Thursday, April 13, 2017

Starting to Garden (In My Head)

Our weather is still not conducive to putting on shorts and a tank top and going out to dig in the dirt.  (That's an understatement.)  The soil in my raised beds and the field garden is still too wet and cold.  For the past two nights, our temps have gone down into the 20s.  You can bet there has been frost on the pumpkins these mornings.  Or more correctly, frost on the still-dead grass.

But I do have seedlings started inside and so far everything but the peppers has popped up out of the starting mix.  I have eggplant (don't tell Papa Pea or he will yank the spindly things right out by their tiny roots), broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes.  I'll take pictures to prove this to you as soon as the fragile sprouts are big and sturdy enough that the flash from the camera won't knock them over.

I'm so eager to uncover the strawberries but must restrain myself until this freezing and thawing cycle is over.  The straw we got to use for mulching last fall and bedding for the poultry over winter turned out to have a lot of seeds in it.  If I remember correctly it was oat straw and the poultry were pleased as punch with it because they snarfed up every last oat seed in it that they could lay their little beaks on.  The strawberry bed is going to be another story.  Mama Pea is not going to be a happy camper (or gardener) when I uncover the berry plants . . . and those katrillion oat seeds left in the soil start growing.


Here's a shot from Pap Pea's upstairs office window of my raised beds.  I have cold frames strategically placed on five of the beds in an effort to warm the soil in preparation of planting some early crops.  What will go in these first-to-be-planted beds?  Well, since you asked . . .  

One will hold my started cauliflower plants since cauliflower likes to grow in cool weather and be headed out and done before the warm/hot days come.

One is for sweet peppers as I find my peppers do much better if I leave the cold frame on them all summer.

Two are for early lettuce and salad greens including spinach.  Those crunchy greens can never be ready too early after the months of winter that lack adequate fresh greens for us to munch on.

The last is for slicing cucumbers.  We eat them like candy and I'm really going to push the gardening envelope this year and put them in super-early.

That's all for today, folks.  Now if I can just find my list for today I made out last night, I'll get on with it.

21 comments:

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Hi Mama Pea! Found you via Rain's blog! Greetings from Manitoba! I just LOVE your cold frames....

We are due snow on Sunday. I hope it does not find its way to you!

Dianna

Sue said...

Love those coldframes and STILL waiting for hubby to construct me something like them.
Though I'm crazy about my Agribon fabric, I'd like a solid cold frame like yours for a few items as well. I wonder just how long I'm going to wait..............
(It's already been one year!)
Have a great holiday weekend. Happy Easter and all that!

Kristina said...

It all looks great! My bell peppers haven't popped up yet either.

Laurie said...

Oh, I love the way it's looking so far. Nice, neat and tidy. I like how it's looking in your head, too. Lol. Sounds like you've got a great plan. I'll be picking lettuce and radishes next week. I've already been munching straight from the garden this morning. The radishes are a little bigger than a marble. I'm about ready to pick a head of cabbage, too. I need some sauerkraut! The rest of my summer vegetables will be planted this weekend. Off to a good start over here. Hope yours gets a good kick start, too.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Dianna - Thanks for commenting and welcome! You're a smidge farther northward than we are so I'm sure you know why I use cold frames! And, yep, we keep hearing threats of some snow in our forecast but it hasn't happened yet and really, really hope it keeps not happening!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - You know if you used your many feminine wiles on your dear hubby (hee-hee), he'd build those cold frames in a flash! Stuck my hand in the soil under one of the frames yesterday and it actually felt WARM. At least in mid-afternoon it did!

Hope the Easter Bunny brings you some chocolate on Sunday. :o)

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I think the package said they could take up to 10 days to germinate so mine have got a few more days to go. I'll cross my fingers for both of ours!

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - Oh, you are so, so far ahead of us up here near the tundra! How's about some pictures of your lovely garden??

Laurie said...

I'll post some next week. Everything is still kind of small, though.

Goatldi said...

I have a sunburst paddy squash in my window. Does that count? As soon as the weather and the crazy routine I seem to be calling home for the last two weeks slows down I am headed to the nursery to cash in my gift certificate and populate the green house.

