Saturday, March 17, 2012

In like February, out like....... June!?

As the first day of spring approaches on Tuesday, we're reminded that absolutely anything goes in the month of March in New England

We really should thank Mother Nature that she wasnt on the rag for the most part this winter, but this is nuckin futs....  trees are budding, flowers are poking up through the soil, and it's March 17.   For real???  I am never going to complain about the warm weather coming early in the season (this winter lover is tired of it by mid to late February), but it makes me wonder what kind of summer we're in store for.  As much as I can tolerate the cold weather, I have the opposite intolerance for heat and humidity.  The way we're headed right now, it looks like we're going to find out sooner rather than later........


Unlike the weather, these beauties  below are right on schedule.  Celery seedlings through three and a half weeks

Celery is tough enough to grow as an already established plant, but from seed, it's even tougher, and it starts w. the challenge of just trying to get it to germinate in under 17-21 days.  These came up in just 13.  A week and a half later, trained eyes may be able to detect the first set of true leaves emerging on the center most group.  It CAN be done!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Roll call!

Ok, so the gang's all here, finally.  Three separate seed orders (two w. Johnny's, and one w. Burpee), I have rounded everyone up

The cast of characters include the following:

Atomic Red
White Satin

Pearl Drop

Pink Beauty

Orange Crisp
Super Honeydew


That's everything thats coming from seed.  Well, I say that know, but we gardeners know how that goes, right?! :-D  There's also celery seed in the basement on the heatmat.  We've hit the ground running this year!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Giving it the old college try............ again.................

So yeah, this will be my fourth foray into the world of greenhousing.  The first hoophouse I had at my parents house was by far the best.  That thing was beyond battle tested: heavy snowfalls, howling winds, driving rain, wiffle balls, horseshoes, everything was thrown against it, and it remained standing like a brick sh*thouse.  Of course, when I moved into the apartment, my parents couldnt wait to take it down.

The next two were complete disasters, as we didnt build a good enough foundation for one, and no foundation at all on the other.  Needless to say, a gentle breeze kicked the ass of both of those.

Never fear, for my scouring of the interwebs has yielded this beaut: the GrowCamp.  For the bargain price of $380, this puppy will be going where the other one stood before it was sent to meet its maker.  The only caveat is that I promised Lisa we'd get a new dishwasher before I made any funzies purchases

Now, I know you're all saying, "ok, Bromberg.....  you cant walk inside.  What the hell is the point?"  Well, thats EXACTLY the point!  Seeing as how this is not an entry ghse, it's not as flimsy as the Easy2Build one I paid $550 for a few years ago that seemed to tilt to one side when a robin sneezed near it.  This one not only appears to be anchored by a more secure purlin, but also a few more stabilizing wires, and the fact that the bottom 50% is filled w. the growing medium.  As the season progresses, this blog as well as my Facebook page will be filled w. pictures of this 'new' endeavor.  The plan as it stands right now is to do perennial and biennial herbs on one side, and whatever I feel like throwing on the other side.  Who knows, maybe even get another extension prior to the 2013 season!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A year later

Yeah, I've been horrible at updating this thing over the past year, but a lot has happened.  Sure, Lisa and I went to Las Vegas for her 30th bday last March, and also went to California in October for my nephew's first birthday, but that was about it.  In between the two trips, on April 22nd to be exact, my mother was diagnosed w. small cell carcinoma, a very aggressive and deceptive type of cancer.  It was discovered in her lungs, her bones, and her spine.  Her doctors came up w. the best course of action, and began to treat it as well as they could.  

We had a fantastic summer, enjoying all the family time that we could, as we usually do, and tried not to think about mom's condition.  We all carpe'd the diem since we didnt know what the next day would hold.

However, despite the phenomenal results of the first round of chemo (everything w. the exception of a few infected cells around her heart was eradicated), the cancer came back, and the second round wasnt effective at all.  In the past 30 years, there has been no additional progress made on the treatment of SCC; these two chemos were it.  Eventually, we all had to accept the terrible news we were hoping to avoid: mom was terminal, and it was just a matter of time.   

Long story short, she was discharged from the hospital in late October, and sent home.  Surrounded by the love of myself, Lisa, my two brothers, my dad, my sister in law, my nephew, and all my aunts and uncles, she peacefully passed away at 5:33am on November 10.  It goes w.o saying that this was a very difficult period of time for all of us.  I was able to have a very good talk w. mom before she slipped into eternal rest, and it helped me tremendously to be able to cope w. what was going to happen.  I didnt leave anything on the table, and for that, I will forever be grateful.  When mom passed, my attention immediately turned to my dad, and how he was going to move on.  

Three months later, we have all picked up the pieces, but not a day goes by where I dont think about her, or miss her like hell.  She was an incredibly strong and courageous woman, and I hope that I can be half the man to Lisa that my dad was to my mom for the 35 years they were together.  What he did for her, especially over the last seven months of her life, was nothing short of extraordinary.  

