Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Catch Up- What Happened To Spring?

Sorry an update has been way past due. I feel like this spring is just flying past me and I'm way behind. Perhaps I'm not, it may just be a perception. Anyhow, here is what has been happening here in the garden.

Spring is officially here, in fact this even feels a bit like summer- the ground is thawed, trees are budding, grass is green, and the garden has been tilled.

Inside, the green house is home to many snapdragons and viloas/pansies growing at various rates- some just tiny seedlings, some full blown plants. They all just grow at different rates it seems.

Under the grow light, I have started tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, and broccoli. I started these all a few weeks ago, but some of the tomatoes became very leggy, so I pulled them and planted a fresh batch of seeds last week. So, some of the cells are baren right now, waiting for germination to occur. Other than that, everything is growing nicely.

Outside, carrots and lettuce have been planted. When I tilled up the beds, I removed 4 giant parsnips- their crowns measuring 4-5 inches in diameter. Wow! They seem to have kept alright in the cooler weather underground.

Finally, a nice little suprise has sprung up in the landscaping rocks around the deck- it appears as though the pansies I had growing in pots toward the end of their life cycles last summer went to seed and spread their seed throughout the landscaping rock. Now we've got several cute little pansies blooming right up through the rocks. I haven't decided if I should pull them (as they're not where they're supposed to be) or leave them grow. They're very cute!

Monday, February 8, 2010

2010's First Plantings

The first seeds of 2010 have been sewn in my Minnesota garden (well, in my basement greenhouse in seed cells).

This year I am going to be using both the greenhouse and the grow light for various plants, as I learned last year that some of my flower varieties thrived much more in the greenhouse than under the grow light.

Thge first seeds that I have planted in the greenhouse include:

6 rows of Snapdragons (to make up for last year's painful drought)
2 rows of Cornuta mixed color Violas
1 row of Amber Kiss Violas
1 row of Swiss Giant Mix Pansies

I plan to use the snaps to brighten up the raised bed garden and maybe add a few in pots on the back deck. The violas and pansies will mostly be used in decorative flower pots on the front porch.

More to come as we anxiously await the arrival of the first signs of spring! Cheers!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Planning the 2010 Season

Now that February is upon us, it is time that we Minnesota gardeners start to dream of things to come, and though it may be hard to imagine, garding is just a few months from now. It is hard to believe that one would really consider starting his or her garden when looking out the window to 10 degree temperatures, over a foot of snow and ice, and more snow falling as the day goes on. But, as I said last year, gardening is all about planning. And planning, this time of year, is a must for any gardener. Whether it is reviewing last year's successes and failures, browsing the seed catalogs that bring back that longing for hot summer sun, or planning how many plants per square foot one's garden can sustain, many of us at least have our 2010 gardens in the backs of our minds.

Looking back on last year, I started my first seeds on February 8th, just 1 week from today. As I recall, those violas could have been started a little earlier as they did not thrive under the grow light as I would have liked. So, I plan to get these started soon and set them up in the greenhouse which I used 2 years ago, as they and the snapdragons really thrived in the greenhouse.

We're a long way from starting tomatoes, yet I believe I have my 2010 varieities picked out. Big Beef, Brandywine, Lemon Boy, Cherokee Purple, Earl's Faux, and Roma were my staples from last year. This year, the only new addition I plan to grow is the freebee sample I got from Tomato Grower's Supply with my 2009 order- Giant Belgium. That makes space for 6 plants in the garden and 1 in a barrel.

Along with that, I plan to grow the usuals, green beans/haricot verts, eggplant, peppers (hopefully this year I will get to keep a serrano for myself!), carrots, cukes, and a variety of flowers. I do need to buy different cucumbers this year, however, if I plan to make pickles, as the cukes I have grown in the past are intended for fresh eating rather than for canning, thus they are not ideal.

Well, off to gather some supplies- seedling trays, seed starting mix, and set up the greenhouse in anticipation of a wonderful 2010 garden! Cheers!