Simple garden techniques described in details so anyone can easily follow through on their end while sharing ideas and pictures on how the garden is progressing through out the year.
...And Winter returns!
Colors, texture and smells
Sorry, spring fever is really getting to me and I just can't wait until everything burst into bloom and I get first berries and greens of the year.
Unreasonable cost of living
United Way of Northern New Jersey recently reported that nearly one in three Sussex County households is ALICE, an acronym for "asset-limited, income-constrained, but employed," otherwise known as the working poor. ALICE represents individuals and families earning between $20,000 and $60,000 annually.
This is something that really makes me think hard about about area where I live - it's not just about salaries and such but the actual cost of living. It's simply unreasonable and unsustainable. Considering that every job description that I've seen in past year only advertises $12-15 an hour it's not reasonable to expect people to live decently with such high costs of everything else around us. And it's likely to keep rising every year. It's another reason why I really want to keep my garden expanding and full of every variety of veggies and fruit that I can cram into it. Yes, there is upfront cost when you're building it but once that's done you can keep going with minimal cost afterwards. It also helps to plant extras so I can save some of the produce for winter time - canned tomato sauces; my own potatoes, garlic and onions; salsa; home made jams from starwberries and raspberries; frozen chopped veggies that I can use for stir-fry - they will all bring COL price down. And I intend to plant as much as my little garden can handle!
So many Tomato choices!
Ananas Noire Or Black Pineapple
Black From Tula
Caspian Pink Heirloom
Grandma Oliver's Green
Green Zebra Heirloom
Mr Stripey Heirloom
Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge
Prudens Purple Heirloom
Red Mortgage Lifter
Red Zebra Heirloom
San Marzano Lungo No. 2
Super Italian Paste Heirloom
Sweet Million Hyrid
True Black Brandywine
Yellow Pear (Cherry)
So if I plant at least 1 plant each I should have plenty of choices come August. Some are paste variety like Super Italian and San Marzano - they'll be great for Marinara and other sauces. Some are salads like Yellow Pear. Of course I'll be using some in my pots, especially those that I'm not quite sure about or that had mixed reviews like Purple Calabash and Orange Flesh. Cherry tomatoes will definitely go into pot because they tend to get very large so I don't want them to take space in garden. But for those that I've tried already and love like Purple Cherokee, Brandywine and Black Krim - they'll be at least 2 each. Yes, it will be alot of tomatoes pending no blight or other disasters of course, but knowing me I'll be giving them away to anyone who wants them :)
We got greens!
For now I've planted various salads, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli - all of them like cold weather to start growing so it works out just right in timing. They will go into ground in March. So every week for next 4 weeks I'll add a new tray of seedlings to make sure that my crops will have new growth just as I start picking first set.
if you're not sure what to do with seeds - take a look at one of the previous posts: picking seeds.
so what are you planting this year?
It's February.. so where's the snow?
In the meanwhile, I did inventory of my seed collection and outlined what I'm planning to plant this year. For spring "cold" season I have: various salads - both head and loose types, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, radishes, peas, swiss chard, spinach, arugula and collard greens. These will be planted this weekend in seedling containers - except for the arugula, radishes and peas as they grow super fast and do better if planted directly into the ground which I will do closer to the end of March.
After my cold-season seedlings are transplanted I will start my warm-loving ones. And for these I really look forward to seeing new varieties. I will try planting new melons, peppers, and squashes that i did not try before, but most of all I will plant all new varieties of my tomatoes. I got quite a few varieties of heirloom tomatoes and can't wait to see how they'll taste. Normally I use Brandywine, Cherokee Purple and Black Krim because these are my favorites, but this year I have at least a dozen new to try as well. Black Pineapple sounds good and looks fabulous on pictures so can't wait to get it started :)
And then of course my 'staples' of the garden - green and yellow wax beans, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, summer squash, eggplant, beets and herbs that will be planted as well. Garlic cloves were already planted in October so we should have it ready to pick in July.
In addition to the veggies I will have my fruit as well - strawberries that I had last year and I ordered two new varieties that will come in April. We also have blueberries, raspberries, grapes, blackberries, two cherry trees that should be full in bloom this year, peach and nectarine, plums and apple trees. I know we'll have plums because we had one this year but not sure about apples just yet. I hope to try at least one soon. Can we fast forward to spring now?
So what's happening at your garden? anyone getting ready for the new season?