Monday, February 6, 2012

The Groundhog Said. .

6 more weeks of winter. .
I'm thinking. .
6 more weeks of THIS winter, such as it has been. .
won't be that bad!!
Here's a little gardening post to get us all excited about spring!
My little cherry tomatos made it!! I picked 2 yesterday (you can see several ripening behind the red one). I ate the first one. .and it took all the power I had in me to share the second little morsel with the love of my life.  I think I have mentioned before that I am not generally a fan of plain, raw tomato. But I wanted to sample this one because it is a different variety.  W-O-W!!! This was BY FAR. .the best, sweetest tomato that I have EVER tasted. .EVER! So, I am guessing that this is the variety "Sweet baby" tomato. I was glad to see an abundance of tomatos on this plant. .and two other plants with similar tomato clusters. I may not share any of the rest!
It won't be long now, until we get to sample this variety too. .it's not a huge tomato. .but one that could be sliced and shared. .or made into a great BLT. 
So far, these tomatoes that are good for our summer garden here in Kansas. .already have more tomatoes on them than the determinate varieties I have grown the last 2 years. I went the determinate route early on because those varieties were better suited to a cooler, shorter day climate. .one I thought would be something to think about in a winter greenhouse situation. I think I will get rid of those leftover seeds. .and just go this route from now on!! It seems to be working well!
Here's a look at the south side of my greenhouse. The empty pots once held the tomato plants that succumbed to the very cold nighttime temp we had in the greenhouse last fall. .before we had thought to turn on the outdoor wood-stove that heats both our house and the greenhouse. The chard is doing well. Difficult to see are the chives sitting in the midsection of one of the pots, a couple of small pepper plants, the tub of parsley sprouts, and a volunteer petunia. .now planted with some tiny purple basil sprouts. Also, are all the little trees I got from the Arbor day foundation. .3 of which have started leafing out. Then maybe I can tell what they are. .another long story!
The lettuce that Grant and I planted will be ready for harvest soon. The right side is a mild mesclun mix. .and the left pot has a lettuce mix. I think I will try planting some into the garden next month too. .I have never tried lettuce outside.
I LOVE chives. .and my outdoor clump just doesn't seem to grow very big or fast. I bought some seeds called Purly. .a stouter, slightly shorter variety. .that isn't supposed to flop over. I have been excited to see several of my pots germinate. .this one with several starts that I can transplant into their own pots. The pots directly behind the chive sprouts are the Italian flat leafed parsley that we transplanted a couple weeks ago.
And several cells of cabbage behind that. I need to go ahead and plant the cabbage, either into a cold frame in the garden. .or into bigger pots in the greenhouse. I may do both. .my experiment actually was. .to find out if the cabbage could be grown in a pot in the greenhouse in the winter. .I'm just a little slow getting on things!
I've not had great luck with peppers in the greenhouse so far. .but this looks like a good start to me. .if it will go ahead and get bigger. This winter, I ordered some seeds that are suited to greenhouse conditions that I will start next summer to have in for next winter. Trial and error. .it's the name of this game!
And the sweet potato vine seems to be doing well. I think I will take some more cuttings off of this plant, so that I will have several to plant in the spring. I have a couple pots of the lime green variety too, but they aren't as pretty as the red.
I enjoyed some time in the greenhouse Sunday while Cami napped. .and got several things done. I decided to go ahead and sow some seeds. The almanac said it was a good day. .and I wanted to get an early start this year. .so my plants are big by the time they can be planted. I found a mix of petunias called "blueberry lime" and they were pelleted. .meaning, they had a shell put around each seed, so they could easily be seen and planted. Petunia seeds are smaller than a poppy seed that you might have in your kitchen spice rack. I ordered 50 seeds. .figuring that even if only 8 of them germinated, I'd still be ahead cost-wise. Petunias actually aren't that hard to start yourself. .indoors!! I also ordered some "fusion" coleus seeds. .10 of those came pelleted. I have not been able to successfully start these in the past. .but then I used a seed packet from Walmart and the seeds weren't pelleted. I also recall that I probably covered them up a tiny bit. .and this packet said to leave them on top of the soil. .they need light to germinate. Here's hoping to some plants!!
You can see my two little greenhouse flats flanking the old cookie sheet with tiny basil starts. The other greenhouse flat was planted with 9 cells each of 5 different types of tomatos. The same ones I started last year. Looks like I will have enough seed to go back into my freezer to get some plants for summer 2013 before needing to order more seed. If I'm smart enough this summer, maybe I can harvest my own seeds. The varieties were 2 cherry tomatos. .one black, one regular; Brandywine. .an heirloom tomato. .a slicing tomato. .and a huge paste tomato. .great for salsa. I used the rest of the flat for peppers. .green to orange, green to red (at maturity), a large jalapeno, and some assorted bell pepper mix that I had.
While in my greenhouse, I fixed a couple more jugs of seeds in the hopes that as conditions of spring arrive, they may sprout their little selves in my jugs! I know others have had good luck. .but I've gotta admit. .I'm skeptical!! I have been dragging my greenhouse hose around the side to squirt in some water periodically. I've got several different flower varieties out there now. .including several varieties of agastache, denver daisies, cherry brandy rudbeckia, columbine, red oriental poppy, moonflower, some morning glory, Love lies bleeding and kiss me over the garden gate. .two that I haven't had good luck with before. .but also not realizing that their seed needs to be chilled, or stratified. Some of the seeds I have saved to start the way I know how. .in flats under lights!! With any good luck. .I'll have an abundance of little plants!
I was pretty excited to see my garlic bed. .a blogging buddy of mine sent me some cloves off her plants last fall. I noticed them about 6 weeks ago. .and it seemed like the cloves were heaving themselves out of the ground. I quickly realized. .but not until I had used my finger to shove some of them back down into the hole. .that what I thought was the clove. .was just the skin from the clove. .and the sprouts were emerging underneath. There were sprouts here and there. .but yesterday I noted that nearly all of the cloves have sprouted. I can hardly wait to see how this works. .growing garlic is another first around here! And a good thing for my herbalistic hubby. .who actually eats cloves of garlic for the health benefits. .until I ask him to go on vacation from them for a while when he gets a little too potent!
Here is my little heavenly bamboo (nandina) bush looking the best it has since I bought it about 5 years ago. I finally moved both bushes in May, from the north side of the house, to the edge of the driveway in a warmer, sunnier spot near the rock wall. They thrived through the drought and heat. .and with the little display of red leaves in still going on in February. .I can hardly wait until it has about 6 feet of growth on it. .It will be a great winter interest plant! Plants are just like people, in that, their lives are sustained given food and water and they exist. .but they don't thrive until their conditions are right!!
The larkspur are coming up all over this little bed. .and they have spread beyond into the other beds. .I may let a few of those stay. .and they will all stay in this bed for sure. They are such cheerful flowers. .and I sure like the pop of green growth this time of year!! Right behind the frilly larkspur, are the long leaves of a penstemon plant that my friend Pat shared with me. We don't know the name. .but it was a delightful pink color. .it was the only plant taken from her that actually bloomed despite the heat!! I notice that several starts off her daylilies are still alive. .so hoping for some cooler weather and good growth and blooms from them this summer!
And, last but not least, daffodil shoots coming up. I found some hyacinth shoots, and grape hyacinth shoots. .and even a small stand of tulips. With the 200 bulbs I planted last fall. .I am sure they are just a few of what is to come!! It's a great start anyway!!
To grow a garden shows your belief in tomorrow!!
We never know how many tomorrows we have left. .and if I only have a few. .someone will enjoy my garden in my memory. .even if it isn't me!!
Enjoy a blessed week full of God's great creations!! We're on the downhill slope until spring!!


