Collecting Seeds

While we are certainly heading into the season where we can plant more things (and I have some big plans for some peas, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and radishes), many of the things we planted early on are starting to bolt and fade.  This year, though, I’m trying to be better about collecting seeds from the things that did particularly well, like some of our tomatoes, the uber hot free peppers, and our dill plants.  Any other seeds you’re saving?

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Date Weekend

The weekend is almost here, and I am ready for it!  I think I’ve convinced JGL to take me out for coffee and a preliminary seed run over at Farmer’s Seed and Supply.  And guess what?  FS&S has a blog I found today--I’m incredibly excited to scope out when things are going to be in the store and such!

After being cooped up here sick for a week, and after feeling a bit cooped up at work, this weekend is going to be all about getting out and about–bring it, Friday!

Easter Weekend

Both JGL and I are beat.  We’ve spent most of the day outside, and I’m pretty sure I have a sunburn on my back and tan lines (Forgive me, ELF!  I’ll fix them before your wedding!!).

It feels great 🙂

We took a TON of pictures today, so rather than post them all here, we’ve put them up on Facebook.  You can still access them even if you don’t have a FB account by clicking here to see the public photo album.  I’ve tried to narrate them as we’ve gone along so you all can follow what we’re documenting. 

It’s been a stunning few days, compared to last weekend.  It’s been in the high 70s, low 80s, sunny and beautiful.  JGL cleared out the carport, and we even had dinner out there last night.  More than likely we’ll be out there again tonight 🙂  The week is looking to be the same, but with some rain towards the end of the week, which we’ll need.

But here’s the rundown of what’s been accomplished this weekend thus far:

  • Fencing put up around the vegetable garden (woo hoo!  Take THAT deer!)
  • Lime worked into the soil, “back forty” re-tilled and turned, and as many clumps of grass as we can moved OUT.
  • Salad, bush beans, and two rows of corn put into the ground 🙂
  • Grass seed put on the very bare patches of lawn–watered and hay placed on top
  • Negotiations started with Neighbor about using his truck to procure mulch for the flower beds

The seedlings are looking strong, although they need to be thinned out.  I’m pretty amazed that we haven’t killed any yet, but we’ll take it–fresh tomatoes are going to taste sooo good!

But before we get ahead of ourselves, I think it’s time to get clean, pick up the house, and take a breather–I think Carson and Lucy would like to spend some quality time with us rather than watch us run around.  Happy Easter, everyone!

It's the Easter Lab, Charlie Brown!

Here comes the rain

It’s been bleak and dreary for a few days now with no chance of letting up.  We are loving it!  Yes, sunshine is nice, but we really need this rain to help things start to emerge, grow and be ready for more planting.  It also makes for great fun as new spring plants keep emerging literally right before our eyes.  We said the same about all the snow we had this winter–while it’ll be nice when it’s gone, the long and slow melt is prepping us for a beautiful showcase of spring.

Knowing that the rain was on the way, we took the opportunity to gather and start a good portion of our plants.  We made several stops along the way, but the two most productive pit stops were the Farmers Seed and Supply Co. in Lynchburg, and then our trusty Lowe’s.  Between the two places we were able to pick up 5 different tomato seeds, a variety pack of sweet peppers, Maestro and Early Alaska peas, October bush beans,  Early Sunglow and Silver queen corn, and the supplies to start the tomatoes and peppers in side.

When we returned to the homestead, we were able to get all of the tomatoes and peppers (Early and Often, Big Boy, Roma, Jubilee, and Yellow Pear tomatoes, a mixed sweet pepper variety pack for the peppers) seeds planted, prepped and covered in plastic wrap (we opted not to go with the fancy start kit this year, so it’s a JLG creation we’re working with!).  I also got back out into the garden in between rain bursts and planted a row of the Early Alaska and a row of Maestro.  We’re hoping to go back and plant more peas every 10-14 days or so to extend the season, and I’m planning on hoarding a handful of each to try our hand and sowing a row or two in late August.  Thank you to Farmers Seed and Supply for having the pounder bags at a very reasonable price!

Things will start to pick up, I’m sure, as we get more of this rain and the temperatures remain steady in the mid 50s to 60s.  Next on our list–starting to cull more seeds to plant, clearing out left over seeds from years past in a container on the patio, and keeping Little Miss Nosy Lucy out of all of it!

Plan your work and work your plan

“I feel like starting each header under planting instructions with the caution, ‘Don’t crowd and don’t attempt too much.'”

The Complete Book of Garden Magic, Roy E. Biles, pg 10

Like I said yesterday, we have “being young and foolish” on our side.   We chronically take on too much, and this gardening project is no different.  We’re both wicked sore today, and finding the gumption to make it back outside to finish the job was a smidge difficult.  However, I’m proud to report that not only did we do the grunt work, we also have a solid gardening map, and the first seeds of the season went into the ground right before we called it quits.

We’re snagging the basic layout for the front of the garden from a professor I work with at SBC, and it involves creating pathways around the garden for easy access (something we’ve struggled with in the past).  We’re grateful for SB’s great notes and detailed outline on Facebook!

The basic layout of veggies that we’ve come up with are as follows: tomatoes and peppers are going to fill the front left quadrant; spinach, beans, cucumbers and zucchini are going to fill the front right quadrant; and then the back two quadrants are going to be filled with corn, peas and pole beans.  It’s the back part that I’m the most excited about because we’re going to try to tackle a major problem we’ve had in the past (creating and maintaining trellises) with a method found in CBGM (pg 161) called Partnership Cropping.  By planting the corn and peas or beans in the same row, as the corn grows the peas/beans are able to use the corn stalks as a trellis.  Since the peas and beans enrich the soil with more nitrogen than they take up, they’ll help to enrich the soil, and also the heavy nitrogen feeding corn.  It’s a beautiful partnership!

We ended our time in the garden today by planting the first few seeds–snow peas, spinach, and basil.  We celebrated our success of the weekend by taking a trip to Lowes to check out all the seeds, fencing options, and general fun that comes with that trip.  And as always, we came out with bigger ideas then when we went in with…apparently, we don’t do “don’t attempt too much” all that well.  Sorry, Mr. Biles!