Today we did alot of work in the garden which I will break up into separate posts. This one will be dedicated to the enemy I love, onions. What does this mean? I don’t eat onions – I cry if they are in my food. I am that person who takes very long in line because I request everything be made without onions, and if they ignore my request, then I will send it back. I will pick the onions out of salsa even if it means it will take 20 minutes and everyone will be done eating already. I don’t like the smell of onions, I pout and moan when I have to make something with onions for Matthew. But with that said, I am the garden mother of these onions so I cherish and worship them. No, I won’t eat them, but I want them to grow big and strong. Even though it’s the one thing in the garden that I will not eat, somehow I am always stuck sorting and planting them every year. Matthew calls me the “onion whisperer” because he says I am good at the meticulous job of picking all the onion seedlings apart. Man, I hate that job. It’s the worst. And let me tell you something, even if they are onion babies right now, they smell of onions. I totally overreact too. I will sit on the ground with those onion seedlings, crying, pretending I can’t breathe, holding my nose (which really makes it worse because I have onions on my fingers). It’s tough work, but it’s all for the love of one of my children, the onions.
First, let’s look at the box where all the new onions will be planted in. These onions off to the left have been there for a few months over winter, and they look like they are bouncing back so we are going to leave them and see.
Speaking of onions that made it over winter – will you check out this box of onions that are looking amazing? Matthew had fears they wouldn’t survive, but I told him to keep some hope in these onions, and look at them! Look at them!
No bulbs were spotted (yet) but they are looking strong. They’re all about 1 foot high. When they get bulbs I am going to do the happy onion dance. They deserve it.
Back to the onions we planted today. Here are all our onion seedlings. Each little soil cup has a bunch of onion seedlings in it – anywhere from 5 to 8.
Then comes the fun (not fun at all) part of sorting these onion seedlings out, one at a time. While holding each one delicately you try to untangle all the roots.
This take some time, but I have worked out a system of shaking them so they come loose pretty quickly. Onion whisperer I am.
The seedlings already have pretty intense roots going on. Each seedling grew into a big onion last year and produced a bulb larger than a baseball. Matthew said they were delicious. We are hoping for similar results this year!
So now they’re all planted. There’s 38 onions here, not counting the ones in another box. We’ll check back on them in a few months…
Last year we planted the tomatoes and green peppers seeds on March 1. This year we planted them March 14 (yesterday). Time is running by quickly here at the moment, and thankfully we realized this 2 weeks late and not 1 month, 2 weeks late. So yesterday we got out the supplies and planted our tomatoes for the year. You know the usual characters:
There’s the roma, sweet aroma, beef, cherry tomatoes. Then there’s the green bell peppers.
See the container to the left? ?That’s Burpee’s eco friendly self watering cell seed starting system. It’s magical. We thought it might have been a gimmick when we bought the bigger cell version for our other seedlings, but those seedlings in it have grown so much bigger than the other seeds not in a self watering system. If you can find this, get it. It’s great.
Beautiful soil, get your hands dirty. I love the feeling.
I know I say it ALL the time, but these 2 little sees will turn into full blown tomato plants. It amazes me every single time.
We also are getting the sugar snap peas ready by presprouting them inside. This always works better for us than planting them directly in the soil as we are never quite sure if they all are growing to sprout or not, and if they don’t you are left with a few that need to be replanted. With presprouting, you are guaranteed to know they all will grow into plants. I did a post on presprouting sugar snap peas last year if you want to read it.
I would like to give a shot out to my gardening helper, Xanadu Pluto, who climbed into the seed starter box…
But realized she couldn’t fit all the way and just stayed like this. No shame. <3
Today felt like the official start of the garden season. It was 50 degrees out, we were shoveling soil, taking care of seedlings, building boxes. I was complaining that my back hurt. It’s just like old times, meaning every single year we’ve had our rooftop garden. Our main goal today was to get the greenhouses rebuilt and if time permitted build a new box to replace one that was falling apart. Not only did we get all that done, but we were able to remove the soil from all the boxes to turn it over and feed it compost. Woo! I won’t be able to move tomorrow.
