Category Archives: Gardening

The Garden As It Is

So, I started an obsession with pickling things over this past winter. Something about trudging through three foot snow drifts made my brain start to crave books about canning. Luckily the library is well stocked and it was pretty easy to start researching whatever it was that caught my fancy (pickled grapes, anyone?). And, fortunately or otherwise (I’ll let you judge for yourself) seed catalogs started appearing in our mailbox. I always love poking through them and usually have no overarching planting schemes in mind… until this time. I flipped straight to the cucumber section and picked out a nice packet of pickling cucumbers and I even found a nice paste tomato that started a spaghetti sauce researching binge.

Now, several months later my cucumbers all died within three days of settling into real dirt outside. So, I trotted down the road to the Saturday Market and bought a flat of six for $1.50 (it was a flat of six containers but it turns out that each container actually held two plants… that’s TWELVE cucumber plants!). I didn’t want to plop them all back in the same place the last cucumbers met their untimely ends in, so I put half of them in an Ikea tupperware bin (the lids don’t lock onto the bins making them practically useless for cramming things into so I didn’t feel much of a twinge when I drilled drainage holes in the bottom) and crossed my fingers.

Here’s the mildly rag-tag “container garden” that’s camped out in the parkinglot. Basil on the far right, depressingly stunted cilantro next, tomatoes in the next container and the wee ones in front, and lastly, cucumbers climbing their way up a trellis in their cozy, useless-for-storage box!

The basil is doing just fine… so far.

Still achingly small tomatoes. I hope they do their tomatoey business before those snow drifts descend again!

And here’s the second half of the garden. Joe and I carved an area out of an old, overgrown vegetable garden on the other side of the parkinglot and planted the cherry tomato plant I bought from the Craftsbury Academy’s plant sale, two acorn squash ($1 for two at the Saturday Market!), three bell peppers (free from the Ag. Program at Sterling) and the other six cucumbers. Linus has been unwittingly indispensable, that blue bucket is full of bunny fertilizer just chillin until we need it! How exciting…

An acorn squash-to-be!

So that’s the garden. In other interesting news down at the lower dorms, Steve is keeping seven of the meat rabbits from the barn out on pasture to compare their weight to the ones still cooped up in the barn.

He refitted a chicken tractor with wheels and scoots them around next to the potato patch.

A California bunny with muddy-red paws… which are perfect foreshadowing. I was buttering my toast this morning and, glancing at the parking lot out the window, saw a delightful little white rabbit calmly meandering around. All seven bunnies had gotten out AGAIN. Between three people we caught six after about and hour of chasing and scrambling… the seventh is nowhere to be found but there’s a mysteriously large pile of white fur in the driveway. The rabbit above squeals like a wounded pig when you grab him. It’s an utterly terrifying sound.

Greenery Update

I have dreams of spending my evenings canning pickles, tomatoes and making pounds of pesto… which is exactly what I’m going to do later this summer. I have started my santo cilantro, genovese basil, little leaf pickling cucumbers and gilbertie paste tomatoes and they’re growing so fast!

Cucumbers, hanging out in mini cups. Joe and I were “pranked” on April Fools Day… someone put roughly 200 little cups half full of water in front of our door. Sadly, our door doesn’t open up outward so I just opened the door in the morning, grunted and raised and eyebrow as I neatly stepped over them. We left them there for a few days until we hunted up a big bowl to pour the water from each cup in to. Now we have 200 little plastic cups, some of which are being used and reused to start the cucumbers because they are a bit too big and their roots too impressive to pop into egg shells very neatly.

Do you remember those wee seedlings I showed you? The ones in the eggshells? Here they are! The basil in the middle flat are the ones from the photo, but all of these were seeded in eggshells then transplanted once they got their first set of adult leaves. These are recycled salad containers I found in the office recycling and they make pretty perfect medium containers for the tomatoes (left) basil (middle) and cilantro (right) once I punched some holes in the bottom for drainage. The lids they came with are parked underneath to catch any water that might make it all the way down through the soil and out through the holes.

Up close basil babies…

In Honor of Bees

The New York Times reported today that it is now officially legal to keep bees in New York City! Congratulations New York! In honor of this new development I’m posting some amazing little bee accessories I found over at Hen and Hammock. These are for solitary bees (not bee hives, but mason bees and such)… excellent!

Pollinating Bee Log – Bees Nest

This is along the same lines as this mason bee house I posted about a while ago. The little tubes are the perfect homes for these non-aggressive, busy pollinators. Plus this looks like it would be super easy to make on your own.

Garden Bug Box

This house provides homes for ladybirds and solitary bees, two insects that are essential for any garden (Lady birds are the same insect as Lady bugs). That way you can provide breeding areas for aphid eaters and pollinators all in one!

