Finally planting time!

This was the first weekend when we went above 60 degrees, and yesterday even reached 67. So I checked my soil and it was finally warm enough to start planting some of my cold-seasoned veggies: Peas, chards, beets, onions, potatoes, spinach, arugula, lettuce and asian greens like mustards, chinese kale and bok choy.  Potatoes were LONG overdue to be planted and the ones I put in a tray to "chit" early were overgrown and started to dry out a bit.  That was a mix of white and fingerlings, so while I did plant them, I won't mind if some didn't come up.
 Thankfully the second batch was more stable and included purple and red potatoes that I wanted to plant for my hubby to eat in salads. I don't care much for red variety but he loves it. As you can see, not much was planted for each type.
Also planted but forgot to take picture was my Yukon Golds - only a handful went into a bed in large garden so we can eat early in summer, but the main planting will go to the farm area.
For the peas, I planted these varieties:
Peas - Blauschokker Shelling
Peas - Burpena Early
Peas - Garden Pea Laxton's Progress #9
Peas - Garden Sweet
Peas - Green Arrow Shelling
Peas - Snowbird
Peas - Sugar Ann Snap
Peas - Super Snappy
Peas - Super Sugar Snap Pea
Again, not too many for each, just enough to eat fresh and see which will perform better. The snow peas are for the stir-fry that my hubby loves. Now I just hope they'll make it without groundhog eating them down like last year. I'll do another post on beets and other greens later in a week.

On the seedling front at home, my tomatoes doing great and growing like weeds!  Another few days and I'll be transferring them all to much larger pots and getting them ready for hardening off.
There is also a tray for the community garden - specific choices that my fellow gardeners asked me to plant for them.These were planted about 2 weeks after my first batch so they are smaller, but they're doing really well.
Peppers on the other hand are struggling and only few have woken up and started to grow. I still hope the rest will wake up soon, but I have a back up plan - gave bunch of seeds to have started at the greenhouse in much warmer conditions, so hopefully it will get me enough seedlings for both farm and home. Primary focus will be on sweet peppers for home eating and only few special ones from hot varieties for cooking.
 I had to pluck my lonely lemon out of the lemon plant and put the plant outside as it decided to drop all leaves and has been very sick, so I hope some fresh air and sunshine will jump-start the growing process again. For now I'll be enjoying my tea with lemon :)  And my sweet potato starting to root so hopefully soon will have slips growing.
So, how does everyone else get their garden planted?

Slow Awakening

We finally got few days above freezing and yesterday was even close to 60! So opened all windows to get fresh air and went to look in my garden to see what's happening and if anything survived over winter. It was really nice to spot some pretties waking up - a full month behind their normal schedule, but better late than never. First crocuses started to open up, and daffodils peaked through the ground.
22 foot bed of garlic is patchy but still enough to keep for this year and plenty to store for winter. I might give some of it away. In "bald" places where garlic didn't make it I will plant some broccoli or greens.  And first snow drop opened up which made me very happy.
I did notice that most of the bulbs i planted outside the garden in a new bed that was not protected have vanished, so deer and squirrels had a nice lunch.  Oh well, at least my other bed of flowers inside main garden is starting to wake up and once it goes into bloom I'll take a picture. I'll wait 3 more days and will plant peas and potatoes and some spinach over the weekend.

Spring is missing in action

Well Mother Nature is sure not in a hurry with spring this year around. It was 17 degrees Saturday night, and on Tuesday afternoon we got another snowstorm.

But at home we have plants waking and ready to get some sunshine. My fig plant that was overwintering has started growing and has baby figs starting to form. The overwintered pepper and rosemary also starting to add new growth.
And my seedlings are awake and started to stretch toward the lights.

Now if only weather would cooperate..

Garden Plan 2015

Someone asked in email about my current plan for this year, so here's the link:
Main Garden Plan 2015
of course this does not show anything for  small side garden, community garden or the CSA farm planting

SpringFest 2015

Snow is still on the ground, and to add to that frustration we just got alert for another snow storm that suppose to arrive tomorrow afternoon and dump anywhere between 3-6" of snow. Fun. Not.