It was sunny and nice out today. Since there is so much empty space on our roof we are able to have lots of room to build.
First up was the long greenhouse that had some holes in the plastic, so the plastic was ripped off.
And then replaced.
Woo! I’m excited too. Greenhouse is built. The broccoli and cauliflower will probably hang out in here soon enough.
Then it was the smaller greenhouse. In this picture it’s off to the left and it was destroyed by the wind. It had a few holes in it, then suddenly the wind just ripped it apart.
So we covered that up with some new plastic..
Then it was all set to protect when the seedlings go under it…
Speaking of seedlings. Say hello to them! I will do another post focused on them. )
Then it was time to replace this box. This has been with us since the beginning of the garden and it’s seen it’s last days.
So I hulked up and shoveled all the soil out of this box. My heavens, there is alot of soil in one box!
Box is now all empty.. time to take it apart.
Before we put the new box down we built we put sponges down. This will protect the roof so the wood won’t lay on it.
New box all filled back up now! High 5. I’m exhausted.
Then we had to empty every single box to turn over the soil. This is such hard work. I almost took a nap.
This is Mr. Pumpkin who has been with us since October. He’s finally saying goodbye and needs to be released back into the soil. We will miss you Pumpkin man who has brought me so much joy every single day seeing him in the kitchen
So I did the sad honors of cutting him open so we could compost him.
Isn’t the inside of a pumpkin amazing?
While Matthew was smashing the pumpkin up I pretended to be the pumpkin and said things in my pumpkin voice such as “Oh don’t hurt me”, “OOO that feels good”, “hehehe that tickles”. I amuse myself.
I saved some pumpkins from him. I will try to grow these. I like keeping it in the family if possible.
Then we brought over the compost that has been working it’s magic all winter.
Oh delicious compost soil that the garden loves. This will cause big strong plants!
We worked hard this afternoon. So hard that by 5PM I already had my Fuel Points goal!
Excited for the new year of growing.. Happy gardening!
So it has been a full month since many of the Spring seeds were planted. How are they doing? Well I’m glad you asked. I have been waiting to do a post on this. I have been very anxious. I would like to post every time they grow a centimeter but I know that probably isn’t very exciting to you. So I wanted a whole month. I really keep things riveting here! Here they are today…!
But let’s go on a journey.. back to January 2013 to watch the progress… On January 15, the first one decided to pop up and greet us:
Then on January 16, more of it’s friends came out to play..
On January 24, we had alot of growth action that already happened in the 12 days since they were planted:
Then on January 28, the onions decided to start growing quick.
Check out this amazing guy, isn’t he beautiful? It’s New Zealand spinach.
Then on February 6, we had to pick favorites. This is always so hard. I don’t do it, I make Matthew while I sob loudly on the floor yelling “IT ISNT FAIR”.
Check out the broccoli roots! They are already growing out of their cups…
And this is yesterday. Hey spinach and kale – how are you guys doing? Kale, man I’m excited to see you!
Onions, I won’t eat you, but I’m very happy to see you looking so well.
Everyone this is cauliflower. Cauliflower this is everyone. Say hello!
Broccoli – you beautiful people.
So everything came up….. so now we just keep watering and giving hugs.
This was taken a few minutes ago. I almost fell off a chair, but I’m ok. The onions and cauliflower are so big they are in the light. Good luck guys. Also note the fan to the right that we put up in mid January. This keeps it windy so they aren’t shocked when they hit the roof. It also makes them very strong as they are growing wind muscles (my term, not technical).
How’s your seedlings?
The subject is very exciting – the 2013 garden has begun! Seeds have been planted for broccoli, cauliflower, onions, kale, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, brussels sprouts tonight.
Broccoli – 8 plants, hopefully as lovely as last year, stay away aphids.
Cauliflower – 8 plants (2 different kinds – hybrid, giant of naples), hopefully as delicious as last year, stay away aphids.
Onions – hopefully as lovely as last year, this was matthews pride and joy last year.
Kale – hopefully will be monsters like last year, stay away white flies.
