Huge Garden Project

The past 3 years I have been concentrating my gardening efforts on our place down south and this year I am doing a reverse!   We have cleared a rather large area in our yard up north and have decided to do a really spectacular garden.   Although I have some gardening knowledge this large space is intimidating!   There is nothing there and I plan to make it pretty … yikes!

This is our back yard and the area with black dirt is our new garden!   That is alot of black dirt!

Another angle ….. of ALOT of black dirt!

And still another view of the area

Frankie is quite content watching as we line the area with brick to keep the soil from running off in heavy rains.   Some days I really wish my dogs, of which we have four, could pitch in and help a little with some of this work.

Next step is framing the area with plastic lattice to keep the bunnies out … the squirrels will climb over so I need to keep an eye out for them.   One year they had a real feast on all my miniature blue corn I had growing when we were gone for a weekend.

This is an additional area on the side of the house that I plan to clean up and add flowers or it may be the herb garden.

It looks like I have my work cut out for me ….. maybe the dogs will have a change of heart and decide to help out.

Follow along as I create my Dream Garden!

 

My Gardening List for 2011

I finally started work on my Gardening List for the coming 2011 season.   Although I have notes and little reminders here and there, it’s time to pull it all together and get organized.

In previous years I have included my list on the above tab “Gardening” and will continue this year.   My biggest challenge when planning for the coming season is the fact that I am torn between two homes which are a travel distance of 5 hours apart.   I have learned over the past few years that you really have to be on location when gardening and if you are gone for several days in a row, you need to have someone look after all your plants.   This little tip hit hard last summer when I was gone for 2 weeks and the weather scorched out at 115 degrees and did a number on every little and big plant I had growing.   It was a painful experience and still very clear in my thoughts.   So as I look through my seeds, I have to first decide where I will be spending most of my time and if I do leave; will the plants survive.

The garlic was planted October, 2010 – 500 bulbs here up North and about 300 down South.   They are sleeping well underneath the huge layer of snow right now and will wake up as Spring approaches.   Mid-July I will be harvesting all the garlic and then it will cure (dry out) for about a month.   The 5 varieties growing this year are Chet’s Italian, Inchelium Red, Chrysalis Purple, Persian Star and Chesnok Red.

This year I intend to grow more Sunflowers.   They have always amazed me and I find them such a daunting yet graceful (in their own way) flower.   I have my seeds all ready and waiting the exciting season ahead … Chocolate Cherry Sunflower, Junior (good for containers), Cinnamon Sun, Autumn Beauty and I am trying the Edible Snack Seed Sunflower also.

I will be working on “the list” today and although I have my updated version posted, I still have to decide what to plant where and most importantly … Where am I going to be?

Will it be Munchie Monday or Menu Monday … that is the question!   The poll is still open for your vote !   Make sure to have your recipe ready for Monday … when the fun begins!!

Garden Talk

I did spend time over the weekend reviewing past garden plans and new seed catalogs and have added my 2010 Garden List to the Gardening page on the blog.  Of course … there may be additions since it is so early in the year!  The list is a combination of new choices along with others I have grown in the past and saved the seeds.  I have a new interest in dried beans and hope to also can some beans if I have an overabundance.  The dried beans and the canned beans will be great pick me ups during the long winter months!  The pepper and tomato choices are favorites and all will be grown from seeds I have saved with the exception of the Principe Borghese Tomato which lists as a great sun-dried tomato – this will be my first year growing these.  I have tomatoes dried in my dehydrator and use them as sun-dried in recipes so this new choice should work well.  Those that have grown the Cherokee Purple Tomato can vouch for its superb taste and wonderfulness as Annica from Roots and Flowers commented in a previous post!  The Amish Paste I use for canning since they are meaty and don’t have an overload of seeds.  There are so many different types of both tomatoes and peppers and it can be difficult to narrow down the choices.  I had great success with the Tam Jalapeno and have some frozen and canned – these were great gifts over the holidays.  The Cayenne I hope to dry and include along with my garlic harvest.  The Alma Paprika peppers are remarkable and Lisa at GetintheGarden commented she plans to grow these this year also.  These peppers have 3 color stages – yellow, orange and then red.  They mellow out a bit as they turn to the final red color.  Little did I know my first year growing these – I was so excited to try them.  I grabbed a nice big yellow Alma off the plant and bit right in ……..Ouch!  They are hot!  My favorite dish with these peppers has been Pepper and Tomato soup – roasting the peppers, peeling off the skin and then blending them in the blender before adding to all the other soup ingredients.  I made this soup up and froze it using all my peppers.  This year I plan to actually dry some and make paprika powder!

 I have an area which I plan to revamp and create a nice herb garden.  Dill is the Herb of the Year for 2010 and you can read more here .   Lemongrass and Stevia will be two new herbs growing in the herb garden this year.

 Flaxseed grew very well last year and Gigi at Plangarden commented on this healthy addition to meals in a recent blog comment .  I hope to grow much more of the seed this year and continue to add it to our meals .

 In past years I have grown Luffa and find this to be an unusual and fun plant to grow for sponges.  Gourds were a focus last year and they are beginning to dry completely now so I will be working on these soon and hope to show all the neat works of art I create!  I found Cotton seeds and will try my hand at growing these – should be interesting!

Thank you for the nice comments and I hope you are busy making all kinds of gardening plans for a great 2010!!!