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Mystery Prunus

This tree (and its little offspring growing near it) is growing in the tree line the runs along the middle of our property.  It’s now fully in bloom and smells amazing.  Susan saw it in either the fall or winter when there were no flowers (or fruit) but said it was something in the prunus family, such as a cherry or plum.  Of course, it will turn out to be plum since we just planted a bunch of plum and are hoping for cherry.  It doesn’t look like any wild plums I’ve ever seen but I’m only familiar with the ones that grew in thickets where we lived in Oklahoma.  Whatever it is, is smells good!


TPS update

All of the TPS (true potato seeds) have now sprouted and are living their days outside, soaking up the  sun, and spending the chillier nights indoors.  I’m still so excited about these things!  Really, you have no idea how many photos I take of these little seedlings, just to ooh and ahh over them.  I know, I know.  Just be happy I don’t post them every day.

Just smile and nod politely.

But aren’t they cute??

“Yes, dear.”

Spring Porn

I got to play a bit more with the still new-to-me camera while the girls did what girly girls do.

While such gentle appreciation of nature was going on over here, the three younger boys were practicing their kill shots on the other side of the yard.

Another Day in the Life

FYI:  I was posting this yesterday when a storm blew through and I lost internet.  Pretend it’s yesterday!

We took a bit of lazy day today.  It had rained overnight and we didn’t feel much like crawling around on the still-goopy ground.  We took advantage of the lingering moisture to have a safe fire day, burning the cedars we had cut down a few weeks ago to make room for fruit trees.  (I hate cedars and all of their look-alike relatives!!)

Yesterday, however, I managed to get the carrots, lettuce, and spinach sown.  We have about six of those new raised beds in the main garden completely full now.  You can almost see the onion transplants and mini-blind slat labels sticking up out of the dirt below.  I can’t wait to see some green growth!

The wintersown plants are enjoying being in the open after having their lids cut off earlier in the week.

A few of the wintersown Alpine strawberries were planted out today in the front yard wheel beds.  I’m going to make it a nibbly sort of place for the kids.  When they’re out playing, they’ll have green onions, berries, cherry tomatoes, and that sort of thing to munch on without having to go into the main garden.

The poor front walk is a mess and will continue to be until everything is planted out.  The flats pictured here are all tomatoes, except for the last couple flats which are herbs and true potato seedlings.

Busy, busy, busy!

I’d better keep up with blogging every day right now if I plan on being able to use this as a garden reference journal.  I’m so behind!

The garden fence is going up finally.  After seeing the complete crap that passes for chicken wire nowadays, we decided to spend a little extra and use woven wire around the garden.  It’s 2″ x 4″ so it’ll work to keep the chickens out.  The one remaining roll of good chicken wire we brought with us from Oklahoma will go around the chicken run.

Last weekend, the kids and I trotted down to Susan & Bob’s again to drop off some onions and they sent us home with lemon balm, peppermint, and several ornamental starts so we got those planted.

Oh, also got several more wheel beds placed and filled with dirt but in the front yard this time.

The wintersowing jugs have all had their tops cut off now and the majority have sprouted.

The tomatoes, herbs, and various other seedlings are all now living out on the front sidewalk, night & day.  There are a few dozen flats full so it’s a relief not to have to carry them up and down the basement stairs each morning and evening.  The true potato seedlings still go in at night but those only amount to a couple of flats at this point.  The peppers are still living down in the basement, under lights, for now.

A variegated sage jumped into my cart at the store this week so I planted it into one of the backyard wheel beds.  It will be joined by the wintersown sage in the next few days.

A wonderful neighbor of ours stopped by this morning with wonderful gifts.  He’s a gardening nut like me and brought me plants:  a lettuce-leaf basil and White Princess tomato seedling.  Yay for great neighbors!

1600-ish onion plants planted out in the garden yesterday.  (I was able to force Susan to take a couple hundred so I didn’t have to plant the full 1800.  She’s taking more next year!)

60-ish broccoli, 20-ish Brussel sprouts, 12-ish cauliflower, and 12-ish kohlrabi seedlings were planted out in the garden today.  I was apparently sleeping the day I started those seeds as I have no variety names on their labels.  Doh.

