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sir archely

Brand NEW for 2011!

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So, my attempt at garden blogging kind of died out last year. I'm not sure why, I ended up with what I consider pretty good results for a first outing. Bunches of carrots, tomatillos, tomatoes, a few potatoes, more beans and cucumbers than I could eat and a lovely bunch of garlic. Among many other things.

However, I'm telling myself this year will be different. I'm going to make an effort to post every week, hopefully by Saturday, since that's my gardening day here during school and at the outset. Some weeks there may not be much to report, other weeks it might be a giant post, but that's how gardening goes. I'll try to include weekly pics of my progress, though this first week I've got nothing.

I've refined my plot plans a good deal from last year, eliminating stuff that didn't work, and expanding the stuff that worked well. I've completely taken out the section for the melons. It's really disappointing to me, because I very much wanted to be able to grow some decent fruit, but I have to face the fact that I wasn't able to harvest a single one last year. The plants failed, were a lot of work to try and keep alive, and I got nothing out of it. So they're off the list. Broccoli is out too, because the plants were big and took up a lot of room, but didn't produce very much. I can get more food out of the space if I plant something else. Most of the potatoes failed last year due to overly wet and soggy conditions after I planted them. But... I'm still going to try for potatoes. I've just moved the spot to a part of the garden where I hope there will be less chance of standing water. I going to wait slightly longer to put them into the ground as well.

So this year is shaping up to be one where I focus on what worked, and don't worry too much about experimenting with new things. Everything last year was a new experiment, just because it was the first year. I think moving forward, I'll probably try one or two new things each time I plant. I think this year I'm just going to pick up some simple flower seeds and try those for planting around the house and filling in spaces. I'm also going to try and plant some stuff to attract pollinators and lady bugs, among other beneficial insects. I have 288 cells for seed-starting this year, upgraded from 144 last year. So i've got some space to start things that aren't veggies. And that's only if I use each cell once.

One thing I'm very curious about is to see what made it through the winter from last year. The plants that are supposedly perennials from last year are: sage, oregano, chives, strawberries and the asparagus. I also have garlic. Not a perennial, but planted last year before winter, and it has to make it through over winter. Last year the garlic did quite well planted before winter, so I'm hopeful that will repeat. I just about doubled my garlic planting as well, and used cloves from what I harvested last year. I love garlic. I won't be able to harvest asparagus again this year, even if it comes up like gangbusters, because it needs another year of storing energy for itself before I can steal some. Sad, but if I want a good plot in the future, I'll keep my hands off. The other stuff should be interesting. Not too worried about the sage or oregano, because I can easily grow both of those inside too. Chives were something I had to buy in plant form, because the seeds apparently take forever to establish themselves. So I'm hopeful that expands this year. Same with the strawberries. Now that they've been in the garden for a while, I'm hopeful the crop is a little bigger than the handful I got to eat last year.

The current status of things inside is that lettuce (romaine and butterhead)(12 each), celery(12) and onions (both red and white)(10 each) have all begun sprouting. I may transfer the lettuce seedlings to larger containers this saturday, but I might also wait another week. They've been in the longest out of anything. I also started my pepper plants, but they have yet to sprout. This includes sweet peppers(6) and a variety of hot peppers(2 for each of 3 varieties). I'm also attempting to start another batch of catnip for the cat, and that's slowly coming up. I've got a nice rosemary plant that I've been cultivating through the winter.

However, it's going to be another little while before I get out to do some outside work. Yesterday and overnight last night we got another 4 inches or so (about 10 cm) of snow, which is currently covering everything again. Here I thought we were finally done with winter. Stupid snow. Actually had to bust out the snowblower again yesterday to clean stuff up. I'm hopeful that it warms up quickly, and this stuff doesn't hang around for very long. But even if it melts quickly, it means that everything stays soggy for that much longer, and that makes it tough to get out and get work done in the garden. Hopefully by next week's post, I'll be able to get out and take some pics of the things that are starting to come up. I know I saw the "wild" tulips poking out, along with some of the daylilies, before the snow covered everything.

Ah well. If you come for a visit this summer, expect to go home with a giant bag of green beans.

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  1. AquaFizz's Avatar
    This is so cool, Arch! Your green thumb gives me green eyes for sure! When you cook this stuff up, are you going to share recipes, too?! Good Luck!
  2. sir archely's Avatar
    I've got a few recipes which were great from last year. Like Summer veggie pasta and swiss chard risotto. Once I get to the point where I'm actually making them again, I'll post it up. Actually, I just made a pasta bake with italian sausage, mushroom and red peppers using the last of my homemade frozen spaghetti sauce from last year's tomato harvest. Mmm mmm....

    That's one thing I should think about trying in the basement somewhere, mushrooms. I think you can get pretty spiffy little kits which make growing them fairly easy. Have to look into that.
  3. Eyreplenh's Avatar
    Awesome work, good man! My folks have had a small field with strawberries for some years now, and in their experience, the plants are hardy and expandrous, so much that they've had to cull them pretty much every year. Probably different climate and soil etc, but considering the other things you managed to get thriving, I'd say you have a good chance of increasing that crop this time around. Fending off birds always seemed to be the biggest problem for us...

    Also, speaking of recipes, something I read about recently that has completely transformed my veggie soup -keeping the disposables. Especially for such locally and probably insecticide-free grown vegetables as you have, keep the stems, peelings and whatever, freeze it, and when you have a reasonable amount, give it a good boil. An excellent base for any soup, far better than any of the premade stuff stores offer. Maybe your already doing it, maybe not, but if the latter I'd say give it a try
  4. sir archely's Avatar
    Funny you should mention the stock thing Eyre. Last year it never crossed my mind, and all of that stuff went into the compost heap. (Along with all of the additional compostables from grocery store purchases.) Then a friend of mine started a blog about cooking, which I was following for a while. It seems like raising a kid has probably distracted a bit from the regular updates, but one of the more useful (to me) posts he wrote is here, and it's about making vegetable stock. You can see my comment from last November at the bottom of the page. With the addition of a chest freezer to our basement this winter, you can be sure I'll be making a bunch of stock to freeze this year.
  5. Eyreplenh's Avatar
    Stock and bullion. Not base. Got it Ever the learner, I am!
  6. sir archely's Avatar
    Base works too. You can't go wrong.


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