Evening glow in the greenhouse

Evening glow in the greenhouse
WELCOME TO MY BLOG! I am glad you found me because I hope I can be helpful or at least interesting for you to follow, be you a gardener yourself or just watching vicariously.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Diary 3/31/11

A full day of sun and I have about worn myself out!  Planted another round of snap peas.  The biggest ones are about five inches tall now.  Worked on cleaning another area where cauliflower came out.  Planting this and that around the edges of beds; radishes, beets, some lettuce.  Thinned two rows of raspberries with helpers through the afternoon.  Was pleasantly surprised to get two done, when I wondered if we would finish the thick one.  Have two small rows of raspberries left to tidy up.  First tomatoes are up.  Starting more and some peppers.  Will start quite a few tomatoes, peppers, cucs, squash, and flowers around the 11th of April for Wildflower Show and to plant outdoors. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Diary 3/30/11


Drippy, but getting brighter.  Cleaned out seed bin and organized.  I have a good amount of seed to carry through the year.  May buy a few things as Fall comes on, but feel confident I have everything else covered including growing some plants to donate to the Wildflower Show and a few for friends.  Not like the "old" days when we started 3000 plants around here!  Wildlife update: swallows returned on Monday.  I mentioned to them that they were late, but welcomed their twittering in the sky above where I was tearing out blackberries from a perennial flower garden here in the yard (with help :) ). Also had the opportunity to see a ringtail coon, miner's cat, cross the road in front of me last night.  Small head, bigtime rings.  Very cool.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Diary 3/29/11

More snow and rain.  Tomorrow is supposed to usher in a warm front with some sun and temperatures 25 degrees warmer than it is today.  I sure hope so.  Lots to do!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Diary 3/28/11

Hoping for nicer weather today.  The week's prediction does look for higher temperatures and some sun, even.  I hope they are right!  Basket making is addictive and it is all I can do to pull myself away tp get something else accomplished.  Ah well, could have worse vices!  This is the time of year to gather sticks around here, but as the weather warms, they will still be available up the hill.  Saw a trout lily wildflower, so morrel mushrooms are not too far behind. Harvested and ate the last big cauliflower yesterday.  More than we could eat in one meal, but mild and delicious.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Diary 3/26/11

DO YOU LIKE BUTTER?  Hold a buttercup under your chin to find out.  If it reflects yellow(it always does) then you like butter!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Diary 3/26/11

Hard at work

My first basket
Transplanted cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce babies into lower greenhouse.  Planted snap peas again where squirrel ate them, and covered this time.  Planted pod peas on the other side of the bed. Slowly, but surely, despite the weather.  Had a basket workshop this afternoon and evening.  Using mostly willow, but have also harvested Red Osier Dogwood and some Hazelnut twigs.  Basket Making  by Olivia Elton Barratt has step by step instructions which started us off. It is something I have always wanted to do.  Somewhat addicting, though...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Diary 3/25/11

More snow and rain and maybe a moment of brightness, but not for long.  Picked some spinach and looked around, but not inspired to dive in. When the sun does come out, even for just a few minutes, the cover crop glows bright tender green.  The deer have done their best to keep it mowed, but it is slowly getting ahead of them. They should be thinking about moving up pretty soon, but the weather has made the spring a late one, so the deer will stay a little longer.  The buds on the plum trees are so ready for a warm day.  I have pictures of everything in full bloom on the 20th. Still no swallows.  Can't blame them. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Diary 3/24/11

Started the first tomatoes of the year.  I just sprinkle the seeds on a paper towel, wet it with warm water and fold it up.  Then I put the folded towels in a baggie on top of the freezer which seems to give off the perfect heat for germination.  Worked on soil mixing and filling trays.  No disaster with the soil mix this year.  Making sure I use well aged compost and peat moss. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Raked up some piles of oak leaves and oak leaf mulch and started stashing it at the garden to use in the potato rows.  The Yukon Gold potatoes we did in oak leaves last year came out very nice and surprisingly clean, so will try something like it again.  Plan to grow quite a few potatoes this year.  Also pruned the other half of a row of red raspberries. Lots more to do!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Diary 3/22/11

Some sun today!  Sprang into action on many fronts; burning piles, trimming trees, planting and transplanting. Lots of babies up in the greenhouses.  I pulled the row covers off this morning to give them a chance at real sun.  When I go out to turn off waters in the greenhouses in an hour or so, I will cover everyone back up for the night to protect them from all predators.  More rain predicted for the next 5 days, yuck!  Planted broccoli, cabbage, lettuce plants outside.  Covered to protect them from deer and give them a slight temperature boost. I don't think we are done freezing, but these things are hardy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Diary 3/21/11

The vultures are back.  They head south for the winter.  I don't think they travel far, at least Central California, but they do come back in Spring most often on this day.  I know the turkey vulture is not an attractive bird and maybe we don't make a fuss in his honor such as they do upon the return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano in Southern California each year, but it  is a sign of the inevitable return of another growing year, so I mention it.  The swallows return here also and usually on the same day as the vultures ( but I haven't seen any yet)and the same day the ones do it in San Juan Capistrano, hmmm. The last two years this return was unusually early by two or three weeks, so not sure what that might mean.  This is the traditional date, so might be called normal...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Diary 3/20

