Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How the Greenhouse Grows and Other Spring Gardening

Hard to really believe that it is Popsicle season again already!!
But this girl ASSURES me. .it is!! We had a beautiful spring weekend here in southwest Kansas!! The fact that we haven't had any freezes in the last 2-3 weeks. .makes me feel like I am so behind in the yard. .even though our last average frost free date is still over 3 weeks away!! It's hard to keep from getting overly excited! I photographed the flowering things a few days ago. .but didn't show the chaos in the greenhouse. .and yesterday, we even got some things planted in the garden.
The sedum growing  in the big rock are looking good. My dad was always my partner in crime when it came to the boulders that I would bring home!! He came with the loader tractor several times to help us load rock. .he would find the big rocks for me. .and we would proceed to load as many large rocks on the trailer as Jeremy would let us. .and I'm sure we were to blame for at least one ruined tire out of the deal!!
Entering the greenhouse. .take a big deep breath in. .can you smell that yummy purple petunia?? It is heaven on earth to me. .that moist, natural soil smell laden with the heavy scent of petunia. YUM! The small pot of chives I potted last fall, has finally really taken off. .those are the tubular spiky leaves to the left. .red and chartreuse colored sweet potato vines are behind the petunia and will be ready to pot outdoors in April. And yes. .you savvy gardeners out there. .that is HENBIT in the foreground, that I neglected to see until now!! The red leaves in the foreground, next to the henbit. .are purple basil plants. I would dearly love to learn to make pesto. .but that project eluded me last summer. .maybe this will be the year!!
I was a little worried about the tomato plants while I was gone. The boys and my super mother in law took good care of them. I had replanted them not long before Dad's accident. .which probably took a role in saving their lives! I won't be surprised to see blooms on them by planting date. I'll probably put them in the ground shortly after April 15, if the weather continues to be so nice. The plants on the right are assorted peppers.
These giant marigolds germinated right before I left. .look how big they got in that little seed flat. Disappointing, was the fact that only 3 plants germinated from the mix. .a walmart seed pack. Behind them are a few little seedlings of a yellow coneflower; echinacea paridoxica. .it is a little different than what most people picture when they see coneflowers in their mind. Some of the same winter sown seeds are also sprouting. .so hopefully I will score some blooms to show later this summer.
The blueberry lime petunias are still growing. .seems like it always takes them so long to grow. .wondering if anyone else has ever tried to start them and what their luck is? They will likely survive now. .may plan to repot them into bigger pots soon. The coleus never did germinate. .those are forever off my growing list!! Three strikes. .and if you don't perform at least once. .you are out around this greenhouse!
Grant and I chose to try cauliflower this year. But not just plain ole boring white cauliflower. .This is "graffiti". .and it will be purple! We also sowed "cheddar" which is yellow. .but not one seed germinated. .in the same soil flat, with the same moisture and temperature as the graffiti. .go figure THAT! The company also sent some experimental seed for broccoli. .which didn't germinate either. We have 6 graffiti sprouts. .so hoping for at least one little purple head!! He'll look great in ranch dip!
I have been very pleased with our winter tomato harvest. Some of the larger ones still tasted much like the winter tomatoes in the store. .they had flavor, but still the mealy kind of texture. .I'm a texture kind of gal. .so that really turned me off. THESE little dudes though. .yum!! Great texture, great flavor. .and lots of 'em. Next winter. .need a couple more plants of them!!
Saturday was a beautiful day. .the guys were racing. .Cami and I were playing and weeding. .Tristan was fishing with his buddies. So Sunday afternoon, we caught up some projects. Jeremy POWER washed my HOUSE :-) Only the west side, but then I heard the chain saw going. .
. .and found him widening the spaces in the decking to allow the dirt to settle through. All I said was. .Devin, your job this afternoon is to wash the deck chairs with hot, soapy water. .I do NOT know how his dad got involved. .but I am NOT complaining!! They even used Pledge on the cedar picnic table and bench. Last night, Jeremy used his chain saw to slice down last summer's ornamental grasses, the maximillan sunflower stalks, and to prune the dead wood off my caryopteris bushes. Whew!
Grant and I spent some time in the garden Sunday afternoon. .We took turns hoeing some rows. .A couple years ago, I rebelled against tilling my garden for the sake of my soil and all the things underneath it. However. .we also rotate our crops. .and this was the first time in a number of summers that we have been to the very back of the garden. .the soil hadn't been mulched well, and so it was a little, alright. .a LOT hard to hoe. .And. .partly because I am OLD. .and partly because I haven't worked out for several weeks now. .I am SOOOO sore. .even today! Grr. Thankfully though, most of the row digging is done. .now we'll just have to put little holes through the old mulch and sneak in plants or a small spot of seeds.
In addition to the hoeing. .Grant snapped this lovely photo of me, while I, oblivious to him, was swearing under my breath. .or maybe even a little bit audibly. .about this cursed Johnson grass coming up in the garden. I think there was a smallish patch when we first started the garden 14 years ago. .and as I tilled every year (before I knew how evil this stuff really was) I would redistribute tiny pieces of root throughout the garden to start their OWN little patches of grass. The roots go straight to the sulfur-y lake of fire. .and unless you get the last, little pointed tip of root end. .it regrows. I used a shovel to dig as much as I could out of the area where we were planting. .and I am in a total quandary about what to do with the rest of it. I will probably cover it with heavy cardboard and mulch this year. .BUT. .I mentioned to Jeremy the possibility of covering the soil with black plastic and making raised beds throughout. Sounds like a lot of work to me! Blah!
But. .Sunday we were able to plant Red Norland and Yukon gold seed potatoes. .Detroit red beets. .cosmic purple carrots, and another orange variety. .and a couple 1/2 rows of salad greens. As we were plotting out the garden layout, I noticed some greens coming up. Not recognizing them as any weed, I thought they looked like carrot greens. .and lo and behold. .they were!! Not sure when they germinated. .or why. .but a couple of them were really large ones!! They were the yellow variety out of the mixed color packet we sowed last spring. Grant cleaned one up and we munched on it while we finished our work!
The garlic sprouts look encouraging. .as did the rhubarb plants. I planted 2 Lanthem raspberry bushes against the back fence near the rhubarb that I bought from Gurneys for 50% off. I hope everything will be sprouting in no time. .Temps for the next week are a little cooler. .and I saw a low slated for 38 degrees. .there is still time for a good freeze. .but we hope not!!

