Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Celery, Broccoli, Veggie tales!

Just celery actually!
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Plant Stand Progress

Things are coming along.I know I started very early but these were plants with close to 300 days grow length. So doesn't seem like that would be early for them?

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Skippy's Fall Planting Calendar

On-line Vegetable Garden Planting Calendar � SVG

Enter the date of your first fall frost (mm/dd/yyyy)

FIRST FALL FROST (e.g. 10/10/2009)
Use the date of the earliest fall frost in your garden in the past 5 years or so. For year, enter this year - 2009.

Sow last crop of beans (15 weeks before first frost).
Transplant fall broccoli and cabbage seedlings to garden (13 weeks before first frost).
Transplant fall collard seedlings to garden (12 weeks before first frost).
Sow fall carrots and beets (11 weeks before frost).
Sow fall peas and kale (10 weeks before frost).
Sow fall spinach (8 weeks before frost).
Sow last fall lettuce (7 weeks before frost).
Sow fall radish (5 weeks before frost).

Complete culture information for individual vegetables.

Spring Planting Calendar via Skippy's Garden

On-line Vegetable Garden Planting Calendar � SVG

Enter the date of your last spring frost (mm/dd/yyyy)

LAST SPRING FROST (e.g. 05/10/2009)
Use the date of the latest spring frost in your garden in the past 5 years or so. If you don't know this, use the date from Burpee or NOAA. For year, enter this year - 2009.

Sow onion, celery and celeriac seeds indoors (11 weeks before last frost).
Sow broccoli, kale, cool weather lettuce, escarole, eggplant and thyme seeds indoors (9 weeks before last frost).
Sow pepper seeds indoors (keep temp above 78*F for germination). Also sow indoors marigold, parsley, basil and beet seeds. (8 weeks before last frost).
Start watching the soil for the first direct planting! As soon as the soil can be worked its time to sow peas, fava beans, arugula and radish directly in the garden (up to 6 or 7 weeks before last frost). (Note: In warmer climates, where the soil doesn't freeze, this tool may not give an appropriate pea planting date. Check with local gardeners for best date.)
Sow tomato seeds indoors. Sow cabbage seeds indoors. (6 weeks before last frost).
Transplant lettuce, broccoli and kale seedlings into the garden (use row cover if necessary). Sow more cool-weather lettuce seed indoors. (4 weeks before last frost).
Sow pumpkin, cucumber and zinnia seeds indoors. (3 weeks before last frost).
Sow summer squash, watermelon and melon seeds indoors. Sow 2nd planting of peas directly in the garden. I'm going to try a 2nd tomato sowing (indoors in pots) in case the spring is very wet again. (2 weeks before last frost).
Sow 2nd cool-weather lettuce crop, more beets, spinach indoors or in garden. (1 week before last frost).
Sow directly in garden seeds for sunflowers, nasturtiums, carrots, parsnips. Plant potatoes, onions sets. Plant 2nd crop of radish. (Week of last frost).
Transplant tomatoes to garden. Plant seeds for corn, beans and soy beans directly in garden. (1 week after last frost).
Sow 3rd cool-weather lettuce crop indoors or in garden. Transplant peppers, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers and melons to the garden if the soil is well warmed. (2 weeks after last frost).
Sow warm-weather lettuce crop (Summer Crisp type) indoors or in garden. Sow 2nd crop of beans, 3rd crop of radish in garden. (5 weeks after last frost).
Sow 2nd warm-weather lettuce crop (Summer Crisp type) indoors or in garden (8 weeks after last frost).
Sow 3rd warm-weather lettuce crop (Summer Crisp type) indoors or in garden. Sow 3rd crop of beans, 4th crop of radish in garden. (11 weeks after last frost).

Complete culture information for individual vegetables.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Home and Garden plans 2012

So for planning purposes I took some of these pictures with my GoPro helmet cam to better capture the slope of the terrain. But it's obviously exaggerated with that camera. This spring we'll finish the fence on the last side of the yard and put new gates in front and back corner. 

The front of the house faces East. The tall pines/evergreens there are on North border. Neighbor to the South.  There are no trees in our yard at all. We have trees nearby the edges of the property line but the front of our house is HOT in the summer. You can't even touch the front screen door without burning your hand. So that needs addressed. I also hate those bushes right in front of door. So I want the path to door to come straight out a ways before turning to go down steps to driveway. Then we need some type of overhang (pergola?) over entryway.

The neighbor to south's back yard  has a tree I have to trim branches or shades my vegetable garden. When I dug 2 spades under where I put the raised beds I had some roots that were from that tree but I chopped them off.  Neighbor behind us two very tall very old trees. I'll need to trim one branch that's about to fall off the tree behind my veggie garden if it's still hanging on in spring. Luckily they so far have always said go ahead I don't care when I ask if I can remove a branch here or there. They are definitely very patient with us since at times we're definitely the UGLIEST yard on the block. I dream that my next house will have much bigger yard and gardens. Although a friend of mine that lives out in country can't keep a garden because the raccoons always get it before her. She even had 8 foot fencing and I know they can climb or dig into about anywhere. I'm not interested in sharing with wildlife per se. And our house is ours because we're right across the street from my parents that are 96 and 85!

