This week's 'dig'
Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT

You know you're a gardener when...
Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots
Where things either live or die!

Feb 25, 2009

Busy Little Bee- that would be me!


Catherine over at A Gardener in Progress, asked me ‘Where you been, haven’t seen you for a while- working in your greenhouse?’ Well, she’s right- I’ve been busy. Too busy! I have really been trying to grow a lot of food this year- but my eyes always go for the beauty too, and I’ve started a lot of flowers as well. I’m praying that our spring isn’t like last year and things will be able to go in the ground when it’s time! I also decided to try starting some perennials in January, which is a lot earlier than I usually do it. Going by suggestions of other gardeners with greenhouses, I jumped in. Just in case the spring doesn’t cooperate, I’ve covered a couple of my 4x4s with plastic. One of them I covered a few weeks back, and good thing I did because I’ve been using it to hold lettuce seedlings, 4 flats of them, when the greenhouse gets too hot on the sunny days. It’s too early to put the shade cloth on, but there have been a few days that the sun decided to grace us with its presence! So, back and forth I go moving this, and moving that.


 Lettuce and Broccoli


I also planted my peas last week- a little past the usual Presidents Day sowing, but it will do. I actually got the trellis in before planting them, like a good girl!

Yesterday, I harvested a big, yummy bowl of salad greens that included 3 different kinds of lettuce and some spinach. That reminds me, anyone know what the gritty, sand like stuff is on Spinach? It’s seen (and tasted, if you don’t wash it good- Yuck! ) mostly around the center rosette if you cut it right at soil level. I hate crunching down on it- It’s like finding a shell in your eggs! So, is it...

Grit like stuff produced by the Spinach itself. Probably for protection of some kind.
Sandy soil particles the Spinach just picks up from your soil.  
Never mind what it is, wash it and eat it anyway!   
I have no idea, but have wondered the same thing!   
It’s like a pearl- it just grows, so deal with it!  


Red Star’, ‘Salad Bowl Blend’, ‘Focea’, Spinach ‘Tyee’- Sown Sept. ‘08

‘Going up?’

In the greenhouse, things are getting a little bit crowded- okay, I’m running out of room! I have a bunch of metal pipes, the pvc connectors and the metal shelf material left over from a little pop-up greenhouse I had before the one I have now. I am so glad I kept these! I made a shelf  for the greenhouse- only for one side, but for now it will was time to go up! It doesn’t look like it, but there is plenty room above the plants and the roof- at least for a little while!


The shelf takes up more than half the length of the bench- I can now put 3 flats in the same space that two fit. Yes, that’s duck tape you see...fashionable, I know. What is a garden without a little duck tape? It’s better than them falling on the seedlings below- I would cry if that happened! This shelf is only temporary- I’ll make a much more stable pvc one later.

I got lucky and didn’t have to cut the metal pipes, which ended up being just right, so the shelf is high enough that the plants on the bottom won’t get shaded too much. I tipped them a little forward toward the South too. The other side is getting packed also, and with more plants coming out soon from the house, I’ll need to make a shelf there too. If I keep this up I’ll have to make some under the benches, and rotate them so they all get some really good light. With the sun still low in the sky, it will be fine for a while. A lot of these plants will go in the garden under cover, in mid-march, so space will clear up for the heat lovers and more flowers. The broccoli will only spend the nights in here for a week, and outside during the day, before they go in the ground mid-March, or I may pop them in the cold frame to harden off. All weather permitting, of course!

Indoors, there are a few things going on. The Broccoli looks really good. I have them under the double light shelf and they really love it! The below pics where taken on the 23rd. I put the broccoli in the greenhouse and sometimes in a tunnel outside, if the weather is sunny.



Here is the broccoli on the 17th.



The tomato is doing well too. Everyone I know loves tomato, so I probably should sow some more!


I have some other things in the house including Cypress Vine, and the 2 different kinds of Black-Eyed Susan. I also managed to find those Lantana seeds I was searching for and have sown them. They are on a heat mat, and under the double light fixtures. It will be very interesting to see if they germinate. I have read, all over the internet, that they are kind-if hard to start. From what I’ve read, they take 40-62 days to germinate! I’ll be sure to let you know how these do!

I forgot to add that I have some Sweet Pea that I started in the greenhouse. I’m growing them the same way I started the Peas last year, except I used Perlite instead of Vermiculite. I started them on the 15th and they came up yesterday! We’ll see how they do when I plant them out. I just love the smell of sweet pea!

And finally, here is a list of actual food that I plan on growing this year- some of which is already growing. Some are grow in succession, and the cycle has already started. Wish me luck!

      Swiss Chard  
      Pac Choy  
      Corn Salad 
      Red Komatsuna 
      Hong Vit

Happy Gardening!


Just a quick note- I’ve added the seed starting schedule for winter consumption in the files- hope they are helpful to you!


  • MrBrownThumb

    Hi Tessa,

    Don't know if I ever let you know that I added you to the BlogRoll of garden bloggers after you filled out that form. I've been behind in comments and notifications so I just wanted to let you know. If you can add the link back to I'd appreciate it.