Sugar Snap peas, having soaked for a day or two in the house, were nicely sprouted today so I planted them out this morning, double rows along both sides the tunnel trellis.

Bzzz, bzzz!

Delivery of the actual bees has been delayed until April 29th due to weather but there has been progress in the hive-building department.

Doesn’t everyone build bee hives in roller blades?

Our own little child-fueled sweat shop in the basement.

More garden progress today:  Tunnel trellis is completed.  Many of the brassicas have sprouted and spent the day outside, soaking up the not-quite-sun.  Three million more peppers and tomatoes germinated and are now potted.  Black sesame and garlic chives, wintersown February 6, popped up over the past couple of days.    Finally finished up the last bit of fruit tree pruning & caging.  (Still need to deer-proof cage the pecan trees on the other side of the property.

Another installment of “As The Garden Turns”

Before I forget:

Seeds of Change is doing an incredible thing: The Sowing Millions Project!  You get an obscene amount of seeds (25 packets) for only the cost of shipping ($4,99) plus they donate matching amounts to the American Horticultural Society.  If you belong to an organization (say, a community garden or something), you can get an even obscener amount of seeds (100 packets) for $14.99 shipping.  Very cool stuff.  Big thanks to Dawn at GardenWeb for the heads up!

Steve & Cody have been working to get the first tunnel trellis done.  They’re very close now and might have already finished had they not run out of baling wire.  (Don’t they take away their Manly Men membership cards for doing things like running out of duct tape and baling wire??)

In other news:  I’m up to my eyeballs in sprouting seeds, spending hours in the basement each day, plopping them into dirt-filled cups.  I’m gonna need more lights — or hope for the cold spells to stay far, far away so I can carry them all outdoors every morning for some real sun (and back indoors every evening so they don’t freezer their buns off).  Man, I miss my greenhouse.  *sob*

And the master bathroom is currently overrun with other started seeds.  (They don’t call it a “garden tub” for nothing!)  Once sprouted, they’ll move down to the basement as well.  Or outside.  Or both.  Or maybe Josie and the cats will conspire against me in order to make one, very large and messy mud pie out of them all one day when I’m not looking.  At least the worms would enjoy it.  Yep, that’s the vermicompost set-up under there.  Our bathrooms multi-task, people.


Seed Starting 2011

I already listed the tomato and pepper seeds I started on the 25th.  Over the past two days, I’ve started the “other stuff”, the things that don’t get direct seeded into the ground.  Some are duplicates to seeds wintersown back in February.  Nothing wrong with having back-ups & plain ol’ extras.  Most are thickly sown so, if I say x 2, that means I have sown two 4″ pots of that particular thing but each of those pots might have 10-50 seeds.  As things germinate and grow out, I break the clumps apart and get several transplants from it.

  • American Beautyberry x 3
  • Asparagus, Mary Washington
  • Asparagus, UC157
  • Basil, Napolitano Bolloso
  • Basil, Sweet x 2
  • Broccoli (mixed varieties) x 54
  • Brown Mustard Seed x 2
  • Brussel Sprouts, Long Island Improved x 14
  • Cabbage, Golden Acre x 14
  • Cauliflower, Violet Sicilian x 7
  • Chamomile, German
  • Chives x 2
  • Cilantro x 3
  • Dill, Bouquet
  • Dill, Mammoth
  • Goji Berry x 6
  • Ground Cherry, Aunt Molly’s x 2
  • Kohlrabi, Early White Vienna x 7
  • Leek, Bleu of Solaise x 2
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Grass
  • Oregano vulgare x 2
  • Rhubarb, Glaskins x 2
  • Sage
  • Scallion, white x 2
  • Sesame, Black x 2
  • Strawberry, Alpine (unnamed variety)
  • Tomatillo, Toma Verde x 6
  • Wonderberry (Sunberry) x 2

True Potato Seeds

  • 9 Dings x 3
  • Gold Thumbs x 3
  • La Pan x 3
  • Land Races x 3
  • Pokhipsie x 3
  • Suytu Vilquina x 3
  • Tollocan Fiesta x 3
  • Yungay x 3

Next up:  Pre-sprouting the peas and sticking ‘em in the ground.  Steve & Cody will finish up their trellis tomorrow morning so I’ll probably begin soaking the peas then, after taking a final look at the forecasted temps.  And getting the gazillions of onions planted.  Help.

