Tag Archives: January

February 13th, January check-list done

1january-21-2017-2
I hope doing January in February does not describe my season! Usually I am so anxious to get out and get dirty, but I’ve been hanging back a bit this year. FINALLY got things checked off of my list.

2february-14-2017-5 I did manage to get my onions started, even put up a video! They are doing what they do. Joy! What I am late on is moving them out to the green house. It isn’t horrible when onions stretch for the light of a window, I’m going to clip them off anyway. And it has been freezing the first couple of weeks of February. It will not be long before they stand up straight in the light of the green house.

2february-13-2017-1 Next on the list is Winter Sow. Pretty sure I missed that window. Instead I just started small trays of both curly and Italian leaf parsley. I also started a small tray of artichokes. My big, beautiful, three year old artichokes froze to the ground last season. Just in case it was more then just the tops, I started a new tray.

2february-13-2017-3 By this time of year I am usually looking for that first tiny radish or micro green for my bento. This year I am just introducing baby seed to soil.

There are scallions, spinach, mixed Asian greens, radishes and cilantro. C’mon spring!

I am ending with an older video on what to do with those onion plants once they are a little bigger then threads. By the way, I googled the nameless dandelion tool mentioned in the video. It is called a Fishtail Weeder. I find it useless for weeding. (I have a hand shovel with a “fishtail.” The curved blade provides leverage to lift up tap-roots) The video features leeks but leeks and onions are planted the same way. Hope you have some raisinettes on hand. This is too short for popping corn.

1january-30-217-journal-2 Next: It is already February 15 as I post this and I have started checking chores off of this list… but that is another post.

Now, get out and get muddy! …unless you have a greenhouse. February 15, 2017 in Everett: the few days of sun and warm weather disappear again. We are back to rain with occasional showers. 52/47 F, 100% chance of rain. If you need to go out, you WILL get wet. 10 hours, 17 minutes from sun up (7:14 AM) to sun down (5:32 PM) The Snow Moon is waning. Remember to pray for the farmers and families in the Sacramento Valley who may be loosing everything! Maybe we should all plant a bigger garden this year.

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Filed under In the greenhouse, Urban Farm, Video

Every season starts with onions

1january-21-2017-2 Tiny onion sprouts. I need to look closely at the container of dirt on the window sill. The morning that they suddenly show themselves my new garden has begun. I am a long way from onion rings or soup, but hope spring up with the onion sprouts.

It is almost obscene how many stony black seeds will be sprinkled on the plastic container of soil. In January I do not need to worry about where I will plant, or what I will do when I discover that I have far too many babies to find homes for. My eagerness to get dirty overcomes any good sense that may have been passed on to me. I will worry about that later. Today I just want to plant something.

1january-21-2017-7-onion-seed Just in case you wonder (and the video titles roll by too fast)

  • Cipollini: a small speciality onion that Ray loves in a roast. The right balance of sweet and pungent. Even these tiny bulbs need a full season.
  • Italian Tropea: or Red Torpedos as most Americans call them. These are somewhat sweet, purple to pink summer onions. They can be used at nearly any stage… and should be since they do not store well. We start using the biggest torpedo in the onion patch about mid June (really they will still be scallion like) and continue to use them until late September when they can get to the size of a small nerf football. Beautiful!
  • Ailsa Craig: A huge sweet onion that we put in everything from Late September to mid November. They are good enough to give as gifts. I no longer bother much with Walla Walla’s AC’s are so good (and do not need to be started in September for best size!) No real store-ability, eat them fast, eat them often.
  • New York Early: The very first storage onion I have had success with (in wet Western Washington) I’ll stick with what works. In a good year we have had New Yorks into March.
  • Ed’s Red Shallots: I do plant cloves of shallots in the fall, but these shallots grown from seed are just as amazing!
  • Leeks: This year they are the Italian Gigantia. Just when your storage onions get scarce, it is time for the garlic of the onion family… make sure you cover them in fall with straw and leaves so that you can still pick them with out a pick-ax from the frozen ground.

That’s it… here’s the 2017 Movie.

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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Morning Devotions, Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm

Last of the January chores done!

January 19, 2016 (3)

Right to left, two rows of spring onions, Long standing spinach, Red spinach and french breakfast radish.

There should be fresh greens by the first day of Spring.

January 19, 2016 (6) Onion Seedlings

Most of this years onion plants.

These are the onions I started when we made that first giggle-box video from this year. If I do not look at that first pot, they look alright.

January 19, 2016 (5) Tarragon, Rosemary

I always find some kind of surprise. If you look very carefully, you will see tarragon springing up. Won’t be long before it will be time to divide it all up and start new plants. I do not use much of it, but I like that I can keep it up after all this time.

The other “green” is Rosemary.

January 19, 2016 (9) I’ve quite being surprised when I find a potato. Now when I find one I just look for more. Sadly this is the only one I came across in the greenhouse box.

