Make yourself comfortable under the Tulip Tree.

My name is Victoria and I am gradually creating a suburban homestead in Central Illinois.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

heirloom seed gifts

Seeds acquired through family gifts:

slo-bolt cilantro from Todd's Seeds (Michigan) http://toddsseeds.com/

tomatoes: cherokee purple, abe lincoln (a nice USDA cultivar), black krim. and big rainbow (Ferry-Morse)

flowers (from Timo and his wife, katia of peru)

Marvel of Peru (mirablis jalapis) - 4 o'clocks (containers, as they won't winter well here)
Forget-me-nots - victoria blue (of course!)

Already preparing for winter seeding in home-made plastic houses and the greenhouse.

Friday, December 21, 2012

new deck out front

New deck out front. Had Geno, the rent-a-husband, tear down the old weathered neglected on and design and build this one. It's about 45 ft across and 8 ft deep. We stained it a natural cedartone which turned out dark orange. weathering should help it.

 Here, we are protecting the evergreens not just making them fashionable.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gardening is not a rational act - things that did not go well in 2012

Wild weather

  • Drought: there was not much rain and certainly high temperatures. The water bill was high even with a drip system.
  • Drip system installed. Had pressure issues and plugged hoses. Drip system saved the containers, though, while we were away for 3 weeks in June.
  • Broccoli did not head. Cauliflower headed in late October. 
  • Strawberries flowered and fruited three times! They were confused.
  • Raspberries also confused.

Rodents of unusual cuteness

  • Chipmunks ate young brassicas and undercut one of the tomato beds leading to premature demise. Too bad, our resident Cooper's hawk (picture) wasn't hunting them.  In further insult, our friends who were gifted with extra tomato plants had bumper harvests. Rats!

Japanese beetles: I won the war this time by going out morning and night and capturing and killing all that I could find on my cherry trees. Last year, they defoliated them. This year, I claim victory!

Beauty acquired: I scored white tulips at a clearance bin!

Peppers galore! Freezer full of hot and not-so-hot peppers.

Potatoes: Two years of unsuccessful harvest. The container method is not working. Where are the 100's of pounds of potatoes from a bin? We barely get seeds back out.

Sunflowers rocked!

time and tide waits for no....

frost killed yellow squash

tiny cauliflower - started heading in late October

big beefy yellow tomatoes (heirloom)

cauliflower harvest

Some late harvest goodies from the garden.

The cold frame is doing well even with outside temperatures going sub-freezing overnight. Lettuce, arugala, and spinach gets harvested twice a week.

Garlic was planted just before thanksgiving. Twice as much as last year.