Tag Archives: Vegtable Garden

Late March at the Toy Box

March 6 2016 (1)
March is stressful. I am anxious to get my garden growing but at school, children are starting to realize that if they want to avoid summer school, they better get cracking! Somehow I have managed to get most of my chores done.

The early peas are in, so are the carrots and greens. Fava beans are showing but there is still so much to do.

March 2, 2016 (3) I love my greenhouse. It lets me go out no matter what the weather is. By doing just a little each day I feel OK about being ready to plant. Those onions are a little disappointing this year. I usually have water from an aquaponics tank to water the greenhouse. Fish tank water is powerful and makes onions fatten up fast! Not so much this year.

March 20, 2016 (5)

Broccoli and Cauliflower hardening off before going into the ground.

March 20, 2016 (2)

Winter-sown artichokes up-potted. I have no idea where I will put them all, but I am confident that I will find a place.

March 20, 2016 (4)

If only I could find a day to plant the sweet peas out.

March 8, 2016 (3)

This little bed is doing well. Early in March I put in mixed greens, peas and lots of volunteer garlic. Every thing is growing well. We have actually been harvesting small salads from the greens.

March 18, 2016 (1)

Sunrise at The Toy Box Suburban Farm. We are still here and trying to share what is going on in Everett, Washington. Sometimes we just keep up with the work and do not have time to write. Never mind, only nine weeks of school left. We will be back soon enough!

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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Fresh from the garden, In the greenhouse, Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm

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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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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The Cold Shoulder

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,

The Old Windmill comes alive with the east wind.

The Old Windmill comes alive with the east wind.

Nearly all of Canada and most of the United States are feeling the effects from the back-lash of Super Typhoon Nuri. After crashing into the Bearing Sea it made a wide sweep across Canada and south into the United States. In Western Washington (the state) we usually feel the after affects of a Bearing Sea storm with sweeping north winds running the Pacific coast into Everett. Not this time. This storm is only giving us her cold shoulder. There was frost on the farm but no snow or freezing rain. Time for a few chores to get “winter ready”.

November 11, 2014 (10) The Nuggets spend the night in an unheated chicken house so job one is making sure the girls have the best environment possible. They are well suited for a PNW winter. The most difficult job is keeping their water in a liquid state. Ray cleaned up the Easter Basket and tossed a couple of flecks of hay in the run. They like it best if they can do their own house keeping, which saves us from feeling the need to spread it out.

The old chicken tractor, a little worse for wear.

The old chicken tractor, a little worse for wear.

One perk about spring and autumn for city hens is the freedom to get out of the chicken yard a little more often. We try to keep it interesting in the yard with buckets full of gourmet weeds with treasures like beetles, crushed snails and fat worms, but there is nothing like harvesting your own salad and digging for your own protein snack. I don’t know how many more seasons the old tractor has before we have to do some major fixes. (and by we, I mean Ray, tehe)

Inside the chicken tractor, working the former onion bed.

Inside the chicken tractor, working the former onion bed.

After ten-plus days of being down with the flu it felt fantastic to be out. The beds are in ratty condition and with the cold sunshine I would love to park myself infront of a bed, clean it up, get it ready for next season. But next season is the Schemata, the year of Sabbath rest, so I actually have plenty of time. I’ll let the girls do the work for me. Sometimes I wish all of my labor force thought working at the Toy Box was like having a date night.

Inside the green house, the bay tree was just moved back in.

Inside the green house, the bay tree was just moved back in.

There are so many jobs I am going to have to putz at (it is what I do best). It takes me longer and longer to recover from the flu. The greenhouse walls need a scrub, the floor of the house looks sloppy, the shelves need straightening. There will not be much to do this spring when it would normally be time to plant. There are jobs that can wait until then. I just like getting out there.

Brussels Sprouts, about to experience the sweetening effect of frost.

Brussels Sprouts, about to experience the sweetening effect of frost.

Because of the Schemata, there is no winter garden to brag about or look forward to. No bed of leeks for when the onions run out, no celeriac to brighten winter soup, no bed of greens to fuss over. There are a few kale and chard plants, the Brussels sprout and a bed of herbs but that is all. This is by faith. This year, instead of writing about what the rain provides, I’ll speak of what Abba provides. It is only for a year.

November 11, 2014 Pretty blue sky, brisk, cold wind. Sunrise was at 7:09, 0% chance of rain. Icy NE wind gusting to 19mph. Sunset at 4:36 when the temperature could drop as low as 26 degrees. 8 hours and 27 minutes of daylight.

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Season 5 Begins

Season 5 begins.

Season 5 begins.

2014 at the Toy Box Sub-Urban Farm began with a whisper of snow. Creation is encouraging me to rest a while longer. The Snow Moon has faded into darkness, the Worm Moon is a waxing crescent glow somewhere beyond the clouds. No one told the storm that the time for snow was gone. Even so, the clock in my heart is ready to experience the scent of dirt, the kiss of the breeze and fresh green seedlings.

