getting started

I set my leeks into my garden using a newly made dibble, close to the size and shape of the seedlings  from the multi-pack.  The dibble certainly made the transplanting much easier, push it into the ground and you have a perfectly shaped hole to place the young seedling in.

Dibble and leek seedlings

Dibble and leek seedlings

This dibble is the first single one that I have tried .  I have a couple of multi-dibbles that I have used for years.

I set my leek seedlings in a dug out boxed area or place an open bottomed box over them.  The sides are about 6 inches high.  As the leeks grow I add compost around them till the compost is level with the top of the box.  This will give me a 6- 8 inch white leek at harvest time.

Leek seedlings planted in bottomless box

Leek seedlings planted in bottomless box

Mother nature sometimes helps with the plant selection for the garden.  I planted New Zealand spinach 4 years ago and have not planted it since. But, every year since then I have New Zealand spinach growing in my garden.  I just have to find where the small seedlings are growing and transplant them to where I want them .  I thought this year I wasn’t getting any but I found some seedlings growing in with the garlic.  When they get a little bigger, I will move 3 or 4 to their rightful spot.

Also this year Mother nature selected 6 Russian Red Kale plants and 4 dill plants to be part of the garden.  The kale was a surprise, mostly because I had decided not to plant any of the Russian this year.  Not wanting to piss-off Mother nature, I found them a spot, well 6 spots.  The dill was gratefully received since the dill I planted didn’t grow at all.

My rhubarb is very happy this year.  Bigger, taller, thicker, fuller and just lush.

Happy Rhubarb,  with fencing to keep out the chickens.

Happy Rhubarb, with fencing to keep out the chickens.

Garlic 5/22/13

Garlic 5/22/13

Peas  5/22/13

Peas 5/22/13

One last item in the garden. Actually there are 2 of them, I only got a picture of the smaller one.

Garter snake  5/25/13

Garter snake 5/25/13


chickens preparing the coldframe now that the spinach has been transplanted

chickens preparing the coldframe now that the spinach has been transplanted

my magnolia has been filling the yard with perfume all day



chickens on the rock chickens on the rock


there is a worm in this pile of wood-chips,  I saw it!!

there is a worm in this pile of wood-chips, I saw it!!

multi-dibbles,  12 inches square

multi-dibbles, 12 inches square

Multi-dibbles are a planting tool for spacing of seeds or seedlings.  They are 12 inches square with 4 short dowels for 6 inch spacing, 9 short dowels for 4 inch spacing and 16 short dowels for 3 inch spacing.  You just press it into the dirt and plant in the holes.  Move it over and press it again.

multi dibble,  freshly sown garden section and wood-chip walkways

multi dibble, freshly sown garden section and wood-chip walkways

I really like the wood-chip walkways.  With defined walk-ways the garden soil doesn’t get compacted so the plants grow better and the walk-ways don’t turn to mud.  It’s cheaper than making raised beds and being a frugal yankee, I like that.

It is so good to be playing in the dirt.  AND I HAVE 2 SHOOTS OF ASPARAGUS POKING THROUGH THE WINTER HORSE MANURE MULCH.  YEAH!!!!   I know, I’ll need more than 2 for a meal but they are late this year and I’m glad they are making an appearance.  There isn’t anything better than tender asparagus fresh from the garden.  I refuse to buy that rubbery thin stuff they call asparagus in the super-market.


It is official, Spring is here, my Magnolia is blooming.  It is one of the earliest flowering Magnolias that I see in the area so some years it gets zapped by a frosty night and looses its flowers.  I’m hoping  that doesn’t happen this year.  No cold nights are expected for the next week.  We’ll see.




I’ve gotten into the garden and planted peas.  I don’t plant them in neat rows, I sprinkle them heavily in a foot wide row along my garden fence.  Then I rake them in, tamp them down and water.  Some of the seeds are on the surface, most are under dirt, some have room and some are touching other seeds.  It will be a jungle of vines when it is time to harvest but the yield will be great.  I hope.

The spinach that I planted in my cold frame last fall is starting to grow again.  There are too many plants in too small a space so I dug out over thirty and transplanted them into the west garden about  5 inches apart in all directions.  The picture of the cold frame is after I dug out over thirty seedlings.  I plan to transplant more as time allows.  Probably should be doing that instead of blogging.

spinach in cold frame 4/10/13

spinach in cold frame 4/10/13

transplanted spinach 4/10/13

transplanted spinach 4/10/13



I’m off to a slow start this year with my garden.  I think the chickens are taking up too much time and energy.  Well, that’s my excuse. It could also be the last late snow storms that kind of put all gardening on hold.  I hadn’t even gotten around to ordering seeds for this season.   I did finally order seeds about a week ago, from Fedco Seeds in Maine.  They arrived in the mail Yesterday, kind of like Christmas in April.

