Chickens in the Road ForumA A A
March 6, 2012
Attempting to sleep while the cold weather moves back in. After a few wonderful weeks busting my tush the cold has crept back and I am taking a break. Creating a 70ft long 1ft high raised bed along the back fence in an attempt to avoid the glass from embedding in my hand when I weed over the summer. Started planting some seeds and ground cover flowers around the pond, spread out more grass seed, clipped the vines from the fence, and watched my carrots that I planted too late last year wake back up and start to really really grow. They went from 4-6" high to about 9" high and the green tops are slowly turning a pale orange.
January 10, 2012
About a week ago we had quite a heat wave, drug out all my planting trays and seed containers. Washed all the containers outside for the first time. Last week started my cabbage, brussell sprout, 3 varieties of sweet pepper, cilantro, 4 varieties of hot pepper, a 18"x14" tray of sweet basil... the basil, brussell sprouts and cabbage broke through the soil this weekend. All but the cabbage and brussell sprouts are under lights. Thursday I will start about 24 varieties of heirloom tomato seed and some herbs.
Ed built me a 8'x26" cold frame last weekend. I am hoping we can figure a way to get a heat light source in it since we are not having real warm days/nights for awhile.. any hints from my fellow gardeners here?? I brought in the cabbage/brussell sprout plants I had in it the last couple days,due to the cold temps Sunday and heavy frost last night, will put them back out there in the morning.
We remember years ago, Ed's dad had put a heating coil under his trays, we have not seen anything like that in a long time. Wondering if we can rig light bulbs or such. Open to any and all suggestions. Thanks a heap.
Also, any hints on how to get the dill to continuously come back? I have NO luck with it reseeding itself. I seem to have to seed the area every spring.
I left my kale in the garden to winter over, I noticed today, it is beginning to grow again, we will be eating kale this weekend from last summers planting.
I usually plant my garlic in the fall here in Ohio, I could not find garlic to plant, is it too late to get a crop in?
October 28, 2011
Dee, I'm not sure I understand your setup, but when i start my seeds and it gets chilly, I throw a regular electric heating pad beneath them on the lowest setting. Might work if you then cover them at night. Maybe our heat has come back (sort of) and your worries are over. I stuck my head out the door just now and it's still and warm but there's a storm moving by.
March 2, 2011
Tons of started plants inside (on my windowsills all over the house, actually). Here in N. Pennsylvania, I wouldn't normally move them to the cold frame until later in April, but I am thinking about making the move sooner. We did have a hard frost the other night-I was outside covering my giant bleeding hearts with old army blankets, and they made it through just fine. In fact, they're thinking about blooming--unheard of in March!
Garlic is up, raspberries are leafing out, and I guess I need to peek under the old hay covering the strawberries and see what they're up to. Even my rosemary looks like it *might* have made it through the winter, which never happens here.
New fruit trees coming in the mail (hopefully soon)!
January 10, 2012
Murphala, I never thought of the heating pad underneath. This is the first time we are using a cold frame to start plants. My cabbage, brussell sprouts and some cilantro we have thus far, out in the cold frame. It dropped near freezing Sunday evening and low 20's Monday night, so we brought them into the house and put them in our cast iron bathtub for a day and a half. They are back out in the cold frame since early this morning.( My FIL use to have heating coils the whole length of his cold frame until planting time.)
We are thinking to put light bulbs in the cold frame for warmth in the evenings, since it is cool at night for awhile yet.
Perhaps I can search our local freecycle for unwanted heating pads.
February 10, 2009
I'd be extremely careful about using a regular heating pad under plants Dee, they do make very well sealed warming pads for under plants. They may be more expensive, but may be worth it for safety's sake. Personally, I'd look for some Xmas rope lights, because they are rated for outdoor use, very well insulated and much safer.
Then lay down a scrap piece of drywall on a flat surface, run the rope lighting back and forth in narrow zig-zags on top of that... then get some strips of wood an inch or two wide, or you could use narrow strips of drywall too if you can cut it narrow enough, and lay them along each run of the rope lights. Then lay another piece of drywall on top. Since it will likely get wet, lay an old shower curtain or piece of visqueen, or any other water-proof materiel that can handle some warmth over that and set your plants on it.
