The Potager

The Potager

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gardening has begun - sort of

This last Saturday in February blew in with high winds and an occasional snow squall. But it didn't daunt my spirits! Today was a planting day for me.
Tucked away safely in my cabinet over the kick space heater is a tray of seeds promising spring goodies to be planted out when the weather is warmer. I planted three Rosa Bianco eggplants , 3 red russian kale, 3 escarole, 3 broccoli and six lettuces (2 each of buttercrunch, oakleaf and simpson elite). With the exception of the eggplant and the broccoli, all of these can be directly sown outside next month. I'm curious to see if these give me a quicker harvest or if the ones sown outside when they should be will just catch up and all be ready to harvest at the same time.
I've planted tomatoes out in May and then planted some out in June and they all start producing at the same time. Sometimes it is just when nature says it is time.

After learning last week that I should have planted my shallots in the spring, I found a little green shallot plant showing in the garden today. I didn't move the mulch to see if any more were growing. It was cold and I didn't want to damage any of them if they were. I'll see soon enough.
I love the way things just grow when nature tells them to.

That's what I'm hoping for the cilantro seeds I sowed today. I didn't get to put them in last fall, so I sowed them today. The hope is that they will come up when nature determines it is time for them.

I was so amazed at how workable the soil was, considering it's still February. I was just wondering if I should try to plant something else when a little snow squall blew in. I will wait patiently. Only three more weeks until Saint Patrick's Day - the official pea planting day!

And as an update, in case you were wondering,  those poor onion seedlings I face planted into last week came up fine.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day

Very happy for me! I am fortunate to have President's day off. I headed to a garden shop and picked up some goodies to plant in my garden come spring, along with some seed starting trays. I walked outside in my sweatshirt all day and was fine. I wish I knew that this mild weather we have had all winter would last. I could plant things now and get a head start! The weather teases me, saying come into the garden, but I resist because I know if I do it will probably hit us with a major snow storm.
But while I cannot plant things in the garden yet, there are things already planted that are reappearing or remaining, much to my delight!
This is actually the time of year this plant should be flowering. I was worried that since it bloomed all winter it would stop early, but look at all those buds! I love this plant.
My rosemary looks like it may survive the winter! I am really excited by this. I have never had rosemary make it to Thanksgiving before. The summer savory next to it is also doing well. I have never grown this before so I don't know whether is dies back or not.  And the thyme behind the savory is still green. That usually  gives up around New Year's Day. I have enjoyed using the fresh herbs all winter.
The chives and the garlic chives are coming up.
The garlic is growing well. The shallots are not. I just read this weekend that in the North shallots are planted in the spring for fall harvest. They are only planted in the fall in the south. Oops. But maybe with the mild winter, they will come up. They may have been fooled into thinking they were down south!  I'll wait before I replace them.

Inside I have started seedlings. This sad looking tray of onion seedlings have now been renamed as the onions that saved my face.
I tripped over the open door of the dishwasher while carrying them. I managed to keep the tray upright and get it safely to the floor on the way down before realizing to my horror that my face was still on a collision course with the tile floor. I quickly bent my face down into the soft dirt in the seedling tray and came up with a face full of dirt and a small cut on my nose. I can't imagine what damage the tile floor would have done! My full face plant bent the tray and squished and moved many of the onions. They seem to be recovering, but if they die, I'll have to say they did so for a good cause!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February Tasks

February tasks for the garden include doing all the January tasks I didn't do. :/
And planting begins inside this month! I've decided to follow Kathy's Gardening time table found here Skippy's Vegetable Garden , which means my onion seeds should go into a growing mix by next Monday. Which means I need to get to a garden center to get supplies Saturday morning. Ahh, garden centers, I've missed you!
My first seed packages came in the mail yesterday. It is like Christmas all over again!
From Pinetree Seeds I got two types of cucumbers: General Lee for eating fresh and Homemade Pickles to make ... homemade pickles! I bought beets again, hoping that this is the year they do well for me. I left the Detroit beets I had been trying and gave Early Wonder a try. I'm dreaming of a roasted beet salad with goat cheese. I also bought a package of leek seeds, American Flag which is also called Giant Mussleman. I have never grown leeks, but I love to cook with them. I bought another pack of my beloved 8 Ball Zucchini - this variety keeps producing and is just the right size for the two of us.  I also bought atomic red carrots. I can buy organic carrots at the grocery store very cheaply so I have decided not to grow normal carrots. But I love the idea of red or purple carrots from my garden to mix with the orange store bought. And I bought another package of freckles lettuce, because I loved the freckles lettuce I had last year. I still have some seeds left, but I wanted to make sure I did not run out of freckles lettuce this year!
January was unusually warm this year and I have been harvesting thyme, parsley, cilantro, summer savory and rosemary right up until last night. If I had known it would be so mild, I would have planted some cold weather vegetables!
Last night winter decided to come back and gave us a fairy land dusting of glittery snow that clung to every branch in my yard.
It is so pretty to look at and the roads are clear. My favorite kind of snow! I'm hoping that all the plants that started coming up thinking it was spring will survive the rest of winter and reappear when the weather warms up.
My lenten rose, still blooming, covered in snow. I think I will buy some more helleborus. It is such a pleasure to see something in bloom while all else looks dead and bare.

"The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size."
-  Gertrude S. Wister