Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Seedlings Continued

I'm happy to report that all of my tomatoes are growing except for 2.  I'm sure the 2 will pop up any day now and then I'll have my 216 tomatoes!  That would be 39 varieties of tomatoes that I am growing this year.  I'm really excited about the mix of cherry and small pear tomatoes.  I have just about every size and shape of small tomatoes.  I wanted a large variety to make a great salad.  I also have lots of plum tomatoes for jarring and lots of varieties of big slicers!  

My strawberries are also doing really well growing from seed.  They are about 3 inches long right now and really taking off.  I've started to adjust them to the outside air by taking them outside each day.

My peppers are still on their way and slow to start.  I need to find a way to make them a little warmer as it is the temperature that is causing them not to germinate.   They are on top of heating pads but they still need a little more warmth.  Next year I'll have to have a separate system for the really warmer germinating seeds.  I'm thinking that this year I'll just have to wait till it starts getting warmer outside and the air temperature in the basement warms up.  Then they'll all start to germinate.

Mike was trying out the tiller today so I'm hoping after I get back from my work trip that he'll have some of the garden ready for me to start the peas and other colder session veges.  I also hope he keeps my seedlings alive while I'm gone as well.  I'll be away from my seedlings for 5 days so I figure they'll be ok even if he forgets to turn on the grow lights for 1-2 days.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I should add that CSA farms do go over 40 families, many are much much larger than that.  Hundreds of shares.  Locally here in Baltimore I have not found many large CSA farms.  And our garden at 1/4 to 1/2 acre will feed many more than 5 families.  We will be donating excess food and also selling excess produce at times at the local farmer's market.  In addition we are planning on experimenting with different methods of preservation, drying, canning and freezing. is a large CSA farm in Illinois.  It is just one of many that are very large.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I never knew that you would continue to learn more and more and then eventually drop dead.  I guess I had this idea that at some point you'd think- that's enough- I've learned all I need to know and so I am done learning.  I now realize that you do hit that point- when you are dead.

I am thinking this because just trying to grow a simple backyard garden is not so easy and requires you to read books, test out ideas and get input from all those who have done it before.  I also happen to be taking my "little garden" on a supersize adventure.  We started with four 4x8 garden boxes and then shared a 2,000 sq ft garden area with friends and then this year we are going for about a 1/2 acre "garden".  This year is the test year to see if we can manage the growing cycles and see if we will have enough food to "pretend feed" 5 families in a pretend CSA.   If this works then we'll know how much work, seeds, land, etc to feed increments of 5 families at a time.  Most CSA's don't go higher than 40 shares so I'm guessing that this is the point where you can do the work yourself and any higher than that requires you to hire a helper.

So here's to livelong learning!  And to all those potato bugs that drove me crazy last year as we diligently picked you off the leaves only to find your children and grandchildren the next week--- you will not survive on my plants this year-- I have learned all the ways to keep you away, limit your growth and if all else fails vacuum you away.   Of course, this year I'll be learning about deer and groundhogs..........

amazon test

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening 
Testing this out.  Is it clickable?

Seed Starting

My seeds are germinating!  Right now I have 14 or so flats of various sizes in the basement germinating under grow lights.  Unfortunately I only had room for 1 3-tiered shelving unit so I am alternating my plants so that for some it is day and some it is night.  I never knew that plants need some down time but evidently they do.
I'll have to insert some pictures.  I have 3 flats of tomatoes and those are doing great.  The peppers did not germinate so I'm trying again.  Maybe they were too moist or maybe they needed more time in the light or I planted them too deep.  Not sure but trying again.  
I have 6 artichokes that are growing really fast and I have lavender started for Grama Mary.  I'm hoping it gets warmer because pretty soon they are going to be too big for the planters they are in and I will need to get them outside.

I also planted 2 outside raised beds yesterday.  Spinach, carrots, mini purplette onions, lettuce, radishes and 4 strawberry plants.  All of these grow well together so I alternated rows of everything as they each help each other grow and help keep bugs away.  I recommend the book Tomatoes Love Carrots for learning about planting partners.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New tractor

The brand spanking new tractor arrived today. The BCS 853, Italian made, walk-behind tractor was delivered this afternoon. I spent an hour or so putting it together. It wasnt hard, it was already almost finished when it arrived. Uncrating took a few minutes and then the fun began. The dirt knows no fury like a guy with a new toy.

Of course, Im much cooler than the chick in the photo. I wear capri pants when I garden.