This is good point to let you know that all the rain and snow melt that hits the roof of our house is funneled from the downspouts to the goldfish pond, so the pond gets a fresh water source and when it gets filled it overflows to the orchard to water the trees and feed the trees from the fish waste nutrients. As an organic and a green family it is a easy way of creating some great fruit. One of the great things I did when we bought our house is that each year at Christmas we bought a Balled and Bur lapped Evergreen Tree, brought it in for a week decorated it and planted on Christmas Day. We did this ever year and landscaped our quarter acre and also created a wind break for winter keep our house warmer, made our yard aesthetically appealing and to save energy.
I encourage you to feed your local birds and the migrating birds in the spring as they will eat bugs that are coming out in the spring to feed their young as they nest or stop off to their ultimate nesting area. This will help in keeping insect populations to a more manageable level without using pesticides.
Reading Seed Catalogues as it is strange weather in January. I ordered seeds early so I can get what I want in case they run out. I also have all the seeds I saved from last fall. I am saving Paper Towel and T. P. tubes to use for my seed starts in Feb.. In late Feb.. I can put them out in the Green House. I cut them in one and half segments put seed starting soil in them and put 2 seeds in each tube. The tubes fade away in the soil over time.
My seeds came in the mail. It has been once again a strange winter it got down to 23 below zero last thursday and went up to 47 today. This is a little early for seed starting, another week or so for cold weather seeds like lettuce, kale, cabbage etc.The snow is almost gone but it is Feb..
Well March is coming in like a Lion. Tomorrow the high will be 8 degrees and forecast for the next 2 weeks is at or below 32 degrees. Needless to say planting the cold weather seeds in the green house will be delayed about 2 weeks. The winter is not letting go. Some fun news the fig tree I bring in every year has leafed out and now has little figs on it. The one planted in the ground outside probably won't show any sign of life until the last week in May.
The weather is getting better so I am doing some seed planting of onions, peas, snow peas, kale, tomatoes, and peppers in trays. I will put the trays of seeds in the green houses tomorrow. The snow will be gone by this weekend. The birds are loud in the morning, a good sign of spring and saw my first robins fighting over territory as we have trees thru out our quarter acre of property. I also will plant spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage seeds in planters in the greenhouse. Some of the spinach, lettuce and kale will be left in the greenhouse to grow to have early salad greens as some of the tomato plants will stay in to get early tomatoes.
The day got up to 42 degrees, but sunny all day and brought up the greenhouse up to 79 degrees, which will jump start the seeds. I cleaned up the yard of tree branches and did a little pruning of the trees. The winter thaw in Jan. was good because I got to rake up most of the leaves in the yard, so I have head start in yard clean up. I also cleaned up the raised bed so I think I will plant radish and lettuce when it thaws out completely and later when it gets warm enough in May plant Tomato plants. The garden itself is thawed and muddy where the sun hits it all day.
The ritual we have each year is to go get Purple Pansies from our local nursery as soon as available and plant them in all our planters to start out our year plus give our neighbors a little look to the spring. The raised bed thawed out and I cleaned it up and planted lettuce, radish, kale and spinach in it. In May I will plant tomato and pepper plants in the raised bed. I planted some more spinach, lettuce, and kale in the green house. The spring start is cooler than normal but this the midwest and anything can happen. Did some more raking of the yard. The garden is completely thawed out now. We need a week with no rain to dry it out so I can plant the cold weather veggies as turnips, rutabaga, beets, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. The birds are nesting in our yard and one in knot hole on our cedar siding of our garage in which I put a box on the inside of the garage so they can nest in it. I tied up the trimmed and broken branches so the city can pick up and shred so they can use as mulch on city gardens.
Spinach, Lettuce and Peas are up in the greenhouse. I mulched all the raked up leaves in the garden with Mulching Lawn mower . Hopefully the garden will dry out enough this week so to rotor till the garden and plant the cold weather veggies on the weekend. A cold day, started at 23 degrees and went up only to 38. Did a little more clean up of the yard and the bird baths. The tulips are up. The cactuses are responding to the sun and are starting to slowly curl back up after laying on the ground all winter from snow. The birds are in full voice by daybreak.
