img_9592Garden finds.


Starting Seeds – Building a seedling flat



I used part of our recent warm stretch of days to work on a seed starting project. I’m hoping to try out a variety of seed starting containers this year to see how they compare. The first one is a seedling flat. They’re super easy – my current building level – and apparently they’re one of the most reliable growing containers, so I have high hopes.   Continue reading

Fifty five degrees and a little warm sunshine

This weather makes me happy and antsy to start my garden. I got an email from Sow True Seed announcing that it was potato and rhubarb pre-ordering time, so I at least got to think about my garden. I picked out some Swedish Peanut Fingerling potatoes, Mary Washington asparagus, and Crimson Red rhubarb crowns.  It’s also time to inventory seeds and plan out what/when I’m going to start indoors on my new growing shelf. Planting time is coming around again. On days like this I believe it.

all this time
the sun never says
to the earth,
“You owe me.”

what happens
with a love like that–
it lights the
– Hafiz

It’s going to be SEVEN degrees tonight.

Here were my rush preparations:

1) Add more straw to the onions/garlic. Here’s hoping this bale isn’t chock full of seed heads like the last one. Worst weed preventative ever. I wish I had 15 more bales to make a tower around the bees. But probably that’s a moisture issue. (See #2.)

2) Top off everyone’s bedding. I just feel better thinking there’s less moisture in the goat shelter/coop if I pull off some of the top layer and add new dry stuff. Moisture’s what I really obsess about in the way below freezing times, because frostbite can take off chicken feet, combs, and wattles. Also, respiratory issues are as big a concern as anything else, so freshening things up right before they spend a longer period indoors seems prudent.

3) Check the heat tape on the pvc/nipple waterer just to make sure everything’s in order.

4) Get everyone some warm water and give the chickens a big handful of scratch. (We currently only feed scratch in the coldest part of winter for quick energy. That’s really its only nutritional value.)

5) Make sure all the eggs have been collected so they don’t freeze and crack overnight.

6) Run inside and then in place until the tea makes. And unwittingly crack the egg in your pocket in the process. Luckily, very fresh eggs have a pretty strong inner membrane still, so when this happens you just get to eat an egg right away. If you’re me.

Stay warm!

A One-Plant Pumpkin Patch

In a shady late evening transaction from Craigslist, I bought what turned out to be wonderful organic starts from a very cool person starting a business in selling these plants. My spaghetti squash, butternut squash, melons, cherry tomatoes, and more all came from this guy and did well, so I’ll surely post his business info as it becomes available. The most interesting fallout of that meeting was a volunteer pumpkin he gifted me – a huge old pumpkin, he said. I was thinking jack-o-lantern, so I wasn’t all that excited. But I had room for it and it was free, so I thought if it turned out without much help it could be fun.  Boy did it ever turn out.

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Monarch Chrysalis

I found her when trimming briars and things to feed to the goats. I couldn’t register what it was for more than a minute, and then I was shocked that she was hanging out at my house in late October on a goldenrod plant, shocked that she was so strange and beautiful, such an intricate, fragile, complete little form. I replaced her somewhere safe that afforded easy viewing, but as you can imagine from the pictures, it wasn’t long before she was gone.

Rain, and squash, and rain.

Now is usually about the time I begin to feel like summer is slipping through my fingers and it feels urgent that I try to squeeze in a bit more swimming and tomato sandwiches and take a few more thunderstorm naps. This year I am sick to death of thunderstorm naps.

I have to remind myself not to be dramatic about it, because it really feels like it has rained every minute of every day since I first dared to dream about tomato sandwiches and that the summer has been mud and mosquitos and lightning. Proof that my bad attitude is unwarranted has come in the abundance of squash and greens from our garden, the blessing of beets, onions, carrots, and berries from others, and the sandal tan on my muddy feet.

And today in our haul was this four pound spaghetti squash. Obviously the rain is helping somebody.

I’m still holding out hope for some sunny days, though.