This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, February 23, 2018

crazy February weather

Yesterday we had record breaking temperatures in the 70's here! I felt very excited and wanted to plant my gardens all at once. But, back to reality and this is the view this morning. Our typical February weather. Very pretty (but yesterday was really awesome).

winter gardens IMG_1730

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

hardening off seedlings

The seedlings for my winter tunnel have grown really fast. Time to start hardening them off. Today is sunny and 65F (!!) so they are outside on the patio sunning. I am enjoying the air and am working by the open door.

early seedlings IMG_1716

early seedlings IMG_1714 early seedlings IMG_1718

My plan is to harden them off for about a week before transplanting these seedlings into the tunnel soil. I'll leave them outside 3 hours today and then gradually longer until they are OK staying overnight in the tunnel. If it's not warm enough outside during the day, they can be in the covered tunnel for their hardening off time.

I opened up the winter tunnel to the air too. There are a few plants left in there (the mice left me a few). The soil is pretty dry. I'll have to bring a watering can down there this afternoon.

winter tunnel MG_1724 winter tunnel IMG_1720

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

asparagus seedlings

My newly sprouted asparagus seedlings look just like tiny asparagus.

asparagus seedlings IMG_1698

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Friday, February 16, 2018

onions and celery seeds are planted!!

Yeah! This is my first big planting for my summer garden. I planted celery, celeriac, onions, bunching onions (scallions), leeks, and artichokes.  I also sowed some flower seeds: milkweed, aster, and chamomile. Here is the link to my 2018 planting list.

sowing onions IMG_1681

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Monday, February 12, 2018

updates for our PlantIng Calendar Apps

An update for Skippy’s Vegetable Planting Calendar IPhone app will be out in the next few days. It will fix bugs including saving input frost dates and crops. Also vegetable planting information is updated. if you purchase the app now, you can use the update at no extra cost. Also anyone with the app already will be notified to download the update (no cost).

The Vegetable Planting App is here HERE. I’ll be using this app to start my onions and celery this week. Be sure to email me any comments or suggestions you have regarding the app.

Our Flower & Herb Planting App can be purchased through the same link above.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

early seedlings

early seedlings IMG_1649

The planting season is starting up!!

I planted a bunch of greens to fill my winter tunnel since mice ruined my fall planting. I finished transplanting them today. They were growing 4 or 5 to a cell of a 6-pack, now they each have a cell to themselves. I hope to plant them out in the tunnel at the end of the month.

I started my regular garden planting a few days ago by planting a few asparagus seeds. They need to go in 13 weeks before the last frost. They are germinating (I hope) in a nice warm (78F) spot. My onions, scallion, leeks, celery, and celeriac will go in 11 weeks before the last frost - the week of February 16 (just over a week away!).

early seedlings  IMG_1633 early seedlings IMG_1642
early seedlings  IMG_1651 early seedlings IMG_1661

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

new varieties for this year!!

I have a lot of new varieties planned for this year. Why not be a bit adventuresome! Planning for fun in the garden takes my mind off of this winter. Not that it's a bad winter, but I really want to get back outside in the dirt. Some of these are new varieties of plants I've grown before. Some are whole new plants that I'm trying for the first time - like artichokes, celery, and cumin.

Artichoke, Tavor, only 95 days to harvest - I'll grow some for flowers too (High Mowing)
Asparagus, Mary Washington, very popular heirloom released in 1919 (David's Garden)
Beans, Marvel of Venice, yellow pole beans (Johnny's)
Beans, Haudenosaunee Skunk, dry pole bean (collected by and a gift of Roger Swain)
Beets, Boro, a new round red beet (Johnny's)
Broccoli, Blue Wind, extra early heads (Johnny's)
Carrot, Sugarsnax 54, long slender orange roots (Johnny's)
Carrot, Purple 68, deep purple roots for fall harvest (Johnny's)
Cauliflower, Snowball Y, an improved heirloom with self blanching heads (Burpee)
Celery, Tango, early maturing and self blanching (High Mowing Seeds)
Corn, Nothstine Dent, early maturing heirloom for sweet cornmeal and flour (Johnny's)
Cucumber, Max Pak, a new pickling variety with wide disease resistance (Johnny's)
Cumin, 120 days to seed (Burpee)
Eggplant, Orient Express, "the most dependable eggplant" (Johnny's)
Basil, Tuscany, big curly green leaves (Johnny's)
Lettuce, Crispino, iceberg (Johnny's)
Lettuce, Rouxai, beautiful red and green oakleaf (Johnny's)
Onion, Patterson, extremely long storage yellow (Johnny's)
Pepper, Highlander, Anaheim with earlier and longer fruits than Joe Parker (Johnny's)
Pepper, Red Rocket, cayenne 6" long and quick drying (Johnny's)
Squash, Flaminio, high-yielding Costata type zucchini (Johnny's)
Tomato, Pozzano, a hybrid San Marzano type for the greenhouse (Johnny's)
Tomato, Chef's Choice Orange, orange beefsteak AAS winner in 2013 (Johnny's)
Tomato, Martha Washington, "heirloom-quality" pink slicer, reliable hybrid (Johnny's)
Tomato, Taxi, heirloom early yellow slicer with baseball-sized fruit (Johnny's)

new seeds IMG_1503

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018 planting list

I've started early with seed sowing this year since my winter tunnel was cleared out by a mouse (arrgh). I'll replant it in late February with early seedlings. This will be my link for my seed sowing list for the year.  

