Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring has Sprung!

Spring is here, and there are so many different places that are now giving advice on vegetable gardening.
Ok people- *I* would have loved this YEARS ago (I believe I have been trying this for 5 years or so at least- my blog being 3 years old this January past - you can SEE that it's been going a while :)
Anyway, I wanted to share some things I run across, and thought I would.
PLUS I want to share what I am doing and WHEN for those new to gardening ;)

Here we are in Zone 7a. That means relatively mild winters. I say relatively because there are LOTS of places in the USA with colder, and a few with milder winters.
Virginia is one of those 'middle' states, with the worst of both worlds. Our winters are just cold enough, and our summers hot and humid. That means we have a tough time growing a lot of things because our climate is just not cut out for it.
Peas (English) have a tough time. It gets hot fairly early on, which means peas tend to die off early. IF you are smart, you will have already planted your peas (about 2-3 weeks ago). They will take a while to germinate in the cold soil BUT as soon as the weather is right, up they come. Last year my peas were excellent :) If only I had planted more...
In the ground now, should be peas, lettuce and spinach, brassicas and some of the cole (Kale etc) crops.
I am a bit late on most of these because the weather decided to rain buckets right at the time I needed to plant. And my soil has a tendency to compact when worked in the rain. I need to work on the compost this year...

Now on to the sharing :)

Two new books:

The Backyard Homestead:

Lots of lovely information about vegetables for gardening AND preserving. Also includes some livestock information :) Love the garden plans- but then I am a garden plan junkie...

The Complete Compost Gardening Guide

A lovely book to supplement the Rodale compost book you should have on your shelf :) Nice pictures- they really illustrate concepts you have previously heard of but probably not seen, a few great (and economical) ideas- some are original, others not so :) I really like the trash can composter idea- great way to test the barrel composters without the cost. THAT one I am going to try :)

Keep an eye open- this year promises to be big on vegetable gardening- about 2 years behind England on the resurgance of this passtime :) That means there should be new books and all sorts out. In the meantime, enjoy the following links :) (I'll add to these as I find them).

The Green Thumb Family

Charles Dowding

(Not So) Urban Hennery

Granny Miller

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Free Herb Magazine

The Essential Herbal magazine is offering a free copy of its sold out edition concerning vegetable gardens :)
dig for victory here and get your own copy!

You might also like to know that Mother Earth News has a "Grow Your Own Food" guide out as well- worth getting :)
Those of us who have been doing this for years are loving the new trend... :D

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nature Notes 19th March

Signs of Spring in my Garden
Orginally uploaded by Spinneretta
Click to enlarge picture

I have been doing numerous nature journal entries, which you can see over on my Main Blog. I thought you might like to see it her :D
This is today's offering- signs of spring in my garden :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Awesome Idea

Well you can tell I like my kids to get outside... and THIS idea is so great!

You have to read this ;)

Friday, March 06, 2009


After 7 years, we finally got a decent snowfall. It would have been much better if it had NOT knocked out our power on the two record breaking coldest nights in March ever!!! (9.3 degrees F and 13 degrees F respectively). Thank goodness for Kerosene heaters!
Anyway, I thought I'd share some pictures of our 8 inches or so. You can click on the pictures for a closer look :)

The birds were attacking the feeder with a vengeance- we actually saw birds at them that we rarely see... including a pine warbler and the blue jays. It was definitely a plus point because with the power out, there was not much else to do but watch them and read books... not that I mind either of those ;)

This one above is the pine warbler (female).

The back garden was covered. When I went out, I discovered my Doc Martens were inadequate- too low!! I resolved to tread in my husband's footprint. His boots were a little higher! M'Lady's boots were way too short while Rebel's wellies were fine. Good job it wasn't super cold though!!

The views from upstairs were amazing... they always are though :) My biggest regret was that certain neighbours thought it was fun to go up and down the road in ATVs and Dirt bikes- and a few in trucks which they liked to try and get stuck in the snow in. Most were too young to have driven in the snow before- like I said, this is the biggest snow in 7 years for us. Locals tell me that we used to get these snows every year, plus a bigger one and a smaller one. If all snows kncocked out power, I say thank goodness for 'climate change' ;)

It really was a rubbishy snow. Powdery and dry, you couldn't sledge, or have snowball fights or build snowmen (though a few people managed the latter by using wetter snow). M'lady tried her sledge, but moved only a few feet. 2 days later the sledging was great- I used our hill and had fun, the kids did a few slides in the front and chickened out from sliding down the hill.

The icicles on the roof were cool. They started out pretty small, but as the days passed and the snow melted only to re-freeze at night, they changed...

...becoming these amazing icicles which dangled long and low enough to see from the living room and front bedroom windows. I found them fascinating- falling on the ice one time as I stared, and watching them melt out of the window. They are ridged and fascinating to see!

And when one fell off yesterday, Rebel grabbed it and brought it in to look at. You can see that they are really quite large! I was not the only one fascinated by them!

The way the snow clung to the trees interested me too...

The front lawn became quite beautiful...

...And the setting sun tinted the snow on the trees pink. That's probably the last of the snow we'll see for at least a year... but given that it has been 4 years since our last snow big enough to play in, and 7 years since a sleddable snow... who knows?