Mar 28 2010

Signs of Spring


I finally feel like things are under control a bit in the getting-started-on-the-garden department. I have three flats of seed started in the basement under lights; planted them about two weeks ago, and have germination from a number of the tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and Hollyhocks. This weekend, I planted three more flats and put them in the greenhouse. We’ll see how the two compare. Also planted four types of lettuce in four window box planters in the greenhouse.

I did some cleanup in the garden proper today, pulling up the remaining dead plants, and stirrup-hoeing the raised beds. We have kale, a couple heads of cabbage, a few lettuce plants, and a few stalks of Brussels sprouts that overwintered and are starting to grow. The perennial herbs look to be in good shape, and the fennel may have even over-wintered. I wonder if the snow helped with that? Aside from the snow, it was a pretty mild winter.

And the weeds have started already. I mowed the tall ones down. I have to get the tiller in good working order — it was stalling out on me a lot at the end of the season, which is why the garden didn’t get its Fall tilling — and hope for some dry weather.

Natalie and I, with some help from CJ, have been working like fools on the yard. The annual Easter egg hunt is next Saturday. We’ve been weeding (mostly Natalie), pruning , cleaning, and have spread almost all of seven yards of mulch. It’s been nice that we’ve had such a mild Spring, to help us get a jump start.

I’ve started some perennials, and hope to get some more flowers into these beds by the house this year. Now if the tractor would just get back from the shop this week, I could mow before the big hunt. Well, I’ll mow anyway, but it will be a heck of a lot easier with the tractor!

Stay tuned for the seedling reports…

Mar 28 2010

Food, Inc.


On Friday night, we watched Food, Inc. The marketing caption says, “You’ll never look at dinner the same way.”  The documentary includes interviews with Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma).  The director, Robert Kenner, hopes the viewers will be alarmed by the dangers of modern food production, and he was successful with us.  We are now going to try more seriously than ever to be locavores.  We watched this on cable, so if you’re interested, should be easy to find.  Meanwhile, does anyone know where we can get affordable local chicken?  We were going to raise them ourselves but have decided to put that off until next spring.foodinc

Mar 28 2010

Saved by citronella


We’ve been working in the yard, trying to get ready for the annual Family Easter Egg Hunt.  Blue has been helping us, digging holes and barking up a storm.  The holes we can refill.  The barking is really driving us crazy.  Roger remembered that we have a citronella collar that we bought for puppy school.  Now, when Blue is in the yard, we use the collar.  It has a microphone so when Blue barks, it shoots a fine mist of citronella in front of his nose.  It doesn’t hurt–just smells funny and has an element of surprise. Total investment about $30.00  Now we have a beautiful yard and a quiet dog.  Life is good. (This is not our Blue–it is a less than perfect dog.  The photo is for illustration only.)pPETS-3757418dt

Mar 8 2010

Pool Table Gardening


Basement preparationThe recent thaw has sent Roger into a frenzy of preparation.  Seeds packets are sorted.  Trays are washed.  Labels and soil stand at the ready.  The most interesting part of the preparation is the little-used basement pool table is now the gardening center.  As you can see from the photo, the plant lights are ready, and the surface has been protected by heavy-duty vinyl cloth.  We’re getting excited about the prospect of tomatoes, fennel, and brussel sprouts!