January 14, 2018 (planted indoors under lights for my winter tunnel)
Lettuce, Rhazes (red mini romaine)
Spinach, Emperor (semi savoy)
Escarole, Natacha (broad-leaved Batavian)

January 20, 2018 (planted indoors under lights for my winter tunnel)
Lettuce, Cherokee  (red summer crisp)
Lettuce, Crispino (green iceberg)
Lettuce, Rouxai (red and green oakleaf)
Arugula (salad arugula)
Cabbage, Alcosa (green savoy)

February 3, 2018 (planted indoors under lights)
Asparagus, Mary Washington (green)

Feb 16, 2018 (I couldn't find milk bottles to winter sow outside, so I put the planted trays into the freezer)
Milkweed, common wild (hand collected seed)
New England wild small white aster (hand collected seed)

Feb 16, 2018 (indoors under lights) 
Onions, Patterson
Bunching onions, Nabechan
Leeks, Bandit and Giant Musselburg
Celery, Tango
Celeriac, Brilliant
Artichoke, Tavor

Plans
4th week of Feb (indoors under lights) 
Cabbage, Red Express and Murdoc
Endive, Dubuisson and Natacha
Parsley
Flowers, Stock

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Charley and Suzie waiting for dinner

waiting for dinner IMG_1481 (3)

Charley is my big 1.5 year old puppy. He's in front. Pretty little Suzie is in back. She's 4.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

seed catalogs

I received the Adaptive Seeds catalog today. Excellent reading. It will keep me busy at least several days to read all the way through it. A few days ago I got FarmTek, Johnny’s Seeds, and McMurray‘s Hatchery. If reading catalogs brings the spring on sooner, I’m there.

Monday, January 22, 2018

today's harvest

harvest eggs escarole lemon IMG_1473 Today's harvest is fresh endive, a Meyer lemon, and a couple eggs.

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when to plant spring seeds

To time when I plant my seeds, I use an app that I’ve written. Skippy’s Vegetable planting calendar. We’ve been working on this for a few years and a new update is due out next month. This update makes the app retain settings and fills in some missing planting information and is free for any previously purchased apps.

I have about 100 vegetable varieties that I’ll plant this year. The app is a very simple way of planning when to plant vegetable seeds.

This year I entered info from all of my seeds package into an excel table. I entered time to harvest and planting date. I then sorted by planting date. This gives me a “calendar” for planting. But it doesn’t have any more information than my app except for corn where I want to plant two varieties and spread the planting dates to make sure they don’t cross-pollinate.

If you have suggestions for our app update, please leave a comment here and let me know.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

today’s indoor garden work

Today I planted seeds for 3 types of lettuce and a cabbage. Just a few of each. Seedlings will go into my winter tunnel in 4 weeks.  By then we’ll be getting on to the end of February. If temperatures aren’t warm by then, at least there’ll be enough light to warm the tunnel and for plant growth.

Right now the seed pots are sitting on the side of my bath tub. It’s too cold for germination in the room with my plant lights. The bathroom is warm, but there isn’t much sunlight. Tomorrow I’ll turn up the heat in the plant room and get the lights going for the season.

I don’t usually start my seeds ‘til the end of February. That’s when I plant onion seeds. Since a mouse ate my fall-planted greens in my winter tunnel, I thought I’d try replanting the tunnel ASAP. So I’m planting a month early.

Yesterday I opened my winter tunnel and checked inside. No mice in any of the traps. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I don’t think I see any more mouse damage to the remaining plants.  I left the tunnel with only the row covering layer, no plastic outer layer, since the weather for the next several days will be above 28 degrees F and rain is coming. It gets pretty dry in the tunnel. Right now there is a lot of arugula, some small spinach, and several types of herbs growing.

Friday, January 19, 2018

my tried-and-true, old favorite vegetable varieties

Bush beans, Jumbo, big flat pods
Mini broccoli, Happy Rich, broccolini that keeps producing all season
Green storage cabbage, Murdoc, a big storage variety, very mild
Popcorn, Robust 997, super yields, great popping and taste
Pickling cucumber, Salt and Pepper, small white cuke, chartreuse inside
Seedless cucumber, Diva, my favorite cuke for many years, can be finicky to get started
Asian mini eggplant, Hansel, awesome yields of small black Asian type fruits
Black round Italian eggplant, Barbarella, low yields but the best taste ever
Broad-leaved Escarole, Natacha, a beautiful plant mild enough for fresh salads
Leaf lettuce, Salanova, awesome! remove core of full grown plant for salad of baby lettuce
Snow pea, Oregon Giant, a very reliable performer with delicious peas
Bell pepper, Ace, very reliable, early bell peppers that turn red in a long season
Hot pepper, Thai Hot, lot's of peppers, small plants, nice and hot, and they dry easily
Zucchini, Costata Romanescu, my all time favorite summer squash, awesome flavor
Squash, Waltham Butternut, excellent yield, delicious, long storage, and grows up a trellis
Tomato, Opalka, a very large heirloom paste tomato
Tomato, Polish Linguisa, another very large heirloom paste tomato
Tomato, Carbon, delicious heirloom purple slicing tomato
Tomato, True Black Brandywine, another delicious heirloom purple slicing tomato
Tomato, Pink Beauty, F1 variety with excellent yields of pretty pink fruit, always my earliest

It makes me happy just to think about these - my favorites. I'll plant them all again this year. Hansel and Salanova I grew for the first time last year and loved them. They're not really "old" favorites, but I think they will become that. I can't wait to start planting! I'll plant Natacha soon (tonight, I hope) to go in my cold frame for very early spring. Maybe a couple Salanova and Cherokee too. I'll have to wait on the rest.

Please comment with a list of your old favorite vegetable varieties.

Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 garden plans

Microsoft PowerPoint - 2018 garden plans.pptx

Microsoft PowerPoint - 2018 garden plans.pptx

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