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 13, 2009

What have I been up to?

The weather may be cold, and my fingers may be red from the cold, but there is much to do. Here is what I’ve been up to.

Sowed more seeds:

Carrot ‘Parisian Market’- cold frame, Feb. 9
Tomato ‘Big Beef’- for greenhouse, Feb. 11
Tomato ‘New Girl- for greenhouse & outside, Feb. 11
Broccoli Organic ‘Green Sprouting Calabrese’- Feb. 11
Ageratum ‘Blue Mink’- Feb. 11
Portulaca mix- Feb. 11
Salvia ‘Coral Nymph’- Feb. 11
Beets ‘Bulls Blood’- Feb. 12

The carrot is a cute, little, round variety. I’ve tried to sow carrots before and got down to the last week of waiting for them and then...

Yes, mamma squirrel scattered them everywhere! I found a couple later on, no where near where I had planted them. Lets just say that when I sow in my cold frame now, I put little wire protectors over everything- she got the hint luckily for her!

The tomato variety ‘Big Beef’ is one I grew in ‘07, and was delicious! I wanted to try one that was supposed to do well in the greenhouse, and I have to say they (Johnny’s) were right. Here in the NW this variety doesn’t do well outdoors- they somehow are not near as good- probably need more heat. There is a picture of it on my previous post- just click the link.

‘New Girl’ is a new one I’m trying this year. Johnny’s again said this variety does well in a greenhouse, and we’ll see how it does outside too. It is ready to harvest a little earlier than the ‘Big Beef’.

The broccoli is just an Ed Hume packet I picked up at a local grocery store. I figure that out of all vegetables you will find in the fridge in my house, on any given day, broccoli is it! Why am I not growing it? I did grow it a few years ago, and like everything else home grown, the taste is nothing like what you get in stores! There are a few bug problems, and I plan to get a barrier to protect them this time- chasing down those white moths with a tennis racket wasn't very effective.

Ageratum is one of my favorites (blue, of course) and I was a little disappointed in the ones that I had started in the greenhouse for some early color, so I’ve sown some more for the garden. The jury’s still out about the ones in the greenhouse, however. Sowing them in Aug. & September is supposed to give me blooms in Feb., but I sowed them the 25th of Sept. so I have a bit to wait.

Portulaca, or ice plant, is very drought resistant so I have a special place for them in my front bed.

Salvia- I’ve never grown before, but I’ve always loved the look of these plants. This one is supposed to be a salmon and white bicolored one and it’s just lovely. Purchased at Johnny’s.

The beets are new as well. I chose this variety because both the greens and the beets are supposed to be really good- a double duty plant! I’m trying a new thing with sowing them that comes from the Dutch called multiplants. You sow four seeds in each cell or directly in cold frame, and you don’t thin them. You transplant the group of 4 plants together. Now I’ve read conflicting things on whether beets transplant well or not...we’ll see what happens. I also know that with one beet seed you get a few plants, but I will need only 4, so I don’t get the sowing 4 seed thing...again, we’ll see what happens. In any case I sow 4 seeds, and want to end with 4 seedlings- when they are set out in the cold frame or garden you give the group a 6” spacing. From what I’ve read, the beets move each other out of the way nicely. Apparently this idea can be used on onions, broccoli (4 plants/24” space/1 row in 30” wide bed), Leeks, Scallions, Cabbage, and Spinach- if this works, maybe I’ll try some that spinach that way. I read about this idea, I think, in Eliot Coleman’s book Four Season Harvest.

Last night I also found some Lantana seeds!!!! Some of you may know that I’ve been looking for these. You can purchase them at either Thompson & Morgan or Swallowtailgardenseeds. Note, however, that they are both hybrids. I also ordered some beautiful Nicotiana! I can’t wait to get them!

Other than that, I am hardening off a few pansies to go to family and friends. They really are more green than in this picture, I really do need to learn to take better pictures before I even think about getting an SLR camera! Someday, I’d like to be able to try microphotography.

And I have a few lettuce that need to go into some pots.

Things are looking a little different in the greenhouse- with the pansy and lettuce moving out there will be room for the perennials, annuals, and vegetables I’ve started. This month I am expecting the snapdragon to bloom too...we’ll see.

And I do have some more pansy since they do so well in pots right through the winter here in my yard. I really need to have some scattered around.

Gardening aside, I’ve been tweaking my test blog getting a new look ready for spring. The layout will be the same 3 columns- but new spring colors will bloom ;). Thank-you Catherine (of A Gardener in Progress) for your help, by the way! With only a month left, I’d better get moving!

On You Grow Girl there is an awesome seed starting chart for Excel. All you do is put in your last frost date and everything is calculated for you- over the next few days I’ll be tweaking this a little, adding things I grow.