  1. I think it looks like spring has already sprung for you. How nice to see all the goodies growing in your greenhouse. I'm "green" with envy--haha! Yes--I am. My gosh, Melanie, do you realize I still have 2 full months before I can even start seedlings???????????
    Lucky girl! Well, at least you share photos, and I sure do appreciate that!
    Have a great week!
    And could you bottle up some of the warm, earthy smell from the greenhouse and ship it up here???

  2. The tomatoes look good!!! You are really doing so many great things in the green house. I'm surprised you've never grown lettuce outside. I wish I could grow some inside. I keep thinking maybe on one of the window sills but haven't tried yet.
    The purple heart sweet potato vine is really pretty.
    You have so many flowers started or planned. Your place is going to be really blooming. I've never tried pelleted seeds. It makes sense.
    Yea on the garlic!!!!!
    This mild winter has a lot of things sprouting or green. Here I have a lot of love in the mist greening up the beds and some larkspur too!

  3. I need to get some more bulbs to plant around. My Poppies are looking wonderful! I've started making my list. I think I may have to tone things down a bit though. I think I'm planting twice as many beets this year! They were a lot of fun to grow. Also, Tristen is really interested in growing peanuts. Any idea how they would do here?

  4. Your green thumb is paying off already! Those tomatoes look great. I like your red bamboo, too....very pretty. I bet you are just itching like crazy to get into your garden and start planting!

  5. I am totally jealous about your success with tomatoes over this winter! Despite putting out a ludicrous number of tomato plants last summer, we basically got no tomatoes at all, due to the heat. (No news to you, I know!) I am just hoping against hope that this summer is better.

    You're reminding me that it's time to start lettuce seeds inside. We've had good luck in the last couple years by transplanting lettuce seedlings out into the garden around late March or so - by setting out transplants, they get big enough for us to actually harvest lettuce before the heat really sets in, turning the lettuce bitter. It's the only way I've been successful with lettuce, ever.

  6. Enjoyed seeing all your growing things. The tomato sounded yummy. I hate the blechy ones from the store. That was also funny about the garlic. I like garlic, but I don't think I could just eat a clove of it. "Potent" indeed!