I think last year I dumped a pot of potatoes in the greenhouse box to make sure I didn’t miss any spuds. Guess I better get my glasses fixed.

January 19, 2016 (10) Yep… 100% chance of rain in Everett today. It was a great day to have a greenhouse to work in.

That sound on the roof of the greenhouse? I love it! That’s why the first blog was called “Rainsong”

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Scratch the Gardening Itch; January

The Maritime Garden in January…

You cannot just look at all the seed catalogs showing up at the house and not want to start SOMETHING. The sun always comes out between “systems” to call us out to the garden. It is really too cold to do much but here is what we can do in January (Everett, Washington)

  1. Start onions, shallots and leeks from seed. If you have seed, 4-inch plastic pots, potting soil (I use what I find in last years flower pots) and a heat mat for seeds, then you can grow any kind of onion you want. At The Toy Box  we usually grow New York Early for winter storage and the pretty red Italian Tropea for a summer onion. I usually try something new every year.
  2. Winter Sow herbs, artichokes and any “difficult to grow from seed” plants. The only difficult thing about winter sowing is patience.
  3. Grow a pot or three of micro greens. 
  4. Scallions, radishes, and Asian greens will be slow but they will grow in a pot or box in the green house. I love picking something bright and fresh for my bentos and winter dishes. We have also grown lettuces but tender lettuce suffers from extreme cold and radiant heat of an unheated green house. The slugs come to clean them up, which always makes me madder then a hatter. I start spinach in the same box but it is hit or miss because of how hot it can get in a small green house. Give them a try if you have the space, by March you will be happy that you did.
  5. Keep harvesting winter vegetables from the garden. We have leeks, beets, herbs, kale and some broccoli that is hanging on. We also have turnips, and various greens. Neither my  celeriac or carrots survived past August because of the heat and drought of summer 2015
  6. ….what’s that you say? You do not have any winter veggies in your garden? Now is the time to start planning your 2016 garden, make room for them.

Debs…. who really wants to apologize for the quality of this first video in over two years. But I am laughing too hard. We will get better!

January 9, 2015 (1)

The Garden Journal

January 16, 2016 and I am glad we got out while it was pretty out to make the video last weekend. Today it is raining…. cold, bone chilling rain. After all, it is January.  50/44 F but it is so damp it feels much colder. Sunrise at 7:53; sunset at 4:44 giving us 8 hours and 9 minutes of day light. It looks like it will be cold and wet for the rest of the week.

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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Urban Farm, Video

Subsistence Farming in January

December 31, 2015 (5)

I always get the itch to start… right before my fingers get numb and painful.

January in Everett, Washington

There is something empowering about seed catalogs.  Summer hues, flowers, lush fruit, abundance. I feel like I can grow anything in January. Honestly it is still too cold and even though my favorite weather page is telling me that the days are getting longer, I’m not really feeling it. I still have the itch to get started.

Here’s what I do to scratch that itch.

Seed Inventory

January 2, 2016 (1)

Seeds stored in the crisper drawer. Some are eight years old and still come up strong.

Before I start to memorize those catalogs, I take an inventory of what I have.  I have a file on my computer called “Seed Inventory” and a drawer in my refrigerator full of seeds with just a few of Ray’s Mason Bees. I am LOUSY at organizing but I do enjoy sorting. Before I make a single seed order I’ll go through my list, comparing it to what I actually have.  If Ray were in charge of  seed storage they would be in some kind of order so that I wouldn’t have to go through EVERYTHING every couple of weeks in the early season when we start our garden. His efficiency doesn’t stop there. When we plant together he puts in more then twice as much as I do because I fuss over every rootlet and pause to figure out what bird is singing that song. I tend to sit back and mentally write my blog or take pictures. He gets the job done.

January 2, 2016 (3)

A pocket size (or at least fanny-pack size) notebook for two of my passions. Bible-Hebrew study and dreaming about the garden.

 Somewhere between seed inventory and the green house I also inventory the things I need to make soil blocks, the condition of my flats and 4-inch pots. I’m probably going to need more.

Winter Sowing (link to an essay on my early attempts at winter sowing from my original blog, Rainsong) While going through my seeds and supplies I’ll be looking for the things I always winter sow. Artichokes, parsleys, tricky herbs like chamomile and echinacea (Purple Cone Flower). This year I am going to add snap-dragons and pansies to the Winter Sown list.

Job 3 The Green House

March 7, 2015 (6) Greenhouse

This is close to how it should look in here.

What a mess! The walls get green (despite the name, it is the plants, not the house itself that should be green). It does not smell right. It has become a storage shed for everything I don’t want getting wet, for seeds that need to be threshed and a bunch of other junk that needs to be tossed or put in its place. The green house is the one place that I love to keep orderly.

Job 4 Late Winter Salad

March 21, 2015 1st day of Spring (1)

March 2015 (from a late January planting) Radishes made my grid. Scallions and spinach did well but the tender lettuces did not like the radiant heat during the day and the near freezing temps at night. Just a couple of slugs ate those stressed babies.

