Sunday, February 2, 2014

it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

Not everybody remembers the Mr. Rogers theme but it really is a beautiful day in Minnesota today.  It is 11 degrees outside (above zero) the sun is shining and there is no real wind.  Just lovely.  I am not a football fan and not hosting or attending any football gatherings so while everyone else is focused on the superbowl I have time to catch up on things.  I just spent  an hour in the greenhouse watering and have a few pictures to share.

This is Tokyo bekana, a mild chinese cabbage:

here is another picture:

These plants are finally starting to get some size on them.  The ones that were in the middle of the room were growing faster than these which were kind of stuck at a small size when they were closer to the glass.  Something, either my efforts spent moving the tables a week ago or the fact that the days are getting a little longer, is allowing these guys to take off.

This is a green variety of romaine:

These are collards:

And this is golden frill which will add a little spicy zing to salads when it gets just a little bigger:

One of my blogging goals was to do a new cookbook review every month and then every month following to do a recipe from the cookbook so yesterday when Caitlin was at the farm we did a recipe from the January cookbook review.  The January cookbook is a candy cookbook and the review can be found here.  The recipe that we made was an English toffee.  It was our first time making toffee and it turned out great.

The recipe is here.  It was a great day baking with Cait. 

I finished the February cookbook review and that post is here.  The February cookbook is a 'church cookbook' style cookbook that I purchased at the college bookstore on a visit to Caitlin while she was in college at Kansas State.  I have a whole list of recipes selected from that cookbook to try over the next year so look for the first one in March along with another candy recipe and the March cookbook review.  The cookbook reviews can be found on another place that I blog called A Dozen For Dinner and there is a link to the right side of this blog. 

Not much progress has been made on the garden goals since mother nature has the final say on most of those projects.  I have been working on the awning for the farmstand but there has not been enough progress yet to post a picture.  Another nice sunny day where it is warm enough to work in an unheated shed without mittens is needed.  The design has been determined now it is just to see if it will work.  Fingers crossed!

Many of the garden goals were structural things that cannot be accomplished until spring.  We have accomplished some garden 'stuff' though.  Nikole ordered the seeds from Johnny's and they have arrived.  Last year for the first time we saved seeds from our heirloom tomatoes.  When we started making our lists for our seed order we decided to see if our saved seed was viable while there was still time to order some if it was a failed attempt.  I planted nine cells of each of three varieties and they grew.  Some cells grew more than one plant so it might have been two seeds stuck together or planter error on my part but we did not order seeds for these varieties and decided to keep them under lights iu the house until it is done being below zero outside and then they will be moved to the greenhouse and potted up in to larger containers.  It will be a good chance to see if we can get a jump on the season.  here are a tomato seedlings:

The cherry tomato-Matt's Wild Cherry

The paste--speckled roman

The brandywine
These tomato seeds were planted three weeks ago. 

And then for Nikole who is dreaming of Italy and who stated that she just couldn't wait until summer for basil we have these little seedlings started.  Only an inch high but they will grow:

It is a little early to be starting garden plants but I am making a spreadsheet so I know when i need to be starting different plants to get the timing right for planting outdoors.  I am also getting a start on my garden plan for what to plant where and my early spring to do list. 

And then on the no progress yet list:

I am trying to start some sweet potatoes by suspending  a cut end in water hoping that they will get roots and then slips--nothing yet.

Asparagus seeds--I planted a few not wanting to risk the whole package.  They apparently can take a few weeks to germinate and ours have been planted now since January 23 so I have not given up hope yet.  I did a little reading after planting the first seeds and I planted another group after soaking the seeds in water for a couple of hours first.  We will see if that makes a difference. Those were planted on the 31st.

I think while the rest of the world is watching football tonight I will be checking my garden pins on pinterest.  :)


  1. I know it's a greenhouse, but I am still amazed by any life or greenery in 11 degrees. It was almost 50 here today, I didn't even wear a coat! Of course, we're expecting 3-5 inches of snow tonight and the kids are already counting on school being cancelled....and I'll be on Pinterest, too. No football for me! ;)

  2. It really makes a difference if it is sunny. Today on a sunny day it was 80 degrees in the main part of the space but nearly 100 degrees at the peak (warm air rises) but at night when it is cold we have to use a little bit of heat to try to keep it above freezing. All of our plants are ones that like cool weather so that helps. On a cold sunny day there could be a difference of 90 degrees between outside temp and inside temp. On a cloudy day maybe only 10 degrees difference.