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Snug as Bugs

March 23rd, 2016

My greens are all snug as bugs in the low tunnel in the potager. After I transplanted them we had some really cold nights, down into the teens. I added an extra layer of agribon to my little lovelies and they came through with flying colors.
Low tunnel
When I went out in the morning the temperature under the agribon was 10 degrees warmer than outside the low tunnel. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a little bit of plastic. Hopefully I’ll be eating lettuce in a few weeks.

What’s the temperature like in your garden?

Planting in the Low Tunnel

March 2nd, 2016

This past Sunday we had a beautiful day, highs near fifty and sunny. Perfect for working in the garden, only the ground is still frozen. The soil in the low tunnel is thawed and workable, in fact the spinach in there is starting to grow new leaves. I have lettuce seedlings under the grow light that can be planted outside any day now, I’ve just been waiting for the weather to be above the single digits at night. I finally broke down and ordered a four pack of these probe thermometers, one will be put in the low tunnel so I can monitor the temperatures in there during the day and at night. I’ll use one under my grow lights too so I know the ambient temperature there as well.
planting in the low tunnel 1
planting in the low tunnel 2
I decided to take a few of each and plant in the low tunnel. We have a night that’s supposed to be 3 degrees, tomorrow evening – brrr. I decided it was worth planting a few seedlings out to see how they survive that kind of a night. That will give me a good idea of the weather inside the low tunnel. I’m thinking about giving them an additional layer of protection on that night, perhaps a milk jug or even another layer of frost blanket. I also seeded some arugula and cilantro in there.
planting in the low tunnel 3
I transplanted a few spinach seedlings as well, we’ll se how all this stuff does on that one frigid night. If it does well I’ll be filling the low tunnel with other lettuces and greens. We shouldn’t really have any more of those. Soon enough I’ll have enough garden chores to keep me busy on beautiful days, I can hardly wait!

What are you planting this week?

A Nice Window

February 4th, 2016

It’s been a little warm here the past few days, our blanket of snow has melted and the ground can be worked. It’s the perfect time to broadcast a few seeds for cold tolerant varieties like arugula, cilantro, mustard, and a few other things. Winter will return, in fact we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow and next week it will once again be in the single digits. These seeds don’t care, they will wait and spring forth when they’re ready.
winter seeding 2
They won’t germinate as quickly as they do when the soil is warmer, but they’ll germinate when the conditions are right and I’ll have a much earlier crop that I would have if I had waited.
winter seeding 1
I’m also going to be seeding a flat of lettuce, which is something I do every year. I find that having a flat of greens ready to go into the ground in spring gives me a jump on the season and has me harvesting greens for my table at least a month if not 6 weeks before direct seeded crops. I love having things ready to plant as soon as the ground is ready. This winter has been fairly mild, which means my overwintered spinach is thriving and should start growing as soon as conditions improve in a month or so.

What are you doing in the garden this weekend?

Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks

April 23rd, 2015

There were a ton of sticks littering the lawn after all the snow we had this past winter. We have two dead eastern white pine trees below the house and they are losing branches like crazy. I picked up six wheelbarrow loads full of stick just from one area of the yard.
File Apr 22, 6 27 46 PM
I also checked on my little hoop house. This was set up on Sunday because of all the rain in the forecast. I also like to keep my seedlings in one to stay warm on these slightly chilly nights.
File Apr 22, 6 28 36 PM
It’s such an inexpensive way to have a greenhouse/cold frame when you can’t afford one or don’t have the time to make one. I put one of these up in the fall too over plants I’d like to keep around a little longer. I actually have about 25 of these hoops that I use here and there. This summer I might experiment with putting a low tunnel over my peppers to give them a little extra heat.

What gardening chores are you doing this week?

Hello Spring?

March 20th, 2013

This is what my garden looks like this morning (only with 6 more inches of snow).  Very fitting since it’s the first day of spring.  
Low Tunnel Greenhouse 3
The weather is a strange thing, this time of year you just never know what you’re going to get.  I have photos of snow in my gardens in Ohio in April, but then one year my mom and I planted our potatoes and peas on St. Patrick’s Day. You definitely take notice the weather as a gardener. Some years are hot, some are cold, there are wet springs and dry springs. That’s why you always plant a wide variety of plants.
Low Tunnel Greenhouse 1
It’s a good thing I went out on Monday and added some greenhouse plastic to the hoops in the potager.  I did it to start warming the soil in order to plant spinach and transplant leeks.  I also wanted to protect the soil from this snowstorm.
Low Tunnel Greenhouse 2
Now the ground underneath will remain dry so I can plant in it earlier.  This summer, I have plans to add a large walk-in hoop house to the garden for winter gardening.  I can hardly wait!

What does the first day of spring look like in your garden?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.