31 March 2009

What's Happening In The Garden?

Besides the turnips, the peas and spinach from the first sowing are up. I'm going to have to thin the turnips--the seeds are so small that 2 or 3 ended up in every hole, and THEY ALL SPROUTED.

I haven't seen the onions or cornsalad--I'm afraid it was just too cold for them, and I'll need to replant.

From the 2nd sowing, the arugula is up, but nothing else yet.

(UPDATE: April 1, and the kohlrabi is peeking out!)

In the house, I've started a tray with "American Flag" leeks, "Bella" hot peppers, "Mercury" bell peppers, cabbage, and basil.

I'm thinking of trying, just as an experiment, planting potatoes which have sprouted in my cupboard, and trying to sprout some sweet potatoes and carrots the same way. I would need to add 1'x1'x1' frames to get the soil deep enough for these kinds of root vegetables. I'm also thinking of trying to grow another variety of bell pepper, this one from the seeds of the pepper I'm currently eating on my salads. Plus, I have a half-dozen different kinds of beans in my closet for bean soups and such--will they germinate? Will they grow? And what if I planted some of my popcorn? ;-)

I don't have ROOM to try everything I'm thinking of...

I still need to do remediation along the fence--dig out lots of stones, add lots of compost. Time is flying!

March Diet Results

Down at the bottom of the page are the results of my diet to date! The line to watch is the BLUE one, which is an exponentially-smoothed trendline for the fluctuating weight, in PINK. I am losing about 1.75 lbs each week, which is good.

As long as the Weight line stays below the Trend line, I'm losing weight.

25 March 2009

Diet Is Spelled DIE--T

I'm going public.

I'm on a diet, and now all--3?--of you are watching.

My goal is to lose a pound each week for the next year. That will put me back into the "Healthy" range for my Body Mass Index, which is currently hovering near "Incipient Gravitational Collapse".

The book--don't I always have a book?--I'm following is "The Hacker's Diet: How To Lose Weight and Hair Through Stress and Poor Nutrition". The title is snarky, but accurate: losing weight REQUIRES that our bodies receive fewer calories than they burn, and the stress of dealing with the deficit is what burns off the fat.

In short, it's a standard calorie-counting diet, with automated tools to track progress and filter out the random noise--smoothing the curve so you can see your REAL progress, and not get upset because you ate ONE LOUSY PEANUT and gained 2 pounds.

I'll post a chart of my progress on a more-or-less weekly basis. Right now, there's nothing to see, so be patient.

I'm reducing my portions, limiting my desserts, skipping the Chinese buffet (-gulp!-), drinking more water, and eating more veggies. From my garden. Real Soon Now. Did I mention I have turnips?


Well, nothing else has sprouted yet, but by God and all that's holy, I'VE GOT TURNIPS!

Second Crop Goes In...

Last Saturday, I neglected to mention that I've sowed my second batch of seeds. This time, in no particular order:

Chioggia Beets
Early Wonder Beets
Prizehead Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce

Further bulletins as events warrant!

20 March 2009

Keep Your Eyes OPEN!

Have you looked closely at the last picture I posted?

I neglected to mention it--other things on my mind, I guess, like freezing nighttime temperatures. But if you click on the picture, and then look up at the very top, you see...

Green wire, leaning against the fence.

Yeah? So what?

It's a tomato cage.

I found it.

I was walking Sadie through the commons area between two condominium associations, and stepped over this, laying flat on the ground. About 20 feet later, my brain registered what my eyes had seen, so I went back to look at it.

It was half-buried under last autumn's leaves, so it had been there awhile. But I had NEVER noticed it before.

I left it there one more day, thinking that the owner might have deliberately(?) buried it in the leaves? Then I brought it home.

I feel like Calvin: "There's Treasure EVERYWHERE!"

19 March 2009

A Square Foot Garden

I'm taking my inspiration for my garden from two books: "Crockett's Victory Garden", by Jim Crockett, and "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. I picked up both used, one at Goodwill for $1 or so, and the other over the Internet for $9.

Funny thing, both books are companion volumes to classic PBS series.

In the seven squares nearest the bottom of the picture are:

Little Marvel peas
Sugar Snap peas
and Spring Onions.

I'm starting to pay more attention to things like nighttime temperatures. The problem is, Tuesday night was supposed to drop into the low 40s in Crofton--but we had frost on some of the cars. Last night was supposed to be in the mid 30s--but it never got out of the low 40s. I think my garden will be OK--the soil didn't feel too cold after Tuesday night--but I decided I'd better find some way to cover it for the next several nights: 32, 29, 31 degrees are expected lows. So I went up in my attic looking for some tarps I have used camping, and found the leftovers of a torn sun shade I cut up to make a ground cloth. The area I need to cover is just over 3x9; the strip I found was 4x11. It's like it was MADE for this.

Sometimes, it's GOOD to be a packrat.

I have been dropping in on my garden in the morning as I take Sadie out for her walk. I guess I'll have to do it as I head out the door instead, to minimize the exposure to the low temperatures.

And I STILL need some more soil, and some containers, to start seeds inside--and I'm s'posed to be planting more on Saturday! Busy, busy, busy!

I figure you can expect to see some review of "SFG" and "THMP" in the near future. At least THESE books I don't have to return to the library!

UPDATE: OOPS! That's "Square Foot Gardening" (SFG) and "The Have-More Plan" (THMP). I forgot I hadn't mentioned THMP in the post, only in my reading list...

08 March 2009

Gardening in Small Spaces

Last weekend, I pulled up a bunch of the paving blocks in my backyard. Underneath, I found sand, plastic, and clay. I can't grow anything in that! It's been dead and buried for 30 years.

So, I've started building raised beds. Instead of fighting to grow veggies in fill dirt that requires major remediation, I left it alone, and raked a base of fallen leaves into the hole. Then I bought bags of garden soil to go on top.

YES, I know I'm supposed to take the dirt OUT of the bags!

Then it snowed. We got more snow than we've had since 2006.

Now that it has all melted, and it's 70+ degrees out, I have put down the soil in the bed, and I broke up and turned the soil all along the fence. Plus, the bin in the corner (used to hold the dog food, but the latch is broken) has a large square cut out of the bottom and is 1/2 filled with leaves and some dirt. It's the start of my compost.

Baby steps...