2014 Garden Journal
We had 16 inches of snow with an avalanche of seed catalogues. The new year is going well, shoveling snow for days. It is going down to 15 below this week but hey the house plants are doing well. The lemon trees have dropped the leaves they going to drop and now new shoots are starting to appear..The poinsettia has recovered but just green for now. The giant sequoia I bought is growing in the house and shipped just as we hit an early ground freeze, so I will plant it in the spring.
The Year has started as the 5th snowiest winter with 16 inches of snow on the ground. The seed catalogues have helped a little in coping with this winter and I have a tendency to order more seeds and plants as the winter drags on. The coldest winter since 1978 and the snow is is getting old .
My wife got me seeds for Valentine's Day . This is helping me get through this winter. She got all purple vegetables so this garden will have a Purple Theme, my wife's favorite color.
In 2013 we had a bumper crop of peaches, pears, and tomatoes and we have enough to make it until we have fresh from the trees and tomatoes from the vine. So we have also canned plums, fruit cocktail and froze cherries gooseberries blackberries raspberries .
We have been using our canned fruits and vegees all winter long and the salsa came out really well . The pears and peaches and fruit cocktail came out very good especially with the organic honey we used from a bee keeper.The peppers I canned go on pizzas and in salsa. I use the canned tomatoes for pizzas and we did enchiladas. My wife did her great spaghetti with the tomatoes . The canned pickled beets make a meal. We also still have onions, parsnips, and garlic.
It is a good time to do a little pruning of the trees. The Blue Spruce we planted Christmas day looks like it is doing OK
The weather is starting to be break , the there is still 12 inches of snow but 50 degrees tomorrow but snow Wednesday.
The Spring is still no where in site, we still have snow on the ground yet and is likely to snow tonite . We have ordered and received our seeds we have our potatoes starts and we purchased a festival tent and a 30 foot by 30 foot piece of plastic and we will use it as a green house to warm up the ground and also get a good start on tomatoes and corn and then remove after hot days set in and put it back in the fall to extend the season. The last of the parsnips where used in St Patrick's day dinner Corned beef and cabbage. They are a good replacement for carrots. We still have plenty of our canned tomatoes, peppers, salsa, pickled beets and fruit like peaches, pears and fruit cocktail. We still have frozen raspberries black berries, cherries, goose berries, pumpkin and black raspberries. I did some more pruning on a couple of the trees and raked the front yard where there was no snow left just to get out there . There is a little swelling of the buds on the fruit trees but no real sign of life. unlike two years ago when we had a real early spring where most of the fruit trees had bloomed except apple and cranberry. That year we already had 3 -80 degree days. This is just the opposite nothing yet.
April 2 nd
We are streaming live Have Compost Will Garden the front yard and the back yard and will point the camera as the yard comes into bloom. The snow is gone finally but Spring is not really here yet. we had a couple of nice days and I bought this piece of plastic 30 ft by 30 ft to use as to raise the temp of the soil in the spring and put a better start on the tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkins and corn and extend the fall growing season in the fall. I will put up 4 ft props at each corner of the garden and one in the center. and the plastic will come off by June. The props will stay as climbing supports during the summer. Today I bought Purple Pansies to keep my wife's tradition of Purple Pansies first to be planted. They look pretty good since grass is still brown. I also bought all the cold weather plant starts cabbage , broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kalirabi, and four types of lettuce. They are by the house on the south side getting acclimated to the spring . The soil is barely thawed out so it may be a week or two before they go into the garden. The Spring is still behind, there is no sign of any blossoms on the fruit trees. By this time the plum trees would be blooming. The Blue Spruce we planted on Christmas Day is showing signs of bud enlargement. There is little signs of Spring except the birds nesting in the area are fearless. It was a rough winter we probably lost some plants or trees. I raked the front yard and part of the back yard.
The day is a beautiful day going up to almost seventy , the ground is warm enough and has dried enough to rototill the area for all the cold weather veggies. The plastic cover really warmed up and dried out the soil. so I could till the ground just enough to break up the the soil. I planted the onions , potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kalirabi, turnips , rutabagas, spinach, beans, parsnips and 4 types of lettuce. It is supposed to rain this weekend so the little water i give them will keep them till this weekend. The fruit trees are still at just showing signs of the buds enlarging, they will probably all bloom at the same time really late except the apple tree.
It rained this morning so I planted the seeds of the tomatoes seeds I saved last fall and the"Blue tomatoes" that I ordered in growing trays. I will put them on the south side of the house where the temp is always much warmer and will get them started fast.
