February 23, 2009

Calendar of Events

Subject to change

Date of LAST FROST: May 9, 2009

3/7: Sow Broccoli, Brussels, Cauliflower, and Lettuce indoors
3/14: Sow Peppers indoors
3/21: Sow Tomatoes indoors
4/11: Sow Radishes DIRECTLY in containers. Set out Lettuce.
4/18: Sow Cucumbers indoors. Set Brussels outdoors
4/20: Plant Potatoes DIRECTLY
4/25: Sow Carrots DIRECTLY. Sow Beets DIRECTLY in containers. Set Broccoli and Cauliflower outdoors.
5/16: Set out Tomatoes and Cucumbers
5/23: Sow Beans DIRECTLY. Set out Peppers.

I'll most likely have two other containers to experiment with. I definitely want to try radishes and beets. Other possibilities include Swiss Chard, Spinach, or Eggplant.

This list also doesn't include herbs. I'll update this list as I figure it all out.

February 22, 2009

The Incubator

One day soon, the seeds will be set and my little babies will emerge, ever-reaching for sunlight and thirsty for water. My husband and I set up our future darlings temporary housing - on top the fridge.

We only have one south-facing window, which I utilized last year, but this year my son occupies the space. I have read the warmth generated by the refrigerator will help germination. We hung a two foot shop light from the ceiling and replaced the bulbs with grow lights. I have room for two 72-count Jiffy starter kits. Although I'm not entirely fond of the peat pellets, it will have to do for this year. Maybe by the end of the year, I'll figure out how to build a cold frame.

The first date to plant is March 7th (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, lettuce). I can hardly wait!

February 15, 2009


Unfortunately the rains came and we were unable to get a head start on our soil last week. We will have to do the best we can this spring and hope for another warm breeze to make its way through the midwest.

I placed my online order for seeds last week as well. I ordered from John Scheepers. I ordered from them last year and was impressed with their prompt delivery and packaging. The seeds seemed to be in good order and a large number of them germinated, given my inexperience. I do need to do more research about their policies regarding Monsanto. I know they offer both hybrid and open-pollinated seeds. I purchased a few hybrids to ensure a little consistency to my first backyard garden. In particular, I purchased the Big Beef Beefsteak Tomatoes to round out other heirloom and open pollinated varieties I will be planting.

What else did I purchase, you ask?

Blue Lake Pole Beans
Sweet Slice Cucumbers
Alibi Pickling Cucumbers
Jericho Romaine Lettuce
Matina Sweet Butterhead Lettuce
Beaumont Broccoli
Early Dawn Cauliflower
Diablo Brussels Sprouts
Royal Chantenay Carrots

Now I will (im)patiently wait for Tony the Mailman to deliver my babies!

February 14, 2009

My Green Valentine

It's an understood fact that we don't "celebrate" Valentine's Day in our household. There are no cards, no flowers, no big night out. We are lovable and thoughtful in our own ways.

I'm a firm believer that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach - so I did what I do best - made cupcakes. A chocolate version by Ina Garten topped with pink icing. They are totally decadent.

My husband surprised me with a stop by our favorite sushi restaurant, Ichiban. Sammy makes the BEST sushi I've ever had (and I've had a lot of sushi). We tried out a new roll, the Green Roll, made with salmon and avocado, rolled inside out with a soy wrapper with tiny green roe on top and a creamy sauce on the side. It was fresh and delicious.

When we returned home, he again surprised me with a new book. I love this man, but who's he calling an idiot!?

February 8, 2009


The weather has been so refreshing - and promising. There will be a spring! I do realize that we're still a few months away, and snow showers will continue. However, the past few days are a reminder that we need to start preparing. Just look at this forcast:

The ground where our future garden will be is still water logged. Twelve inches of melting snow will do that to soil. If the temps stay high and the sun stays out, it should dry up tomorrow. Our plan is to take a tiller to the ground and start working the soil a bit on Tuesday. I'd like to do a pH test as well.

We bought supplies the other day for starting our seeds. A 2' shop light with grow bulbs and Jiffy seeds starters 72ct (2). I know the Jiffy starters are not the best way of starting seeds, but I don't have the capital to invest in a materials just yet. I am saving any container I can to transplant into: formula canisters, sour cream containers, etc. Use and reuse. Jeremy plants to set up our seed station today, on top of the fridge.

I've been working on my garden plan as well. Revising and revising. I've removed peas and onions from my planning, since I don't believe we'll have the garden prepared in time for early planting. We'll try again next year.

Broccoli: Space 18-24" apart. Approx 10 plants.
Cauliflower: Space 18-24" apart. Approx 10 plants.
Brussels Sprouts: Space 24-36" apart. Approx 3-4 plants.
Carrots: Thin to approx 1 per 1-2". Three rows yield approx 150 carrots.
Potatoes: Space 10-12" apart, rows 24" apart. Approx 16 seed potatoes.
Tomatoes & Peppers: Space 24" apart. Approx 16 plants (12 tomato, 4 peppers)
Lettuce: Space 6-8" apart. Approx 25 plants per row. 1-2 rows.
Beans: Space 4-6" apart. Approx 20 plants.
Cucumbers: Space 12" apart. Approx 8 plants. (4 slicing, 4 pickling).