There is a small square box in the very back corner of my greenhouse. During the summer it will hold eggplants or peppers, maybe cucumbers, but early in the season, well before I should, I will plant hardy Asian greens and mustards, radishes and scallions…. just because I can. Most of them will go into bentos, sometimes a slug will have a feast before I remember to sprinkle Sluggo, but sometime in early March, there will be a salad, far better then anything Costco or Trader Joe’s can ever hope to sell to me, that I will love more then the birthday cake I’ll have.

Are you ready? Then get out and get dirty! Afterwards, make something with the leeks and celeriac still growing in your winter garden!

February 6 uprising 2014 (2)

Uprising Seeds from 2014, almost time for 2016

Shabbat Shalom! January 2, 2016: clear and cold. Pretty to look at, brutal to be in. Sunrise at 7:58 and 26 degrees F. I saw a (Ruby Crowned?) Kinglet flitting about in the one surviving artichoke plant. The temperature got all the way up to 38 degrees. Sunset at 4:27 for 8-hours and 25-minutes of cold daylight

Debs

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Starting a few seeds in January

It is not that I dislike buying trays of vegetable starts in early Spring. I actually love doing that. I am not sure if I will have enough money this spring to choose between a tray of spicy, seductive Mesclun Mix or cream for Ray’s coffee. Since I have the seed and it is such a pretty day today, I started a whole flat of salad greens…… and reds and yellows. I am just a bit worried that they will get all leggy on me, but I have to try.

Did you see the boots at the end of the video? Suddenly I remembered I had them out in the trailer. I use them clam digging. Now I am ready to use them in the snow (except that the snow is almost gone)

Duel purpose boots....clam digging and snow chores

You can see the video on my utube channel

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Housekeeping

The Table: We found it at Value Village. There were 4 chairs but one was broken. Chairs are easy to find.

I sold my big table last summer. We were hoping to get enough money from a garage sale to buy a new (used) car after losing the Honda to a thief. It was not meant to be. Allstate does not consider stolen cars mayhem. Even with full coverage we did not get enough to replace a similar car. Then the Washer and Dryer quit. New elements were not doing the job in the old oven AND the transmission in the Suburban needed expensive repairs. No car, no table, no money. Balancing plates in our laps in front of the TV worked while everyone was working different shifts. I’ve missed sitting down at the table for a meal. I have not been this excited about a simple piece of furniture for a long time.

A perfect fit.

Chris talked about making a table for me. I hope he still does. But talking with him forced me to think about something I wanted to avoid. I do not like to think about what I do not have, only what I do have. Being content comes from the inside. Anytime I feel like something is missing, like meals at a table, I start seeing what I do not have instead of the abundant blessings showered upon me already.

I thought that a round table would be perfect (not very good at the content thing am I) because the dining area light is round. Chris drew up plans for a table top very much like this one. The legs on his were his own pattern that was nearly genius.

Some of the framed pictures from Robe Valley and my old Roll Top Desk

My old desk: The first furniture I ever bought was a roll top desk. It has been sitting in Chris’ room since moving to Everett. So were plastic bins of pictures. He brought them all out shortly before Christmas. After re-arranging the sitting room for a TV Ray bought the house for Channukah I was able to fit the desk and many of the pictures in a nice clutter. See all those blank spaces on the wall?

Pictures that still need a place.

There are so many more pictures that need a place to be. I’m not sure how we got so many pictures but every one is a treasure.

More goes on inside the house in January than outside. Soups and broth simmer on the stove. The scent of baking bread brightens the dark afternoon. Making our plans now that Ray is out of work gets discussed. Thank you YHVH for the table! There is still a few chores that need to be done outside during the cold, wet winter on an urban farm.

Bertha (in the box) and Lil'bit get a little time to graze before being scooted back into the Easter Basket because I get cold.

Chickens need to be tended everyday no matter what the weather. How do I know? Because I was sick in bed for 8 days and only asked the guys to feed my girls and check their water. I clean their bedding daily. After 8 days it was rank in their cute little house.

Every day I still have to go outside with a shovel to clean up after my dogs. I am SO thankful they are small dogs.

Once a week I still turn the little green compost bins. I am sure I could go longer but I like being outside. Sometime this week, maybe while Ray is out filling out all the forms a man looking for work needs to fill out, I should start some winter-sown seeds, a basket of micro greens and press together some soil cubes to start salad and greens in. I will be mad at myself come March if I skip the last task.

Volunteer Snow Peas and the Fava Beans showing signs of life.

Those fava beans I started in November are already coming up.

Fava Bean video

I am not sure if this is good or bad. I guess I’ll find out this spring. While we still have some money I got my seed orders in. That was fun. It feels like the new year is really here once I do that.

Looking for work......so I keep finding jobs for him to do. Not sure that is what he wants.

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