The garden is going well so far this year. Here are some pictures from the last week or two:
The garden begins again
I started some onion seeds this weekend. I’ve been planning out the garden, even though we have tons of snow on the ground (or maybe because of the snow). I like growing onions from seed – you get more choices than if you buy sets, and it’s cheaper. I like to start them usually at the beginning of February, but figured it was close enough.
I’m growing 5 types of onion this year:
I like to start seeds in leftover mushroom containers (that the mushrooms come in at the store) – I poke holes in the bottom and put the mushroom containers on trays,or in a peat pellet tray so I can use a lid at first).
They say onion seeds are only good for a season but I have not found that to be the case. I have had good sprouting a few years later.
The idea with these is that they’ll grow and be big enough to set out in April or May (depending on our weather). I have space for two beds of onions in my garden. I also read that you can put onions in around other things where you want to deter groundhogs and stuff and they will stay away.
As I do each spring, I came up with a whole seed starting schedule and made a spreadsheet to track when to start, where they are starting (inside or right in the ground), and how many I started. I am growing about 70 different varieties of things this year (3 kinds of tomatoes, 5 onions, etc), so it’s really helpful to make a chart. I cut it down to 70 – I have to restrain myself from growing ALL the types of seeds I have.
It’s always exciting starting the gardening season, even if there is not a whole lot of work I can do yet.
Looking back at 2021’s gardening season
We had a decent summer. I got really busy and have not updated here in awhile. My main garden is fenced, inside another fence (for our dogs). The deer have not really gotten in until this year – my dogs are getting older and I guess don’t really bark at the deer when they come in. The deer figured this out and essentially annihilated my main garden toward the end of the season. They ate all my tomatoes, and zucchini, and anything else they found out there. I did get a good harvest but I had to get what I could before they could eat it all. There are some things I didn’t even get to harvest because of the deer, including cauliflower and broccoli. Looking forward to next year, I’m going to have to make my garden fence taller, or something. I’ll figure that out. Luckily they didn’t get into our cottage garden (not sure why, but I’ll take it). For now, here are some cool pictures of the end of our gardening season 2021:
Mid Season Bounty
Our garden is growing like crazy! Some vegetables are starting to ripen, and we’re eating lots of fresh stuff. We had a lot of lettuce, which I’ve been trying to pick before it bolts. We have had zucchinis galore! I’m growing three kinds this year, a regular green type, a yellow zucchini, and Zucchini Rampicante (a long type that curls). I’ve even just picked a couple of vine-ripened tomatoes! (Usually I’m waiting on some of those till later in the season). My garlic is almost ready, and we’re getting cabbage. Below you can see the photos of the garden:
Garden Planning 2021
It’s the middle of winter here in the U.P. We have a bunch of snow, and more on the way today. Typically this time of year I am planning my garden, but I was way ahead of the game this time, and actually drew up plans in the late summer/early fall of last year. I was taking a look at what had worked, what I was tired of picking, what things we didn’t want to grow again this coming year. Because last year was such a mess trying to get seeds (with Covid lockdowns, and everyone wanting to grow a garden suddenly, seed companies were out of things – I had to order from 5 different places to get all the varieties I wanted), I just stocked up in the fall. So I really don’t need to get any new seeds this year. I might add a couple things as spring gets here. We’ll see.
Here you can see my snowy cottage garden as it looked this morning: (We are getting a bunch more snow as I type this).
I started my onions in January – they are doing pretty well. I am growing a large yellow variety called Ailsa Craig. I am on an ongoing quest to get really big onions. Last year I had some get to a decent size, like a small baseball size, but not the full size they could have gotten. We just recently used up the end of my saved onion stash, and we were down to a lot of tiny 1-inch onions at the end. I am hoping to increase the amount of large onions I grow, and hopefully get less smaller ones. Even if that means growing less onions, so be it. Besides those large onions, I’m also growing leeks, green onions, and shallots from seeds. I also started some red onions – the seeds are from year before last, so they are not as viable as I’d like, but I got some to sprout. Onion seeds only last about a year or so – a lot of other seeds are viable for longer. I have been fertilizing my onion sprouts this year – something I read about this winter. I’m hoping that I will have close to pencil-width onions ready to go into the ground by April or May (probably May but a girl can hope for an April warm-up).
