The Potager

The Potager

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Snow Sowing

It is 60 degrees today! Last week we had snow. Next week we are supposed to have very cold weather (this is the year of the Polar Vortex) but today it is so warm! It makes me want to get out in the garden.
Yesterday I read an article about snow sowing in the Hudson Valley Seed Library Newsletter. You can read the article here. Perfect timing! I found a spot in the potager where the ground was bare.
Not the best soil by any means! Look at the moss growing there!
The soil in hard frozen one inch down. I removed the moss and weeds growing there (weeds? really?)
And added compost on top since the ground was really mucky. I took the compost from the bottom of the bin I was using last year. It was covered in pine needles and not frozen at all. And look what I found!
Yes, it's the compostable cup my daughter bought back from Canada two years ago. Still not composted.Ha!
The snow sowing directions said to broadcast about 20% more to make up for snow drift.
I may have done 50% more. I planted cilantro and arugula.
I covered them up and tried to mark the rows, but when the ground is frozen one inch below, nothing can pierce it. My markers kept falling over. So I covered them with straw.
That was not in the instructions, so if this fails, I'll blame it on my not being able to follow directions!
My daughter's cat T-Rex took the place of my beloved Binx as my garden companion. But he eventually found the smells in the (very messy) garden shed to be more enticing!
By the way, I have a kitten. She is 6 months old and doesn't sit still for photos, but she looks like a little Binx. She needs to grow into her ears - they are huge right now! She looks like a little bat! She's already the alpha cat in the house - my daughter's male cats let her push them around.
Unlike Binx, little Molly is fearless and overly friendly to everyone - not good qualities for an outside cat. So she may not be my next garden cat. She is smart, though, so she may do alright outside. I'll see how she does this summer in small supervised doses. Indoor or outdoor, she's a little bundle of joy.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Onion Seeds planted

It is snowing -- again. We have had so much snow this winter.
Perfect day to plant some onions!
My onion sets and onion starts last year did not produce very nice onions. It could be that with the wedding and surgery, I neglected the garden a bit. Or it could have been the sets and starts. How likely is that?
Either way, I am anxious to get my hands in soil, and it is onion planting time! So while the snow whips around outside, inside I washed my seed tray from last year in hot soapy water and gathered my supplies.
I bought two kinds of onion seeds - Sweet Yellow Spanish Utah Jumbo and Red Burgundy.
I planted 36 red and 33 yellow ( I lost one of my original seed starting trays over the winter and used a six pack I had laying around).  I would love to say I then placed them in a sunny window.
They were placed by a window.  If the winter keeps going this way, I may invest in some grow lamps.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


My daughters, daughter-in-law and I had a girls weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia this past weekend. A chance to get away and have some fun.
My girls know me. The second place we hit in Colonial Williamsburg was a garden. (The first was a winery. Like I said, my girls know me!)
Yes, it's February. But a garden is a garden. And mine is covered in snow. Has been for weeks. Will be for a few more according to the weathermen.
This garden was not covered in snow. In fact things were growing! Not a lot, but some things. You can see cloches in the foreground of the photo above. They all had little plants in them, but I forget what they were.
There was broccoli growing beneath this arch tunnel. It looked a bit frost bitten. hopefully they cover the tunnel at night. And I'm not sure what was to the left of it. There were onions or leeks to the right.

I am such a fan of twig structures. This bean trellis had little bean plants growing out of the straw. This is cute, but I think it would be hard to harvest the beans with this structure.
Twig tee-pees - be still my heart. We don't have many long twigs in the pine barrens.
But I do have doors left over from the wedding. I have been wanting to make a cold frame out of them.
This looks so nice. (Of course these are windows, which would be lighter and easier to raise than a full door)
Do you see the tarp over the fence behind the cold frame? When the temperature is going to drop down into the teens, the gardeners pile hay or straw on top of the cold frame and cover it with the tarp. Teens? My cold frame would have been covered for the past six weeks! It's been going single digit around here at night!
I didn't get a shot of the cute wooden wheelbarrow that the gardener used to lug in the manure. The horses in the town provide free fertilizer! This is not a wheel barrow, but so cute. It would be a great way to lug my amazing future harvests from the garden! I can dream, can't I?
Gardening is all about next year dreams, isn't it?
But my favorite thing about this winter garden was this firepit, It was bricks piled up against the wooden fence, with logs stacked up and burning. It gave off so much heat. You may have noticed that all the people in the photos above had their hands in their pockets. It was really cold. This was so pleasant to be near.
Across the narrow walkway from this were stalls where Williamsburg sold goods during the Christmas celebration, so I guess it was to keep them warm. It really warmed all the area around it. And it's just piled up bricks. Ingenious.
Oh hubby......