Fort Knox

I’ve been meaning to share this photo of a friend’s raised beds for a while. They call it Fort Knox. I guess you need something that strong in the North Woods of Wisconsin! And it helps to own a lumber company as you put it together.

Protecting the garden, Wisconsin-style

Another garden thought: For those of us who remember the disappointment of the summer’s tomato crop and want to reduce the risk of disease next summer, I came across this idea of giving the plants a drink of milk. I’ll be testing it out!


Welcome to our winter wonderland

We got more than a foot of snow in less than 24 hours (I didn’t measure, but it comes up to about the bottom of my knee cap). When we went out to shovel, just about the only sound came from the Canadian geese honking as they flew overhead. We seemed to be the only people out, though by the time we finished, one neighbor was out with his snow blower, another was moaning that his wouldn’t start and a third was looking for his son and dog.

The bit of snow we got two weekends ago disappeared in a few days with the help of some rain. I don’t think this is going anywhere fast.

The backyard Dec. 20
The backyard
Holly, berries and snow
Lone tree
Remains of calaminta peak through


The Brit is hinting that expanding his grow-light operation would be a great  Christmas present. An email from Fine Gardening got me thinking about worm composting, since he’s such a compost enthusiast. I know some fifth-graders in town created a worm composting bin for their environmental fair. The hardest part seems to be deciding whether to mail-order red wrigglers or try to get them from the ground, though I’m sure it’s more complicated than that.
This is the article from Fine Gardening, with a video. And another one I found on the site.
Anyone have any experience with this and want to offer advice?

It’s only December

“It’s only December!” the Brit said as I looked through the Value Seeds site. “What are you going to do in January?”
Let me point out that he is the one who called up the site–and left it up. What was he thinking? Was this supposed to be a test of my willpower? And how did he remember it anyway? I hadn’t bookmarked it.
This is the site that sells Thompson & Morgan’s leftovers for 99 cents a packet or less, plus a flat shipping charge regardless of quantity. We ordered 15 packets of flowers, tomatoes, herbs and vegetables last winter (and opened just about all of them, even used up some packets). The Brit had opened to a page showing deep purple Nicotiana (flowering tobacco)–just the sort of color I fall for. We liked the Nicotiana we grew this year but didn’t get the scent we expected. These seem to promise more. Click.
We ordered a couple other flowering tobaccos that worked well for us this past season, plus two packets of zinnias (I’m particularly excited about the red ones) and some cascading petunias.
I know I just told someone I only plant heirloom tomatoes, and it’s not like I don’t have plenty of tomato seeds already, but I couldn’t resist the sungolds (hybrid cherry tomatoes, billed as incredibly sweet, enough to make children who say they don’t like tomatoes change their mind). I think the black cherry tomatoes are heirlooms, though they aren’t described that way. Click. Click.
Add some white cukes for the Brit and more flowers, a bit of discipline (no burgundy Okra or broken-colored Four O’Clocks) and we got ourselves down to 14 packets and just under $16.
I’m happy to swap seeds from some of the packets (20 white cucumber seeds is more than enough, and I’d like some different types of squash. And 2000 seeds of sapphire trailing lobelia is more than enough too!). Come January or so, I’ll arrange a tomato-seed swap by mail for those who are interested.