I did start some tomato seeds that I had from previous years.  Started them April 3 rd, no signs of life yet.  With old seeds I never know.  I grow a lot of different plants but not a lot of any one plant, so I have 6 recycled cookie containers with a sprinkling of seeds in each one from 6 different varieties of tomatoes.  I will transplant the best seedlings into larger containers, keeping maybe 3 of each.  I had one new variety of tomato seed in my seed order, so I planted them as soon as the mail came.

recycled cookie container with tomato seeds in potting soil

recycled cookie container with tomato seeds in potting soil

cookie container in clear plastic bag & tagged with empty seed pack

cookie container in clear plastic bag & tagged with empty seed pack

I place the started seeds into a clear plastic bag to keep the moisture constant, like their own little green house.  When they start to sprout I will remove the bag.

Tomatoes are one of the few plants that actually do better with transplanting.  I sometimes transplant them a second time into a still larger pot before setting them out into the garden.  Starting my own seeds I get to grow varieties that you can’t find normally at the nursery, like Black Cherry tomatoes, one of my favorites.

I couldn’t stop with just the tomatoes, so I also started basil, 3 different lettuce and leeks.  These I started in individual 12 packs, they will go straight into the garden when ready.

SWEET POTATO.  The sweet potato that I set up to grow slips from ended up rotting in the container of water it was in.  My wonderful wife brought me home a small sweet potato from “Whole Foods” and I set it into a container of water March 15 th.  It is doing great, roots are growing out of the bottom of it and buds are growing from the top section, some of the buds are actually slips already with little leaves.

first try 3/5/13 now rotting

first try started 3/5/13 now rotting 4/2/13

first try

first try picture taken 4/2/13

second try 3/15/13 buds showing

second try started 3/15/13 buds showing 4/2/13

second try with roots and buds

second try with roots and buds picture taken 4/2/13

I need 5 slips and should get at least that many from this one potato.  I will plant them in 5-5gallon buckets and hang them off of my deck.  The sweet potato plant all by itself is very pretty.  Guests are surprised when I tell them what they are, their green leaves and light purple flowers look like an ornamental plant.  They are,  we just get to eat the potatoes at the end of the season.

slips starting picture taken 4/6/13

slips starting picture taken 4/6/13

It is so good to be digging in the dirt again.  I moved some of my compost  (this is from the chicken run) and spread it in the East garden.  The sun was strong and felt good but the air was still cool and the wind made it even chillier.  This is why we live in New England.


My friend Jake told me enough with the chickens, how about the garden.  Well, It’s hard to blog about your garden when you can’t get to it.  I have 2 main gardens, one on the east side of my driveway and one on the west side.  Both still have snow in them.  The west side snow is still 1-2 feet deep, ( the snowblower piles it in this one), the east side is almost snow free.  I did venture into the east garden  yesterday to see how my garlic was doing.

This is my history of garlic.

My heritage is Irish and English, so growing up I never saw garlic in the kitchen or anywhere else.   My wife’s heritage is Italian and Hungarian.  When she moved in with me she asked me where I kept my spices.  I said in the left drawer.  She did not consider salt, pepper, lemon peel and a box of pumpkin pie spice as spices.  She had a large cardboard box  filled with spices.  Some of them I think are lethal, just my opinion.  And she cooks with garlic.

Time goes on and I start using garlic in moderation.  I’m open-minded.  She wants to know if I would like to go to a “Garlic Festival” with her.  I’m not that open-minded.  But I did go.  And I had a good time.  And I went to a talk on growing garlic.  I like to grow things.  I bought a starter garlic growing kit, well it was 4 different garlic bulbs and planting instructions. Four years later and I am still growing garlic.   I have lost track of the 4 different types, I save 4 of the largest bulbs from the fall harvest to plant in October or November for the next season.

Even if I didn’t use the garlic, I would still plant it.  Why???  Because it is the first sign of life in the garden after the winter.  Spring is coming, another gardening season is starting, the garlic is up.

Garlic  3/29/13

Garlic 3/29/13

Now if the snow will melt in my blueberry patch, I’ll be able to finish pruning them.

Blueberry Patch

Blueberry Patch



I know, It’s early March.  This is when we start looking for some small glimmer that spring is coming.  I did see a small flock of canadian geese flying north  the other day.  That’s a good sign.  My snowdrops are blooming, they’re still in the snow, but blooming.



I bought some potting soil.

I have one of my last sweet potatoes in a container with water hoping that slips will grow that I will plant for this years sweet potato harvest.

sweet potato, hoping for slips

sweet potato, hoping for slips

I want to go dig in my gardens, I have two main veggie gardens on both sides of my driveway.  This is how they look now.

west side garden with cold frame in front

west side garden with cold frame in front

east side garden

east side garden

We still have some snow to melt before we get to dig in the garden.

I dug out my cold frame the other day.  I had planted some old spinach seeds in it last October.  They are alive, not very big, but alive.

cold frame

cold frame

spinach in cold frame

spinach in cold frame


Now the BUT….

We are in the path of a major storm that THEY say will give us 4 to 8 inches of heavy wet SNOW!!!  Wednesday night on into Friday.  This is why we live in New England.  Where is the sun??

I’m OK.





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