It dried out enough to rototill the garden this week. I planted this weekend seed for Radish, Turnips, Beets, Rutabaga, Beans, Peas, Parsnips and Lettuce. I also planted starts I got from my local nursery two types of Kale and one Cauliflower. I also bought onion starts and planted them in the garden. Plus I picked up from the nursery a dozen of variety tomato plants to grow in the greenhouse to produce tomatoes early. I transplanted these tomato plants in to Oatmeal round containers big enough for the tomato plant to grow to maturity. Many of the perennial flowers are coming up around the Barrel container. Also rhubarb is coming up. The gooseberries plants are budding ready to flower. The Rain/Rock garden is coming to life. Near the house also tulips and perennials are emerging. In the Greenhouse the spinach, peas, lettuce, and sunflowers are up and about an inch high.
On this spring day it brought us 6 inches of snow. The good thing is that rest of the week in the 50's and 60's. The air temp stayed right around 33 degrees so anything I planted in the garden is fine and as the snow melts it will not run off like in a rain storm, so garden gets a good soaking.. The Pansies are fine (their origin is mountain tops where spring snow storms are common) and all also the spring plants breaking thru are fine too. A good day to relax.
Every Day is Earth Day to us as we are a green family and business. We should have spinach to eat in the green house by next weekend. I planted some more tomato seeds in the green house.The tomato seeds I planted before are about an inch tall. I transplanted the kale seedlings into 6 pac trays so I can give them away. No blossoms blooming on fruit trees yet. The Magnolia and Crabapples will probably start blooming this week. Some seedlings just popping up in the garden, can't identifying them yet. Everything survived the snow and it was gone by Tuesday. A bird built a nest on top of the motion sensor for the porch light, this is different. Everything is growing nicely in the greenhouse. The barrel flower garden is starting to bloom, tulips soon to bloom too, Daffodils next. Life signs in the Rock/Rain garden. The raspberries, gooseberries and Golgi berry are coming to life.
Woke up to 3 inches of snow and was gone by 2 PM. Did not effect any thing as it stayed around freezing for about 5 hours and then went up to 47 by noon.The Magnolia started to bloom as the snow melted away. Transplanted more tomato seeding's to peat pots. Some sunflower seeds I planted in the greenhouse are now 3 inch plants that I transplanted to outside planters outside the greenhouse so their is some thing different . The corn in greenhouse is up . We are going to try to grow corn in the greenhouse again as well as in the garden but raccoons usually eat our garden corn before we get it.The spinach in the green house is ready to eat. The lettuce in raise bed is up and growing as well is radish, turnips, rutabagas and beets in the garden. The green onions are now growing. The gooseberries are flowering. All the fruit trees are starting to come alive very slow. I bought some pepper plants, five types because they are plants I would rather have the starts as I ran out of canned peppers and need only one good crop to last 3 or 4 years. Have about 100 extra kale plants and my wife is giving them to her friends. Put out tomato plants in the planters by the south side of the house . They will grow fast in this micro climate plus this where my wife stops to eat the tomatoes. I plant bite size tomatoes
The garden got a good soaking but still cool. The Magnolia is the only tree in bloom .The crabapples probably next to bloom. This is great example of weather effecting the timing of fruit trees blooming. If you look back at all of the proceeding years of my Journals it shows just how much difference there is in their is in blooming times each year. This is in gardens too, how warm, sunny, rain, insects, birds and animals are so different each year all you can do is prepare for it and see how your earlier journals can help. I trans planted from the green house six tomato plants in the garden that are a foot tall. Another six next week . I will keep a few in the green house so we will have early tomatoes. The rain /rock garden has come to life and the peony is breaking thru. I harvest the first spinach from the green house. The green onions in the garden have taken off. The kale, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli are doing real well in the garden. The lettuce, radish, turnips, peas, and rutabagas are up and growing. The tomato plants I planted from seed are doing well and will trans plant them to garden and all around the yard the last week of May if the weather is warm enough otherwise I will keep them in the greenhouse for another week or two . The Tulips are blooming with the daffodils.