But on a happier note, I went to the local SpringFest flower show that was all about flowers, designs, gardening and with promise of good things to come in next few weeks. So here are some snapshots of what they had in case of displays, flowers for sale, landscaping, innovative designs like vertical gardening as well as plenty of info and activities for everyone from kids to seniors.
There were also plenty of boutiques and antique decorations, giveaways like various flowers and veggie seeds, wine and jam/jelly tasting and of course lectures.
I was there as one of the helpers from Master Gardener group, and was on "seed docent" role - giving away seeds and answering any questions like "do deer eat them" or "will they grow in shade". It was fun actually to see how many people were interested in planting something for first time.

Planning a Garden

The work for the gardeners starts early in the season, even if it's still winter and the ground is covered in snow. First of all, detailed planning is an absolute "must to have" for a productive garden. As a gardener, we always want to plant more and harvest more, but if you don't plan carefully you might not get anything. Because if you plant sensitive plants too early in  a season, you're likely to lose crops to hard frost. Plant too late, and long-term vegetables like melons, winter squash, tomatoes and peppers will not have enough time to ripen in time. That's where the gardener's calendar comes in handy.  There are many resources available for the gardeners, from the Almanac to the web-based applications and simple spreadsheets. It's all about what works for you to organize it.  Some applications allow you to create a layout to see it visually what you can plant in the amount of space available in your garden, and also will show how many specific types of vegetables can fit into that space. It calculates based on the typical description of the selected vegetable - something that comes indicated on any seed packet you buy in store. Here is an example of my plan from last year, that shows the layout, what is being planted and provides information on when to plant each variety.

So as you can see, from the gardening perspective once it's all set in place and laid out, it's very easy to follow and keep it on schedule. It shows that should be planted inside, and what can wait to be sown directly outside. This way you won't miss planting time and minimize any risks in your gardens. But then of course, Mother Nature has plans of her own and we all must bow to her whimsy - like having 2 feet of snow on the ground in March :)

Tomato choices

It was finally time to chose tomatoes to plant, and after going through all my tomatoes I can clearly see that I have way too many seeds. So the full list is: 

TOMATO Amana Orange
TOMATO Ananas Noire or Black Pineapple
TOMATO Anna Russian
TOMATO Azoychka
TOMATO Black Cherry (from Dave)
TOMATO Black from Tula
TOMATO Black Giant
TOMATO Black Prince
TOMATO Bull's Heart
TOMATO Burpee Heirloom mix
TOMATO Carmello
TOMATO Chocolate Cherry  
TOMATO Chocolate Stripes
TOMATO Cosmonaut Volkov
TOMATO Early Roma
TOMATO Giant Oxheart
TOMATO Giant Pink Begium
TOMATO Grafted Brandywine Cherokee Purple
TOMATO Grafted Sweet Aperitif Sunsugar
TOMATO Grandma Oliver's Green
TOMATO Great White 
TOMATO Isis Candy Cherry
TOMATO JUNG Heirloom Mix
TOMATO Large Barred Boar
TOMATO Marmande
TOMATO Martino's Roma
TOMATO old German
TOMATO Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge
TOMATO Pink Brandywine
TOMATO Purple Calabash
TOMATO Red Brandywine
TOMATO Roma Organic
TOMATO Russian Rose
TOMATO San Marzano Lungo No. 2
TOMATO Sarah Black
TOMATO Sugar Sweetie (Cherry)
TOMATO Sungold Select II
TOMATO Super Beefsteak
TOMATO Super sweet 100 Hybrid (cherry)
TOMATO Sweet Million Hybrid (cherry)
TOMATO Ten Fingers of Naples 
TOMATO True Black Brandywine
TOMATO Vinson Watts (from Dave)
TOMATO Yellow Pear (cherry)
The ones I put in "bold" are my choices to plant at home garden - only 15 varieties.  Items that are crossed out are "give away" to others as I haven't been very happy with these varieties. The rest will have to be planted in community/farm areas as I simply won't have enough space at home. Hopefully this year will be good for them and no blight will demolish them as in the past.