and black bear cubs loping after their mothers. We stayed at a remote cabin in a Montana valley - a great location to catch up with family. Then we visited my sister's new home (and her garden) in Bozeman MT.

Soon I hope to post photos of my sisters garden. Soon also, I hope to get on a plane out of Salt Lake City back to Boston. I've been sad to hear about crash of the plane in SF. Our flight has been delayed 3 hours, since our plane was coming from SF and the airport is closed. They are finding another plane for us. I look forward to getting home to Skippy. Also, to seeing my garden after a week away. Teton National Park 026

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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

skippy is getting a buddy

Copy of 121 We will be getting a new puppy soon! Suzie. She will be from the same breeder as Skippy. She is a cousin about 3 generations removed and is 3 weeks old now. We will bring her home at 8 weeks - sometime mid August.

I have been telling Skippy that it will be his job to help train her.
Copy of 094

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