Planted 4 more one foot tall tomato plants in the garden from the green house. Planted seeds of cucumber, pumpkin, sunflower, and watermelon in the garden. The weather is still real cool about 10 degrees below normal but two cherry trees are blooming. The rest of the fruit is wait and see because of three days of 26 below in Jan. we may get very few trees with blossoms. The corn is up in the green house . The tomato plants from seed are three inches tall. They will be nice size for the memorial day weekend panting assuming it is warm enough. The lettuce, peas and the spinach in the raised bed are doing well . The cold weather vegees from seed in the garden are doing well. I cut back the plum tree by one third because of a disease, hopefully it can come back.. All the kale, cabbage and cauliflower are doing well. The rock garden/rain garden is coming alive well including ferns. The gooseberries and raspberries doing well. The evergreens are showing sign of life as they are coming out of this long cold spring. The five dollar mid summer Apple tree I bought at a discount has blossoms on it and my 17 year old Granny Smith has none. The walnut trees have no sign of life yet. The Golgi berry plants are alive and growing. The Red Bud trees are just starting to bud. The rhubarb will be ready in about 10 days. The Crabapple trees should bloom in about a week . The cold has delayed these too.
The Pear Trees all have Blossoms One of the cherry trees didn't make thru the 26 below in Jan. started cutting it down.Rhu bard is ready to pick. Crabapple trees are in bloosum.Pl anted seeds of corn, pumpkin, squash, carrots, cucumber, and beans. Looks like no blossoms on peach trees, they were killed off in the 26 below days in Jan. The rock/rain garden is doing well with this wet cold spring. The horseradish up and doing well.The tomato plants from seeds are 4 inches tall and if Memorial Day weekend is warmer I will plant them all around the yard. The tomato plants in the garden and planters are doing good. Evergreens are doing good and the three Giant Sequoias survived 26 below. The barrel Flower Garden is doing well as is the raised bed . We will have spinach, lettuce and kale to eat for the holiday weekend. Goose Berry's and Raspberry are doing well.
The 17 year old apple tree has blossoms on it, amazing the pruning by a third and cutting a circle of the roots at its drip line worked. Just waiting for the walnut trees to bud out and grow. The raspberries, grapes and goose berries are producing fruit. No blossoms on peach trees, they where killed off with 26 below for 3 days in Jan.. I planted some more tomato plants from the greenhouse to the garden and raised bed. There are sunflowers and some pumpkin plants coming up. It has been raining ever other day and warm between making everything grow. We have picked onions, lettuce, kale, radish and rhubarb. The rain/rock and barrel gardens doing well and milkweed coming up, so the soil is warming up well. Evergreens doing well in this cool rain. Corn in the greenhouse is 4 inches high, the corn in garden, no sign of it. The asparagus by seed has come up in the greenhouse. Green peas and green beans are coming up in the garden. All the cold weather veggies doing great. No apricot blossoms, also killed by the 26 below days. The Robin had two babies that have left the nest that was right above the motion detector for the porch light. They are staying in the yard until they are ready to go.
Our radish are perfect and the way we eat them they won't last long. Had lettuce salad too. Picked onions and spinach from the garden. The kale is ready too. Picked rhubarb too and made pie filling with rhubarb, canned peaches and frozen raspberries from last year.The walnut trees are just coming alive. Planted the rest of the tomato plants all over the yard. There are cherries on one of the cherry trees. The goose berries are vi sable. The rock/rain garden has iris's blooming. The barrel garden is doing well . It has been so cool that the Magnolia is just finishing up blooming. The pumpkin and cucumber plants are up and the sunflowers too. The corn in the greenhouse is 5 inches tall also the asparagus is 4 inches tall. The hollyhock plants from seed are growing. Beans are up in some places. Put up tomato stakes for the tomatoes in the garden as they are 12 to 14 inches tall. All the cold weather veggies are doing great because it has been so cool.
