Garden Rows

Friday, August 14

Garlic Chive

I love Chive. It is beautiful when it is in bloom with it's unique Dr. Seuse style pompom flowers. Many foods enjoy the jazzy onion like flavor it offers. Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I was given a little Chive plant last Spring. We used companion planting as a general guide for what plants to put together. The little Chive went in the bed with tomato, a purple basil and there may have been some carrots in that bed, too. Chive is said to repel Japanese Beetles. I can say they seem to prefer the canna lily leaves over the Chive. 

I was surprised by it's mild flavor, but thought maybe it would be stronger the next season. When the gardening season wrapped up, we let the chickens into the garden and they scratched out the Chive root ball. I was sad but decided there are always seeds to start again. A while into the winter, I looked at the root ball and realized there may actually be some life in it yet despite exposure to harsh winter weather. I put it in a pot (and watered it slightly) in the garage to stay dormant a little while longer. When we were in the full swing of seed starting, I put the Chive under the light. Boy it was happy then. It got watered and fed and enjoyed 8 hours of bright light a day. 

It went outside once the weather eased up and there she sits! She is happy and blooming. The pollinators are pretty happy about it, too. Since I have not seen Chive bloom any color other than the pink/purple poof, I had to do a little research to find out what the deal is here. This is a Garlic Chive. They are less cold hardy than regular Chive, so it's probably good I brought it in to baby it a little when I did. 

I am enjoying the sweet little white flowers. They make me think of bouquets of stars. Leaving the flowers to go through their life cycle will encourage the plant to go dormant, so I guess I will cut them to prolong the season of Chive seasoning. Our one year old has enjoyed plucking a blade and sitting on the step to nibble on it. Little does he know, he is helping with the reccamended minor pruning. :)

Tuesday, August 4

Late Summer

I love this time of the summer. Everything seems so full of life, rich with flavor. Tomatoes and peppers are heavy on the plants. Melons and pumpkins are so big you have to find alternate routes through the garden. Sunflowers are blooming and going to seed welcoming different birds to enjoy a nutitious snack. 

Not all the plants in the garden are in their prime at this time of year, however. I have said goodbye to the snow peas. The greens are long gone. Cabbage has been harvested and eaten. Potatoes and onions have been pulled and dried. All to make way for the next round of seedlings!

We have decided to can beets and carrots, so there are tons of little beet sprouts working their way up right now, and the carrots should pop up any time! Greens will be back on the menu in a while. A few different brassica will also be making a comeback in our garden. 

Here is to another round of veggies!

Wednesday, May 6

Strawberries and a Toad

Weeding. What fun. It is one of those things that is easier when the plants are little. That is easier said than done when weeds are popping up with seedlings and they all basically look the same. They are the same size and who can really tell the difference! Once there are at least two sets of real leaves it gets easier to know what you are dealing with though. 

I went out to do the last egg check of the day at dusk and ended up pulling a few weeds. I stuck to the asparagus and strawberry beds where there would be no question in the dim light between the weeds and the plants I want to stay. Even in the dim light I could tell the strawberry plants are loaded with flowers! 

They got some Tiger Bloom yesterday and seem to have enjoyed it, this plant has at least a dozen flowers ready to pop open! Pardon my enthusiasm, I am close to harvesting one of my favorite fruits! Slugs better watch out, these little red gems are mine.

While I was pulling weeds, I heard something in the grass next to me. 

I found this chubby little sweetie. I have always liked toads. They eat bugs. That is great! I think that I liked them a little girl because most people did not like them (I was so compassionate that I thought somebody should love them), and also because of the Frog Prince story. I was little and I liked fairy tails. I found a toad when I was about 5 and named her violet and decided she should live in the hollow part of a tree by the iris patch. I put her there every time I found her. She liked being petted. Back to the toad from this evening. I think I will set up a toad abode. I may need to visit Pinterest for some extra ideas. 

Monday, May 4

May Peas Be With You

Life is exploding back into our world. The daffodils have bloomed, the dogwoods are holding bouquets of flowers,and the redbud trees are trading in their delicate flowers for little heart shaped leaves. It has been a wonderful spring.

There has been some frost in the mornings, but the hail storm from early April did more damage taking a strawberry and a few brassica plants. With the week ahead forecasted to be in the 80s, it's easy to think it's time to plant the whole garden. Don't do it. 

Keep your planting in line with the weather. Read seed packets and plant at the right time of the season for greater success. Broccoli, coloflower, spinach, arugula, strawberries. These are the things doing really well in our garden right now. The peas are coming along nicely as well. 

Everything has a season. May the Peas be with you, happy gardening!

Friday, April 17


Here is to 20 years of fresh asparagus!

We planted a bed of purple asparagus crowns last week and they started popping up a day or so ago. 