It rained on and off all day so the live stream gardening class will have to started a week later. Today the grass turned green and the Robins are catching allot of worms , we have two sets of Robins this year also sparrows. so far.the pond got afresh infusion of water and the goldfish seemed to be more active. We direct most the rain water off the roof to the gold fish pond and when it fills up the run off waters fruit trees taking organic matter from the fish .We pulled the plastic cover over the garden because the temp is going down this week 30 at night with snow flurries.The evergreens have responded and are greening up fast , The sequoias all turned brown and we won't know how many died until late May. The first real sign of Spring tulips and daffodils are poking through.
This is my wife having fun on our one inch snow fall, it was very pretty out but with the cold weather plants covered by the plastic, the plants will be fine. The rest of the week will be more normal temps.
Just funny note, the tree stump that I had a wine barrel planted with Pansies fell over this morning , my wife actually heard it as she was getting the car out of the garage. As she put if a tree stump falls in the forest , it does make a sound.
The day is warm and sunny Bought a couple Cherokee Purple tomatoes plants and put them in pots .Big fun I brought out the two Lemon trees from in the computer room where they spent the winter. The buds are starting to swell more. The daffodils are coming up and the goose berries are showing their blossoms. The grass is green and the evergreens are showing signs of swelling buds. The week is supposed to be warmer , good news.
It was a nice day 60 and sunny, I bought a couple of black krimm tomatoes plants and potted them up. I took the plastic off the garden and everything I planted is growing including the beans so the plastic definitely speeds up the growing time line because in general the beans would not pop up until mid May with warmer ground. The potatoes have not broke ground yet though. The night is bringing a frost so the plastic will go back on to keep the ground warm and plants safe. The birds are really vocal, the live streaming you can hear them as early 4 am. The Goldfish are doing fine.
Ever thing including the potatoes are up and growing, I bought a bunch of large tomato plants ones that are basic boring just for hamburgers slices (beef steak mortgage saver etc) plus some pepper plants like banana peppers reg. and hot and jeolpenos and planted them .Beautiful day to do this and then recover the garden with the plastic. It will keep them growing even in these cooler days because on a sunny day it will bring it up above 70 all day in these spring days. The ground is still too cool for corn and pumpkins watermelon and gourds
It was a cool day, but sunny so the garden is doing well under the plastic. It is supposed to rain all week , but the buds for the plum trees , almost a month late , are starting to really swell up usually the first to bloom but race to bloom first may be the Kieffer pear. The weeping crabapple is close and the peach trees are swelling . The peony is poking out of the ground. The garden bed in the front yard by the house is the colorful veggie bed disguised in purple.
The first tree to blossom is the Apricot tree and the plum trees are about to, so about mid week. It was a nice day still below average but sunny. T garden is doing very well. The only things to plant yet is corn pumpkins squash and gourds as soon as the ground gets warmer. A couple of tomatoes plants have panted from seed has popped up , a good sign weather is warming. The goldfish are more active with the warmer weather. The e Blue Spruce we panted Xmas Day looks like it is going to fit right in with all our other Christmas Trees I transplanted one of the Magnolia Trees to another part of the front yard because it was' doing much where it was. I also planted five the ten giant sequoia seedlings as the winter was rough on the ones in the yard , I have lost half of them at least when it was 25 below last winter. It supposed to be 75 by thursday so that set the blossoms in high gear. Most of the plum trees should be in blossom by the weekend. The daffodils are about bloom in the back yard. A little sign of life in the raspberries and the gooseberries are about to blossom. No sign yet if the apple tree has blossoms yet. There is the usual self seeded Sunflowers are coming up in the garden. I plant a tomatoes plant next to each one so the sunflower becomes a tomatoes stake. The cactus survived but one its many arms broke off so I planted in the front yard bed , it should do well there.
The day is very beautiful and sunny spring day and the plum trees are blooming and the kiefer pear and cherry trees are just starting to bloom. I cleaned the pond filter and gutters as they predicting a rainy week. The rain from the house gutters go into rain barrels and into fish pond and as pond overflows the water irrigates peach and pear trees. I planted most of the warm weather seeds like corn, pumpkins, watermelon, beans and carrots. The garden is doing well we have lettuce onions and spinach to eat already .I also mowed the lawn. The magnolia is starting to bloom and also the redbud in the backyard.The carpenter bees survived and are coming out of their homes in our wooden swing. The evergreens are showing their buds to break into growth .Garlic and horseradish well on their way. The plum trees in the front yard are also ready to bloom , they are ornamental. The rock garden is just coming alive.
