Saturday, April 7, 2012

I'm Pushing Spring Like A User Pushes Pills

Joining up with Skip To My Lou ...

...because even though this isn't crafty, I sure did make it happen! It's hard to believe it'll be 2 more months before I can see this kind of lushness again.

Or hear the happy hum of these guys snacking on the milkweed flowers.

So, here's what I have going on to tide me over.  This is the first whole year I've had with the greenhouse, so I started some stuff in the fall that I hoped would grow over the winter.

First was the broccoli that I started in October and grew all winter.  About a month ago, I started picking the florets and then when they started to practically melt in the 100 degree heat in the greenhouse a few weeks ago, I put them outside.

 Happily, we had a mild winter, so those that were left outside in garden #1 were able to winter over.  This is what's left after I cut off a bunch of florets last week to make soup.  Plenty more is a comin'.

I started peas in the greenhouse to be sure they get a good start.  We have some awful crows here that will flip the new plants right out of the ground, if I'm not careful.  I put them in these containers so I could move them out and not transplant them and because I wanted to grow something that would benefit the soil in them and peas are supposed to do that.

I never seem to grow enough pea plants to actually get more than a handful of pods at a time, so I've planted quite a few this year.

 I thought my greenhouse would actually stay above freezing if I had lot of black fabric in it, but it really didn't.  As soon as the temperature dropped outside, it dropped in the greenhouse.  After a particularly cold night that I wasn't prepared for in November, all of my geraniums that I thought would be lush and plentiful throughout the winter just died.

Today, I saw this little geranium growing back from the dead plants from November.

Here are some zinnias all ready to goo crazy.  These are the rest of the seeds from that 25 cent packet I bought at Dollar Tree last year that grew 3-5 feet tall.

My "kerrits".   I have 3 packets of carrot seeds from my Kerrits pants and so far, this is what I have growing.  Now that I know what carrot tops look like, I might actually know what I'm doing this year~!

THese are volunteer sunflowers.  I'm serious!  I have no idea where they came from, but they all grew with my peas.  There were no sunflower seeds with my peas when I planted them, so this is a great mystery.  The only answer I have is that they must have been clustered in that bit of compost that I used for the peas.  They are really hot to trot and I really want to put them outside but I think they will die if it gets really cold.

These sunflowers are not volunteers.  I deliberately planted these from some seeds that I saved last year.  They look a little different from the plants above, which makes this even more of a mystery.  Can't wait to see what they end  up looking like!

Radishes.  I've never grown radishes but I'm going to try them this year.

These are the swiss chard plants I've been growing all winter.  I've picked a bunch a couple of times and they are doing fine.  Some of them look like they might be starting to bolt because it does get so hot in the greenhouse some days when I don't open the sides before I leave for school.

Look closely.  These are the swiss chard plants that came back from what I planted in garden #1 last year!  I think I counted 5 or 6 of them.  It surprised me last year when 2 of my plants came back, so this year, I made sure to look as soon as things started to green up in the garden.  I think they'll  produce a little before going to seed.

New swiss chard seedlings.  I want to put these out but I think I'll wait until the end of April.

Marigolds.  Like the zinnias, these are the final seeds from the 25 cent packet of marigold I bought last year at the Dollar Tree and these were marigold BUSHES, not plants!  Now that i know how big they should get, I will be a little smarter about where I plant them!

 Kale.  I only grew kale once.  I am not the biggest fan of it, but maybe I will grow to like it!

K-ster's lavender from last year.  A couple of these plants are looking really healthy.  They took forever to start last year and didn't seem like they were doing all that well, but here they are!

I started green beans in these pots.  I will plant many more successions since I had success (ha ha) with blanching and freezing them last year.  Like the peas, I put them in these pots to benefit the soil.

And now for confession.  When I bought the greenhouse, I could have bought a heater kit for another couple hundred dollars.  It's a propane system.  I thought it was pretty ludicrous since this is a plastic greenhouse with plenty of non sealed seams.  It seemed like I'd just be throwing money away.

Plus, I was sure I would be able to keep things above 32 degrees over the winter.

Alas, there was the great frost of November that ruined everything but the broccoli, chard, lavender and apparently that one little geranium, so I gave up on doing much this past winter.

When we had unseasonable HOT weather a few weeks ago, I couldn't help myself and I planted a lot of stuff.  And then they talked about it going back to freezing.  And I thought about all of the seeds that would die.

And how I wasn't going to be running seed trays in and out of my house for the next month on the nights we might have a frost.

So, k-ster put a propane heater out there for one night and though it didn't keep it hot, it did keep the temperature up a little bit.  But I didn't like that heater and it doesn't have much in the way of controls, so I bought this little number.

I am such a cheater.  I've used it a few times and it has kept it slightly warmer.  Warm enough that I notice a difference when I walk in.  It actually has settings and I can set it to only go on when the air is colder than the temperature I want.  I haven't yet had to really test it to see if it will keep the air warmer than 32 degrees if it's really cold outside.

And I have no idea what it will do to the electric bill.

And I get to add to my list of things that keep me up at night "what if the greenhouse burns down".  K-ster says that won't happen because there's nothing near it that can fall on it to make catch on fire.  But you know how things happen that can't be explained.

So there we go, a little preview of what's to come for gardens #1 and #2.   And possibly #3?  Hmmm........

I'm still not over this.  They can bite me.

1 comment:

  1. It's obvious you have a love for gardening. I wish I was more dedicated like that. I grew some herbs last year and loved it but doubt I'll do it this year - too much other stuff going on.


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