Tag Archives: lettuce

Root Division of Tarragon

Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm means dividing Tarragon.

So many tarragon lovers take cuttings of mature stems. Honestly I’ve never tried that because early in February, when there isn’t much to do on a NorthWestern urban farm, dividing up a pot of Tarragon is a pleasant way to count down the days until Spring. It is a simple, no fuss way to spend a chilly day in an (almost) warm greenhouse.

The video starts with the onions getting their first hair cut… hang in there for the Tarragon.

February 6, 2016 Weather February Garden To-Do’s

  • Make a tray of “soil-blocks”
  • Start blocks of broccoli, cauliflower and peas
  • Plant Fava Beans
  • Start a mini tray of lettuces
  • Finish (or start) garden plan

In Everett, Washington we are less then 15 minutes shy of the “ten hours of daylight” time. Assuming the weather co-operates, things start growing in ten hours of daylight! Whoot!

Debs…. off to make a Leek Tart with a few of those fat leeks standing proud in the garden and the eggs the chickens are still laying (Thanks Foodie Laura).

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Filed under In the greenhouse, Urban Farm, Video

In the March Garden at The Toy Box

Sunset on February was pretty, Sunrise on March looks to be gorgeous!

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

You can still get away with stopping to listen to the bird song in March, but I feel the urgency to get out and get dirty… or muddy, depending on what hour it is in March. There are very few chores that must be done this month, but don’t put them off too long or you will miss out on some of the best food from your garden, come May.

Most Toy Box peas are direct seeded, but a few always get their start in soil blocks.

Most Toy Box peas are direct seeded, but a few always get their start in soil blocks.

The first half of March

  1. Pick a place to plant peas, set up your pea fence.
  2. Buy fresh inoculate (if you use it)
  3. Check your Soil Block stash, got enough?
  4. Get ready to start those Tomatoes!
  5. It’s time to chit potatoes!! Get your favorites early
  6. Plant more salad and radishes.
Soil Blocks of Tomato seeds.

Soil Blocks of Tomato seeds.

Every Year I tell myself that next year I am going to wait until April to start my tomatoes… and like every other year, I’m feeling anxious to start them in March. I just happen to be missing soil block ingredients this year so I may be forced to wait. Meanwhile, I try to keep my eyes off the tomato pages of local seed catalogs. I’m sure the 20 plus packets of seeds that I already have will be sufficient. Except that I want….

If we spend any money at the garden shop, it will be for seed potatoes. We need everything. Most of the seed potatoes we plant can be found locally but one is iffy. Burbank Russets are not even sort of rare. Even so, they are hard to find in Everett. They are the one potato that does well in our potato towers, making potatoes at all levels as advertised. Everything else can be found on a day trip to Marysville or Mt. Vernon.

Have your radishes sprouted yet? Whoo-hoo… Don’t wait too long, start some-more. Mine are growing in the greenhouse with tiny greens, scallions and spinach. This first week of March I like to set up the cold-frame and get another patch of salad started. The slug wars begin.

Rudy Valentine

Rudy Valentine

March 1, 2015 and the sun is up at 6:50 AM (duh). The back porch is wet but the weather prophets are telling me I have zero chance of seeing any rain, a good day to get those weeds while they are still young. (adding the herb garden to my list of must do). High of 55, low of 37 (F). I’ve only got 11 hours and 3 minutes to get everything done today, sunset at 5:53 PM

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Filed under Everyday Adventure, Urban Farm

What’s a farmer supposed to do on Rainy Days?

I’ve be waiting for a rainy day to get my starts going.

2014 in the greenhouse

2014 in the greenhouse

Late February, and I’m starting….

  • Artichokes (usually winter sown, so I’m crossing my fingers)
  • Parsley, both curly and Italian
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Onions, Italian Torpedo, Cipollini (need to buy more yellow storage: New York Early)
  • Salad, (we have a lot to choose from!)
  • Leeks and Shallots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Maybe a few peas in soil blocks instead of pots.

That’s what springs to my mind, what are you planing to start indoors this month?

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Every grove of trees in Everett is alive with returning robins arguing over the best camping spot until they can get a permanent nest built. They will be building those nests in the rain today, Friday, February 20, 2015. The chill in the air probably means the rain will soon be replaced by blue sky, but today the forecast is at 70% chance of rain, 51/39 Sunrise at 7:06, Sunset at 5:39 giving us 10 hours and 33 minutes of wet daylight!

 

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After-school chores

Valentine Mix Lettuce

Valentine Mix Lettuce

Friday, after school, was a bright and beautiful. I spread wood chips into a few gardens by the bucket full. I hardly even made a dent in the pile of chips. Here is the check list of chores done before the sun set and Sabbath began.

One lone strawberry leaf after filling this bed with compost and chips.

One lone strawberry leaf after filling this bed with compost and chips.

