Spring or Winter?

Is spring going to get here anytime soon? Tonight into tomorrow we're supposed to get buried in up to 2 feet of snow. Or maybe not. They can't seem to agree on the number. We got 4" on Friday and everything is still covered in snow. Which helped me find nice bear tracks this morning.
Of course all the cold weather and snow not stopping me from planting more seeds for summer. My large batch of Black Brandywine has sprouted and will be placed into individual containers in about a week or so, but the very long list of specialty tomatoes will wait until I get back from CA next week to be planted.
And I've planted some flowers to make my gardens pretty - hollyhock just woke up, and I also have snapdragons, asters, zinnias already growing.
Also woke up very early this year is my overwintering Hibiscus - my sister was staying with us in the Addition, so she cranked up heater to 70 and woke up my plants. Figs are awake and growing like crazy, and hibiscus is a happy camper.
So for now we'll bundle up, stock up on food and hibernate for another few days. Then off to sunny CA while my hubby takes care of my plants at home. 

First Flowers

Mother Nature is having a roller-coaster mood swings, with one day at 73 Degrees, and today at 10. But at home I have some of my plants waking up and starting to bloom. My citrus are in blooms, Hibiscus overwintering also decided to bloom early,
And first Lenten Rose - Hellebore has opened up outside by the patio. First of many to come. We have pink, burgundy, golden lotus, and white spotted in varieties. Can't wait for them to bloom.

Seeding and Transplanting Peppers

Once again spring is almost here and my house turns into a seedling house. Hubby is grumbling but happy  knowing that he'll have yummy food later in a year. So far I've planted some of the peppers, brassicas and some zinnias.  For peppers I did couple of methods. First one is to pre-sprout them on a wet paper towel covered in plastic (i used Ziploc sandwich bag). You can see in the second picture how the seeds were starting to sprout with white roots visible after couple of days.
After another day or so, I placed seeds that showed roots into planting cells filled with seedling mix. That mix will go into my seedling house under the lights to grow nice and strong.
You can see how it looked after another two days. They were very happy seedlings.
 I also made a tray with several rows of peppers seeded without pre-sprouting them.
They didn't all come at once, and I noticed that the batch of seeds that i saved myself last year grew much faster. The ones I bought were at least two weeks behind.
So today I took out the clump that you see on the bottom right side and transplanted them into permanent growing cells.  This is what they looked like after i was done with the transplants. Now I have two trays under the lights.
And you can see step by step video of what was done to transplant these peppers. I'll be doing that again next week  for the next batch!
How are your preparations for spring coming up? ready to start digging and planting?

Welcome to New Year!

Yes, I've been gone for a while but did  not vanish completely. The goal for the second part of the year was to rest and relax, away from everything that brings stress and enjoy my time off. And do what I wanted to do with my free time, if I felt like doing something. Summer was particularly nice. In that time I went to Vancouver and enjoyed local scenery, the beautiful bay and tasted local foods.

Then there was Santa Rosa for Heirloom show - awesome experience to be surrounded by so many varieties of veggies and fruit, and more importantly the people who really understood the need to preserve heritage and quality of our food. Did you know that there were so many varieties of watermelon for example? Or hundreds varieties of tomatoes and peppers and eggplants? Pictures can only show so much, but the real experience is something else. I was very happy that I got to spend a week with the show, volunteering with staff and learning so much about heirlooms.

In between fall holidays, my sister and I went traveling through Australia coast  starting with Sydney and up north from there, learning about local plants in the botanical gardens, and visiting koala in the nature reserve, loved the architectures and local Chinese garden, enjoyed afternoon teas, scroll through the golden beaches, gone fishing and much more. It was two weeks of paradise and the experience of a lifetime. Even managed to bring home some local seeds to try and plant here!

But more importantly, I've been spending more of my time interacting with local Master Gardeners, local garden community and the CSA farm. This is what really makes me happy. I can't picture myself going back to corporate world, so growing fruit and veggies, working with educating others, designing gardens is my future. At least it's my goal for 2017. Hope it will be a good one.

Change is in the air

Well actually it's a heat-wave that's in the air, making it very difficult to do anything outside. Some of the things still growing, like tomatoes and peppers, and berries are being picked. Not much of anything else. Not posting pictures either this time around. For now just going to focus on the clean up at home, and planting carrots and greens for winter. 

On the other side of my life, more changes have occurred. I've decided to leave my current workplace and will take some time off to rest and take care of the house and at some point in the next few weeks will look for something else to do with my free time. This was a long time coming, and finally decision was made and this is my last week at work.  I will miss my coworkers and my customers, but it's better for me in a  long run. Will try to find something in the gardening world, or at least telecommute from home. Time will tell if this was a good choice.

Harvest mid-June

Happy Fathers day to all "dads" - with two legged children and furbabies. We spent out weekend with my FIL on Saturday instead of Sunday. It's been very very hot in garden and I haven't done much outside. Got a new trimmer to tackle weeds, but it's a long process. In the large garden my hubby took a weed-whacker and cleared most of the beds and I'm starting to replant everything from scratch. Weeds just took over and killed off much of my plantings, and then groudnhog finished it off. So we wiped it all out and started again with new batch of tomatoes and peppers, some melons and cucumbers and squash. Potatoes and onions from spring planting remain. Then I had a chance to get into the small garden and pick some berries - red currants and gooseberry. And sadly found two baby groundhogs. "sadly" refers to the fact that one was already dead and another barely alive. As much as I hate having them in my garden it hurts my heart to see animal die and I don't wish to harm them. Unfortunately not all my neighbors think the same way and these babies clearly ate something laced with poison.
Anyway, life goes on. On a side note, I picked fresh garlic to see how the head is coming along, and it will need at least 3 more weeks. One thing that I stumbled on while we were out this weekend was this pillow - I thought it was a perfect slogan for me, so had my hubby pose for a picture to show it :)
And of course current "blooms" around the house and back yard are plentiful,  with variety of lilies, aslstibe, begonia, and introduced this week were two pots of phlox. I try to stick to perrenials but once in a while will mix annuals for a kick of color.
One thing that I do want to show is my little african violets that I keep at home - I sniped a leaf from a plant of my coworker two years ago and put it in water to root, and it's been growing beautifully. This past winter I had a whimsy of taking a seed of a pomelo that I was eating, and stuck it into the same pot and today I have a tiny seedling growing. Will see how well it will take.
So come and share how your gardens are doing this time of the year.

First harvest in June

Not much being picked in the garden, since a lot of stuff was lost to weeds. Groundhog paid a visit to my front garden again and had a nice lunch so the only thing that I'll have out of those beds are potatoes and onions. But I still have side garden that's producing so we have enough to eat. Been picking few strawberries for snack, some greens like spinach and arugula, mustard greens, and early scapes - it was really hot for two weeks and scapes came out much earlier than usual.

My fava beans are filling out nicely and I look forward to having some soon. And first color started to show up on my red currants so I will be picking them soon and making jam out of them. My hubby doesn't like to eat them as they are tart, but in jam they're pretty good.  Also picked a bunch of thyme and hang it down in the boiler room to dry out for winter so I can have herbs for cooking.
Another thing I'm looking forward to is picking fresh gooseberries. They make a wonderful snack. And anticipation for much later in a year - persimmon! It's in bloom right now and I really hope the tree will not drop fruit.
Of course no day goes without visit from our deer - you can always count on seeing them in the back yard morning and evening.

Hope your gardens are growing nicely and enjoying the sunshine.