We had some warm weather to really get things going , the garden is really taking off and all the evergreens are showing bud bursting . What really did the job was the warm weather with 3 inches of rain just changed everything over night. Today it is back down to the fifties.
Today it was 80 degrees and the garden is doing well only thing that is creating any issue is the squirrels digging up the corn seed I have planted. I planted seed all over the garden just to try to get enough to have some corn to enjoy. The potatoes are doing very well and also the onions. It has gone from cold to warm with little spring. The peach trees had a rough winter none of the peach trees have blossoms on them they are barely coming back slowly. They are all alive but they will be resting this year just to get back to normal may be all summer. I lost 6 sequoias they just could not take the freeze line dropping down to almost 4 feet. We will get plums, cherries, pears and maybe a couple of aproicots.The raspberries where eaten down to the ground by the rabbits because they had little food with snow cover all winter. They are also coming back slowly. The strawberries are flowering and the gooseberries are forming. The pumpkins squash and watermelon are up and growing The beans are doing well. The tomatoes are doing well and the ones I started are ready to transplant as soon as it rains , it is easier on them if you transplant them into wet soil. I have about 100 plants from a variety of sources from buying the blue ones to the ones I saved from last year to the ones I picked up at the Trader Joe's which I let a couple of the heirloom tomatoes ripen to save the seeds. It always fun to see what we get as to sizes, colors and shapes. The goldfish are growing in the pond. the rock(rain) garden is coming to life and the Irises are blooming . I planted celery in the rock (rain ) garden probably only place they will grow. I also planted Milkweed , Marsh Marigold and Joe Pye weed . The Monarchs especially the ones migrating to Mexico need our help with Milkweed to grow for their young caterpillars. The rhubarb is ready for picking. The apple tree did not blossom this year may be next year. There is some Milkweed coming up from seed from last year. Also no Firecracker crabapples this year it was bumper crop last year, it is resting this year. The rose bushes are coming back real slow. on the other hand the evergreens seemed to be growing very well , the all winter snow cover and even amount of moisture just made them grow even better. The nut trees seem to coming out of it slowly too.
The garden is doing real well ,corn is a foot tall the tomatoes plants are almost ready to start tie off and lots of flowers on the plants. The potatoes plants are still doing well looks like a good year for potatoes. We are doing good with all the lettuce types and to use them for landscaping the front yard is great .We used the fancy purple salad fixings for the flower bed with tomatoes plants and tomatillos. The fruit we are getting are plums, cherries, gooseberries, pears, strawberries and maybe a couple of apricots. The peach trees are just coming back, all had some dead branches, all the blossoms where frozen off. The raspberries eaten to the ground by rabbits and are coming back we may get some this year. The black berries died back to the ground and are just coming back. The butterfly garden is doing well and do have some more milkweed growing I will sow some more seeds.The rain (rock) garden is back except the peony is only a few stalks. I planted celery in the rain garden. I also planted some swamp Milkweed. The spinach went to seed . Still no sign of life in about 7 giant sequoias there is about 6 that are slowly coming back. The blue spruce we planted on Christmas day is doing well and is a real blue tree good genetics. All the evergreens are doing well so this brutal winter did very little to effect them. The Magnolia we planted last year looks like a good tree. I planted tomatoes plants all over that I had grown from seed, so its always fun to see what I get and the blue ones I ordered. Also got some tomatillas from seed and planted them. The cactus piece I took off the original plant is doing well. The squash and pumpkin plants are doing well now that we have some hot days.The goldfish pond is being refresh regularly as it has rained weekly. No blossoms on the apple tree again maybe next year. The firecracker crab tree has taken a year off, it had so many last year. The walnut trees are showing signs of nuts. the pepper plants are just starting to grow with this hot days. Flowers that I sprinkled seed last fall are coming up and flowering.the old rose bush is coming back strong but the purple rose is slow to come back. The Black Diablo bush is also slow to come back died back to the ground.
The garden is doing good, corn is waist high, tomatoes plants are being tied to the stakes and the supports. Because it really hasn't got hot at all the cold weather crops still growing and not bolting. The potatoes are doing real well also the onions. The pumpkins and the squash are are vineing out and flowering out. the purple beans are forming also the purple kalirabi. The cherries are almost gone the trees had a rough winter too produced few cherries compared to most years and there was very few left after the birds found them . The birds have less fruit this year because the winter was so hard on trees. The plums are doing OK but not a big crop. The grapes and gooseberries seem to be the only things that where un effected by the winter. So far the keifer pear tree is only fruit to be normal producer. Few bartlett pears few walnuts. The rose bushes just slowly coming back. The butterfly garden is doing real well. The rain (rock) garden is coming back well .I have planted the tomatoes starts all over the yard including the front yard with the purple veggie theme it is easy to plant vegees in the front yard with out the neighbors realizing what is growing , especially the lettuce types. We have received rain every week so everything seems to be growing well. all the evergreen trees are doing well. We lost at least 6 Sequoias the others coming back real slow.The peppers are growing but very slow not hot enough. We got a few raspberries and black berries are just flowering they where killed back to the ground. The raspberries are slowly coming back the rabbits ate them to the ground. We are getting allot of tomatoes.