•Strawberry bed cleaned up, sprinkled with lime, a layer of alfalfa meal (like candy for the worms), followed by a layer of composted horse poo (a gift from a neighbor), followed by a layer of homegrown, wormy compost and finally by a layer of wood chips. It looks pretty (I also cleaned up all the brush encroaching on the strawberry bed…love the chop and drop method of cleaning up brush, which is actually a landscape plant that I do not know the name of, I think the local bumble bees call it buzz bush). Note, I did not drop the blackberry vines, I still toss them back over the fence.
•Spread buckets of wood chips on the fava beans and peas (nothing has sprouted yet)
Garlic•Opened up the garlic-shallot box to the fresh air (and later, to the fresh rain)
•Put the nuggets in the tractor for the afternoon (too much stuff has been planted to let them roam, poor chickens) Gave the girls the bucket of weeds and cracked snails from the strawberry bed. If they see me put a bucket of yum in their run, I don’t have to argue with them about going back in when tractor time is done.
•Covered the new rhubarb with wood chips.

Lettuce and mustards under a portable cold frame. Yes that is bubble wrap.

Lettuce and mustards under a portable cold frame. Yes that is bubble wrap.

•Covered an area in the new front (and probably last) SFG with the same layers as I put on the strawberry bed. But this time I took my spade and worked it all in before putting a bucket full of wood chips back on top. Ray was going to build a hoop house over that garden but worried that it would not look pretty enough for the front yard (we hear scary stories) so he repaired and set a portable cold-frame in the garden instead. Under that cold-frame I planted the Wolf Moon lettuce and Mesclun mix . I had a peek, they both look fine.

Still going strong in the Greenhouse

Still going strong in the Greenhouse

Saturday, I putzed around the green house while it was raining. Finally gave the Wolf Moon onions a haircut. I also up-potted the Imperial Star artichokes. The Green Globe artichokes that I up potted a week or two ago are doing fine. Every year I worry that I will kill the little sprouts by transplanting them and every year they prove that they are tougher then I am clumsy. The little purple artichokes have not even sprouted yet. Both the Parsleys are starting to get real leaves. I know where I will put them, but I think they need the cold frame too. In the PNW a cold-frame does protect from cold nights, but just as important, it protects baby plants from drowning in the rain. Spinach starts are ready for the garden. I will put them in the same area as the parsley. They can probably wait a weekend or two, but the younger, the better in my book …..err, blog. I moved a tray of peas (green arrow and maestro) in soil blocks from the 2nd shelf of the sprouting rack to the wide mouth of the potato pot where they will get more light. The Potatoes (some kind of yellow from the natural food co-op) are showing sprouts but are tentative about really growing in my unheated green house. So I do not feel too bad about giving the peas temporary quarters on top of their big pot.

The one job that I have not done yet, that I should have done a couple of weeks ago, is starting my tomatoes. Mostly this is because my bin of soil-blocker mix has a crack in the lid and the mix has turned to mud. Ray bought a new bin and the ingredients that we did not already have to make another batch of mix. But it won’t be soil block mix until we actually do the mixing. I keep reminding myself that it is still February. Then I panic because really, it is the 2nd week of March. Arrrgh! In addition to the dozens of tomatoes I already have seeds for, I will trial Jaune Flammee, apparently an earlier Tomato in the PNW, and Gold Medal, a full season PNW tomato.

Summer Dreams

Summer Dreams

Summer dreams… while the rain pounds on the roof. March 10, 2014: Underground Weather is putting their best face on this sticky wet weather: Showers, becoming less numerous. Basically it is going to rain most of the day. At least it should cool down at night, a good sign, it means things are clearing up a bit. 50/38 Sun’s up at 7:31 — 11 hours and 36 minutes later it sets at 7:07. A promise of sun is coming!

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Under the fading Wolf Moon

The last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of February tend to be the most winter like in Everett, Washington. I read about snow in Robe Valley, home to us for nearly 25 years. Everett proves to be more wet than cold in 2013. We have not said good-by to the fading Wolf Moon, it could still get cold.

Still dreaming and planing

Still dreaming and planing

The Toy Box is keeping winter food ready for us. Celeriac, leeks, and kale. The hens have been resting, molting, but the occasional egg can be found in the nest box. Spring is coming but the pile of blankets on the bed tell me it is too early to plant or bring home chicks. Even so, I hear bird song on dog walks. My soul is ready to leap into farm girl life but my head tells me to rest a while longer. Maybe that is my right brain and left brain interacting. The flat of onions in the kitchen window smooths the gardening itch. Their spring green and black crowns give me something to fuss over while the days are still short and the school day is so long.

Seed from 2010, looks like the crisper drawer is a good place to store seed.

Seed from 2010, looks like the crisper drawer is a good place to store seed.

Peas will be the first seed into the garden, but not under this moon. That does not let me off the hook. The box they will live in is still full of leeks and celeriac that I hope to harvest this weekend. If I can get one of the boys to help me I’ll move the chicken tractor to that box so that the girls can work their magic. They will eat the weeds and grubs while turning and fertilizing the soil. Chickens are amazing. City birds connect me back to my roots.  Maybe while the girls do their work I’ll find the strength to turn that compost or make soil blocks for salad greens.

Anticipation

Anticipation

Season 4 coming soon. Today (February 1, 2013) at the Toy Box: Clouds still wintering overhead but not weeping. 50/36. Sunrise at 7:35, nine hours and 34 minutes later comes sunset and Sabbath at 5:09

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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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Filed under Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm, Video