    BTW how is the blog design coming along? I got busy and lost track of where we were so I don't know if I end up missing a question by you.

    You don't have to keep this comment you can toss it-I just wanted to update you and see how things were going.

  • gardenerprogress/Catherine

    Wow! You've been really busy! Everything is looking good, and that's great that you have been able to go up in your greenhouse. I've got to get my trellis up for my peas too. What do you use? I've always just used the black bird netting.
    On the spinach, no idea I just wash it off.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Mr. B- Thanks for adding me! Do you have a widget I can add for the link? No, you didn't miss anything. I'm just about finished with my spring look, and just in time! I got the fixed width taken care of, but the columns of equal height is still an issue- I'll probably just leave it for now.

    Catherine- See that wire support used for my 4x4 tunnel? When that is not bent over for a tunnel it stands 6' tall by 4'. I purchased it at home depot. I put some metal stakes in and tie wraped the fencing to it. They come in this 4x6 size. I can send you a pic of how it looks upright, if you want.

  • gardenerprogress/Catherine

    Great idea! I can attach it to the posts I already have. It will be much more stable! Thanks! Guess I know where I'll be heading today :)

  • Hocking Hills Gardener

    Why, you have been one busy girl. Your seedlings and plants look so good, growing right along. I am so jealous that you have a greenhouse and such wonderful garden beds:) One can always use more tomatoes. Nothing like home grown ones for the taste. I just do not like the grocery store bought ones. I have to plant mine in big buckets because of lack of sunny space and good soil, ut I do get a few delicious ones this way.

  • Daphne

    Good lord, four flats of just lettuce seedlings. What is that about 200 plants? How do you eat it all (or do you give some - lots - of them away)?

  • Aerie-el

    Holy sprouts garden-woman! That looks like a professional operation! You are amazing.

  • Amy

    You ARE busy! I'm impressed! Everything is looking great!

  • Gardeness

    You've been crazy busy, woman! This is all awesome though. That greenhouse .... oh someday I hope to have one. Haven't run into the spinach grit before, but I'm growing it for the first time this season. I too need to get a trellis or something going for the peas. The scarlet runner bean is doing just that, running. Wish it would stop raining so I could get them planted around the little guy's teepee. Look forward to see all your progress. Happy gardening.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Hocking Hills- Thanks for stopping by! Yes, there is nothing like home grown tomatoes! Much better than the anemic, cardboard tasting ones you see in the stores!

    Daphne- Yeah, a lot of them go to family and friends. I do plant lettuce and grow them in mini head production, harvesting them young and tender. I like to have more to go in as another crop comes out :)

    Aerie-el- Well, thanks! I don't know about amazing, though! How it all works is amazing :) And we'll see how they do once in the ground...assuming that we don't have yet another weird spring!

    Amy- Thanks for popping in. Your seedlings look terrific! And I sure like the look of your blog- very clean and easy to navigate.

    Gardeness- Runner beans do that, or so I've heard! I've never grown them, so I'll be sure to watch how yours do. I'm sure I couldn't possibly be as busy as you, with that cute, little guy keeping you busy! I hope you get that greenhouse soon too!

  • Randy Emmitt

    Cypress vine, we grow it every year. It sure adds some character to the garden. Some years it resows itself. Nice set up you have there.

  • Kathleen

    tee hee on the duck tape. Don't they say you can duck tape anything? Just goes to show!! I am amazed at all you have growing. I wish I were your neighbor to collect some of the overflow!! lol I know when I used to start lots of annuals & perennials from seed I always had extras and gave them away. Now I don't have space or greenhouse so I don't start so much. I don't know what that grainy stuff is in spinach either??

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Randy- The Cypress Vine is a new one for me. I have this tower in my garden that is supposed to be covered with a rose planted there- the rose had a different idea- okay with me though, I really don't like roses too much (dare I say that so loud in the city of Roses?). So, I wanted to plant a vigorous vine- looks like I picked a good one :)

    Kathleen- I can't remember, don't you live in the NW? Boy, I wish someone would come up with the answer to the grainy stuff! So, far no answers!

  • Bren

    This is wonderful documentary on greenhouse work!! thank you for sharing this!!! I am adding this to my facebook garden list so everyone can come and see your work. I hope to get a greenhouse of my own soon. THANK YOU for inspiring.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Thanks, Bren! I hope you get that greenhouse soon- I sure have enjoyed mine. :)

  • Susan

    It's so exciting to see everything growing in your green house and cold frames. I have spring fever so-o-o bad--but it's still a bit too early to plant in Minnesota-we got 6 inches of snow yesterday.

  • Jan (Thanks For 2 Day)

    Tessa, you are amazing! I don't know how you do it, but I'm happy I'm able to see what you do and how it progresses! It seems like you're operating a business there...or at least, you could be!! Now you just need some hired hands--are 2 hands enough girl??!! I don't do anything at all like you do, but I certainly am getting some great ideas...and I've already gotten some very helpful advice from you, which I consider an honor when you leave it;) I'm dealing with a real pro. here and you certainly prove it by these photos and your post! Don't forget to take a break now & then and take care of Tessa:)

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