31 March 2010

tulip flowers

The first Tulips have opened

pale cream-colored ones

celery leaves

The tiny little Celery plants are beginning to put out first true leaves. They're two weeks old.


Now I still don't know if these are Kiwi, but they look so nice. I've pinched out all but the best ones, six plants are left.
The first lot of plants I thought were kiwi turn out to be just a bunch of weeds. I've tossed them.

30 March 2010


Happy to find two little Cauliflower seedlings in the garden soil outside!

The first plants I started are getting pretty big

but the ones still in cardpots haven't grown much more

so today I potted them up into makeshift containers

the two larger ones went under plastic cover while the rain lasts
and the smallest one back into the coldframe for time being.


The plant I thought was like a creeping charlie? now I'm not so sure. Think it's just a weed. Getting rather gangly, too.

The one I meant to pull, is this

I've been keeping three pieces in a glass of water but today potted it up.

I'm still not sure of its exact identity, but it looks a lot more like the creeping charlie I know than what I had. Smooth surface, round scalloped leaves, puts down roots wherever the runner touches soil, roots easily in water.

29 March 2010


In the front yard among the bluebells and tulips are a few Hyacinths. I remember seeing them last year, but didn't know their name.

There's a pink one just under the shadow of the shrub

and a blue one in the front of the bed.


Tulip buds are forming!

28 March 2010


Finally the Peas sowed outside are emerging- little tiny green shoots. 17 days.

The large plants have just a bit longer to wait before going into the ground.


Carrot seedlings came up a few days ago! Fifteen days after planting.

beets up

Little Beet seedlings are coming up. Seventeen days after planting.
A few plants survived over winter, and those are putting out lots of new leaves. I've just mulched them with compost and cut grass.


Grape Hyacinths are all over the front beds now, growing among the fat tulip leaves. Isa picks handfuls of them to bring inside. The color is just between blue and purple. I mistakenly used to call them bluebells, thinking of this flower from my mother's yard, so even now that I've corrected myself, Isa still calls them bluebells.


Just when I began to wonder if they would ever sprout, the Bell Peppers began to poke out of the soil. It had been warm for a few days so we'd turned off the furnace, and then the weather got colder again- not enough that I felt like turning the heat back on, but too cold for seedlings. So I warmed the seed trays by sticking them in the oven! Turned on the lowest heat, then shut it off and put them inside for a few hours. After that stuck them under lamps. I don't know if it was the heat that did the trick, or they were ready to sprout anyway, but the very next morning saw the green elbows of bent stems pushing up out of the soil. 12 days after planting.

27 March 2010


I checked on all those houseplant cuttings under plastic, and found the Poinsettia has a new green leaf. It looked worst of them all before, and even now the two largest, lower leaves withered and yellowing. I trimmed the last one off, and added more soil  to the pot, which covered those nodes. Maybe they'll grow new roots and make it even stronger. I'm not too surprised this is the only one doing well; the others only have a leaf petiole stuck in the dirt, no real stem to regenerate from.

onion greens

Isa's Onion plant died- withered and yellowed. It looked overwatered.

The small one in my windowsill is still doing well, and we've been cutting it for greens. It needs the water changed about once a week, and I have to top off the water almost every day- if it drops below the basal plate, the plant starts to wilt. Direct sun through the window makes it wilt, too, so I keep it in the corner, except for on cloudy days.

The larger one, surprisingly, is still doing okay. With moderate water every other day, and its corner never gets too much sun. We've been eating its leaves as well. So out of four onions, we're left with two- and that's plenty enough for the little bit I chop for greens once in a while.

26 March 2010

taller peas

The Peas are hitting the glass roof of coldframe, but I'm still holding out waiting to see if any sprout in garden soil. So I've moved them into plastic cover, one of those sheet packages stood on end.