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea! :) You could have fooled me that you still have frost from that photo! :) I love how your raised beds look and the cold frames! May I ask how you made them? Are they glass? And may I ask about the peppers...do they do well in cold frames all summer because it gets too hot for them? Oh, I'm so curious about everything...I'm with Papa Pea regarding those eggplants...I WANT to like them, but every time I make something with eggplant, I gradually start picking them out of the dish lol.

Do all strawberry plants come back to life in the spring I wonder. I bought a hanging strawberry plant last year, and it's been sitting outside under the snow. And you have pumpkins?

Susan said...

Well, I would say that it's no fair that your garden beds look so dang neat and tidy at the end of winter - WITHOUT spring cleaning! But I know that you and Papa Pea spend a great deal of time getting them into shape before the snows. I so want cold frames like yours.... I'm interested to follow your eggplants, so to speak. I love them, but have no luck growing them.

Athanasia said...

We use quite a bit of eggplant. Have you tried moussaka or baba ganoush? Just don't tell your husband it's eggplant. We actually use of lot of it as a meat substitute. I dice it up and cook along with garlic, diced peppers and onions some olive oil and soy sauce and then pack it in 1 and 2 cup containers for the freezer. It makes a good addition to spaghetti sauce or as a filling for lasagna.

Mama Pea said...

Goatldi - Hey, anything green and growing is the start of gardening! Aren't trips to nurseries/greenhouses each year just the most fun?

Mama Pea said...

Rain - I've done a couple of posts in the past on our cold frames so if you'd like, go down on my right hand side bar to the Search box and enter "cold frames" and old posts on them should pop up. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Our summers are often not warm enough for heat loving crops such as corn, tomatoes or peppers. The cold frames (maybe they should really be called hot frames?) provide the heat for the peppers much as a green- house would. We can open the lids to ventilate or let natural rain water in on the plants but by growing them inside the cold frames, it provides the heat they need.

Oh, how I love fried eggplant! Hubby will eat it, but he'd never miss it if I didn't serve it.

I'm not sure that your hanging strawberry plant will come back this year or not as I've never grown them except in the ground. Yes, the way I do them they are good for several years before I have to replace them with new plants.

I raise big pumpkins for jack o' lanterns and fall decorations and little pie pumpkins to make puree from for pumpkins pies, pumpkin bars, etc. I just baked a pumpkin pie this morning with some from last season.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - We spread compost on the raised beds in the fall and I till it in so that's why the beds look fairly neat. BUT that dang quack grass is already starting to pop up in the beds. Grrrr.

I don't always get my eggplants to produce worth a diddle. Last year I had 2 plants (I just love the way the plants look, don't you?) and I think got a total of 2 eggplants to mature. But this year, I have plans to coddle them even more so they are happier and produce more. Wish me luck.

Mama Pea said...

Athanasia - Yep, I've been sneaky and tried to disguise eggplant in many ways, but darned if he doesn't always find me out! I have such a good casserole recipe for it topped with cheese. My favorite is to bread and fry it. Yum! If I put it in his spaghetti sauce I might have mass revolt on my hands! At least I can serve it now though. A couple of years ago he said he would eat it only if I grew it . . . I'm not allowed to buy it at the store! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

I'll love seeing them. Yours may be "kind of small" but mine are non-existent at this point! :o}

Rain said...

Thank you! I will look up your side bar because I'm "planning" on finding some used windows, but you just never know so I would like all sorts of ideas on how to build the cold frames.

And I had it the opposite...the "hot" frames make sense now! That's not a bad idea...we have pretty hot weather, but come August, temperatures really dip at night. I'm hoping to have the cold (or hot!) frames up and running by end of August, so maybe I can try them out as hot frames next summer to extend the tomato season? That might be a great idea!

And I do remember your pumpkin post last autumn, I was very envious of your harvest, actually THAT inspired me to try my own pumpkin patch this year! :)

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

It's close.....just a little more time before you can get outside and plant. You have a great start on your seeds inside. I take it Papa Pea doesn't like eggplant? Did you make your own cold frames or did you buy them. I'm thinking I need to invest in some for late planting.

Hugs,
Sandy

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - We've made our cold frames and keep changing and redesigning as we go . . . looking for the best design, easiest to use, etc. They're 2 x 2 wood framing covered with greenhouse plastic.

And, no, Papa Pea doesn't like eggplant. He says it has no taste and a funny texture. Go figure.