The weather has not warmed up yet,still a little cool but the cold weather veggies are thriving. Lettuce and radish and kale are doing great. Also cabbage, cauliflower, and onions doing great. Rhubarb still coming back after first harvest . The corn is sparsely coming up in the garden either because of the cold or squirrels. Pumpkin, squash and cucumbers all up. I put up some more tomato stakes. There is flowers on the big tomato plants and on the plants in container planters. The corn in the greenhouse is 7 inches tall so it is doing good. The asparagus in the greenhouse is doing well. The fruit we will get so far is pears, raspberries, gooseberries, crabapples, grapes, mulberries and cherries. The 26 below for 3 days in Jan. killed off the buds to peaches, apricots, plums and walnuts. The possibility of apples is good. The sunflowers are doing well. Planted some celery root and kalirabi starts. The rock/rain garden and the barrel garden are doing great in this cool weather. The 3 cactus are doing well because of their microclimate facing southwest and next to the house. The Milkweed is coming up in all places I planted them so cold does not seem to effect them. The Fig tree in the yard is finally coming up, the fig tree I brought out that we keep in the house is still adjusting to the outside but it still has figs on it.
It is still cool for June . We picked the last of the radish which was one of the best years because of the the cool weather, they didn't bolt and lost only a few to bugs eating them. Picked some more spinach which hasn't bolted either. The onions are doing great as all the cool weather veggies are. One of the cauliflowers has a 3 inch head already.Tied up some of the tomato plants. The pea pods are forming on the peas. The carrots are coming up barely. Allot flowers on the tomato plants. The lettuce is thriving with this cool weather. The walnut trees are just starting to leaf out. The corn in greenhouse is two foot tall and in the garden only 4 inches tall. The asparagus is doing well in the greenhouse. The rock/rain garden and barrel garden are doing well in this cool weather. The Milkweed is thriving including the raised bed. The evergreens love this weather. The turnips are starting to get some size , marble size. Beans and cucumbers are finally coming up in quantity.
The weather is getting better more heat and yet rain . The barrel garden has taken off. My wife made a rhubarb, peach, raspberry pie great combo. Lettuce still going strong with this cool wet summer as all cold weather veggies. We have tomatoes on allot of the plants. The goldfish in the pond are growing almost pan size. We have apples growing on the 17 year old tree. The milkweed is thriving . The rock/rain garden and barrel garden are doing great. The crabapple tree has allot on it, great for pie.The evergreens are doing great also in this cool summer.The potted tomatoes and the raised garden bed are only areas growing with the lack of summer heat. We also have allot of cherries. there are some pears.
It has been like summer finally but also wet .The Garden tomato plants are just starting to grow with the heat and the big plants have tomatoes on them. The potted tomato plants are doing the best, the raised bed is doing really well too. The cold weather plants doing great as heat is not steady. We are eating peas and pea pods along with lettuce, kale and onions. The turnips and rutabagas are ping pong size. The mulberries are ripening and are real good. The corn in the greenhouse is 2 feet tall, the corn in garden 10 inches. The pumpkin vines are starting to vine out. I tied up some more of the tomato plants. The rock/rain garden is doing great and the peony is blooming. The barrel garden is doing great too. The rose bush is growing out, it died back to the ground with 26 below for 3 days in Jan. The walnut trees are just getting going also effected by the 26 below weather. Bean plants are growing better with the heat. More cauliflowers forming.
