Archive for January, 2012

Goodbye 2011, the 2012 Garden Begins

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Last Harvests

A mix of perfect weather and rain caused the shiitake mushroom logs to go into production overdrive.  I even had my first successful oyster fruiting.  Despite using several pounds of mushrooms (the pictures below is only a tiny sample) in multiple tasty omletes, mushroom bread pudding, mushroom dressing, mushroom/egg salads and even drying a batch, some were sadly lost to overabundance.  Next time there is a plethora we hope to get a batch together to sell to Windmill Market or Everman’s before they are past their prime.

Then the first frosts came around, very late this year, and I pulled up all the remaining peppers, even a few not pictured here but yellow and edible. And I cleaned out the garden, put some straw down to keep weeds down.

New 2012 Garden 

Even before the new year starts, my thoughts roll to the garden. Jan 1 is the jump start time for things down here. First, I need to get some transplants going – tomatoes and peppers.  I had to have some sterile soil for seedlings. Research tells me it’s important and if you don’t, you could catch “dampening off”  fungus and other  diseases that weaken the seedlings. Making my own was very easy actually, I put some “good” garden soil in a oven pan and cooked it reaching 180 degrees for a consistent 30 minutes.  We affectionately named it the dirt brownie.

Luke helped fill in the potting tray with dirt and plant the seeds (impressive, he actually did it all and was careful.) Then they were off to my growing area which was already setup from last year and in a few minutes the light, seedling heater mat were all going again. It’s so much easier when you’ve done it once.


Focus on higher production of favorite varieties that we cannot get in a grocery store or farmer’s markets, and/or tastes better when homegrown. (Last year we had too many varieties, not enough of any one thing, and we didn’t know how to care for it all.)

Utilize harvesting timelines and what I would call succession planing to get more out of this year – common in the south is to grow tomatoes and pull them out around July, then start fresh. As I’ve seen 2 years now on my own, by July the tomatoes get diseased and don’t produce well. Peas will give way to new bean plants, and then later a cool season plant for a fall garden.

2012 Garden Expansion

My personality drives me to be bigger and better. And this year, we’re taking a few steps further. The bed to the left is new, to be build this week. It will be a pea/bean bed this year, maybe we will rotate a few crops out too.  I map out my designs in Excel. Excel has been very useful in gardening planning, with dates and designs.  Also, we are expanding with a melon/watermelon patch across from the pool and trying to decide the best location for an asparagus bed.

Spring/Summer Plants

Potatoes – Rose Finn Apple Fingerling, Kipfel Fingerlings

Bell Peppers- Nardello Sweet Pepper

Squash – Success Yellow Squash, Striata D’Italia Zucchini

Peas – Green Arrow English Shelling Pea

Beans – Dragon Tongue, Chinese Red Noodle (yard long beans (pods almost 2 ft long, thrives in the summer)

Tomatoes –  Reisentraube (cherry type), Sun Gold (Cherry type), Royal Hillbilly(big slicing type)

Beets – Yellow and Cylindrical

Carrots – Parisienne Carrots

Garden Spring 2012


"Dirt Brownies" - Sterilized seedling soil


Last Peppers


Shiitake Christmas Harvest


Blue Oyster Mushrooms

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