Preping potatoes for planting

Yes, it is that time of the year again - time to plant potatoes outside! Actually I'm over a month behind on this task thanks to Mother Nature not cooperating with weather. This year I ordered additional potatoes to add to my garden: German Butterball, Kenebec and Gold Rush. I already had Yukon Gold, Purple, French Fingerlings and regular white and I'm still deciding if I want to plant any rose/red potatoes as I'm not a big fan, but my husband really likes them. Here's a short video of my cut up new varieties as well as some of the overwintered and ready to grow plants.
I've had them sitting in my warm laundry room where they get full light to really get them growing fast. You can clearly see difference between newcomers and the ones from last year that I did not keep it the cold cellar and they are really overgrown. But it's fine, they'll be producing just as well as new varieties.

Have you started planting yours?

First greens for the season

First harvest of the year! Ok, not exactly planned it but my seedlings were way overgrown and it's still too cold to plant anything outside - it was only 28 degrees last night, so I trimmed them and made a salad with fresh crisp greens.  It was yummy! Visit Daphne's Dandelions
 to see what others are harvesting!
 Then this Saturday I got my shipment of onions from Jung - this is actually a replacement shipment for original order as first batch was in such a bad condition that I tossed it out and sent an email to the customer service with picture of what I received. Now the replacement came in. So sometimes this week I'll plant half of these into the main garden. The other half will go to the community kitchen garden as donation.
The varieties that I will have this year are: Ailsa Craig, Walla Walla, Red Candy Apple, Copra and White Candy hybrid (this one definitely for the food kitchen garden).

I also cleaned out the beds in small garden now that the ice melted, and seeded radishes, beets and snow peas. Will wait until Friday to do greens, potatoes and regular peas as the soil is way too cold.

So what are you doing in your garden this week?

Update on garden prep

It's been a long time since last post, but thanks to Mother Nature whimsy we got clobbered with over 3 feet of snow in February, and while it's slowly melting all beds still fully covered by  it. Overload of snow also collapsed my hoop-house where I was going to plant my seedlings.
So for now I'm in waiting pattern. And I can't plant tomatoes or peppers until I clear some of the space under grow-lights.

Another reason for this post is this year garden being dedicated to Anie's Granny, who has been my role model ever since I found her blog. Her tips on gardening have always helped me, and I loved reading her witty posts. She is dealing with serious health issues and can't do her own garden this year, so many of her followers have decided to garden in her name as show of support.

Cold-Season veggie planting

This weekend was perfect to plant my cold-season veggies for seedlings that later will be transplanted into beds when outside temperatures stay above 40. This includes some of the brassicas like broccoli, Asian cabbage, kale and some greens.  So far planted are:
Veggies planted
Brocco-Flower - Green Macerata 6
Broccoli - Fiesta 18
Broccoli - Purple Peacock  12
Broccoli - Raab 12
Broccoli - Purple Flower 12
Cauliflower - Purple Of Sicily 6
Brussels Sprouts Rubine 12
Semi-Heading Chinese Cabbage Monument 12
Superschmelz Kohlrabi 12
Yu Choy Sin - Edible Rape 12
Swiss Chard - Flamingo organic 6
Perilla-Red (asian greens) 12
Lettuce - Reine des Glaces crisphead 12
Lettuce - Green Romaine  12
Kale - Winterbor 8
Kale - Nero Di Toscana 4
Asian Greens - Kale Borecole 12
Kale - Chinese 12
Strawberry Spinach 12
Rhodos Endive  12
Double Purple Orach 4

Later in a week I'll do second planting with cabbages and some more greens like Mizuna, Culantro, Fenel and some others. Most of salads will be planted direct in the garden in March so not going to do seedlings for them.

I did start few early tomatoes to use in pots - Black Cherry, Yellow Pear, Azoychka, Black Brandywine, Red Zebra and Black Krim. Also peppers to start early:

Golden Star Pepper 
Jimmy Nardello's Pepper - 2 plants
Pepper - Trinidad Perfume sweet pepper (Capsicum chinense) (from Dave)
Pepper - Aji Angelo hot pepper (C. baccatum) (from Dave)
Pepper - Aji Dulce #2 hot pepper (C. chinense) (from Dave)

Most peppers and tomatoes will be planted in March but I wanted to have few in pots for earlier fruiting. Will see how that works out.

Organizing seeds and garden inventory

This week I took time to browse through a stack of catalogs and picked out quite a few new varities of veggies that I wanted to try. In one of my previous posts in a fall I said I'll keep it simple and will plant only those veggies that we do eat. But I will keep outside of the garden area for experimental veggies - if they survive all animals that is. That way inside the garden premium space won't be wasted.. 

I did get more beans to try because last year we didn't really get any to eat and I didn't save seeds so had to restock. I won't plant as many varieties of tomatoes this year but will increase peppers. My "seeds 2014" page shows inventory of ALL seeds, plants, trees and shrubs that we have in or outside the house - not necessary of what I will be planting. That part I'm yet to decide. I know what I will not plant for sure - they are listed in italic font and these seeds will be going to a  local community garden for new users. I also have more greens than I can count but it won't hurt to plant them as they'll b done before summer and before tomatoes and peppers will be planted. I have some more that people sent me to sort and catalog but that will wait till next weekend.

And I'm also waiting to see what my coworkers will pick for me to try - I made it into a game for them. They have to look through the catalog and find 1 item that they never tried before that looks fantastic and sounds like will taste great and can grow in zone 6. So far only 1 person picked something I did not have before - strawberry spinach, so of course I had to order it. Can't wait to see what others come up with.

How does your garden planning coming along?

First Harvest in 2014

Happy New Year everyone! It's been a very nice and quiet time since last time I've posted, but the cold weather makes me wish for warm and sunny spring. It doesn't help that all these seed catalogs started to come in. And I got a wonderful present from Dave from Our Happy Acres with bunch of seeds! So of course the seed-itch started and I've started planning my new season. I will post updated seed list shortly, after i get it all organized. 

This weekend I also checked my hoophouse to see if anything survived the bitter cold that we had for several weeks - at one point it went to -8 with windchills at -20. I doubt that my figts or persimon survived but will have to wait and see what happens in spring. But hoophouse seem to protect some of the parsley and carrots and I was even able to harvest few carrots for dinner.
So this weekend I will browse through what I have, order more seeds as I want to try few new things this year and start making seed-mats.

How does your garden doing these days? Check with Daphne at for other harvests.

Closing garden for the year with last of the harvests

It's been a while since I posted any updates. We've had hard frost down to 20 degrees couple of nights so all garden items other than under the covers have been removed. You can see few last tomatoes and peppers from 3 weeks ago, onions and potatoes that were picked earlier but not weighted in - these are the last of our onions. Definitely will need to plant a lot more next year. Turnips are plentiful but too strong so won't be planting this variety again. Winter carrots are hanging in there - we've been picking few here and there for meals. Still have greens - parsley, arugula and salads and some remaining herbs.  And today picked out the rest of the leeks and scallions from small bed by the shed - it was overrun with weeds so leeks came out pretty small. But of course it's more than enough for us for winter.

So now the beds are cleaned, turned, leafs are gathered and mulched and layered on top of beds - in couple of weeks we'll turn it up all again and let it compost over winter for spring planting. I only have two beds remaining under covers in the small garden - that's salads and arugula, carrots and parsley. Winter is definitely here so hope it will go fast because I'm ready for spring planting :) Until then happy Gardening to Australia/New Zealand and southern states that still warm enough to get winter crops going. See you in spring :)