HAPPY NEW YEAR! This year slow down!

hard_work_ant_droplet

Sometimes I feel like this ant!

I just read an article ‘Regenerate Yourself’ by Andrew French from the Permaculture Research Institute email newsletter that I get. A great story about a couple working on changing their property into a Permaculture paradise and all the hard work needed to transform their property into their dream. The above picture from the article shows a very hard-working ant moving a drop of water many times its size. Sometimes I feel like that ant when I seemingly have an insurmountable task to do. I think we should all read this article, whether a gardener or not.

The article hit home for me because it speaks to how hard we work and how little we care for ourselves. We keep on trudging and working until we are either exhausted or injured (or both) trying to meet our goals. Whenever this happens I think it’s the universe’s way of actually making us slow down and now after many years, I listen. I try to slow down and take care of myself (sometimes I’m not so good at this). I look not only at what needs doing but what I’ve already accomplished. This is a great read and seems perfect at this time of year when most of us are doing a little reflecting and recharging our internal batteries, getting ready for the 2014 gardening season.

May you all get excited about what crops you are going to try this year but do please stop and listen to what the universe is saying to you as the season progresses. Maybe 6 hours in the garden is too much (your body will let you know) so why not do 3 hours or less if needed. It will still get done and you’ll be less sore. As I get older I realize taking things in small bites is actually wonderful, letting me enjoy the process instead of just the end goal. It slows me down, let’s me see, smell and feel what is going on in my garden. I become more in touch with what I’m doing, what I’ve already accomplished and this wonderful universe we live in. So slow down, take care of yourselves this year and enjoy life while doing all your projects!

2013 Garden Pictures

entrance insideout

I’ve been taking some photos of the vegetable garden the last few days. The light is so beautiful at 8 am every day that before I started weeding, I took these photos. Slowing down and and really looking how beautiful the garden is makes all the work worthwhile. Enjoy!

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Cherry Picking!

Cherry Macro

Cherries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s nice to have gardening friends in my life. Gardeners usually have an abundance of veggies or fruits in our lives and yesterday was no exception. My friend Bob was out of town and called and mentioned that his cherry trees were loaded and ready to pick so Elodie and I headed over and got about 20 lbs worth!

photo courtesy of happydaycatering.com

We invited Jerry over for dinner and promptly made Cherry Jubilee for dessert! Thanks Bob! PS-there are still lots of cherries left to pick when you come home!

Max and Kryptonite done

Max and Kryptonite are done. Gone. Cut up and given away for food. A good ending to a great story. The giant pumpkin season is now done. In fact all the vegetables are done. Well almost. Gardening is never really over. Now it’s time to  get ready for the next gardening season or you can wait for spring.

Either way, you should clean up your vegetable garden of all the plants that have by now frozen and died and dispose of them with the garbage collectors or in a landfill. Why take them to a land fill and not compost them? Most of us don’t really compost hot enough to kill all the disease pathogens especially going into winter. I do compost the actual fruit or vegetables just not the plants. Powdery mildew, early blight and other diseases can be spread to next year’s crops- so bag the plants and dispose of them in a landfill. They’ll still break down, just not in YOUR garden.

Mr. flicker must eat!

Ok, enough of the white stuff! Went out after work Friday night Mar.20th and drove home in a blizzard whiteout. Pretty scary! Yesterday, Saturday morning, it looked like this but that didn’t stop this flicker from coming to the feeder to rest before he went to the suet feeder to eat. We have 5 flickers staying here this spring. I’m curious if they are done with winter too! Inside the plants look good..

Starting some of my seeds!

Time to start some of my seeds! So here is how I do it:


Yesterday I got out the light fixture I made last year and brought it in the house. This year I’m going to try some natural light bulbs (instead of the flourescents I had last year). I also washed all the pots and containers in a 10% bleach solution to disinfect them in case there was anything to deter the baby seedlings growth. Then I number the pots with some masking tape and waterproof marker so that they correlate with my seed list of plants I want to grow (so I know what I planted in each pot). I put tape on the pots with the number instead of stakes with the name  in the pots as sometimes the stakes fall out. Nothing like a mystery plant where the tag falls off!


Today I got the soil in the pots, watered the soil and then planted some of my seeds to their proper depth and put a little sand over them (the sand seems to stay moister and the seedlings can push through it easier). Then I mist the sand. That way the seeds don’t get disturbed or washed away. Afterwards they go on a plant heat mat to keep warm till they germinate. I will put the lights on a timer after they germinate. Some plants need light to germinate and some don’t. I’m still learning about this. I believe I read somewhere that tomatoes don’t need light to initally germinate but do right afterwards and of course thereafter.