Greens, parsley and onions

Greens, parsley and onions

While the days were still short I started vegetables on a heat mat in the kitchen before moving them to our little greenhouse. Onions and leeks, artichokes and salad greens are all defying the winter chill. Broccolis, cauliflowers (the season 5 challenge) and more salad greens were started in soil blocks. Each of them have their 2nd sets of leaves. I worried that they were in the kitchen too long. Each variety has different sprout times. Since they were all in one flat, some became “leggy” in the kitchen window while waiting for their cousins to wake up. I am happy to report that after a month in the green house I have not lost any to weak stems (so far). I do not use grow lights, a luxury I have in the Pacific North West. We are famous for our rain but those clouds keep our winter nights mild.

Have you ever scene a rhubarb root?

Have you ever seen a rhubarb root?

There is more to season 5 then green house plants. One of the SFG (Square Foot Garden) has fragrant garlic and shallots coming up under a poly cover. A brand new rhubarb is sending up the first amber leaves in the front SFG. Peas and fava beans have already been pressed into the ground in other gardens. Because I am a belt and suspender gal, there is a back-up tray of peas planted in soil cubes in the green house, just in case some critter feasts on fresh pea sprouts growing unprotected outside. My fear of critter feasts are not strictly imaginary. All our kale and over winter broccoli have been eaten down to stumps. I suspect raccoons.

Herbs in the green house; Tarragon make a comeback.

Herbs in the green house; Tarragon make a comeback.

The fruit trees and blueberries are being moved to the front garden. Inspired by Back to Eden, Ray has built a boarder and is filling it with chipped wood for a perma-culture food forest (forest may be a stretch, it is more of an alley). My plan is to put the artichokes in this garden while the fruit trees, a multi-cherry, a multi-pear and an Orcus Pear, are still small. I am hopeful that there will be room for the pie cherries I would like to add to my dream of an orchard-forest.

The Pantry and Freezer are still comfortably full but I sure am looking forward to the first salad of baby greens.

Bomber and nuggets, Lil'bit, Stella and Birtha

Bomber and nuggets, Lil’bit, Stella and Bertha

March 6, 2014, Everett, Washington Showers turning to rain (do they say that anywhere else?) We are under a flood watch. The Toy Box Suburban Farm sits high on a bluff far from the river, even so, the ground is a squishy sponge.  A high of 56 F and a comfortable low of 47 F. Steady SSE wind of 10 mph gusting to 20 mph. More of the same for the rest of the week. 11 hours, 18 minutes of daylight (rise 6:41 AM, set 5:59 PM)

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Mid September

Black Garbanzo beans ready to finish.

Spent Sabbath in the garden. Putzing about. I feel so refreshed and ready to face another week of Junior High (and my beloved home-schoolers). What is it about dirt in my finger nails that is so relaxing? We ate a simple meal of boiled red potatoes, beans (Ray wanted his raw, I dropped mine in with the potatoes for a couple of minutes), sliced cucumber and tomatoes. All of them were growing in the garden 10 minutes earlier. Turkey and that earthy Trader Joe’s french bread finished the meal. There might have been a glass of wine at some point. It could have been the latest Merlot from Red Rock.

Todays Harvest

Some things cannot be rushed. Farm life is all about patience with just the right amount of hurry. I have been waiting all year for my cipolini onions (some call them donut onions) to be ready to harvest. September 14th was finally the day. Now I wait again as they cure in the crisp fall air. Hopefully it won’t be in a heap on the porch.

All week we have been pulling ears of corn and skipping dessert. Fresh sweet corn IS a food group that covers dinner and dessert. We could not wait any longer. The bulk of the harvest had to be put into the freezer before it wandered past its prime. I wish I could grow ten times as much sweet corn as I have room for. I keep eyeing my HOA contract while looking at all that open space in my front yard. Someday desire will be stronger than the contract.

After the Harvest…..


The corn stalks are bundled and standing behind the green house for fall decorations. The two flint corn need to dry on the stalks. Both are heirlooms. Painted Mountain is a multi color corn from Uprising Seed and Hooker’s from a homestead in Olympia Washington.
Thank you for praying for Maxwell. He is home from the hospital. Is this what an Indian summer feels like? Deep blue sky, 72/52. Sunrise comes late (and Standard Time is still a few days away) at 6:48 AM, setting 13 hours and 29 minutes later at 7:17 PM. The fire that is raging in the Cascades makes a pretty sunrise. Still I hate that fire….Liberty, Washington has been evacuated!

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Filed under Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm, Video

Cold, cold July (until today)

The Toy Box

Suburban Farm Episode #25 (Season 3)

I have no idea why or how you-tube chooses a cover picture. This looks liked my pumpkin vine growing outside of the fence. By the way, I did finally get my lawn mown. Sorry about the mess.

Is that a dragon fly sitting on my corn?

Today was warmer outside than it was inside, we have not had many days like that. Blue sky, 75/57 sunrise at 5:37, 15 hours and 15 minutes later the sun set at 8:52. I am missing my late walks with the dogs.

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Filed under Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm, Video