The summer is a little cool but with the consistent small amounts of rain the garden is doing well, pumpkins and corn shows there is enough heat to grow them. The tomatoes are doing well got my first cherokee purple tomatoes. The purple beans and some of the green beans are ready to eat. We are getting secondary broccoli from the plants small but all so good. The Monarchs are showing up to our Milkweed and butterfly garden. The purple coneflowers are starting to bloom. What plums we have are being eaten by squirrels because they have little food because of the the brutal winter killing the buds of so many trees, nut and fruit trees in particular. I did get to taste some of them but they are taking them before they ripen. We got a few cherries but the lack of fruit for the birds due to the brutal winter killing off so many trees anything in the trees is so more choice for birds before they get close to ripe. The peach trees are slowly coming back. The few Bartlett pears did not get close to full size before the squirrels ate them. We do have allot of kiefer pears so far and they ripen in the fall. I have tomatoes plants growing everywhere , hope it gets hot to get the plants to produce allot.
The potato plants are starting to fade , dug up some for dinner. Also picked some beans and tomatoes. The corn is starting to tassel. The pumpkins are vining all over Looks like about 5 so far .The plums are all gone most eaten by squirrels not even close to ripe. The rock (rain) garden is blooming and the butterfly garden is attracting Monarchs with milkweed plants. Picked 4 bags of gooseberries. The thorns on them protect them.The raspberry plants are coming back as the rabbits ate them to the ground because of snow cover all winter. The veggie garden in the front yard is great especially the purple color. Tomatoes plants are starting to grow better but we still need some hot weather. I dug up some of the onions that faded and hung in a tree to dry. The blackberry is just flowering it died back all the way to the roots because of the brutal winter.Got only one rose on the purple rose also slowly coming back. The old time rose from the neighbor also slow to come back. The cactus is doing well including the piece I transplanted to front yard. The goldfish are enjoying their regular water change as it has continued to rain a little each week. Had two of the cauliflower for dinner with beans and tomatoes.The purple lettuce are going to seed but it is an aesthetic plant also so it looks good in the front yard as landscape plant.
The corn was knocked down and eaten by raccoons so this year no corn . The lack of food caused by harsh winter producing few fruits and nuts has sent the local animals to seek out gardens and local yards for food source. The squirrels are desperate enough to eat green tomatoes and pears that are nowhere near full size pear so no pears. This year only fruit collected was cherries , gooseberries and some plums. We have regular ripeing tomatoes and canned 5 and half quarts of tomatoes. My wife has made a bunch of cherry mini pies. We have about 10 pumpkins growing , not very big. I tilled the section that had our corn onions and some of the potatoes and put in some beans spinach, and beets as a second season. we have got very different sizes of tomatoes and colors.We had some beans and had the three small heads of cauliflower. Our rock is on a full bloom of coneflowers and daisies just perfect for summer. The flowers that bloom at dusk are flowering. I have been trimming the fruit trees of any dead branches and since no fruit this year I am trimming them of lower branches to walk under. It has been very cool summer so very few peppers and the squirrels have taken some of them because of little food around. The butterfly garden has attracted Monarchs and is also doing well. we still have potatoes to eat and have more to dig up . Nothing like a fresh dug up potatoes. The onions have been hung out and dried and brought down stairs for storage. The gold finches have shown up to eat their favorite sunflowers.The goldfish in the pond are doing well and still getting plenty of rain to fill the pond. Four Giant sequoias survived out of 14.