So back to our West side neighbor's house sets much lower and he's told us he had serious water table issues. We sit up on a hill like most raised ranches or splitlevels or whatever you call this house. Box in hill is a good name. See below.

Front Yard
To get a feel for the slope on the North side of the property see this shot. Again with the fisheye lens it's sort of exaggerated but it is a really big grade. This spring when Pat takes the fence down on that side I will finally be able to pound in stakes and use string to calculate the grading of our North side and Front (East) yards.
North side of back yard looking East.

Look at that front yard mound. Wouldn't a Red Japanese Maple be stunning in front of those tall Conifers!
So back to the neighbor so I wanted to plant a dwarf weeping or curly willow somewhere IF there was room and it would help the water table issue for Mike. So I thought perhaps putting it in that Northwest back corner would be just the place. But I am going to get advice from Anne at first.

This is that side of the yard that still has the chain link fence with the back of our house in the picture. So see it's not really huge. And there are all of these trees outside our property line but we don't have a single tree on our own yard. I will have to check with the city about water lines. I know we have water lines in front of the house but never hurts to be sure.  We have lots of landscaping to do!

For a bird's eye view I can insert a diagram from  program. Or layout. I love these web based planning programs for laying out and such. Originally I wanted to add additions to the house although now I'm not sure. My husband is very good at laying out space and he's altered the inside so that we already have more space then I thought so 2 additions probably not necessary although I still like the idea of "disguising" our split level/raised ranch so it's not this boring brown box.

 Initial Future Plan
Overall Dream Plan with two additions

But anyway this was the initial future plan. We still plan to put the decks on the back, potting shed at rear of garden, I want to do landscaping along the North side to capture rain run off and be this "Chinese Shade garden with Mexican beach rocks and ferns and hostas...". My daughter and I hope to win the "we want a pool Dad" eventually.  And I loved a nearby neighbors front yard that he terraced. Our yard is deeper because we don't have a sidewalk but I'll enclose a picture of that too. I want to intermingle a lot of edible ornamentals, like purple kale, curley parsley and such.

Here's my "plan" for 2012 but it may be a little too ambitious plus I want to do front yard first my husband want's to do decks and back yard so that may be before front. Either is exciting really.

2012 Plans for landscaping

So I need to ask Anne what's the size of that white leafed willow. I was picturing it perhaps as one of the "shrubs" in the front. And I also was wanting some dwarf burning bushes but the purple smoke bush is even prettier to me. I don't know they're all so beautiful it's so hard to decide. I like plums and purples and greens both silvery and chartreuse.

Here's the layout.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Onions are up!

Oh the joys of seeing the first seedlings emerge. Winter won't last forever, spring is on it's way! I bask in the glow of my grow lights! I read somewhere about going through therapy was like weeding. If you want to do it right you have to dig way down and get the whole weed including it's root out or it will just keep coming back. Well here's to getting rid of those thistles!!! But I think gardening and watching life start in every form is therapy as well.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Perennials 2011

Perennials 2011, a set by on Flickr.
OMG I love these pictures. Eastern Iowa has to be very close to us in Peoria, IL so what grows there should do well here right?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Another seed catalog!

Territory Seed is based in Oregon and I think I ordered my sweet potato slips and a bunch of onion plants from them last year. But one of the best things is their catalog has a lot more information about the plants then any of the rest I've seen. Botanical Interests puts it all in the packets. But Territory puts it right here where it's easily accessible. Plus the pages are not shiny and are newspaper print so I can compost them or make newspaper pots with them. Yeah!

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sowing Tonight

These seeds came from Botanical Interests online ( and I could hardly wait to plant them. Onion and leeks from seed are not so easy so thought I'd give it a try early and order sets/plants if not going well. I did read if they are growing but can't be transplanted yet you can keep trimming them back to 3 inches high to promote bulb growth instead so figured why not try. I stopped at Menard's tonight and was looking for long trays, 4 x 22, to sow these in, and for some dumb reason went into the OUTDOOR lawn and garden section. WOW it seemed colder in there than outside. It's 11 degrees outside but ooooooooh what a chill I got out there and duh the seed starting supplies are inside of course.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Craft time

Rylie and I decorated some more clay pots for starting herbs. Glitter paint and plant stencils can brighten the most dreary day!
Probably start some scallions, walking onions and some herbs in these.
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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas topiary

Christmas topiary.... I guess I could pull the tree stand back out and put it in middle of front yard hang some pinecones rolled in peanutbutter and seeds? Out would make the neuss so happy and freak out the neighbors!
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Indoor herb garden

Indoor Herb Garden in the windowsill..... kind of spindly.
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Good time to catch up on reading

I also sent for and received the U. of Illinois Extension office manual for Master Gardener's.  It's huge! 2 inches thick spiral bound. I read the botany section and it helps me fall asleep at night.

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