I planted some tomato seeds, some pepper seeds and some eggplants. All these plants seem to take the longest to get growing to decent size before transplanting, so I like to start them early. I still have more tomato seeds to start but are waiting for the seeds to come in.


Last year I used Jiffy Soil starter  and wasn’t happy when I first watered the seeds as the water rolled off the soil-so this year I got this new soil (Sun Gro Metro Mix 300) and the water immediately soaks in-much nicer! I am also going to put some insulation around the light fixture to keep the plants warmer at night as my tomatoes struggled last year when the house was cooler at night. I hope this will help. Tomatoes and peppers hate to be cold as I learned last year.

Also last year I was able to “sneak” my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in early- April 23 (our last freeze date is May 15th) in wall of waters and they did really well (look at my slide show to see them) so that is another reason I start them this early but we will see what this year brings. We’ve had a very cold and wet winter so far (it was snowing again today)..sigh. But it was nice to be in and doing something gardening wise!

Edible Flower List

2010 Edible Flower List

I’m going to have an edible flower garden section this year. I like to cook and want to incorporate these in my cooking. Following is the list of edible flowers that will be in it or are already on the property:
Borage
Calendula
Chives
Cilantro
Dill
Lavender (in existing different area)
Fennel
Lemon Gem Marigold
Alaska Tip Top Nasturtiums
Pansies, violas
Roses (in different existing area)

2010 GARDEN PLANS

Finally here are my garden plans for this year! I used a program from GrowVeg.com that is really fun to use and has all kind of useful info on it. It is free for 30 days and then if you like it, you can subscribe for a fee. I recommend it. I also saved this under my “pages” section so you can refer to it throughout the season instead of trying to find this entry later.

MAIN GARDEN-OVERALL GARDEN VIEW-DOWN BY BARN

MAIN GARDEN-CLOSE UP OF LEFT HALF (you can read it better)

MAIN GARDEN-CLOSE UP OF RIGHT HALF (you can read it better)

BRI’S GIANT PUMPKIN PATCH-DOWN BY BARN

SPRING GARDEN-UP BY HOUSE

Hercules

Here is a picture of my largest pumpkin I grew last year. The picture on the sidebar is Hercules at 166 lbs and in this pic, Hercules actually got to 352 lbs which is the second largest pumpkin ever grown here in New Mexico. I thought you’d like to see it. This year I hope to grow a 500-600 lber with the knowledge I’ve gained and will share here on my blog as the growing season unfolds.

winter-Ugh!

titans in the winter garden 2010

Ah! Looking at those previous pictures of some of my garden last year lifts my spirits as the reality is that we are in the dead of winter. It does a soul good to see such big and beautiful plants-reminds me of what is to come this year! Here is the same picture of what’s left of the titan sunflowers (top pic) in the garden and the bottom pic is of the whole garden as of today!

Chinese red noodle beans

Here’s a picture of my Chinese red noodle beans that took first place at the New Mexico State Fair last year in 2009. They got to about 18″ long. They were a really beautiful purple color and were tasty too! I plan on growing some kind of longbean this year because they are so fun to watch but not sure of which variety.

striped german tomatoes

Striped German TomatoHere is a picture from August 17th of last year of one of my giant tomatoes-an unriped Striped German tomato that was approximately 18″ circumference and weighed 2.5 lbs at this stage. It got to 3 lbs-but way before the State Fair here in New Mexico so we had to eat it! I did take first place for largest tomato at the NM State Fair but it was only 2.5 lbs at its ripest.

titan sunflowers

I just realize it looks like from the photos so far that I only grow giant pumpkins so I want to show you some titan sunflowers which got 10 feet tall last year. Really beautiful. Can’t wait to grow them again this year. The birds love them too. I call them the guardian angels of the garden.

titan sunflower

guardian angels of the garden

Snow!

The gardens are under 8″ of new snow since I last wrote. It hasn’t melted yet and another storm is on the way. Ugh! I was done with winter even before winter solstice happened. Cold wet winter so far. Wet is good but being so cold gets to me. So for now I am getting ready for the next season by making a new garden shed out of my tack room in the barn, building storage shelves in it, ordering seeds, and dreaming of spring! I still must put in a second door in the shed so I have two entrances from both the new pumpkin patch and the regular veggie garden as they are on opposite sides of the barn. That way I can access the shed easily from either garden. The new pumpkin patch which will reside in my old corral, will be named ‘Bri’s Pumpkin Patch’ in honor of my horse that passed to the other side in October. A wonderful horse lost way too early in her life. A loss to all..