Pictures from the garden


2017 Seedling Trays, yes, that is snow outside

Started germinating the first batch of seeds on February 22nd just before going to St Croix for six days, turned the house heat low, it was 62 when we returned, so a low temperature environment.

The following is transcribed from my ad hoc clipboard notepad I kept when I set the seeds in damp filter paper to start germinating February 22nd. The 'Started' date is when the sprouted seed is placed in the starting tray (above).

. Plant Note #
1 Cauliflower Germinating 2/22, Started: 3/1 7
2 Eggplant Germ. 2/22, Started: 3/6,3/8, 3/10 12
3 Arugula Germ. 2/22, Started: 3/6 7
4 Lettuce Old seeds, no germinating, will start in garden from seed 0
5 Cabbage Germ. 2/22, Started: 3/1 9
6 Brussel Sprouts Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/6 16
7 Marigold Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/6 8
8 Bell Peppers Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10 13
9 Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10 12
10 Peperone Corono Roso Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10, 3/15, ... Germ 3/10 (a) 10
11 Sweet Bannana Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/6,3/8 6
12 Tomato, Money Maker Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10, 3/11, 3/14 ... Germ 3/10 (a)   - Matures 75 5
13 Tomato, Glacier Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/14 ... Germ 3/14 (a) -  Matures 55 7
14 Tomato, Cherry Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/8 ... - Matures 65 6
15 Tomato, Plum Germ. 3/1, Started: 3/10 ... - Matures 80 6


It is February (and 25% off at the garden supply store) and time to get started on planning this year's Fran's Victory Garden. No new veggies this year, more variation in existing choices tho. This year's changes are strawberries in the Topsy Turvy Strawberry Planter
and a new orientation to the trellises. The plants that use trellises are very phototropic, move toward the sun, so, since the garden is laid out diagonal to the compass points and the orientation and size are constrained by the property the trellises will be set diagonally facing south in the plots. This will be great or a yuuge mistake. Here is the in progress plan of the 2016 Fran's Victory  Garden.

From the garden store

At the garden supply store I bought two large pots to grow more herbs outside the kitchen door on the deck, a mess of peat starter pots and seeds. $64.33. This year's seed purchases are:

  1. Tomato, pole, Moneymaker from Botanical Interests
  2. Tomato, cherry, Sweetie from Botanical Interests
  3. Cabbage, Copenhagen Market from Botanical Interests
  4. Cauliflower, Early Snowfall from Botanical Interests
  5. Pea, snap, Sugar Snap from Botanical Interests
  6. Edamame, Butterbean from Botanical Interests
  7. Beet, Early Wonder from Botanical Interests
  8. Thyme, English from Botanical Interests, looked for Lemon Thyme as suggested by Wayne, no luck
  9. Dill from Botanical Interests for a pot on the deck
  10. Winter Squash, Waltham Butternut from Burpee
  11. Sweet Pepper, Red Majesty Hybred from Burpee
  12.  Oregan  from Burpee for on the deck
  13. Garden Bean, pole, Kentucky Wonder from Burpee
  14. Marigold, Happy Days Mix from Burpee
  15. Cover crop, Crimson Clover from Botanical Interests. Rather than leaving an empty patch for the remaning season, I will plant this as cover.
Last year's seeds
Last year's seeds

Seeds are good for several years if stored properly, but, I usually only use new and last year's. I will use earlier year's seeds in spots where there is an early harvest or when I run out planting a larger patch than planned. Last year's seeds I will use are:

  1. Pepper, Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper from the Seed plant
  2. Pomodoro, plum tomato from Franchi, IT
  3. Peperone, Corno Rosso di Toro from Franchi, IT
  4. Cilantro, Slow-Bolt from Renee's Seeds
  5. Italian Pesto Basil from Renee's Seeds
  6. Italian Parsley, Gigante from Renee's Seeds
  7. Eggplant, Black Beauty from Botanical Interests
  8. Beet, Early Wonder from Botanical Interests
  9. Tomato, pole, Red Siberian from Botanical Interests
  10. Pepper, Sweet Banana from Livingston Seed
  11. Squash, Zucchini Dark from Livingston Seed
  12. Cucumber, Straight Eight from Livingston Seed
  13. Radish from Burpee

In mid March I will get Strawberry starter roots from the garden store. They will be planted in the starter pots and then transplanted to the Topsy Turvy Strawberry Planter, an exciting new adventure in deck gardening.


My fifth go at drying tomatoes, not yet happy with the results. Almost dropped the phone into the barbie taking this pic.
My fifth go at drying tomatoes, not yet happy with the results. Almost dropped the phone into the barbie taking this pic.

Drying tomatoes on the barbie, these are mostly the plum tomatoes from the garden, some Siberian and store bought plums also. This time I tried to keep the pieces all about the same size. I have the draft wide open and am trying to keep it around 200F, which is hotter than the last time. Drying some eggplant also, they come out real nice.

I quarter up the tomatoes, scoop out the pulp, toss w/ a little olive oil, chopped basil from the garden and a generous dash of garlic powder. The quarters are arrayed on baking grids set on the grill one deep and if possible separated. If the fire gets too hot, I throw some wet smoking wood chips on the coals. The resulting smokey taste is a plus.

We are eating well
We are eating well

The harvest is in full swing now, Fran doesn't go into the garden w/o coming back with a double hand full of pole beans.

This will make almost sixteen butternut squash pies. Life is good.
This will make almost sixteen butternut squash pies. Life is good.

Just picked ten butternut squash, about eight left in the garden. These ten made eight two cup bags. Each bag makes two butternut squash pies. Life is good.


Succession planting, the replacing of a spring crop by an autumn crop has started. The Cucumbers which failed after early success and the second planting of snap peas have been replaced with Kohlrabi. This if my first time for Kohlrabi, the flavor is said to be mild, sweet, turnip-like. I have also planted a third crop of snap peas where an early zucchini planting was, a sunny spot but a bit late.