Swiss Chard is coming up in the garden! the little sprouts in pairs. 15 days.
 I had thought I pulled up or cut down all last year's plants in fall, but a few overwintered and are growing new leaves. So we'll eat those first, while the new crop grows.

seed trays

Started Tomatoes in crocked trays today; Cherry and Beefsteak. They're from leftover seed in last year's packets, kept chilled in fridge all winter. I want five plants of the large tomatoes and three of the small, so I sowed eight seeds of each, then will keep the best seedlings to grow full size.


First tray of Broccoli seedlings was doing poorly, so I thought back to how I grew the cauliflower, which did so well. Now realize what went wrong with the Broccoli- I moved them into cardpots too soon, before they had their first true leaves. I put them outside too soon, and they probably got chilled.
So I brought them in and put under a lamp to warm up, already they are looking a bit better, and the true leaves emerging look nice.

25 March 2010

rhubarb starts!

I have Rhubarb! Last year called all the nurseries and no one sells it. This year I found one that would special-order, as a few other people wanted starts too. So today I picked them up. Ugly things, aren't they?

Here is one in its dug hole (the ground was turned over and composted three weeks ago, so it was nice and loose). Instead of digging a huge hole to accommodate the roots, I dug it deep enough, and then made a sort of tunnel for each thick root that had to spread out, then tucked the crumbled soil under and around the crown,
 filled up the hole so just the tip of bud sticking out
 and tamped it down gently. I do hope they survive and give us lots of rhubarb! A. thinks it's silly that I'm planting something I have to wait a year or two before I can eat it, but then I point out how expensive it is in the stores, how brief the season you can buy it, and how much better everything tastes straight out of the garden!

My only concern is that I don't know if my soil will drain well enough; the crowns can rot. They are in a raised bed, so I hope I don't have that problem, but we do get lots of heavy spring rain. And vigilant weeding is a must, and they have to be protected overwinter with mulch. But I'm hopeful, and eager to see how soon new growth begins. The plants can live ten or more years, even longer if when they get very large you divide the crowns and move to a new location.


Set out the Lettuces into the garden today. I figured it was time because not only are they quickly outgrowing the cardpots
but the Lettuce seeded into the garden is coming up all over, so I can see where the gaps are in my planting to fit them in. Plus it's a cloudy day (so they won't have too much sun while recovering) and I figure if the volunteer lettuces are coming up, it must be warm enough for them to do well. The forsythia in the neighborhood are my marker; they've all started blooming now. So if next year I don't direct sow but only start indoors, I'll know that when forsythia show their yellow flowers, it's time to set out lettuce.

First I had to thin out the seeded Lettuce. From crowds

to even spacing that will allow them to grow big enough for a baby greens salad, when I'll thin again

Tons of seedlings got pulled up! Note to self: next year, only let one or two plants go to seed. That makes plenty- and it appears they all germinated, so don't sow so thickly.

Here are the plants sitting by the garden

and set into their spaces. You can see they did after all, have mold on the cardboard, but as it was outside I didn't care. They look pretty healthy, so I don't think it hurt the plants.

One some I had to pull a bit of the rim of cardboard off, so that it doesn't stick above the ground and wick moisture away from the plant.

All the little roots are growing out the bottom.

Simpson is our favorite- unfortunately the slugs like it best, too!

I was glad to find lots and lots of garden helpers as I dug holes for the plants- worms everywhere.

It's so nice to look out the window now and see bright green color where the Lettuce bed is.

bonsai trim

After reading another bonsai book, gave my plants a trim, this time thinking a bit more carefully about it. The large one was like the picture on top of this post, only with larger leaves, starting to look top-heavy.
 Now it feels opened up. First I nipped off all the biggest leaves, leaving their petioles (curious to see if they will become new stems, sprout new leaves, or wither and fall off). Then I rubbed off all the small leaves emerging in places I don't want leaves or branches. Last of all I snipped off the stems growing towards the inside of the plant. It looks much nicer already!
On the smallest plant I just took off the lower leaves, to give it some bare stem that will eventually look like a trunk.

24 March 2010

clover tree

The clover roots I turned into bonsai are starting to look like miniature trees again.
Even the stumpy ones are putting out new leaves.
I suspect they won't grow very large, or live long, but they're cool to look at now!