The Monarchs are back to lay their eggs as the Milkweed around the barrel garden start to bloom with the Tiger Lilies. We have peppers, picked 8 of them and they are the pepper plants in the greenhouse. The pepper plants in the garden and raise bed have done very little growing because it has been so cool and wet. I dug up the pepper plants in the garden and potted them up and put them in the greenhouse. I think I will grow peppers in the greenhouse all the time instead of the garden or raised bed. We have cherries , they turning red now. The raspberries are starting to ripen, this about two weeks late. My wife mixes them in plain yogurt. The lettuce is still going strong. We have turnips, we par cook them and then freeze them for mixing in mashed potatoes for holiday meals. The kale is doing excellent, going to make smoothies with the raspberries. Green onions still growing, we have another cauliflower forming. We have apples on two trees. The beans are growing pretty good. The tomato plants are struggling with the cool weather and rain but most have tomatoes on the plants. The Goose Berries are still green, they are purple when ripe. The grapes are pea size now. The Pumpkin vines are starting to vine out.
We picked 3 more cauliflower heads and the raspberries are ripening fast, picking 2 zip lock freezer bags every other day. Also lettuce is still good, not bolted yet. Picked a zip lock bag of gooseberries as they are now getting used of their new location. Picked some more peppers from the greenhouse, will can them when I get enough. I Harvested 4 big Zip Lock Freezer bags of Kale for winter. It stopped raining and now is getting really hot, predicting close to ninety all next week. The garden went from mud to hard shell of dirt which stopped the turnips, and rutabagas from growing. The tomato plants that survived mud are struggling with crust of hard dirt. The tomato plants that have survived all have tomatoes on them but not very big. The tomato plants in the raised bed are doing better but tomato plants in the planters on the south side of the house are doing great. This is why you have a variety of places to plant things as you can have micro climates that will do good on your property. The milkweed is at its peak in the barrel garden yet the milkweed in the back yard are still growing and are about 2 weeks behind. The Rock/Rain garden is not blooming yet also about 2 weeks behind. The cherries are just about ready. The onions are still growing. The pumpkin vines are starting to take over the garden. The Sunflowers are blooming but no where near 6 ft tall do to the cold wet start of summer. The beans are starting to grow with the heat. The horseradish is doing excellent with cool summer start. The rhubarb is dying back, too warm now.
We had our first Ripe tomatoes and picked our first green beans enough for dinner. The lettuce survived the three days of 90 plus. The cherries got eaten by the birds, our family of Blue Jays came again. We are still picking raspberries, a couple of lunch baggies every other day. Picked another cauliflower. The grapes are getting bigger. The heat lasted for a week. The hostas in the rain/rock garden are blooming. The Sunflowers are blooming and the Gold Finches are back eating the Sunflower seeds.
The tomatoes are ripening that are left in the garden and the plants I lost two thirds because of the garden going from flooded to hardened crust in our heat wave. Got about 4 tomatoes from each plant as they ripened on the dying plant. All very good tomatoes different sizes. I am going to rototill the area to plant lettuce for the fall. The tomato plants in the raised bed and containers are doing well. We had some more beans for dinner. The lettuce in the raised bed has not bolted yet. My favorite is still having BLT's, nothing better than fresh tomatoes. The raspberries are done, very good year. Picked the rest of the gooseberries. The purple cone flowers and black eyed susan's are blooming in the rain/rock garden. The cabbages are forming their heads. Dug up some more onions. Kale is thriving even in the heat. The pumpkin vines are growing all over. The Firecracker Crabapples are marble size. The Fig tree that is in the ground is taking off in this heat.
Dug up some more onions, picked some more lettuce and tomatoes for BLT's. Also picked some more beans. The peppers in the greenhouse are now producing peppers and I will can them when I get enough. The sunflowers are bringing the gold finches. I see Monarch butterfly's every day as we have Milkweed in 4 places in the yard. The dry heat is perfect for the Purple Cone Flowers and Black Eyed Susan's to bloom. The pumpkin vines are still doing good. The cabbages are doing OK. It is the long days of August and it is time to plant a fall crop of lettuce. I will rototill the areas that are now open to plant . The Golgi plants are now three feet tall so far and on the third year.
