Saturday, March 14, 2020

Covid 19 in PNW so seed starting time

Well folks, I've been really busy with life and work, but the garden has been on my mind.

The garden was overrun with grass and weeds, one of the downsides of just digging a bed in the grass and putting compost on it. So I threw tarps over it to try to kill some of it to help with the weeding when it comes time.

Still going to be a ton of work, but with pretty much everything shut down due to the Corona virus I don't have as much to do. And working from home means less stair climbing so I need the exercise. 

I had a free early spring weekend so I decided to start my seeds. Boy did I have a lot of them. Some old and some new. 

I think the old ones that are almost 10 years old will be ok because they have been in airtight containers with moisture absorbing packets in them. I'm hopeful. 

I took out the salad greens,broccoli and cauliflower. Planting the older ones first. If they don't germinate then I will try again with new seed. 

The salad greens I chose were for a balance of color, texture and taste. The base is always Salad Bowl and Red Sails, much better than romaine or iceberg. Then I added two varieties of spinach. See which one I like better. Tons of nutrition in spinach, just ask Popeye! For flavor I like Italianshier and Mustard greens, two varieties of them too. I love salads with these greens. No salad dressing required! 

No garden would be complete without tomatoes! I reluctantly decided on three varieties. Past experience has shown me planting too many varieties too close means they don't grow true. That was a huge disaster. So I'm doing Gil's All Purpose, Sungold and Yellow Pear! 

I grow from seed as it is so much cheaper. I've had great success from germinating seeds on a wet paper towel on top of the fridge. 

Time to make my soil blocks! I mixed together compost, peat moss and a little coffee grounds for nutrients. After wetting it down to a clumping consistency, I made blocks. 

I spent about 2 hours of my Saturday doing this. It was so much fun! I did 4 blocks of each of 9 varieties now, with another 4 in a week or two for succession planting. I didn't have labels so I just taped paper to the outside. Should work. 

Unfortunately I determined that my garage is too cold for germination to occur, even with the heating pads under the trays. So I'll germinate the seeds in the house and move them out to the light system in the garage later. Hope this works. Hehe. Not my ideal setup. The lids will keep the cats off them. Hehe.

Looking forward to spring planting and eating good food from my garden again. Kids are home for 6 weeks and I'm working from home. Gotta slow the spread of this virus. Unfortunately I live at Ground Zero for the US. Grrr. Wash your hands folks. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The big dig!

Whew! That's what I call hard work. So much easier at the old house where I just threw up raised beds and presto garden space. Well it wasn't nearly that easy, but a decade later it seems that way. Boy I miss that garden. This one pales in comparison, but it will work for this year.

Again had the help of one of my sons. The other has a full day of 2 performances. Just enough time after I dropped him off for the matinee to finish digging up the sod.

Along the way I had a marvelous idea. So I think. Instead of putting all the sod on the compost pile, why not turn it over in the garden beds and let it decompose in place?  Sure hope it doesn't take long. Might research that.

Anyway, it sure went faster, instead of brushing all the dirt out of the sod we just left it all in the bed. I think it looks great!

The beds aren't perfect, but they will have to do for now. I need to get planting.

Here is a close up of the bed. What do you think? Good or bad idea with the sod?  Going to have the kids aerate the soil so it is fluffy for planting.

Boy a roto tiller would have come in handy. Oh well, we sure got a good workout.

Couldn't help but notice the blueberry plants leaves starting to grow. Cool but scary since I should really have seeds in the ground. Not sure if I have time to start the seeds indoors this year or if I should just plant them in the beds direct sow.

What project did you tackle this weekend?


Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Gardening Adventure Continues!

With the snow from a few weeks ago a distant memory and the PNW experiencing a few record days of 70 degrees, it got my gardening juices flowing!

So despite this being a very busy show weekend for my youngest and me working back stage, we took some time to dig out the garden area. Didn't get it all finished as the electric tools all broke so we did it all by hand.