I planned this year’s gardens last fall, just drawing up a plan on a couple pieces of paper. I did go through all my seeds this fall, and I made a big spreadsheet so I know what I have to work with. I then had to decide what to NOT grow this year. I tend to want to just grow it all – I am using some restraint and only using about half my seed varieties for this coming year. Below are my plans I drew up:
As you can see, I’ve changed things a little bit here and there – there are some scribbles where I made revisions, but going in I knew a few things we’d do differently this year. We had too many winter squash last year, and I have frozen a lot of them. I fed extras to the deer before they could go bad on us (and because we got really sick of squash). I won’t be growing any winter squash. I’m growing 2 plants of cucumbers (2 varieties, one plant of each). I’m only growing 12 tomato plants total! (I had over 24 last year). We still have a lot of frozen tomatoes. They are good but we were a bit overrun in the fall and I got really tired of harvesting them. The only problem with planning is you never know what the weather in the summer will be like. I hope we have a nice hot summer and those 12 tomato plants actually produce as well as they did last year.
I took the seeds that I decided to grow this year, and set up groups (all rubber-banded together) in terms of when they get started and where – so I have a big group of “start inside in March” that will get started around the first official day of spring. I have a few types of seeds in the fridge cold-stratifying, those all will get started in March – those include two types of Milkweed/butterfly weed. I’d like to get some established in my yard for the Monarch butterflies. I also have some sets of “Start outside” for as soon as the snow is gone and I can get into the soil, and “start outside May/June” for after the last frost (mid-late may, depending on who you ask). I ordered a couple of things that should be coming this spring – Ginger for sprouting (probably coming late March) and also more Strawberry plants – I think those come in April or May.
I’m excited for this year’s upcoming garden. For now I am just looking out the window at our snowy yard and dreaming of spring.
Early August Garden Updates, 2020
We’ve had a lot of things happening – it was really hot for the beginning of summer, so my garden was growing like crazy. We’ve cooled down a bit for the last few days, and today it got sunny again. Here are some nice pictures of our gardens and yard:
Early July – Garden Growth Explosion!
Things are growing really well around here. We’ve had really hot weather, with temps in the 80s and 90s. It’s also been super humid, but we haven’t had a lot of rain – we have been getting rain maybe once every couple weeks, it seems. We got a decent thunderstorm the other night but I’ve been having to keep up with watering everything every couple days so that plants don’t die on me. We haven’t really had to mow our grass much, weirdly. The lack of water is helping us there. Usually our lawn a bit of a jungle. Below are some updated pictures of our yard and gardens:
Our strawberries have been coming in well – I had gotten a couple cups a few days ago, and at that time there were a bunch almost ripe and ready to pick. So yesterday morning, I walked out to the strawberry patch to harvest, and came across this sight:
A deer got into my strawberry patch and eaten the tops and the berries off most of my plants. The way they were eaten and the amount taken points to deer. And we have deer in the yard a lot. Here is what the plants were SUPPOSED to look like:
Luckily they just got the tops of the plants, so the plants will live to give me strawberries next year. I have it all fenced with a makeshift gate, but the gate had been off, since I don’t have to worry about chickens getting in there. The deer must have figured out she could get in through the open door. The deer also got into the open gate of the cottage garden (which I also had left open since we don’t have chickens anymore) and tried a bunch of other things. She must have thought it was a salad bar:
The deer ate some bean plants, some chard, some lettuce, a bunch of my orach, some Borage and some broccoli. She wanted nothing to do with the huge patch of Kale or Asian greens that the chard and orach were between, for some reason. This deer just came in and had a taste of random things. A lot of herbs were untouched as well, fortunately. I have since made sure that gates are closed, and also got some fence to cover things a bit – I laid pieces of fence a little over so the plants are okay but the deer can’t get to the leaves, just in case they decide to just hop the fence to get some more salad. I was lucky that they didn’t completely devastate anything, but it was close. I only will get a few more strawberries, not the nice crop I was hoping for.
One bright spot was that my poppies are starting to bloom:
I’ve been trying to get poppies started for a few years and usually the seedlings disappear after I plant them. I put a ton in this year and they are all coming up and now this was the first bloom.
Start of summer in the garden
We’ve been really busy and the garden is growing well! Here are some pictures of our plants and flowers:
The garden is doing well, I can’t wait to see how it grows through the summer!
Early June 2020
The garden is in full swing. I had it planted by mid may because we had several warm days in a row – the weather report called for a lot more to come, and mostly this has been true. We did get a frost warning on May 31st, so we had to hurry up and cover all our tomato plants, squashes, and a few other things. We didn’t actually get any frost, luckily. We’ve had a lot going on here, check out the pics below:
The garden is doing well, I can’t wait to see it all grow in.