Planting was actually pretty easy. I was nervous because I have no experience with this skinny veggie. Any time I plant something new I am a little worried I will mess up and it won't grow, but as long as directions are followed somewhat, all is well. We created a trench about 6-7 inches deep and shaped a small mound along the bottom (creating a furrow), placed the crowns in and covered over with a few inches with soil. Pretty easy.  The extra soil is still along the sides of the furrows so that it can fill in gradually over time as is recommended. 

I can't wait for the freshest asparagus ever. Nothing beats fresh out of your garden.  

Friday, February 6

Herb Garden

Herbs are the spice of life, or something like that. They definitely add variety to dinner.

purple basil

I wanted to put an herb garden out front from the beginning. Well, really I wanted to make it a flower garden, but herbs look nice and serve a purpose, so an herb garden it is! The area is full sun all day except for a small area that gets morning shade. 

Last year we did companion planting in the garden, so we had some oregano, basil and chive out there. I put creeping lemon thyme, Russian lavender, peppermint, basil and oregano in the herb garden. It was really nice having it right out side the door so I did not have to walk all the way out to the garden in the middle of making dinner.

The ground was hard and the grass was tough, but this edger made it possible to remove the grass to make the garden. 

I ran it along in rows

and chopped them into brick sized pieces so it was fairly easy to remove the chunks with a shovel. Keep in mind it is February and I am sitting in front of the computer 9 months later, so easy may be relative.

I was able to use the sod I removed in other places in the yard, and the rest went to the compost pile.

Along with the herbs, we planted a few left over chili peppers.

I soaked news papers in water and then laid them on the ground and placed sand stone on top to create a path. Originally, I was going to put 2 or 3 stones as stepping stones, but since we had plenty of stones around the house, I just went with it! There were lots of small river rocks in the space that I made this little herb garden, so I piled them up on either side of the path, and my husband filled in with sand. The result was a nice little path that held up pretty well over the summer.

Over all, I am pretty happy with how the herb garden turned out. I would like to expand it a little each year. It will be more manageable that trying to do the whole thing at once. It is just a side project after all!

Thursday, February 5

Hope and Light

Deep in the dark, damp soil: life begins. 

I feel an excitement for the first snow in the early part of the winter season, followed by the holiday cheer. A week or so into January though, I am ready for Spring. Ready for the sun shining on a crisp fresh morning. Ready for tiny bits of green peeking out of the brown of Winter, taking over the gray, bringing the world back to life.

Starting plants inside in January brings hope and light to the dead of winter. Last year we put freshly planted seeds on top of the refrigerator for a little extra warmth. Once they popped up, we put them in the brightest room in the house with South and East facing windows. They got lots of light and grew quite happily. To a point. Then they just seemed to slow way down. I think it was a number of factors like temperature, too few hours of direct sun light, possibly not enough food (though we were using things like azomite and green sand).

This year, we are doing things a little more seriously. There is now an area designated for gardening. We got a nice light and set it on a timer so the little plants get 16 hours of "sun" and 8 hours of dark. So far, salad greens have been planted and are doing quite well. Peppers and strawberries have been planted, and a few sprouts are peeking through. More on that another day. We started the seeds in 2 inch peat pots and transferred them to 4 inch nursery pots when they were still quite small. The starts have been on a regimen of neem oil and sal-suds Castile soap (anti-pest, anti-fungal) and fertilization with Foxfarm Grow BIG.

These starts are very happy little greens! We have kale, a yellow swiss chard, mizuna red streaked mustard greens, deer tongue and a ball lettuce. We will be eating our own salads again in no time! Even with the taste of snowy winter we just got, the sun is out now and we have a small garden on the way, reminding me that Spring is really on it's way back.

Tuesday, February 3

Breaking Ground

It was a long winter. I am sure you have not heard that this spring! The good news is that we have actually had spring this year. Last year we got ripped off and went from winter to summer. 50 something and rain is actually spring. May is a bit late for that, but at least we have gotten some rain this spring.

I started writing this in May last year after a winter of many snow storms. A lot has happened since then, so I will give some of the high lights because I have no idea what I was actually going to say that day!

Last spring rolled around and we put a fence up. We put straw bales out and topped them with garden compost from a local nursery. We had lots of plants started inside. We experimented with different ways to sprout. We used peat pots, cardboard egg cartons and toilet paper tubes.

The idea was that they could just go right out into the garden when it was time, pot and all.  We found that that was not the best method for many of our plants since they needed to grow more than the tiny pots allowed. The other  problem was that the roots did not grow through the peat pots as easily as I expected, causing them to get a slow start once they got out in the garden.

Despite a slow start, our garden grew big, looked nice, and supplied us with a bountiful harvest on a regular basis through the season.

I got some things in the freezer, like blanched tomatoes and pumpkin puree. This coming summer/fall I WILL be canning though.

Tomatoes! notice the chilis hanging by the window?

It is February now, so it's basically Spring, right?!