Decided on three 4x8 beds with a 3 foot walkway between them so I can sit and garden comfortably. The can of field line spray paint came in handy.

The boys were a big help though it was clear they weren't strong enough to swing the heavy pick axe.

While working it became clear that this area really is the best spot in the yard for a garden. We all worked very hard.

Along the way we ran into a problem as to where to put the sod we took out. If I had a roto tiller I could have mulched it up and made use of it as compost. Instead we had to do it the slow way. Dump the sod in a pile with some browns and let the chemical reaction work its magic! So I started a compost pile. Didn't think I'd be doing that so soon. And since I don't get the paper (well I do electronically) I used lint from the dryer. It has a ton of cat hair in it  Perfect browns!

In the end we decided to call it a day. We were all tired and my youngest was bummed that he was working on his only day off in weeks. The show must go on!

So this is how far we got. Maybe I'll work more on it tomorrow morning before taking him to perform. Not bad progress by hand.

We had a pretty good system down at the end. The slowest part was getting the sod out of the way. It took a while as I wanted the most dirt possible to remain in the beds. It will mean less compost to buy.

I'm happy we got out in the yard and worked in the garden. With theater commitments it has been hard. Ah the life of a father.

Have you been able to work in your garden this Spring? Oh yes, Happy Springtime!


Saturday, February 9, 2019

8 inches of snow and the Territorial Seed catalog

Sitting next to my stove heater reading my new Territorial Seed catalog on a blustery snowy winter winter weekend has got me thinking about gardening this spring. I'm sure I'm not alone. It's been a while so I'm going to cheat and pull out my old seeds and repurchase the ones I like. Maybe I'll try a few new ones. They all look so good.

Unfortunately Mother Nature has put a crimp in my plans to build a garden here. Last week we got 6 inches that tried to kill my mature blueberry plants. I figure they must be 30 years old. The PVC cage and bird netting collapsed under the weight. Thankfully it melted enough for me to dismantle the cage before another storm hit. They look much happier just dealing with 8 inches of new snow.

Stay warm and dry this winter, and plan your own garden.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The waiting game

I am in the midst of a divorce after 21 blissful years married to the love of my life. She doesn't love me anymore. As gut wrenching as that is, you have to take solice where you can. For me that is my kids, hiking and gardening.

I just moved into my new home with one key item on my house hunting wish list fulfilled... a back yard with a clear southern exposure. Perfect for a few garden beds tucked into the side of my yard I won't use often.

A few beds is all I need as I again intend on following the intensive gardening techniques I learned from Mel.

So now I sit in my living room waiting for the cable guy to show up and give me WiFi, thinking and planning my garden for the spring. I'm also waiting for my copy of the Territorial Seed catalog! Can't wait to dog ear those pages and restock my garden supplies.

What are your favorite catalogs?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Possibly more to come...

I know it's been years since I updated this blog. Life has taken me in other directions, but my situation has changed and I'm excited to garden again. If I do pick up a shovel and some seeds, I will take you along with me. You will see some things have changed and some have not.

For the winter I plan to set up my seed starting system and browse the Territorial Seed catalog.

Take care,


Thursday, April 10, 2014


That's right, the chicks arrived, two days sooner than expected. Guess the poor postal service didn't like all that peeping. Hehe. We here at the farm sure do though. It's music to our ears.  And without further ado, here are the girls, tired from the move.

I did move the heat lamp down a bit just in case, but I think they are just getting used to their surroundings.  Here's a good pic of them not through the murky Rubbermaid container.

The kids want to name them again. I let them as they're ok with the fact that they're not long for this earth.  Speaking of which, the two remaining hens aren't laying still, so they may not be long for this world either.  Anyway, here are some close-ups for those of us that just can't get enough chicks.

My Barred Rocks...

My Rhode Island Reds...

And last but not least, my Buff Orpingtons...

And lastly, in case you were thinking it was just me liking the little girls, here's what happened when I opened the lid on the box they came in...

Peep... peep!