Most heat tape is thermostatically controlled to a much lower temp than you want, it will only come on if it's below freezing. This may take some adjusting in height of the spacer strips to raise the top layer so it gets just warm enough so it feels like the ground would on a warm spring day in June. Not HOT at ALL!! You want it just barely warm to the touch under there! Too hot is both dangerous to your property, and no good for the plants either. The rope lighting isn't a perfect solution, but I truly believe it's safer than a heating pad. It's super well insulated and sealed up since it's used outside in all kinds of weather. The drywall isn't fire "proof" but it is relatively fire "resistant", and it holds the warmth evenly and well.
I saw idea on a gardening site and I'm sure if you google heat pad for plants or such, you'll get lots of ideas.
January 10, 2012
Thank you BuckeyeGirl. Talked a bit ago to hubby on his break, telling him of the heating pad idea. He is thinking we should try the light bulbs with thermostat to regulate temps. I like the idea of the xmas lights as well. I know we will be disgussing this at length this evening. I will be sure to include your suggestiions in our disgussion. We decided at the last minute a couple weeks ago to build the cold frame. My FIL had several going at one time. We have a little portable 4ft x ? greenhouse we purchased a few years ago from Drug Mart. The clear plastic covering discinegrated last summer, so we thought the cold frame could serve better this time. I will have to do some research on some of the garden sites.
July 16, 2010
I have already harvested several things from my garden already: cabbage, spinach, snow peas, lettuce, green onions, a few radishes. The tomatoes and peppers are planted and the garlic is about ready to harvest. I also have squash growing but one of them is being eaten by something so I need to replant. I also have tomato plants in hanging baskets on the porch that are already flowering.
January 10, 2012
wow becky3086...you are way ahead of our season. .. my tomatoes are just bearly starting to peek out of their starting soil... my sweet peppers are up about 3 inches and looking good. I am stumped as to why my semi hot peppers, planted at the same time as the sweet are taking so long to come up, they are slow to break through the soil this year. I use only saved heirloom seeds, guess I will have to do some homework and check google for hints to help them along.
I started some fennell and purple kohlarabi last week, and a few perennial flowers under lights as well.
Everything is under lights yet, the cilantro is coming up nicely as well. I planted 23 varieties of heirloom tomatoes on 3/31. They have not broke soil yet. My brussell sprouts and cabbage are getting a little leggy, but have been moving them alot by hand and setting them outside when the temperatures allow so they can get winded to toughen them up. I read somewhere that putting a fan on them can help as well, has anyone done that before and how did it work?
I found a few garlic plants I missed at harvest time last summer in my herb garden. It was a nice surprise, as this fall we were unable to find garlic to plant, it was a bad season here with too much rain. Half of my rhubarb is taking off nicely, the other half is having a tough time filling up and out.
We will be adding some mushroom compost soon to the garden, right now its still quite wet.
Last years kale is greening up and growing.
October 17, 2010
Dee, you are way ahead of me here in eastern Maine! I just spent the morning outside in my perennial flower and herb gardens, raking out some of the mulch and checking to see what's coming up.
My rhubarb is just breaking the ground today, chives are up about 4 inches, a few tiny leaves way down in the middle of the sage, peonies just have tiny red nubbies, a few new leaves on lots of things. This was a weird winter for here, with no snow to speak of, it will be interesting to see what survived.
Oh, and I have crocus and daffodils, and pulmonaria and primroses, blossomed up next to the house on the south side.
I love this time of year!
December 28, 2008
Sure glad you mentioned Rhubarb! Reminded me that I need to go out and remove the blooms!! Got one out earlier, and need to get the rest.
Chives are beginning to bud out here. Waaaaaaay too early for that! Tonight supposed to hit a bit below freezing. Very strange combinations of things already bloomed out, ready to bloom, and otherwise ahead of normal schedule.
This was supposed to be the year for some serious planting. But back problems, having an unplanned tree felling (which remains in the front yard!) and a few other oddities have gotten in the way.
We have discovered that mimosa burns nicely in the outdoor burn pot! Smells rather good.
Had gotten some lemon thyme transplanted. Then the chickens decided to "help." Good thing there is plenty more to transplant back into the areas I still want it to be! Not sure what they like so much about the lemon thyme but the flock spends a lot of time just walking around in it. Will have to barricade the next transplants!