Cabbage Update II. The plants are doing well, it seems that in spite of the tunnels some cabbage moths have gotten a chance to lay eggs to produce caterpillars, can't find them tho. The moths maybe got to them while they were in the starter trays that were sitting out for hardening.

I have started a third planting of Cilantro and Basil in pots on the deck. Next year also Oregano and Lemon Thyme.

First Butternut Squash and first late Summer Raspberries
First Butternut Squash and first late Summer Raspberries

I have started picking late summer Raspberries. Winter Squash soon. Shall I challenge Fran to cook a butternut squash / Raspberry pie?



Fran in between the Pole Bean Trellises
Fran in between the Pole Bean Trellises

Fran picking beans.  She picks a double handful each day from two 7 foot trellises too close together. Fran also picks peas, zucchinis, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflowers, cabbages and the eggplants. I pick the raspberries and blackberries.

We have had a good year so far, the only failures are the cucumbers which started well and then died off completely, a mystery. The zucchinis are dying off, the roots are rotting away, I planted in the same plot as last year, I guess that is why they have crop rotation. The bunny proof fence is still a success and bambi hasn't found the garden, yet.

I plan to enlarge the garden next year, there are still sunny spots just growing grass.


Wild Raspberries
Wild Raspberries

On July 2nd I pruned the Raspberries, and tied up the canes to baling wire strung between two fence posts. This is the first time I have correctly pruned the Raspberries. I am a low maintenance type gardener so I had just allowed chaos to reign. The wild raspberries across the street appear to be just fine, but, it seems you have to prune the type of raspberries I have to get a spring and fall crop. Since I know nothing I went to, looked up "pruning raspberries", watched three or four videos and was an expert. I went to my local hardware, bought some baling wire to string between two fence posts, and got started.

I must say it was fun working with the baling wire, easy to bend, wrap, tie, and cut. It made me think of my visit to the Curtis Museum in Hammondsport, NY and the days when high tech was held together with baling wire.

Victory Garden Raspberries before pruning
Victory Garden Raspberries before pruning

There are four Raspberry plants, the first two to the left, this year's. The next bush is two years old and yielded good, and the one to the right is last year's bush, not so good last year and disappointing this year.

The basic method of pruning is cut all the brown stems, aka canes, and the pencil thin green canes. Tie the remaining canes to the wire. I used a clove hitch around the wire and a square knot around the canes. I used to sail. The end product looked like I knew what I was doing.

Raspberries pruned and tied up
Raspberries pruned and tied up

I left one cane untied, couldn't resist a little anarchy. Notice, the Holy statue can now see the sun.

Cabbage Tunnels, still not stretched completely out
Cabbage Tunnels, still not stretched completely out

Cabbage update: I wound up planting eight cabbage plants each with two foot spacing in the cabbage tunnels stretched out to eight feet. The tunnels can stretch out to almost ten feet, next year. The seedlings in the tunnels were germinated June 19th and the 21st. The sprouts were put into a starter tray about June 27th and the seedlings transplanted into the ground July 9th. Most of the timing was determined by social events, but, everything seems fine.


First Zucchini & Cucumber, and the last of the Beets. Not pictured, 3 cabbages.
First Zucchini & Cucumber, and the last of the Beets. Not pictured, 3 cabbages.

I picked the first Zucchini and the first Cucumber. Harvested the remainder of the beets. Also harvested the cabbages.

Getting ready for the fall Cabbages. The seeds have germinated and I will move them to the planting trays. After the seedlings poke thru the potting soil and are looking sturdy, I will put the the trays out under the tunnels before transplanting.  Looking to plant 10 cabbages.

Still picking a half dozen Raspberries a day, tasty.  I will be pruning the raspberry plants July 1st, saw some very good pruning videos on, I liked the Green Garden Guy.


Raspberry Peach Pie w/ Oatmeal topping and Ground Cookie crust
Raspberry Peach Pie w/ Oatmeal topping and Ground Cookie crust

Now harvesting the last of the Spring crop of Prelude Raspberries. The three year old plant was the bulk of the harvest, the two year old was disappointing, and one of the two new plants did pretty good. Prelude Raspberries promise a harvest in the fall also, haven't had a fall harvest the first two years, maybe this year with pruning as the trick, more later...

Here is the promised "Fran's Raspberry Peach Pie Recipe"

  • Crust
    • 1 box of Fig Newton thin cookies (1 and ½ packs) ground. (or any cookie of choice)
    • 6 tbsp melted butter
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • ¼ cup almond flour
    • Ground cookies, melted butter, sugar and almond flour in food processer until crumbly. Then transfer to pie plate (which has been sprayed w/ pam). Use bottom of a juice glass to pat to form a crust.
  • Filling
    • 1½ to 2 cup Peach (About 4 to 5 large peaches)
    • 1 cup Raspberries
    • ¼ cup tapioca
    • 1 tsp lemon rind
    • ¾ to 1 cup sugar
    • Cut peach and mix raspberries with, tapioca, lemon rind and sugar. Let set for ½ hour.
  • Topping
    • 1 cup oatmeal
    • 2 to 3 tbsp butter
    • ¼ cup flour or almond flour, Nuts (almond or pecan) ¼ to ½ cup
    • Mix butter w/ other ingredients until crumbly.
  • Combine filling into pie crust then top with topping. Bake for 1 hour at 350 until bubbly.
Raspberry Peach Filling
Raspberry Peach Filling
Raspberry Peach pie w/ Oatmeal topping
Raspberry Peach pie w/ Oatmeal topping
A Bunch of Raspberries
A Bunch of Raspberries