Category Archives: Ultimate Bloggers Challenge

Salsa and All Things Tomato

Last summer was the first in three that I had any success with growing tomatoes – so much so that I DID win (at least, I am claiming victory) Continue reading


So, a co-worker kindly offered Continue reading

Taunton’s Out Of Print ‘Kitchen Gardener’

When first introduced, I had a subscription to ‘Kitchen Gardener’ – I believe I discovered it while visiting a magazine booth at a local gardening show. Continue reading

The Slight Edge, Gardening Style

I am reading a good book these days. Just 10 minutes a day, every day and will find another to read next – kinda a New Year’s Resolution, if I’d started the plan Continue reading

Best Intentions

When your 17-year-old son asks to stream “Arrow” with you, garden catalogs can wait another day!

Friday: Hot Date Night

I did RSVP to a Marriage Dinner for Valentine’s Day today – friends of ours celebrated their 25th Anniversary this year, so will be honored that night. So, I guess that kinda counts as a ‘Date Night’ with MacGyver, and I can then plan one with my seeds and seed catalogs too. Tomorrow it is! Such Friday night excitement!

Inventorying old seeds it dull, so I’d best do that first, and quickly. Get it over and done with, and all that good non-procrastination self-talk…

Then I can sit back with that glass of wine and dream of spring and summer while I stick Post-it tabs on beautiful flowers I have never tried before, yummy veggies I can’t wait to taste, and fresh seeds of the ‘Tried and True’.

When done, I might even take a peek at a book I purchased for .18 on Amazon at the suggestion of Carol, at May Dreams Garden, (                                                                  ‘Gardening on Main Street’ by Buckner Hollingsworth. I’m anticipating this to be journal like and thoughtful as opposed to instructional and just what a wintry night needs.

Recent Weather

It’s been warm this week – so warm I actually looked to see if the Daffodils were peeking out of the ground. Wishful thinking… Alas, my own ‘Groundhogs’ were still asleep and I hear winter is returning Sunday with a prediction of snow. Sounds like just the weekend I need to shop those seed catalogs.

Garden Planning

It’s about time to start the garden planning. After all, the first seed catalogs started hitting the mailbox on Dec 26th – a little too early for me but it’s now time:

  • Christmas has been put to bed
  • My office has been purged of old files
  • Tasks for my resolution items have been schedules
  • Football is wrapping up

First off, I need to inventory my seeds and toss any that are too old to be viable. I usually find that I can get 2-3 years from seeds that I plan to start indoors but I admit to sowing more heavily and picking out seedlings if I get too many. For plants that I can’t take the risk on, I buy new each year.

With the list of what are still in the seed packet box, it’s now time to sit down some cold wintry evening with a pleasing beverage, a stack of catalogs, and another stack of Post-it tabs. No editing at this stage –  I just mark everything that is interesting.

Next, I print out a clean copy of the garden template as well as those from the previous three years so I can review plant rotation. I’ve read of more exacting plans for 7 year rotations, but for the size of my garden, and the particular mix of 4′ x 4′, 4′ x 9′, and larger beds ranging from 9′ x 9′ to 12′ x 12′ beds, rotation is a little trickier. I stick to a three-year plan and that has been fine as I haven’t had any issues with either insects or diseases. I’m big on building the soil, so I credit that for my success:  I use not insecticides and very little fertilizer.

With the blank template, I mark in the tried and true plants that I know I will ALWAYS grow:  Silver Queen corn and Better Boy tomatoes among others. Sometimes, I know I am going to grow okra and no longer have seeds so don’t know what variety, for instance. This is where the fun comes in:

I go back through the tagged pages and woefully cut out what I can’t have due to space, time to grow, etc and then select which plants will be new to try. I always want arugula, but maybe this year I’ll try kale since we are suddenly eating it all the time.

Word to the wise, and one I am heading this year:  order seeds early, especially for anything marked as new – it can be very disappointing to find them sold out for the season.

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 950 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 16 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Return To Big Garden

After giving (positive-speak) nearly two weeks of my summer to my family’s parish festival, I am a thankful for the hard work Continue reading