The garden is winding down , the cool and wet weather put the pumpkin vines into breaking down and rotting. We got about 10 pumpkins, not very big but we we will have pumpkin pie all winter. We are going to have tomatoes , the second crop is starting produce tomatoes the variety ones from all the seeds I planted and this is fun part to see what we get. We got some blue ones the only seeds I bought. They need sun to turn them blue . The shade side is greenish purple. Beans slowed with cool weather. We got two cucumbers found under the rotting pumpkin vines. The grapes are doing excellent , biggest crop ever, we have been sampling them for a week. The cold weather crops have restarted to grow and I have the beets starting to grow from a second planting. I dug up more potatoes and once again there is nothing better to eat. We have canned 10 quarts of tomatoes so far and the little ones my wife eats before they any chance of canning. Did some more pruning of the dead branches on the parts of the peach trees but the trees are coming back well and we could get a good crop next year if the winter is more normal because peaches bud on new growth. The new giant sequoias I planted are doing well and 4 trees that survived are slowly coming back. The squirrels are stealing tomatoes because no nut trees in the area produced nuts because the brutal winter.The Blue spruce we planted on Christmas day is doing very well. There many different butterflies spotted in the yard definitely a successful butterfly garden. The purple rose produced two roses and the 50 year old rose is just coming back. All the evergreen trees are doing very well with the cool wet summer. The raspberries are growing back and the blackberries are just getting back to a plant that looks healthy. The sunflower heads are being pulled off by the squirrels because they have no nuts. The coneflowers and daisies are just great , planting local always works no matter what the summer.
The tomatoes are still producing but far fewer but since they are the small ones they ripen faster. We are getting brown ones we got the seeds from Trader Joes from a veraity bag and also brown tomatoes from Walmart produce dept. We got some cherry and plum tomatoes fom saving seed from last year. The blue ones I bought seed for also producing, they need to be in sun all the way by turning them to get them completly blue otherwise they have reddish green tinge on the shade side. The cold weather veggies are growing well. Also the peppers are growing and picked some more. A few beans still being produced. Eating grapes everday, the birds have not found them yet. Th e rock/rain garden is in full bloom and a purple flower we seeded has showed up. The butterfly garden milkweed pods are setting their seed free by popping open. I saved some and let the rest fly off to volenteer. All the evergreens are doing well. Did some more pruning of trees.
Picked some more peppers and sliced them with all the other peppers I have saved in the crisper and soaked them in salt water for a couple of days and then pickled and canned them. Pick some tomatoes cherry, plum, brown each day not enough to can but great to have to eat every day. The rock /rain forest is fading. Cold weather veggies are doing good, there are a couple of good sized rutabagees. We will dig up the rest of the potatoes when we dig up the cold weather crops after the frost of that kills the tops. brussel sprouts are forming well. The grapes are gone except the bowl in the frig. The butterfly garden is fading and seeds dispersed some with a little help. Did some more pruning of the peach trees where they did not leaf out becaause of winter kill. The cherry tree lost it leaves already .
It is Halloween season and I set up the fall pumpkin display and also lit up the plastic pumpkins hanging in the purple leaf plum tree which the plastic pumpmkins are purple as we continue the purple theme. Also set up lites along the fence with orange lites and orange pastic pumpkins that are lit up. It is the fun time of the year.
This morning the freeze over nite 26 degrees has killed off the tomatoes and pepper plants. I picked all the tomatoes and peppers left on the plants and brought them in to ripen on their own. The cold weather plants are doing well yet . We got some good size rutabagas and the onions I missed are growing and will be great green onions for Thanksgiving . We have celery growing well so the dressing for Thanksgiving will have fresh ingrediants. Pumpkin pie will come from our few small pumpkins. I have to dig up the rest of the potatoes for Thanksgiving. We will dig up the rest of the vegees as it gets colder. The Leaves have dropped and few left which I used my mulching lawn mower to mulch the leaves into the garden. We bought our live Chistmas Tree a Korean spruce which we will bring in the house for a week to decorate and then plant on Christmas Day. I will dig the hole this week so it will be easy to dig. We don't have a Korean Spuce so it will nice to have . Our first tree we planted is now thirty feet tall and you save a lot a money and be green at the same time.
The last of the potatoes were dug up and rutabagas , We also dug up the parsnips and turnips and the green onions we missed last summer as the onion died back as it got hot. Two small cabbages were harvested and froze to make soup latter. The brussel sprouts will picked later , cold makes them sweeter. I raked the leaves a couple of times and put them in the garden and mulched them with the lawn mower. I dug a hole for the Korean Spruce for our Chistmas Tree so we can plant it on Chistmas Day. Got the goldfish out of the pond it almost froze over two inches deep looks like another cold winter. Picked and distributed all the seeds and seed pods of flowers so the new volunteers can find a place to grow. Cut the celery from the rock/rain garden an put in a jar with water keep fresh for making dressing.
Thankgiving was very good we had Roasting chicken with small potatoes with gravy and buttered rutabagees , and parsnips. We used the celery, onions and garlic in the dressing. We had pumpkin pie . There is so much more great taste in using home grown Ingredients.
We put the Chistmas Lights Up
Planting of the Christmas Tree
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