Hedgehog House

While you’re at it, you might as well try to save that dwindling hedgehog population too! They sell this sweet little house and I couldn’t NOT post it. Not that there are any hedgehogs around these here parts.

Garden Update

This one is going to be an up close and personal update because so many changes are happening on a small scale.

beans63The beans are getting their pretty little pink flowers. They’re so delicate and nice…
peas76And the peas! ALL THE PEAS! The ‘rents have been eating some in the week I’ve been gone, but there are still plenty out there.
squash65The yellow summer squash I planted has these funny light blotches on their leaves. I think I even spotted a teeny tiny yellow squash forming!
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The potato flowers that have already bloomed are now turning into funny little fruits… I swear I put potatoes in the ground. What’s going on!?
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Remember that little baby rhubarb I was coaxing into life on the windowsill? Well, here it is! Impressive… I know.

Veggie Trader

I have no idea how I found this site… it’s been a while since I did. The idea is that sometimes you have an excess of edibles that you’ve grown, or are accidentally growing (we’ve all seen apple trees loaded with fruit and no one wants to pick it), well here is a site where you can list all of your excess produce . I love this idea so much! Unfortunately, so far there’s very few people on (or at least no one within a 20 mile radius). You should check it out and join (it’s free) so that we can get more people and more produce on! Thanks Veggie Trader for stepping up to the plate and bringing something cool with you.

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I’ll definitely list some squash on there if it goes as bonanza as I think it will (I have about 10 plants which will wind up being about 10 plants too many, I think) and maybe some potatoes if they’re as bountiful as they look. We’ll see.

It Feels Good to be First

Finally! Some edibles from all that raging greenery along the house! It’s a good day for peas. The snap peas are almost all ready and the shelling peas are getting there too… there are more shelling peas on the vines than there are snap peas… maybe next year I’ll augment the numbers so that I have more of both.

peas85The snap peas in all of their glory.
peas78Hey hey my my! Those are some nice lookin’ peas! They taste so good straight out of the pod. Who needs to cook them?! Seriously…

Garden Update

Well, it’s Wednesday again (there’s nothing like doing something on the same day every week to make you realize how quickly that week goes by!) so here’s a little snapshot of the garden.

garden_45The carrots are still doing their thing, you know… growing, greening, leafing, etc.
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The peas are looking great, but peeking at the little pods makes me feel like I just stepped into a B grade horror film about aliens. When the sun is shining through them you can see all the babies lined up and the little plant veins feeding them… it’s a little like walking in on someone in the delivery room.
garden39The strawberries are still trying to send out a massive number of runners and I keep clipping them back. I don’t want ten million strawberry plants competing for the same amount of sunshine next year.
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The beans are all doing their thing and so are the squash. I need to push that grate off the squash to give them some more breathing room. The beans show no signs of flowering or beaning yet, so I guess we’ll have that to look forward to later.
garden37Those darn potatoes are still going bananza in their box. I can’t believe how tall they are! That’ll be a harvest I can’t wait to photograph.

Garden Update

UPDATA time! Look out! I know I did a mini one on Monday so you’ll just have to suffer patiently, you saint, you!

blueberries62The blubberies are doing quite well. Dad built them a little pen because we caught Willow licking all the bushes. Hopefully this will keep the robins, jays and Willow out long enough for some of them to get ripe enough.
starts61Look at these babies do… something. They’re still way too tiny to let outside very often, hopefully it’ll happen before winter. The basil is on the right and sage is one the left.
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Look at all these bush beans! Mummy got four Indian Runner beans which are climbing up the poles in the midst of all their bushy cousins. There’s tons of squash coming up on the other side of the boxes. Most of them are seeds I saved when I went through my squash baking faze in the winter (note, the squash in the recipe pictures isn’t the one whose seeds now reside in the yard).
potatoes_64Holy POTATO! Check these out! They’re up to my waist now in all of their potato glory.
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The yukon potatoes have their first flower! And surprise surprise, it’s a much lighter color than the blue potato flowers I took pictures of on Monday.carrots_70Those is some carrots. They sure are purty. I’m still not convinced that they’ll be worth it, but since they’re already here I’m going to let them do their thing and see what happens.
parsnips_68The parsnips are getting bigger! They even have some real leaves.
peas_67Look how big and happy those peas are! They’re making lots of pods but we’ll have to wait a little longer before they’ve filled out properly.
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We have more tomatoes stashed in the garden (two beefsteaks, one cherry and something else) besides the two plants on the deck.
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This bush is producing ‘maters like mad! They’re getting bigger and bigger every day! Dad was suggesting some fried green tomatoes, we’ll see if that happens. I’ve never tried so it’ll be a fun experiment, no?