Spinach – i lied in this post, we are growing it again this year. we have 2 different kinds – hybrid, new zealand.
Cabbage – never grew, please be successful so I can make halupkies.
Lettuce – never grew from seed, please be successful.
Brussels sprouts – never grew, please be successful because I love you so much.
So there it is – what the Spring garden looks like so far. Sugar snap peas and carrots will be planted directly into the soil on the roof sometime in late February, early March. Whew! Lots of greens, very excited.
I know I say it every year but it always amazes me that this little seed can turn into this big guy. Man, nature is amazing, I can’t even understand how it does what it does. Thank you life. Thank you world. Thank you to the plant gods that I love dearly and sing and dance to in the garden circling our plants, showering them with love and hopeful dreams of becoming big and strong. I respect you nature. You are A+ in my book. I give you so little and you give me so much. Please love me back.
This is seedling box 1 of 2. There’s alot of things going on. I graphed everything out and wrote everything down but somehow a cabbage will get mixed up in the lettuce section and cause me anxiety for a week. It always happens. I swear they come to life at night and move around.
Shout out to the best helpers in the world too, Brother Bear and Xanadu Pluto. Xanadu just wanted a pencil I was writing with while Brother wanted every single seed packet. We could not find the cauliflower seed pack anywhere, turns out Brother Bear laid on it and it was completely hidden under his belly. He was also very fascinated with the Brussels sprouts. What a guy.
This year we also got a new grow light system going on. This used to be the old set up. It was one small 24×12 shelf with 3 6500 CFL bulbs.
This is the new system. It’s a 48×12 shelf with 4 4ft 6500 fluorescent bulbs. We looked at premade kits on all the garden websites but they are so overpriced. $200 for 2 bulbs and a light fixture? You out of your mind. So we went to Home Depot and bought our own supplies. This setup cost about $70. *High Five*
Have you started anything with your Spring Garden yet? While at Home Depot we were overly excited to see they have a full selection of seeds, trays and supplies all ready to go. Last year I don’t think they got their seeds until March. I hope I had something to do with it as I constantly went there every single day pleading for potting mix. The garden section manager eventually just gave me his business card so I could call him for updates. I felt both cool and pathetic.
Happy garden planning!
You know why I love having a garden? Because it’s January, feels like 22 degrees out and I can look in my freezer, grab some frozen soy beans I preserved a few months ago and have fresh edamame in a few minutes. It feels like summer now! Minus the 3 pairs of socks I have on and that I’m sitting in front of a heater.
In just a few weeks the 2013 garden will be started. We will start plotting the outline, and then seeds will be started inside. This year we’re going to move some of the boxes around, try a few new vegetables, not grow some and continue to glare at the person who constantly shuts off our hose in the laundry room.
Here is a table on what we’re hoping to grow this year..
Yes Will Grow: The usuals, vegetables we have grown before.
New First Time: New vegetables we want to try growing.
No Won’t Grow: Grew them, but decided not to this year.
|YES Will Grow
||NEW First Time
||NO Won’t Grow
|Sugar Snap Peas
The yes column is pretty self explanatory. These are the usual cast of characters and have grown successfully on the roof.
New this year we’d like to try Brussels Sprouts, lettuce and pickling cucumbers from seed. Last year we had lettuce but it wasn’t from seed. Also, we had success last year with regular cucumbers but I want pickling cukes so we will try Kirby cucumbers. I’m obsessed with Brussels Sprouts so that is understandable.
There are a few plants that we have grown but most likely won’t grow this year. The red beans grew amazing and looked like tentacles, but we would rather green beans. The spinach was successful as well but besides cupcakes we really don’t eat it. Lastly, our luck with potatoes has been good and bad. Some years they grow great, some years the heat kills them. For the amount of soil they need, and how cheap they are to actually buy in the store (compared to the price of seed potatoes) it might be most economical to just not grow them this year (even though this breaks my heart). Also this year I really don’t want to grow flowers unless they’re Rhododendrons or varieties like this. Growing flowers just doesn’t excite me as much as growing a pumpkin.
What’s your garden look like for 2013?