Coming up soon, I’ll be posting on how the Mizuna and lettuce is doing in the cold frame- as well as the lettuce and spinach still left in there over winter. I feel a salad coming on!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

Happy Gardening!


On the post pages, located in the sidebar, is a list of all the seeds I’ve sown and what I’m growing currently. Just click the little plus sign to view them! I will also be adding more files to my downloads (the orange box) for anyone to use. I've already added a blank diagram for square foot gardeners- the size is for a 4x4 box. A rough plan for winter consumption sowing dates, based on my first fall frost date will be added soon. Be sure to check these often!


  • gardenerprogress/Catherine

    Wow you have a lot growing. I love the image of you running after the moths with a tennis racket. It's funny what we'll do to protect our plants?
    I'm going to look at the seed starting chart. Can't wait to see your new blog set up!

  • Daphne

    You should see me chasing the butterflies with an old fish net. It is very silly.

    I've heard about doing the multiplants. I've also heard they work for bulbing onions. I planted two onion seeds in each of my cells. I was going to transplant some to the empty cells, but decided just to leave them be and plant them like that. Some only have one, some have two and because onion seed is impossible to put down exactly I think I have one with three. It will be interesting to see if the ones with two in a cell do as well as the single ones.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like a professional operation you've got there. I'm impressed. I tried to fave you but I'm at my limit. I'll do some housecleaning. No rain least not at this particular moment. :-)

  • Cate

    Today is the 13th but it is my favorite number!
    You got me hooked after checking out your blog!
    I am guessing that you are a short season gardener on the cabin fever warpath! I haven't started any seeds yet but I am getting that CF itch as well! Your greenhouse babies look so healthy. Good luck. Oh if you like Nicotiana you should try Tobacco Plant - it is large, fragrant and georgous!

  • Robin's Nesting Place

    You have an amazing green thumb! I'd love to have a greenhouse one day. For now, I'll have to settle with my indoor growing system. Just bought my stuff, now I need to get busy sowing.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Catherine- I've really been trying to start a lot more this year- hope I don't oversow (too late ;)! Yes, I'm determined to not let those pretty little white moths ruin my broccoli this time!

    Daphne- be sure to post about those onions, I'd love to hear how it works out.

    Grace- So glad you stopped by. No rain yet for me, but it's cold! Professional operation- far from it. I consider myself a beginner still, and I love the whole process!

    Cate- Nice to see you pop in. For me, because I winter garden, I don't consider the seasons really- except I obviously don't try to grow Tomatoes during the winter. Year round gardening, according to my tests, is quite easy here if you stay with a plants program ;). Of course I'm only harvesting in winter, not really growing a lot. I'll be putting a document on my soon with a schedule of when to start seeds for winter consumption- if you're interested keep an eye on the orange files.

    Robin- Your germination 'chamber' is amazing, I was just taking a peek at it not long ago- this is what I really need to do, so I'm not taking up space in the greenhouse for this. Good luck with your seed starting! And if you ever get a greenhouse, get a bigger one than mine!

  • Gardeness

    You have been busy! My goodness, you'll need to recruit help to harvest ... isn't that the best. I'm going to check out the Excel spreadsheet. I need all the help I can get for seed-starting this season. It will have to wait for this weekend, though. We're going to Corvallis.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Gardeness- Well, I might be able to get my 2 teens out, maybe not ;)

  • Kathleen

    Goodness Tessa ~ you're putting me to shame! You've got so many flats going. Great job. I can't wait to follow the progress thru the summer. You'll love the salvias. They are one of my favorite flowers and very easy to grow from seed. Interested to see what your new blog will look like ~ are you staying at Blogspot or moving?

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Kathleen- Thanks for stopping by. No, I'm staying with Blogger because I like being able to tweak the code to my little hearts content! Well, I may have a lot started...we'll see how they do after they go in the garden! A lot of it will be going to family and friends- probably will have a much better home there ;)

  • Tyra in Vaxholm

    Wonderful post girl, you sure have been busy. It is so nice to see others that are just us 'crazy' as myself.

    Have a lovely Valentine's day/ Tyra

  • Aerie-el

    Oh my gosh, you've got a bumper crop growing there! Awesome!
    Have a great weekend,

  • Sue

    Wow, you sure have been and will be busy with all those babies! I would love to have a greenhouse, but don't really have room for one. I'm hoping to get a cold frame or hoop house of some kind for planting early lettuce.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Tyra- Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I've been a little crazy. Your garden and greenhouse looks like paradise to me!

    Aerie-el- A bumper crop indeed. Actually, a lot of these will go to family and friends- but I have also set a goal this year to grow more food (and flowers- have to have food for the eyes, after all!)

    Sue- I really love my cold frame, it serves us well for some really great harvests during winter. I sometimes use in as a nursery bed in late winter/early spring if I run out of room in the greenhouse- which is starting to happen!

    Happy Gardening everyone- and thanks for stopping by!

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