I'm a horrible garden journaler (spell check is telling me that jouranler is not a word, but it should be). Last year, I made a whopping three journal entries in my garden journal. The bugger about my lack of routine, discipline, and awesomeness is that a garden journal is incredibly helpful in planting next year's garden and having success. I'm constantly second guessing over dates, planting times, and species.
I drive myself crazy. And not in a good way.
My point is simply that even though these garden journal posts won't be “how-to” or bring you an overarching slew of information, I shall be keeping my garden journal online this year. Right here on the blog (as I can type much faster than I can write, sadly). I figured I might as well share it with you, should you be wondering what day-to-day life in this acre and a half of flowers and vegetables and fruits looks like.
Sadly still, because of beautiful weather, I've already been able to spend half a dozen days in the garden. I'll try to recount the work completed thus far so as to remember just how glorious this February truly has been.
(And this is coming from a gardener who typically weeps during the entire month of February).
Garden Journal, February
2.1.20 // Last year, I collected seeds from my beautiful blue lupines and blue delphinium. I also collected seeds from my favorite pink hollyhocks at my favorite euro-inspired bakery (slipping a few into my purse along with my cinnamon roll). All the seeds were planted a 72-cell tray. This is my first time planting lupine and delphinium seeds – will they germinate? Will this work? Oh I would so love this to work!
2.2.20 // I came back from a quick trip to Seattle with eight new David Austins. All shades of pink – from deep burgundy to soft pink. Whoops.
2.7.20 // It's cold but it's blue skies! And man-oh-man, are those birds singing! I can't believe that this time last year we were under feet of snow and this year we're listening to the chickadees.
2.9.20 // The sun came out today and it seemed the perfect day to start seeds. It's early, yes, but it just seems like we will have an early spring. February has been warm and sunny and the gardens are begging for me to give them love. It was 78 in the greenhouse so I went to Lowe's and bought potting soil (pretty confident I'm the first person to buy any this season as the bags were slightly broken open and partially covered in ice) before heading into my heaven to spend some time in the dirt.
- Kale: 36 cells planted, Red Russian.
- Lettuce: 72 cells planted, three varieties.
- Artichokes: 24 cells planted. On heating mat.
- Tomatoes: 24 cells planted (double seeds in each). On heating mat.
- Peppers: 72 cells planted. (double seeds in each). On heating mat.
- Snapdragons: 144 cells planted. This is my first time growing snapdragons from seed and I'm crossing my fingers that they take. The seeds are practically dust. They were surface sown, gently watered in, and covered with a plastic lid.
- Eggplants: 24 cells planted. On heating mat.
- Asters: 72 cells planted. First time growing asters as well. These are a nice size seed and easy to sow.
- Green cabbage: 72 cells planted.
- Cauliflower: 24 cells planted.
- Broccoli: 24 cells planted.
- Sweet peas: Soaked for 24 hours before planting. 3 dozen seeds planted.
- Purple onions: Broadcasted in a standard tray. Set in greenhouse as I'm in no rush to hurry them along.
- Yellow onion: Ditto.
- Leeks: Ditto.
- Strawflower: Surface sown. 2 small posts (plants will be divided into individual pots when they're bigger).
- Miche: 18 cells planted.
- Endive: 18 cells planted.
- Arugula: 18 cells planted.
- Escarole: 18 cells planted.
- Collards: 18 cells planted.
2.17.20 // Stu, the kids, and I all headed to mom and dad's to harvest some sticks today. I have trellises on the mind. We were able to bring home enough large pieces for half-a-dozen 5′ trellises. Though we only got four made before the sun went down, I'm so pleased with the large statement they may in the potager. Height! Drama! English flair! They're perfect.
2.19.20 // The lupines and delphinium germinated! I can't believe it! They're taking their sweet time growing. I'm willing to be patient.
2.20.20 // I pruned the apple and peach tree today. I've watched a hundred YouTube videos and I still can't quite figure it out. I cut very timidly and Stu cuts very confidently. I often call on him to finish after an hour of fussing over each and every little snip. The peach tree has grown phenomenally well and is really starting to present as a statement piece as people walk into the kitchen. The cider apple tree, started from no more than a stick two years ago, is slowly gaining ground. I think I'll call Todd in to help me shape it correctly with branch wedges and tie-downs. I'd love for this tree to create a small canopy over my foxglove and succulents that are planted beneath it.
2.21.20 // I went antiquing with friends today and came back with a brand new heavy-duty watering can. I'm elated. It's the little things.
2.23.20 // The snapdragons germinated! They're teeny but they're here! Don't sneeze. We may lose them.
2.24.20 // Not garden related, but Eleanor our ewe had triplets today! They're strong and healthy. Two boys, one girl. Two white, one brown. Glory. She's a great mother. (I remember when I brought her home to our farm – she was their size. I raised her on a bottle for months, all the while nursing my own baby. A few times, I even latched her onto our cow Sally.) I'm so excited to see them doing well.
2.25.20 // I couldn't help myself. It was simply a superb day. I found myself racking the garden rows into place after a season of wind and snow. The soil was cool, but workable, and had a great texture. I decided to go ahead and plant spinach, radish, and green onions. I also transplanted my broccoli, lettuce, and cauliflower starts, teeny as they were. They've been carefully planted, surrounded with mulch, and covered over with frost paper. The ten day forecast was too promising to resist and frankly, I'm always shocked at how much better seedlings do with the full power of the sun. Good as a set up as I have in my basement with lights and heaters, it will doesn't hold a candle to the glorious power of the sun. If I was a seedling, I would be pining for it as well.
2.26.20 // On a whim, I had ten yards of pea gravel delivered. I figured I better get it before the company got too busy with early spring requests. They had it delivered just a few hours after my call and I was so eager to see that large pile get dumped on front of the gardens. We haven't spread fresh gravel in four years and the paths of the potager were particularly bare. In addition, we layed a fresh layer of weed tarp in front of the chicken coop and extended the pea gravel from the top of the garden all the way down to the house and beyond. That nasty pathway leading to the barn from the gardens has finally been covered by fresh pea gravel and all of a sudden the space feels inviting and unified and big. I'm always amazed at what gravel can do. In laying the gravel, I designated a brand new garden area between the driveway and the chicken coop. It's a weird upside-down-triangle shaped patch that has a large wooden electrical pole sticking right out the top. I find it quite charming (thought it'd be much more charming with some clematis growing up the side). What shall I call this new garden? It's half-way between the potager garden and the woodland garden (or what will be the woodland garden once I make it that far up the path). Maybe I shall call it the half-way garden. It's large – about 20 feet by 15 feet. All that's needed is weed-tarp, rock edging, fresh soil, and Cece's manure: the magic of all new garden beds. My back and arms are fatigued from all the gravel racking, but I'm happy to see it all in place. The potager looks quiet, but fabulous.
2.27.20 // Today is the day for a new wave of plantings. I forgot a few beauties in the first round and need to make up for it. Also, I really need to stagger plantings this year as I've all too often found myself in a wave of broccoli or salad greens that seems to only last for a few days.
- Broccoli: Round 2, 24 cells.
- Lettuce: Round 2, 24 cells.
- Arugula: Round 2, 24 cells.
- Purple cabbages: 72 cells.
- Peppers: 24 cells (a seed packet hid last planting and I certainly can't do without Hungarian Paprika…)
It was all capped off by planting a small patch of salad turnips in the potager. As much as we love salad turnips, one can only eat so many. I'm really trying to restraint the radish and turnip growing this year. They're so quick, so beautiful – it's quite easy to get carried away.
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