First day of Spring, but not alot different than the last day of winter.  March has ten more days to get it together to go out like a lamb.  For now, the weather prediction says nothing but more rain.  The robins have arrived in groups.  Supposedly the males come first and find the best nesting areas so they are ready when the females come later in a few weeks.  These guys were doing some major preening as if they had been on the road for days.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Diary 3/19

Saw the big moon last night and hope we can see it tonight although right now it is cloudy.  I had forgotten about it when I saw the moon rise last night.  Failed to take a picture, but it looked really big and eerie as it cleared the treeline and softened in the fog.  One of those Sherlock Holmes looking nights. Big socializing day today with 2 year old birthday, Victorian Tea, and wedding.  Wow!  Did get a bed turned in lower greenhouse.  Plant some more peas, lettuce, and spinach tomorrow, I hope.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Diary 3/18

I know, I know, another post complaining about the weather, but really we have had so few nice days lately, I am growing weary.  There is a pile of work to do; pruning, fixing beds, fire piles when the weather does straighten up.  It is just not possible or inviting on these rainy, snowy, and cold days!!! Hoping for at least a couple of sunny days soon, but haven't checked to see what up ahead on our weather picture.  Rose is from last June, but thought it would look cheery~

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Diary 3/17

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Visited a friend in the valley today and saw her yard as mine will be sometime-hyacinths, cherry blossoms, and new green leaves on shrubs.  I am happy admiring my first daffodil. Still cold, but breaks of sun today.  Any sun warms the greenhouses, so it is all good.  Quite a few things have popped up, but they need some warmth to flourish.  As I see the new peas, it is time to plant some more.  I spotted a few carrots, too.  In time, it will all grow.  Germination is the hard part.  Yes, the cauliflower is in the greenhouse now.  The hard part is to plant it at the end of summer.  It always seems strange to be planting and it can be difficult to tend babies when it is so hot and dry, but when you think about it, the beginning of September has the same day length as early April. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Diary 3/16

Woke up to heavy snow.  Very cold and wet day, hard to be inspired to get anything done in the garden.  I sure hope we get a break in the weather soon.  At this point we are falling behind.  Many years I have asparagus for the first time on the first day of Spring.  It is not going to happen that way this year. No fruit trees are blooming here yet either, but that may be a good thing as it is still so cold they would not set fruit anyway. Well, we will see where this all leads.  At least it is not dry.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Diary 3/15

Over-wintered cauliflower and Mizuna mustard flowers
Happy Anniversary to my blog! I have been posting for one year almost daily.  It all happened because I watched the movie, Julie and Julia. My son didn't completely understand the blog concept, but said I should write a book.  My daughters encouraged me to give it a whirl and so, voila!  I have had a great time and it is a good disciplinarian thing for a would-be writer to do.  Anyway, if you have commented lately-thank you.  If not, come on.  Give me some feedback either here or at wwww.elkcreekgardens@blogspot.com  If you don't, I still appreciate your following me as I define my farming life by words and photos in a way that makes me appreciate it more.  Thank you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Diary 3/14

Wicked wind storm yesterday afternoon took power out for 24 hours. Two trailer loads of debris and 12 trees down.  I think there were 70 mph gusts. Glad no one was hurt and power is back on before food in freezers started to thaw. Much longer and we would have worked on generator and coolers, but luckily we were spared that route.  Calm today, nice this morning and rainy now for the next couple days. Time change has me confused.  I came home from planting in the greenhouse this AM and it was only 9:15.  What time did I go out there? 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Diary 3/13

Got a new hired hand in over the weekend.  He came with appropriate outfits and a good attitude.  I think he is thinking by watering the Garden Dog he might grow to be a horse, but otherwise he was a great deal of help!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Diary 3/12

New kitchen tool from Costco which I am liking.  It collapses and extends according to where you want to hang it.  Can be used for compost while working up vegies, too. Having fun with family today. 

Diary 3/10

My thoughts are with the people of Japan and elsewhere who have survived such a widespread disaster.  There are amazing photos and videos coming from the area.  The power of our planet whips us all into humility.  As the day goes on, we will only know more, and I don't think the extent of the damage is easy to comprehend.  Worked on beds in the greenhouse, getting ready for all the babies that are coming up.  Also moved some Nappa cabbages, choy, and chard to a bed that was turned awhile ago.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Diary 3/10

overwintered kale is so sweet
It is gnarly outside.  Gushing rain and wind.  The .4 inches pour out this morning is in there again, working on a  half an inch. I should go check on "things", and I was so going to transplant today, but as of yet still cleaning for weekend visitors and making another curtain.  Yesterday's warmth should have sprouted some more things.  I saw tiny lettuces lifting roofs of dirt where they were poking up. The walla wallas are sprouting also.  First, they are folded in half as they emerge and then SHIZAM!they unfold and turn green. They are so strong in their tiny way.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Diary 3/9

