Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weeding in the rain

I've never been the prissy kind of girly-girl who was afraid to get her hands dirty (hence the name of my blog). I figure if you go through life trying to keep from getting your hands dirty, you miss out on an awful lot. My hands are dirty today.

It started raining Friday evening and has continued to rain off and on since then. It held off for a little while yesterday, but rain has never been far away. It is frustrating when it rains on the weekend when you desperately need to give some attention to your garden. This morning when I woke up around 7am, we checked the weather. said storms would be here around 11am. There was my window of opportunity. So I put on some okay-to-get-dirty clothes and headed out to the garden. By 8:45am my fingers were covered in mud.

All this rain has not only helped my seedlings germinate, it has brought weeds. Actually, weeding while it is raining is kind of a good idea. Wet earth holds onto plants much less tightly than dry earth. With rubber garden shoes on, MP3 player on shuffle, and rain gently activating my natural curl ;-) I set about weeding around my peas and the perimeter of my garden along the fence. I was done by 10am. Let the storms commence.

In other garden news, yesterday we went to the Bloomington Farmer's Market and bought my broccoli seedlings for this year's garden. The picture at the top of today's blog entry is one of those plants in its new home in my garden. While I did some browsing of other plants, I think it is still a bit too early for the other plants I have planned. I will be returning to the farmer's market when I'm ready for more plants.

The peas and lettuce, which had germinated a while ago, are growing. Some of my other seeds have popped up as well. Here are some of the beet seedlings:

And here are some of the sunflowers Dylan planted:

I am so excited - my garden is coming back to life!

Today's weather:
High temp: 61 F
Low temp: 57 F
Rain, thunderstorms, and wind.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Planting sunflowers and root crops

Today has been another beautiful day and I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon in my garden. I even managed to get Dylan to help me. He's happier than he's just the sun in his eyes.

We decided to plant sunflowers all along the back (northern) edge of the garden. They are Mammoth Russian Sunflowers that grow to be 8-12 feet tall and the flowers are 10-12 inches in diameter. These will be Dylan's project. If they grow as they're supposed to, I imagine he'll be really excited once they start towering over us.

I also decided to plant the root crops I'd been meaning to plant ever since April 3. I smoothed out the bed designated for these crops and then planted one 5' row of St. Valery Heirloom carrots, two 5' rows of White Lisbon bunching onions (green onions), and four 5' rows of Tall Top Early Wonder beets. I grew one row of beets last year as a trial crop to see both how easy they were to grow and also how easy it would be to get my family to eat them. They turned out to be easy to grow and I managed to get everyone to eat them. Dylan and I even liked them. My only regret was not planting more. So this year I am planting lots more and plan to can what we don't eat out of the ground. Green onions is another crop I didn't have enough of last year so I planted two rows and then later in the season I'll plant more.

Today's weather:
High temp: 74 F
Low temp: 48 F
Sunny with slight breeze.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Here Come the Peas, Here Come the Peas

My peas have sprouted! I basically put the camera down on the ground to get this angle. I doubt they are even an inch tall so far, but they are off to a good start. We will be watching these closely for our first harvest.

Here is our preparation work in progress. We are in the middle of digging under the green manure (winter rye and hairy vetch) that we planted last fall. We have eight beds in the vegetable garden and the one we're working on now is the fourth so far. You can see in the back of this photo two of the beds that we've finished. We are having trouble juggling work schedules, other commitments (i.e. scouts), and rain showers. But our main planting dates will be May 15 and 16 so we still have a little time left.

Today's weather:
High temp: 71 F
Low temp: 47 F
Cloudy and windy, thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, some possibly severe.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday in the Garden

It was a beautiful Easter Sunday today. The sun was shining all day long and the temperature got up to 76 degrees. Tomorrow looks like it will be more of the same so I am hoping they don't call me in to work. I have a lot to do in the garden to get it ready for the season.

Jeff and I took advantage of the great weather this afternoon and worked on digging under 3 of the beds. He was the muscle of the operation and dug it all up. I went over it all and broke up the big dirt clods with my hoe. We did a digging technique called double digging where you dig up the top layer, pile it elsewhere, and then dig a second layer. This digs the soil up a little lower than single digging would. I'm planning to plant carrots, green onions, and beets soon so I want loose, deep soil.

My peas and lettuce that I planted two weeks ago have sprouted. They are just barely cracking the soil so I don't have any pictures to share yet. No sign of the mice again. We did set two traps inside my fence near the holes where I saw the mouse when I planted the peas. However, that was several days ago and all we managed to catch was a bird. Oops. If I notice something is nibbling on my peas, I'm going to be really mad.

I also had this season's first "harvest" today. I snipped some of my chives (which are back like clockwork) to include in tonight's dinner which we enjoyed on the patio. I love this time of year!

Today's weather:
High temp: 76 F
Low temp: 46 F
Sunny and breezy