The seed aisles and bagged discount plants have been calling my name. .and I hope to stop this weekend at a nursery that I recieved a gift certificate to, to purchase a type of blue spruce and some larger shrubs to anchor the memory garden. .

Hoping for a week that lacks in unexpected events. .
and wishing you all the same!
Come back soon!!


  1. Wow-you really have been busy. You're so lucky to be able to drag things home to plant. Though we had a warm-up, the night time temps are back in the 20's. No gardening yet for me!

  2. It is crazy how ahead a lot of plants are already. My lilac is about to bloom. It's suppose to do that for May Day not April Fools' Day. Crazy.
    You sure have happy plants in the greenhouse. Even the hen bit. It is an amazing year for the hen bit. Everywhere I look. Purple flowers. Most amazing in there...those tomatoes.
    Nice action photo of you in the garden. Gardening is a work out some days!!!
    Those are some determined carrots. I found parsley still green under the mulch in my garden. Who knew it was so cold hardy.
    I am eyeing the greenhouses going up here too. I'm already planning stops after work some days once they open. I'm sure there is a great new plant to discover.
    No potatoes here, but I got my onion sets in the ground today!
    Have a good wee

  3. Interesting reading. You all are really busy -- and everybody helps! I'm wondering if the large tomatoes that were mealy like the ones in the stores are bred that way for longer shelf life. Little tomatoes are always the tastiest.

  4. I'm hoping to get the peas planted this weekend, and our potatoes are suppose to be here today! WHOOHOO!!
    My Lilacs are blooming, and I could smell them last night laying in bed with the windows open. Oh how I love SPRING!

  5. You make all this gardening stuff sound so easy! I am just hoping we get grass planted this year, lol!

  6. Wow! I am jealous of your garlic plants!!! One of these days I'm going to plant some! We have decided to not do a garden this year and do a CSA. Our garden just stunk last year...so I think we just need a one year break. Our CSA is organic too, so that is good! You are such a good, hard worker...love the photo of you!!