It’s too soon

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2012 by Tracy

We have had an uncharacteristically warm winter this year. Very little snow. Very little cold. Lots of sunshine. Last week, the temperatures were in the 60s, and the idea of wearing short sleeves and no coat in January was just delightful.

However, this isn’t Texas, this is upstate New York, and the garden will suffer badly if (or should I say, when) we get some frigid cold weather. The garden is showing signs of waking up. Even the crocuses are up, a full five weeks before last year. Uh-oh…


inching toward spring

Posted in Uncategorized on March 9, 2010 by Tracy

Toward the end of February, we had some uncharacteristically warm days, and it looked like it might be an early spring. Crocuses began to work their way out of the soil, heading for the sun.

But this is upstate New York, remember, and there is no such thing as a spring that begins in February. So, of course, mother nature decided to dump a foot of snow on us later in the month. I was too demoralized to take a picture of the snow on nits own, but I did a model shot of my new sweater in the cold snowy backyard.

My sweater was the only thing that wasn’t white, gray, or deadly pale.

Since this weekend, though, we’ve had a stretch of sunny, warm weather. High temperatures in the 50s melted away all but the most stubborn patches of snow. And the crocuses are blooming.

These tiny blossoms give me so much joy this year. I wish I’d planted millions of them so the entire flower bed would be bursting with blooms. Must remember this for fall planting time.

Other signs of spring include the buds on the laburnum tree starting to swell.

The moss along the bramble hedge is greening up nicely, too.

The pine cones on our tree have warmed up and opened up.

And last, but not least, are the stalwart strawberries. I’m always amazed at how they stay green and healthy looking, even while covered with snow. These have made an escape from the layer of straw mulch I put over them in the fall.

Mother Nature reminds us. . .

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2010 by Tracy

It is still winter.

First post of spring

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2010 by Tracy

It hasn’t been much of a winter here in the Finger Lakes. Lots of cold days and grey skies, of course, but not much snow.The kids tried to make an igloo out of whatever snow there was, but it melted away before they could finish it.

Despite the mildness of this winter, I was still delighted to see the first signs of spring as the delicate crocus foliage is beginning to emerge from its winter slumber. Spring takes a long time to get here, so every sign is significant.

Dozens and dozens of crocuses are emerging, and even a timid daffodil or two is heading toward the sun.

I know it’s still February, and we are most likely in for many more weeks of winter weather. But spring is on its way.

The late July garden

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2009 by Tracy

Sunflowers, randomly seeded in the garden, courtesy of the birds.


Texas bluebonnets . . . in July??


The clematis seedheads remind me of something out of Dr. Seuss.

Clematis seedhead

Angel’s trumpet is a reliable summer performer. Daily shows of massive white blooms. Wonderful.

angel's trumpet

This is the first year I’ve grown tomatillos. What a bizarre looking vegetable. I love tomatillo salsa, so I hope these grow beautifully.


So far, the leeks look to be the season’s winning plant. They’re growing and growing, without a pest or a blight to be seen.


The carrots look good too–though I accidentally uprooted one, and they’re still teeny-tiny.


But so far, the biggest producer in the garden this year are the beans. We have yellow wax beans and green beans and some kind of strange purple bean. Lots of beans. Every. Single. Day.


But they make a nice leafy corner to the garden, don’t they?

bean corner

Bastards. Japanese beetle bastards. They love beans, but oh-my-goodness they REALLY love grapes. Wretched creatures.


mid-July garden

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2009 by Tracy

We’ve had such a wet and cool summer that the garden is slow to take off.

The first baby tomato. Let’s hope it’s the first of many.
baby tomato

The sugar pod peas have performed fairly well, though we’ve lost a few vines to the wet weather.
sugar pod peas

The shell peas are doing well, too. This variety (whose name escapes me at the moment) is very short. However, the pea harvest is happening all at once.
shell peas

This is yesterday’s harvest of the shell peas.
shell pea harvest

As you can see, the garden is looking rather sparse this year. The weeks of chilly, wet weather has kept everything growing very slowly. We’re not going to have the bountiful harvest this year that I had hoped.
sad garden this year

But here is something new for me: red currant jelly. We planted a red currant bush this year, and the small first-year harvest of berries turned into a quarter-cup of delicious jam. I’m looking forward to future harvests of currants!
red currant jelly

in the garden now

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2009 by Tracy

We’ve enlarged the vegetable garden this year to 14 feet x 15 feet, containing eight beds that are 3 feet by 6 feet. Rather than do rows, I’ve decided to follow the square-foot garden method, hoping to maximize the yield this year.

Now, if all goes to plan, we will have quite a yield this year. We have two rhubarb plants, two beds of strawberries, sugar snap peas, pole beans, shell peas, spinach, a mesclun salad mix, carrots, beets, Yukon Gold potatoes, russet potatoes, leeks, garlic, purple onions, red cherry tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes, and orange cherry tomatoes. And there’s still one bed I haven’t fully decided on…

And outside the fenced-in vegetable garden will be still more goodies. I have six raspberry plants that I brought from our house in Massachusett—they’re either Heritage or Latham varieties, I can’t remember. However, these are the toughest raspberry plants there ever were! I carefully potted them up when we left Massachusetts in the summer of 2007 and brought them here to our little corner of the Finger Lakes. But then I got drawn into getting hte house in order, and getting the kids settled in their new schools, and getting my own life in order…. and I didn’t get the plants in the ground. The winter of 2007-2008 came and went, and I assumed the plants had died. After all, what can survive in a pot through an upstate New York winter? But lo and behold, they put out new leaves, so I planted them. Or, rather, I planted most of them. Two never made it into the ground. (I have no excuses…) So, the winter of 2008-2009 came and went. And this spring, wouldn’t you know it, leaves began to spring from the two I had never planted! Two full winters in a flimsy plastic pot, through the vicious bitter cold of upstate New York winters, and they keep going! They deserve a place of honor in my garden.

I’m also filling in along the fence—two purple raspberries that I planted last week, a black currant and a red currant plant that I bought today. I tried to buy more berries today—blackberries or boysenberries—but the nursery I went to was already sold out.

It’s a crazy thing around here—it seems that for weeks, you visit the nurseries and they tell you it’s too early, it’s too early, then all of a sudden, the deliveries have come and gone and you’re too late.