Before I get too choked up, it's time to switch topics.  What in the name of HELL is going on w. this weather this 'winter'?  We've had a grand total of 7" of snow when at this point last year, we were buried under nearly 4' and it was still coming down.  As I take a look around not only my yard  (which is crying for greenery), but at work, I see crocuses coming up and trees budding.  For real!?  It's February 15!  However, I'm not going to complain because it's seed starting season!  I picked up some celery seed at the garden center this past weekend, and will be placing my Johnny's and Burpee order's this weekend!  It's green thumb time!!!! :-D

Monday, April 11, 2011

Captain, we have liftoff!

So, this proves it CAN be done!  After the debacle tomato seed undertaking, I cleaned house, sent the surplus to Amy, and made room for the two pumpkin varieties I got from Johnny's.  As you can tell, we're in business....  

The ones on the right are Racer.  People w. eyesight much better than mine may also be able to detect some germination on the left.  The front 4 cells are L'il Keeper cantaloupes from Totally Tomato, and in the back are the Moonshine pumpkins.  Those are the white ones from Johnny's.  We're off to the races!  

Outside has it's share of activity as well.  On the way back from babysitting my nephew in CT, the missus and I decided to stop of at the Farmers's Daughter in Millbury for our first foray into a garden center for plants this season.  Here's the bounty

Both packs of lettuce, although labelled differently, were both clearly romaine.  Nonetheless, four of them have homes already

As do two of the broccoli:

Feels good to finally be out from under the snow, and on to the growing season!  I'm sure these chives feel the same way

That's a wrap on the first week.  We've been waiting all winter for this weather!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Let the games begin!

Yeah, you could say it about the Red Sox, but you could also make the argument they havent started yet.  Horrid weekend in Texas.  Wow....  if John Lackey is our #3, this is going to be a VERY long season.  

Of course, no one comes to this blog looking for baseball information.  What you want to know is what's going on in the Urban Farm™.  Well, at the moment, not a whole hell of a lot, but the plan is for that to change in a big way starting this week.  After over 7' of snow this winter, the itch to get outside and start preparing the area for this year's Eden has been worse than ever.  Even though it's going to be overcast this week, the fact that it's going to be tickling 55° is easy to take.  Going to head to the nursery on Saturday to pick up kale, broccoli, and lettuce starts.  I also intend to get another salad grow bag from Gardener's this week.  The fact that we could grow almost a dozen heads of romaine in one of these and get the results we did astounded me.  I thought these things were gimmicky, and I was skeptical to spend almost $70 on one of these plus a tomato and pepper bag as well, but the results spoke for themselves.  This week's agenda also includes sowing the watermelon radishes I got from Totally Tomatoes

What you see below is this year's baby.  These are Moonshine pumpkins from Johnny's.  My late grandfather and I grew pumpkins for all 26 years that he and I "ran" the garden together.  However,  he was so old school that the idea of an albino winter squash made him shudder.  In fact, it was a chore even getting him to agree to red potatoes one year!  This year though, all bets are off.  This puppy is going to be the centerpiece of the 2011 plot.  Don't worry though, Vavoo, I'm still gonna plant orange ones as well, so you can continue to rest in peace ;-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Snow + seed starts = sdfhjahsdfgkauagfadhj

So, here we are at the end of March, but someone forgot to tell Ma Nature.  She's got her a/c working overtime as we've struggled to get to 50° for a majority of the past three weeks, and have a truckload of snow coming Friday!  For those of you calendar-impaired, that's April 1!!!!    In fact, I dont ordinarily say this in March, but I'll gladly take some of the 80° weather Sarah, Scott, Lisa and I left behind in Vegas two weeks ago!  But despite the chill, the gardening season is under way!  I've been gardening for the better part of my life (supposedly started when I was 3 years old [family pictures to prove it]), but dont have a recollection of it until I was 7.  Be that as it may, that's still going on 27 years where reaping the benefits of hard work in the soil has been part of me.  However, it's been over 15 years since I've tried growing tomatoes from seed, and the latest effort plays into that.  Ack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Germination rate of about 10%, and I'm sure it's something I'm doing.  This is one of the reasons I'm glad that Amy and I came up w. the CSA option for this year.  The rest of the Lemon Boys have been sent to her to see what she can do w. them.  Hopefully, between the two of us, we can pull off what you see in the picture.  Regardless, it's going to be a fun ride as the challenges of the Z5 growing season always are!  Gotsta pick me up some broccoli and kale starts in the next few weeks also.

In unrelated news, really looking forward to Jared and Jen's arrival this weekend.  It's tough when your brother lives 3000 miles away on the other side of the country, and compounded when your 5-month old nephew is out there as well.  Should be a great week w. them here!