April 12, 2012
Where are all the gardeners?..... setting in a condo dreaming of having a farm. *(sigh)*
If I had a farm I would garden the heck out of it. Who ever finds out how to grow a farm or money in a porch pot let me know... with 5 kids I know they are missing out on what life is
really about and there is just no way for me to give it to them. I love this thread and blog,
I can dream through all of you. So tell me about all of your farms....I'll get comfy and enjoy your stories.
December 28, 2011
Here's the update from western WV.... Chives are *completely* "in" here- with purple buds getting ready to do their thing any day now... but our nights have been cold recently. I've been covering the kale with an old sheet. The upland cress grew too big and flowered, so I had to pull all of it out- but I *love* that plant. We had greens ALL winter. (granted, it was the wussiest winter ever).
In other news, we ordered lots o' dirt- being in a new house in the city instead of on our beloved farm.... So I spent a few days with wheelbarrows and shovels getting dirt around the house to the backyard where we needed it. But now we have *3* (count 'em!) raised beds- 4'x8' plus another 42"x42" bed filled. Plus about 15 pots big enough for tomatoes filled. So we're ready to go when the pepper and tomato seedlings are ready....
I went ahead and planted potatoes in one of the beds. I just love fresh Yukon Golds! Also planted a first round of greens- 4 kinds of lettuces and chard and arugula. (to go with the healthy kale I'm still picking from).
The peach tree that we trimmed the heck out of during the ONLY cold weekend we had all winter is looking like there are tons of peaches starting to form on it. The strawberries (already here when we moved here) are blooming and tiny fruits are starting to form. The asparagus (that we planted) has 6 little stalks shooting up! The blueberries (brought from home in TN) are looking like they made the trip and are happy with their relocation. The garlic I planted last fall is interesting- half of it is just beautiful and the other half is just... gone! Oh well.
The cool thing about working this hard on the garden is that I don't feel quite so displaced, even though we're in a new house. If I have my garden this summer and can grow a lot of our food even here in the heart of the city, it'll be OK here....
January 10, 2012
Hello Rane.. welcome, though you are in a condo, do you have space for some container gardening. Are you allowed to? I know sometimes there are strick rules at condos. If you are allowed to have them or a small flower bed area, you can grow some grape tomatoes, patio sized, etc or greens, carrots, radishes, etc in a flower bed or some medium sized containers. Just a thought for you.
February 22, 2010
Rane, if you're allowed to have flower pots you can have some lettuce...I have even planted lettuce in with my flowers :-)
Plant some herbs...I am going to try some cilantro in a hanging shoe storage organizer (pocket style).
The grape tomatoes would be wonderful...let your kids see how things grow. Don't just dream ...do it!
December 28, 2011
Yeah, Rane, when I lived in a condo, I had a huge basil forest on my back porch- I interspersed basil with zinnias and marigolds in flower boxes all around the outside of the porch. I could also plant lettuce and spinach in those flower box style pots. Then I had 5 gallon pots with tomato plants, only about 4, but I got some good tomatoes off them. I also did peas in a flower box and let them grow all up one side of the porch to create a sunshade. But we didn't have very strict rules and I *did* have a big porch. Good luck!
April 18, 2012
The weather here in NC forgot about spring and thought it was summer in mid-February. All the garden centers brought in annuals and carried them February till now. I giggled to myself at the people buying them. Too early! Past our local freeze deadline now, April 15th but with a cool snap recently... I am still wary! The daffodils bloomed here in Feb. The iris in March, lilies are blooming now. What is this? The plants are confused by our lack of winter! Ugh the bugs are out in full force though.
Started the lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach in the garden about a month ago and some of the bib lettuce is looking tasty and romaine is getting close to being harvested!
Started my tomato seedlings and they are coming up like crazy! This year I am trying: Super Sioux, Oregon Spring, Early Stupice and also my faves Cherokee Purple, Red Pear and Sungold cherry!
I've been drooling over plant catalogs like Raintree Nursery and Richters Herb. All the amazing edibles!! White Flower Farm and Bluestone Perennials trying to seduce me with their beautiful photos and wonderful descriptions! Ahhhh! It's spring here but I am ready for summer!!
The blackberry and raspberries have leaves and are vining, the blueberries, peaches and pears have fruit started. The mulberry and pomegranates have fruit! I have been wanting to get some edible groundcovers for forever. Found two akebia vines at a local nursery and planted them! One has a beautiful chocolate flower and the other a soft white, both smell amazingly sweet like cotton candy. Cross your fingers for fruit!!
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