It’s a hard life.

While I was trying to make progress in the seed-starting department, Isaac distracted Josie.  He fashioned a magical nap-summoning hammock from a sheet.  It works really, really well.

Usually, i start my seeds in pots with starting mix but, this year, I’ve changed it up.  I’m pre-sprouting all of the tomatoes and peppers in coffee filters, then will transfer to pots.  I’m hoping to waste less starting mix & space.

Started today:


  • Arkansas Traveler
  • Aunt Ruby’s German Green
  • Azoychka
  • Baby Beefsteak
  • Beefmaster
  • Black & Red Boar
  • Black Brandywine
  • Black Cherry
  • Black from Tula
  • Black Krim
  • Bloody Butcher
  • Brandy Boy
  • Brandywine
  • Burning Spear
  • Carbon
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Chiapas Wild cherry
  • Cuostralee
  • Dana’s Dusky Rose
  • Dix Doights de Naples
  • Dora
  • Eslter’s Mortgage Lifter
  • Eva Purple Ball
  • Fish Lake Oxheart
  • Gary’O Sena
  • German
  • German Johnson
  • Giant Belgium
  • Goji Faranji
  • Hungarian Italian Paste
  • Italian Tree
  • JD’s Special C-Tex
  • Japanese Trifele Black
  • Jet Star
  • Juane Flammee
  • Kellogg’s Breakfast
  • Large Red Cherry
  • Livingston’s Paragon
  • Ludmilla’s Red Plum
  • Marglobe
  • Marianna’s Peace
  • Matt’s Wild cherry
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Neves Azorean Red
  • New Yorker
  • OSU Blue
  • Pink Brandymaster
  • Pink Floyd (mix)
  • Pruden’s Purple
  • Prue
  • Rose
  • Royal Hillbilly
  • Rutger’s Select
  • San Marzano Redorta
  • Sara’s Galapagos
  • Sun Cherry
  • Sungold
  • Super Boy 785
  • Sweet Treats
  • Tommy Toes Red
  • Wisconsin 55
  • Woodle Orange
  • WOW cherry

Chile Peppers

  • Anaheim, Joe E Parker NuMex
  • Cascabella
  • Cayenne
  • Cayenne x Jalapeno
  • Ixtapa Jalapeno
  • Mulato
  • NuMex Conquistador
  • NuMex Heritage 6-4
  • NuMex Heritage Big Jim
  • NuMex Jalmundo
  • NuMex Pinata
  • NuMex Primavera
  • NuMex Suave Orange
  • NuMex Suave Red
  • NuMex Sunrise, Sunset, & Eclipse mix
  • NuMex Vaquero
  • Poblano

Sweet Peppers

  • Alma Paprika
  • Banana Supreme
  • California Wonder
  • Cubanelle
  • Giant Marconi
  • Golden Bell
  • Grand Bell mix
  • Jimmy Nardello
  • Kaleidoscope mix
  • Orange Bell
  • Pepperoncini
  • Purple Beauty
  • Red Beauty
  • Roumaninan Rainbow
  • Sweet Banana
  • Valencia Orange
  • Yellow Bell


Well, in 1814, we took a little trip…

That song has been stuck in my head all day.  Why?  Mr. UPS Man delivered my onion order this morning.  1814 of them. Geez.  I ordered 15 bunches, which should have been 900 onions, but Dixondale Onions is an amazing & generous company.  This is my second year ordering from them and I’ll never buy anywhere else.  The quality itself is reason enough — far above anything you can buy elsewhere.  But their customer service is what sold me for life.

I have to plant 1800 onions (and peas, broccoli, etc) this week?  And the garden still isn’t ready because the ground is never dry enough to till?  My knight on a shining rusty skidsteer to the rescue!

He manage to whip out 10 raised rows, 50′ long each, before he headed off to work.  Then Cody and I spent a few hours with rakes, leveling off the humps.  (Thanks to Isaac for pulling babysitting duty yet again!)  Voila!  “Instant” (partial) garden!

Much more garden prep left to do but at least these rows are done & ready for now.  Of course, now the forecast is calling for a several-day cold spell so I still have to wait to safely plant the onions.  Stupid Mother Nature.

*1814 song referenced above:




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