Planted some red cabbages, but that was about all as it was a town day.  Wouldn't you know a Dr. appt. on the first and only sunny day in awhile. Ah well, greenhouse work tomorrow, so it won't matter if it rains.  Have lots of little starts to prepare soil for. Looking forward to it.  After that, it is time to fill planter trays for vegies and flowers I will be starting in another couple weeks.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Diary 3/8

Dreary with a skiff of snow.  How will it ever be 52 degrees today and 67 tomorrow?  Holed up for now, top dressing some neglected houseplants and making curtains(I hope).   Made soil mix for first planters of stuff.  I am holding off until the 18th to 21st for starting first tomatoes.  Have to check for best planting date for fruit.  Have  faith in the bio-dynamic theories.  Here is my one orchid.  I am so proud that it rebloomed, I may have to learn to grow orchids enough to take this guy to the next level.  Good thing there is Amy's In the Orchid House blog to go to.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thank you!

I was sniveling last week because I had no comments from my followers or friends or family who are not followers on my blog.  Several did get in touch through the comment line and elsewhere, and I wish  to say thank you to you guys.  I want to extend a special thanks to the folks from Hawaii who sent me a very nice email(at www.elkcreekgardens@gmail.com).  These are folks to whom I have no personal connection, only the blog.  The author said ALL the right stuff and made me feel awesome about my blog.  I have very much enjoyed the small amount of blogging around I have done-mostly through blotanical, thus other garden blogs.  It has been a universal connection and I have a relationship with people I will probably never meet, but you never know.  Bangchik who has a lovely way she looks at her garden in Malaysia, for instance~  She was whacking out tapioca bushes-two types- like we whack out blackberries-three types-, here. Great stuff.  I also look locally to the Frontier Gardener in Alaska for a reality check.  My weather is mild compared to hers. She also gives out a monthly "blue tarp" award, I think you know what she means.  Once again, I appreciate all your feedback and will carry on!

Diary 3/7

I worked for a bit in the greenhouse.  The next onions are up.  No sign of the other peas, but it has not been warm.  I have them covered with row cover to keep the squirrels/gophers from digging the luscious sprouts up.  The door blew open while I was there and sent a cold wind down the rows that made me reconsider my duties and head for home.  We have had every kind of weather today including a skiff of snow this morning at about 9 to 10.  When the sun comes out, the wind is there, too, so it hasn't been radiant at all.  Mopping and laundry are alternate jobs, so will do them in hopes of a nicer day tomorrow.
changing skies

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Diary 3/6

"The stormy March has come at last
With wind, and clouds, and changing skies;
I hear the rushing of the blast
That through the snowy valley flies.

Ah! passing few are they that speak
Wild stormy month in praise of thee,
Yet though thou winds are loud and bleak
Thou art a welcome month to me."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Diary 3/5

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring! Not going out in it if at all possible.  Finishing tax stuff and coloring with granddaughter.  The hazelnut catkins are ready to make pollen to go with the tiny red flowers the buds along the stems will soon open to be. In summer they are tasty filberts if you can get to them before the blue jays do.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Diary 3/4

Pesky critters.  Right now they are only eating the rye grass cover crop, but I am going to have to cover the strawberry plants if they are going to get a chance to grow.  The deer will eventually move up higher especially if they are not cordially welcomed here.  garden Dog likes to chase them off, but doesn't follow too far. He is basically a chicken, and they are kinda big. Working in upper greenhouse, just about have something going on in each bed. Here I am finally getting those peas planted in the turned bed. Time to work in the next one down.  It is pretty clean, but beds need some help.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Diary 3/3

Turned a bed in the upper greenhouse.  Still need to shape and rake and then plant peas, but the worst is over and will finish it tomorrow.  Glad to be hand turning with so many worms feeding there.  The picture shows the bed on the right is already planted with carrots and the left bed getting turned for peas.  Look how much more soil there appears to be with turning.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Diary 3/2

Rainy, breezy, yucky.  I am slowly becoming a fair weather gardener.  I am not inspired by cool gloominess.  Plenty of indoor work to do right now while waiting for some sun or at least brightness! Taxes, closets, and writing. Here come those first onions.  They are from Blanco Duro seed that I saved probably at least 3 years ago.  There goes the "onion seed is only good for one year" theory.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Diary 3/1

Pea soup!
March!  I planted some more snap peas yesterday which reminds me that I mentioned before that I wanted to plant more peas soon, but I was waiting until after a "cold snap" that was coming, to do so.  My sister, clever woman that she is, wrote to ask ~  If you plant the peas now and the cold snap hits them,  won't they be "snap peas".  Good one, Sis!  OK, I may not have much to say sometimes, but I DO blog almost everyday.  I have 27 followers now and several relatives and friends who visit. I am almost to my anniversary and I would LOVE to hear from any of you that do visit.  Is it so hard to comment?  I do it at other blogs and don't have a problem, but I am registered with blogger.com, so maybe that is why.  Anyway, I am trying to visit other garden blogs and comment there.  The feedback feels so connecting.  So, if you get a chance, please say hi.  I appreciate the knowledge that some people out there are cheering for me and my garden/life efforts. I like knowing others are doing the same, and I applaud them.  If you can't comment, say hi at elkcreekgardens@gmail.com.  Make my week!