Sunday, March 27, 2016

A New Basil Box

My Basil Box died.
For 20 years, it's held up under the weather, and under the weight of many crops of glorious flavor. But finally, it's given up the ghost.
It was a sad day at the Red Door Green House.
But not to worry. We have a new Basil Box.
It's deeper, slightly longer, about the same width, and built stronger.
I lined it with 10 mil plastic to slow the rotting of the box itself.
Then I finished it in boiled linseed oil, as an attempt to slow down the weather's impact.
It took all the soil from the previous box, plus a very full wheelbarrow more of mature compost.
It currently has a screen arched over the top as an attempt to dissuade chickens from getting used to digging here.
As before, the tarragon is holding down the east end of the box.
But there will be basil! There will be much basil.
From the left:
  • Mammoth Basil (2013 seeds)
  • Thai Basil (2015 seeds)
  • Aromatto (purple) basil (2014 seeds)
  • Lemon Basil (2013 seeds)
The Basil Box will mostly hold the Mammoth Basil. The others are destined for pots or for friends.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Starts in the Sunshine.

Over the past several days, I've gotten most of my starts into pots.
Tomatoes are an inch tall. Peppers are just sprouting. Peas and beans and cucumbers are just peeking their noses out. Lettuce and kale are approaching 2" tall, and love the sun. Dill is 1/2".
Basil and sage and a dozen other seeds haven't even broken ground yet. And some of them may not: the seeds are fairly old. I've been consulting a seed viability chart a lot recently.
Schizanthus is a trailing flower: lots of colorful little fireworks. They only germinate in total dark, but they're well past that now: that's them in the foreground.
I added some shelves along the front edge of the greenhouse: seedlings can get all the sun they can handle. (It got up to 80 degrees in the greenhouse on Saturday. Oh my.)
 Note: of all the seeds that I planted in the soil of the garden, only the lettuce seems to be germinating.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

This Weekend's Planting

Sugar peas, bush
Blue Lake pole beans
Red onions
Hokkaido German pumpkins
Radishes, red & white
Zucchini squash
Pattypan squash
Carnival squash
Lemon cucumber,
Burpless cucumber,
Armenian cucumber,
Carnival squash,
cat grass.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Journal: First Weekend in March

This has been an early and an interesting spring. For example, out of the last week, it was spring two days, I think, and winter the other five. Today it was spring for a few hours, and fairly wintery the rest of the day.
I may be in danger of losing some of the crops, but I'm planting things outdoors already. I guess if the worst that happens is I buy seeds again, I can probably handle that.
This is probably the biggest risk: carrots (behind the stakes) and lettuce (mix, forward of the sticks) in the bed outside, sharing with the garlic.
And this may be the other risk. I had a lot of garlic that was sprouting. (Note to self: find out how to keep stored home-grown garlic from sprouting over winter.) I planted a bunch of them. Not sure what to do with the rest.
Some things that I'm starting.
Top3: Tomatillas from last year, and a hazel nut tree.
Row2: Oregano and another hazel nut.
Row3: Catnip and a short kind of dill.
Row4: Oregano and another hazel nut.
Herbs and such. From the top:
Six starts of a rosemary that grows up instead of growing out. From my folks.
Thyme, from last year's seed.
Cilantro from last year's seed.
Cumin from last year's seed.
Lettuce & Kale starts. From two weeks ago.
I like growing kale from starts, but I now question the value of starting lettuce indoors, seeing as I planted (the same) lettuce in the garden today. We'll compare the two and learn stuff! Yaay!
Tomatoes and peppers, planted this weekend. They're on a heated starting mat.
Left: cooking tomatoes: San Marzano: flavorful, heirloom, not determinate, which means they keep growing and keep producing all summer.
I wonder if heirloom tomatoes may all be non-determinate?
The peppers are all bell peppers, but from a (Ed Hume) pack of multi-colored pepper plants. I've observed that the only peppers we eat here are bell peppers, and everybody likes different colors, so let's see what this turns out like.
These tomatoes are a week old. I've been starting them on a heating mat until today. They look like they're germinating just fine.
Left: slicing tomatoes: Brandywine: incredibly flavorful, heirloom, non-determinate. I've grown them before and got a big one: 1.6 pounds. Good, not great, producers.
Right: cherry tomatoes: Chocolate Cherry: very flavorful, heirloom, purplish-brown tomatoes. These are a little large for cherry tomatoes, maybe as large as a ping pong ball. Fairly prolific.
I suspect I'm going to wish I had a bee hive going this year. Not sure right now whether that'll work out; they're not my bees. They're just my friends.