Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Under the Snow Covered Glass

I brushed off the snow from my cold frames, and was happy to see the arugula, mâché, and lettuce growing. There was even new seedlings coming up. There nothing fancy to it, just old storm windows laying over my raised bed. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cold Frames

I decided I am going to try my hand at growing vegetables in our garden through the fall and winter here in Philadephia. So far my cold frame set up has been working well as the nighttime temps have been dropping into the 20's the last few nights. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

First Freeze

We had our first freeze of the season last night. I set up some glass cold frames over our lettuce to help keep them growing. I also turned off the water to the exterior faucet but it hasn't been cold enough for me to need to empty out my rain barrel.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


So, we harvested the last of the tomatoes that were in the garden, as the temperature is supposed to drop into the mid to low thirties the next few nights. 
Antonio even drew a still life of the pile of tomatoes that were on the kitchen table. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Last harvest before Frost

This may be part of the last harvest before the temperatures drop. 
this weekend

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall and Winter Vegetables

Today we transplanted the kale, arugula, rougue di'hiver lettuce, carrots and spinach into the raised beds. We then also sowed some mâché and mizuna into the raised beds. I never truly have had a successful fall/winter garden, I'm hoping that changes this year. 

We also harvested some tomatos, okra and jalapeños.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Growing a Bit of the "South"

We've been able to bring a bit of the "South" to our garden. We have four okra plants that have been giving us okra all summer long. It became a favorite southern vegetable while we were living in Georgia, and are happy that we've been able to keep it with us by growing some here in Philadelphia. Next year I'll try for at least five plants, maybe six, and we may not even need to buy any okra at all, which we've come close to with the four plants we have now. Our daughter says that okra is her favorite vegetable, and is so excited that we are growing it in our garden. Julia was able to make a great Okra Tempura dish all from the okra from the garden, as well as rice flour that she milled herself.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August Harvest

Last night's harvest consisted of our first Great White tomato. The Great White's are large, this one weighed 1lb 6oz. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fall Lettuce & Cilantro

We've started sowing seeds for our fall garden. So far its oakleaf lettuce,  leaf mix lettuce and cilantro. Hopefully I'll start some snap peas soon. The entire time I was in the garden I had a little inquisitive friend following me along.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tomatoes and Compost

Last night our garden finally started yielding some tomatoes (other than the cherry size ones on the little tomato plant we have growing on the deck, which has been giving us tiny tomatoes for 2 weeks now). I was able to harvest one 'Cuore di Bue', one 'Stripped Stuffer' and one 'Old German' so far.

Our Marigolds have been growing like crazy in the garden as well. 

One side of my compost bin was ready, so I emptied it out yesterday and spread it out to cure some more under our peach tree. I love that we are slowly moving to being more sustainable, this is the first time I was able to harvest a large amount of compost that originated from our food scraps and yard and garden waste, and will now in turn feed our plants that will feed us.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Antonio's Nightstand

This year for Antonio's birthday I decided to give him a nightstand. But instead of just buying one, we decided to design and then build him one that he can hang on the wall up on the top bunk of his bed.
So I started out with a simple sketch, and then bought a piece of 1"x 6" x 6' pine.

The plain, uncut board was waiting for him with a bow on top in the living room among his other presents. He didn't know what to make of it when he saw it. Then he realized that it was somehow his present. His first guess was a diving board. When he found out that the wood was for him and I to make a nightstand together he got really excited.

 We made all the cuts, and put it together, using my Kreg Jig to make some of the joins as pocket holes.

Then we stained and sealed the wood, and finally hung it on the wall next to the top bunk of his bed.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Our peach tree is growing nicely. The few peaches I left on the tree for is to taste are starting to ripen. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Harvesting Broccoli Stems and Leaves

This morning we harvested  a few of our broccoli plants for their stems and their leaves, as we need their space for summer plants. I'm still leaving a few that are starting to form heads on them, in hopes that they can finish forming before warmer weather settles in. So we are going to use the stems to make  broccoli slaw to go along with the London Broil that I am going to grill for Julia's birthday.We will save the leaves to make broccoli collard greens.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Harvesting Radishes

This past Thursday we made our first real harvest at our new homestead in Philadelphia. We finally have some radishes coming in, so we had the kids go in the garden and check for radishes that were started to pop up out of the ground. They were very excited. Their friend, our neighbor heard us in the garden, so we invited her over to pick a radish to take with her as well.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Protecting from Cold Temps

Last night we had temperatures drop down into the mid to upper 30's. So last night before going upstairs I gave all the beds and potted plants a good soaking to help them handle the cold temps, and then brought out a few of our moving blankets to cover up the tomatoes that we were a bit more worried wouldn't handle the colder temps.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kids in the Garden

This past week, we transplanted all of our tomatoes we had started in the basement in the winter. 13 different heirloom varieties. The kids all had fun helping, although we did have one casualty, our Marglobe tomato was accidentally snapped in half (I guess that is a risk when you have 2 year old garden helpers...).

The kids have also started their raised bed that I had built for them. Antonio transplanted his "Pizza Garden" and Julia Belén her flowers that she has been growing from seed in the basement. They were so happy to be out in the garden, I hope I can keep this spark of joy alive for them to cultivate for even their children as well.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fruit Tree & Berries (The Gifts that Will Keep Giving)

We now have a a peach tree and three blueberry bushes. They were all gifts, ones that with proper (but minimal care) will keep on giving year after year. The Reliance Peach tree was a gift from Julia's parents. The Reliance is the variety that the kids helped me choose, one that is known for as a consistent cropper of sweet, juicy, yellow-fleshed, freestone peaches.

The three blueberry bushes were a birthday present to me from Julia. The bushes are three different varieties that will yield fruit at different times, so hopefully giving us a more or less continuous supply of blueberries through the growing season. The Reka is the early season, Bluecrop the mid season, and Darrow the late-mid season.

The kids picked out and then started the seeds for the plants that they chose to grow. Antonio was super excited to start his "Pizza Garden" that our friends the Klein's gave him last summer when we moved away from Georgia. He carefully wrote out all the labels himself for the seeds, which consist of all the main ingredients to make a pizza.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Broccoli and Raised Beds

The kids are very excited about planting in their own personal raised bed. They now have to decide what they are going to want to grow in it.

This evening the kids and I transplanted all of our broccoli and cauliflower starts that we had growing in the seed starting shelves in the basement.

Cold Frame

Two nights ago, I finally got out and sowed peas in the raised beds. It wasn't until 11 pm that I was able to find time to do so. So I bundled up, and lit my kerosene lantern, and finished the strings that demarcate the square feet of my raised beds, and then planted 5 cubic feet worth of peas. Then last night, I put two windows that I salvaged from when we replaced our windows on our house over the peas, to help them germinate and help get the seeds going, even though we are still having nights in the upper 20's and low 30's.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Beginnings of a Garden

The garden is starting to finally come together. The kids and I built two raised beds. The beds are going directly on top of the asphalt as we didn't want to use up grass space that the kids play soccer in. I put a base layer of gravel to help the water drain out the bottom. We filled them with two cubic yards of a mushroom compost blend, and mixed in two bales of peat moss to fill the beds up to about their full 15". Back in January I picked up some wood slats from an Ikea bed that someone was throwing out. I used this to make a raised bed for the kids to plant in. It came out to about 30" by 30". So each of the kids will get a 15" by 15" square. I was also given a composter for my birthday, so we are finally composting again, although this time without using vermiculture. The kids are very excited about putting our vegetable scraps into the composter and spinning it. So hopefully we'll be creating rich compost to enrich our garden here at home.