Saturday, May 29, 2021


Yes, stalled.  At least garden-wise.
This has been our third morning in a row that we've had a light frost to greet us.  (Mr. Gore, can we talk?)  To say much hasn't been growing in the garden is an understatement.  But the fact that everything is still alive (let's keep our fingers crossed) is the good news.

Curiously, the strawberry plants have blossoms and even some small green berries showing.  And this is earlier than usual for us.

I put zinnia transplants out earlier this week, but covered them with plastic cloches.  Good thing as they need heat to grow and right now would probably appreciate small electric heaters next to them under their protective covers.
Out of six varieties of lettuce planted from seed, only two have peeked through the soil so far.  Lettuce likes to germinate in cooler weather so what's with the other four varieties?
I have my slicing cukes and pepper plants snuggled down under cold frames and they are seemingly surviving in good shape.

The peppers were transplants, and I normally get more to harvest from them than we can use.  Hoping this will happen again.  Gotta admit their leaves in this picture do, however, look as though they may have gotten a little colder than they like.

I started these cucumber plants inside and will thin them to just three as soon as I am sure I have three healthy ones.  I find that number is just right for their space and as soon as they start bearing . . . well, we have cucumbers coming out of our ears.
Of course, there's more than the above to see in the garden even though I'm cutting back this year.  (Believe it or not.)  There are too, too many projects to work on this summer season than we have time for so we're trying to make wise decisions on where to spend our time each day.  This includes prioritizing for more down time and recreation for both of us.  Try as we might, we can't seem to find more hours in each day so now we're trying to make better use of those we have.

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Waiting Game

Darned if it hasn't been a rough start to our gardening season.  First we waited through a very cold spring when temperatures were just too cold to tempt either human bodies or vegetable transplants or even seeds to venture out into the garden.
Then we were lucky enough to have a week of weather when the night time temps managed to move away from the freezing point so I felt okay planting my onions and sugar snap peas. 
In order to keep these few things and the emerging garlic, chives and berry patches alive, I watered nearly every day because of extreme dryness that made us fearful of actual forest fire danger.
Thankfully, this past week has brought very welcome rainfall (hooray, hooray) which has done wonders toward bringing the leaves out on trees and greening up sad looking yards.
I got my red and green cabbage starts set out the day before the rains came.  Also my started salad greens (wasabina, scarlet frill, arugula, and mizuna mustard) were planted along with spinach and several varieties of lettuce seeds.
I started another raised bed of peppermint with twelve purchased plants.  The old bed looks as though half of it died over winter which makes me sad.
The haskap and blueberry patch is weeded and ready for its annual dose of peat moss.  We also ordered, received and have planted eight new blueberry bushes to fill in a couple of bare spots and extend the size of the patch a bit.
The strawberry rows are completely free of weeds and mulched for the season.  Even though it's early, I can't help but check for the first little blossoms to appear.
All of the fruit trees have received a circle of cardboard laid around their trunks and a heavy layer of mulch on top of that.
It's not that I haven't had things to do garden-wise, but now I'm having to wait for the soil to dry before I can do more.  Lots of transplants to be taken out of their now too small pots and planted where they can stretch out their cramped roots and start to really grow.
This afternoon after the rain stopped I went out with my trowel but found only wet, sticky mud in my test spots.
More rain is forecast through the coming weekend.
Bottom line is that it's only the 21st of May and old-time (and successful) gardeners up here claim they never plant anything until the first of June.
So controlling the gardening itch and keeping my knickers from getting in a twist seems the sensible way to go.  That shouldn't be hard, right?  H-e-l-l-l-p . . . .  

Friday, May 14, 2021

A Thursday Adventure

 Although yesterday was an overcast day, the temperature was just right for being out in nature.

Dear daughter, her just-turned-three-year-old companion, Papa Pea and I loaded up the truck with necessary supplies (maps, snacks and water) and a couple of back packs and headed out.

The whole day we saw only two mosquitoes.  One met a quick demise and one flew away to bite another day.

Arriving at our destination, we parked our vehicle and started out.  Up, up, up we climbed with the three year old leading the way.  (This remarkable child loves the outdoors, the woods, the water, etc. and cries when he has to come inside.)