Dug up some more onions. Picked beans and tomatoes. We had hamburgers and with fresh tomatoes and onions nothing better except maybe a BLT. Monarchs continue to show up to our Milkweed. It is real dry this August, very little rain. Goldfinches are also regulars to our Sunflowers. Rototilled part of the garden where onions, turnips, radish, and rutabaga were. Will plant lettuce when it cools down and starts to rain again.
The Grapes are starting to ripen. Picked some more beans and tomatoes. Picked a whole bowl of peppers and will can them this week. Burgers and BLT's nothing better.
The grapes are ripening and we picked a bowl full. Picked beans enough for dinner. A few more tomatoes ripen. The cabbage is growing again. Cleaning up the garden, some corn stalks for Halloween. The corn stalks in the green house will also be used for halloween. Still see some Monarchs.
Still have tomatoes 3 or 4 a week ripen. The cabbage is doing good with the rain. Picked some more green beans, enough for dinner. Picked the 5 peaches that where on the tree before the squirrel finds them. Picked the rest of the grapes. The Keiffer pears are starting to get bigger.
We got huge amounts of rain and flooded everything. The cabbage likes it but the few tomato plants in the garden and raised bed are sitting in mud. The celery in the rain garden also is doing good. The rain garden is truly a stream bed this week. The pods on the Milkweed are big now. Had a few Figs off the Fig tree in the container. The Fig tree in the ground did not flower this year.
We still get 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes a week. The cabbage is growing well and we will get a few heads this year. We have two pumpkins growing, not very big. The Kieffer pears are getting mature. The celery in the rain garden is doing good. Started to clean up some of the garden but this weekend got more rain. Got a bunch more peppers in the greenhouse, need to pick and can them. I moved more tomato plants in to the green house to extend the growing season. Flowers on one of the Golji plants.
It rained and flooded the garden again and the 2 pumpkins imploded as it rotted the vines the new lettuce is in mud and dying. The cabbage is doing well and we will get 4 or 5 heads. The Kieffer pears are doing well and we will get some but the squirrels are eating them off the tree. Still getting a couple of tomatoes a week. The crabapples were good to eat off the tree but not enough to can. The kale is growing well and is the best success of the season. The celery in the Rain/Rock garden is growing well now with cooler days and wet. Picked more peppers out of the green house and will can them this week. Put some more tomato plants in the green house.
It is warm start of Oct. but change is coming. I put some more tomato plants in the green house to extend the season. I canned some more peppers, 2 half pints. A few more tomatoes ripened and picked a bowl of green beans, and 2 bowls of kiefer pears, a little green so they will ripen in the house to eat as they ripen. Not enough to can yet but maybe next week. Put up some the Halloween decorations, one of our favorite holidays. We buy pumpkins because the amount of space they take up is better left to plants like tomatoes cabbage, etc that will give us the best bang for the bucks. We always plant some pumpkins just in case a perfect year but as this year as in Illinois, floods came. Collecting seeds like flower, tomato and bean seeds for next year. The celery is doing and will harvest just before a freeze for Thanksgiving. We have 4 or 5 good cabbages.
It was cold this week. Canned six pints of Kiefer pears. We will get more, just a few are falling off the tree. It is a 25 foot tree so we have to wait for them to fall . The tree will release them all at once at some point when it is the trees time to drop leaves. When I was a kid we had pear trees and my mother had me use my football to knock down the pears when we had a bumper crop so she didn't have to can them all at once. We still having a few tomatoes a week in the greenhouse and it is hot enough for pepper plants flowering and slowly growing some peppers. The cabbage and kale still doing well. Cold and rainy week. Colleting seeds for next year. Most of the Halloween decorations are up.
It was a normal Oct week in the low sixties. The cabbage and kale is still growing. The kiefer pears are slowing falling to the ground not enough to can some more but a some point the tree will release just about all of them in a day or two. The Halloween decorations look great. The greenhouse tomatoes are producing a few tomatoes a week. It gets up to the 80's on a sunny day in the green house. No frost yet, but it has gone down to 33 at night. A few more peppers are growing in the green house too. Collected some pea, bean and flower seeds also. Always take few seeds from the tomatoes we get too.
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