Friday, December 31, 2010

Starting Anew

Last year was really busy - moving, quickly building our garden, starting my doctoral program, getting to as many Brewers games as possible, and trying to keep up with the garden. Garden-wise, there is lots of room for improvement. My husband agrees that we should have more space, so we're actually going to triple the size of the garden, adding 4 beds! We got the 2 beds together in about 2 days last year, so this shouldn't be too much of a project. The bigger project will be hiring a landscaper to take out the trees lining the back of our property so the garden gets more sun and I can plant squash/cucumber/melon plants back there. To retain some privacy we're going to build a trellis (probably 4-5 feet high) that will become the home for my husband's hops and, at least this year, some beautiful sunflowers. We'll build a gate into the trellis so it will be a gorgeous entrance to our garden paradise.

I spent quite a few hours last night pouring over the 2011 Seed Savers Exchange catalog, and came up with a plan for this year's garden:

  • Ideal Market (green stringless bean)
  • Red Swan (purple stringless bean)
  • Eiskerby (edamame)
  • Burpee's Golden
  • Chioggia (a beautiful red/white variety)
Broccoli: De Cicco

  • Dragon (gorgeous red/purple variety)
  • Scarlet Nantes
Leeks: Blue Solaise

  • Australian Looseleaf
  • Forrellenschlus
  • Red Iceberg
Arugula: Appollo

  • Charentais
  • Emerald Gem
Onion: Yellow Parma

  • Aurora (will grow in container)
  • Candlelight (will grow in container)
  • Bull Nose Bell
  • Garden Sunshine
  • Jalepeno - Traveler's strain
Spinach: Bloomsdale

Swiss Chard
  • Five Color Silverbeet
  • Rhubarb Red
Summer Squash
  • Black Beauty Zucchini
  • Golden Zucchini
Winter Squash
  • Amish Paste
  • Sheboygan
  • Blondkopfchen (grew these last year and they're a must again this year)
  • Dr. Wyche's Yello
  • Italian Heirloom
  • Genovese Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Italian Parsley
  • Cilantro (will grow in container as ornamental, may end up in husband's beer)
Sunflower mixture

Whew! That's a lot of stuff, but I've already planned out my tasks on a calendar. I need to create a growing station in the basement, but my first planting task is to start the onion, parsley and chard seedlings the weekend of March 12.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I have a garden!

It's been awhile since I posted, because a lot has been going on! We moved at the end of May, and within a week we created two 16' x 4' raised beds in our backyard. It's currently planted with 16 tomato plants (the seedlings I started plus 6 heirloom plants we picked up at the farmers market, lots of basil and parsley, as well as some lettuce, sage, thyme, and garlic chives. Some little critter, likely a chipmunk, has eaten most of the parsley though. I'll have to plant that in containers.

We saw our first tomato blossom today!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Moving plants/seedlings outside

I woke up to sunshine and warm weather this morning. After checking the forecast, it doesn't look like it will be below 45 degrees for the next few days. So today, all of the seedlings as well as the plants we kept inside during the winter (thyme, chives, parsley, sage, oregano) went outside. I think I'll plant some lettuce today too. It's the first day of the outdoor farmer's market in West Allis, so I'm excited to see what they'll have to offer. Our CSA starts next week!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tomato Seedlings!

Four tomato seedlings popped up this morning. All seedlings are still super tiny, but at least I know they're growing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Seedlings

I don't have a camera capable of taking pictures of them, but there are super tiny thyme seedlings emerging in one of my starter pots! I noticed them last night.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Homecooked basics

As we get ready to move, we need to have the apartment in the proper condition to show to prospective tenants. And although I don't mind an entire shelf of plants blocking a window, I don't think others will feel the same way. So, I purged our herbs by making them into something else. I cut down the entire pot of basil and made 2.5 cups of pesto. I also cut down an entire pot of parsley and grabbed some chicken bones out of the freezer to make stock. I didn't realize I had 3 carcasses in there, so I have 2 gallons of stock now. I finally went out and bought some quart containers so I can freeze the stock in manageable quantities.

It's nice not buying pesto or stock from the store - both are quite expensive and much lower quality than I can make at home.

Last Frost in SE Wisconsin

According to this site, the last frost in Milwaukee is June 1, but most of the time you can subtract two weeks from that and not experience a hard frost. Given the timing of our upcoming move, it looks like Memorial Day weekend will be the time to transplant our seedlings.

I may bring a soil tester with me to our home inspection so I can see what type of soil is available along the side of our house that wouldn't need to be tilled...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

First seeds of 2010

In 2009, Aaron and I planted some common herb seedlings, as well as three types of tomatoes (Patio, Big Boy, and.....something else). The herbs thrived and the patio tomatoes were great, but the rest of the tomatoes were taken by blight. All of our plants were grown in container in our driveway or on the balcony. We still have basil, thyme, chives, parsley, oregano and sage growing in our kitchen. I made pesto in the middle of winter!

I planted our first seeds today. I bought them all at Outpost Coop. All are organic, and many are from the Seed Savers Exchange. They're planted in organic pots so I don't have to do much work to transplant them - just put the pots in the ground/larger pot and they'll become part of the soil.

I got lots of herbs, and a few more varieties of tomatoes. It's more exciting this year, because we're moving into our first house at the end of May. Some of these plants may make it into the ground! Although many will stay in containers, I'm hoping to find some ground space for tomatoes and basil, and the spearmint will probably grow well behind our garage. I'll spend the summer and fall testing our soil, plotting our garden space, and creating a plot and/or raised bed. For sure I'll be adding some compost from Growing Power, and starting our own compost pile behind the garage. I'm excited!

Seeds I started today:
  • Beefsteak (2)
  • Speckled Roman (2)
  • Silvery Fir Tree (2)
  • Moonglow (2)
  • Blondkopfchen (2)
  • Sweet Pea Currant (2)

  • Genovese Basil (24) - we need more pesto!
  • Basil Mix (6)
  • Spearmint (2)
  • Garlic chives - 4", scattered
  • Oregano (6)
  • Thyme - 8", scattered - about 20-30 seedlings
Parsley seeds need to soak for 24 hours, so those will be started tomorrow. I'm planning about 24 of those. I have cilantro, but won't start that for quite some time.