 What a beautiful outlook.

A chipmunk came out of the underbrush to say hello and was rewarded with a cracker.  (I wasn't quite quick enough to get a shot of that.)

Next we drove some back roads trying to find another trail we wanted to hike.  We made a couple of interesting stops along the way, but never located the trail we wanted.

While roaming and looking for the trail, we came upon this stop sign at the intersection of two deserted gravel roads.  As you can tell, it was in a spot where no road crew had done maintenance in quite a while.

All in all, it was a great day with good exercise.  Daughter mentioned she could feel a bit of muscle strain in her legs, my gluteus maximus muscles were making themselves known, Papa Pea seemed to do fine, and the little munchkin just kept going and going.  He did fall asleep on the way home though.

When he woke just after we had unloaded the truck, there were a few tears with his words of, "But I don't wanna be home."

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Well, I Knew It Was An Experiment . . .

So, how did it go planting my garlic in the spring instead of the fall?  I have to say . . . FAIL!
Being a person who generally follows the rules, I've always planted our garlic in the fall ('round about mid-October), snuggled it down with a good blanket of mulch for the winter, then watched the little green shoots emerge in the following early spring.
Supposedly, gardeners living in the more more southern, milder climates of our country can and do plant their garlic crop in the spring quite successfully while those of us in the northern states are told we need to plant ours in the fall.  Why?  I've frequently wondered about this so started this little experiment in the fall of 2019.
Per usual, after harvesting and curing that garlic crop I had planted about one year previously (in the fall), I did not replant any of the cloves for my next year's crop.
Instead I waited until the early spring of 2020 to plant that year's new garlic crop.
During the summer they grew beautifully and in the fall of that year (2020), I harvested the garlic bulbs when the plants matured and were ready to be dug and cured.
First thing I noticed was that the bulbs were perhaps a bit smaller than usual, but most were nice sized and there were plenty of them.  I cured them per usual.
Again, no fall planting of the garlic because I wanted to wait and follow through on the experiment to assess their keeping quality over that winter of 2020-2021.  Maybe I was on to something and really didn't have to plant the garlic in the fall.
Next thing noticed was that the garlic didn't seem quite as pungent this time around.  In a couple of months, I began to suspect the bulbs weren't keeping as well even though stored in the same place under the same conditions as they've always been.
The last couple of months of this late winter and early spring of 2021, I've had to search through each bulb selected to find a couple of firm, usable cloves.  Hmmm, is there a picture appearing here?
Because I was still in the midst of my little experiment last fall, as previously said, I did not plant any garlic as we gardeners in the north are told to do.  (Ahem.)
This spring, I did sort through my remaining stash and picked the best looking cloves which were planted on the 5th of April.

This is how the bed looks today.  I've got good germination with only a couple of no-shows so it looks as though I'll get another crop of the experimental spring-planted garlic but, frankly, I don't expect it to be any better in flavor or keeping quality than that of last year.
How many years would I have to continue my experiment with my spring planting of garlic to ascertain it really does make sense to plant it in the fall here in my northern location?  Probably more than the time I've put into it.
On the other hand, I'm willing to believe there are garlic growing experts who know one heckuva lot more than I do, so I'll be purchasing a new supply of garlic from a good commercial grower in a few months and come mid-October of this year, I'll be pushing those new garlic cloves down into the soil of one of my raised garden beds, covering the bed with a deep layer of mulch, giving all a loving pat and telling the cloves that I'll see them next spring.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

A Short Sunday Post

We took a hike in the (very) fresh air and sunshine one day last week.  Went through some rough "untamed territory" but it was well worth it thanks to our daughter showing us this heretofore hidden gem we'd never previously seen.

Hiked through the wooded area downstream past this gorgeous waterfall until it disappeared over a steep, vertical rock cut.  Couldn't find a way to get past it for a shot of that drop which must have been impressive.

Then we drove along a gravel road and hiked to this area which was much more calm but beautiful in its serenity.
What a fantastic off-the-beaten-track hiking day made all the more perfect because the bug season hasn't started yet!