Whew! I keep thinking I’m done, then I plant more. I can’t seem to help myself, considering the prices at the grocery stores for sub-prime foods. Today, I planted another flat of lettuce and kale. We miss salads so much in the winter as neither Will or I can eat store-bought lettuce, even organically grown. It is sprayed with something that we can both definitely taste. So yuck! The good news is that in four weeks, we’ll be having a nice new crop of really tasty lettuces and other salad veggies. Can’t wait!

Will has been busy, pulling all the tomato cages and steel T-posts from the tomatoes. He now has them all stacked up next to the Wolf Garden, ready to put on the tomatoes we plant there. Holy cow! It looks like the Rocky Mountains. We’ve found that caging is necessary as almost all the extra plants we put out with no cages ended up with tomatoes that had a whole lot of rot. Such a waste of both food and labor.

This pile of tomato cages is over my head and 60 feet long!
Our hundreds of tomato cages are made of concrete reenforcing wire, cut into sections, and rolled into a cylinder.

He’s also started hauling rotted manure from our big “compost pile” in the cow yard. He’s kept it turned with the dozer and now it’s nice, black compost. As the Wolf Garden is the driest, he’s hauling out there first. Then will be the Main Garden by the house, so we can get it tilled and the hoop houses moved over for the season. They need plastic this year, so we need to get on that. Fortunately, the weather’s cooperating; it’s 75 today, with mostly sun. Hooray!

Here’s our first application of rotten manure in the Wolf Garden, where we’ll be planting tomatoes.

— Jackie


  1. Hi Jackie- you and Will continue to amaze me with how much you accomplish! My little back yard garden of 10 raised beds and a small greenhouse is all I can handle now. I’ve been eating beautiful lettuce and chard from greenhouse containers for a few weeks now and the ones in the garden are ready now too. I just took out the over wintered kale and the new ones are ready to begin picking leaves off. We’re having an extreme heat event for this time of the year for the next few days- hard on all the new transplants so I’m out very early and mulching like crazy. My old back gives me grief so I have to pace myself. Forest fires are already burning in the north of the province and the province adjacent to us. Very early for this to occur. Anyway, it feels wonderful to be outside after a very long dreary winter! Continue to take care of that knee!

    • We were in red flag fire danger for a week or so. But, fortunately, rain has come and stuff is greening up so we don’t have to be so vigilant about watching for smoke. Whew! So nice to hear about you eating kale, lettuce and chard! I’m planting our house garden, mostly, today, with sugar peas, lettuce, kale, radishes, etc. and holding spots for summer squash and tomatoes. I’m hungry already!!

  2. Onwards I say! I finally finished transplanting all my tomatoes- and I have 110. That’s pretty good. I even planted some seeds from Jan Takala I got in 2017, a tomato called barnacle, and I had 8 seeds sprout! I didn’t hold much hope for them. But I was pleasantly surprised. All the Long Tom seeds I got from you this season have been puny. Not sure if it was me or them. But I think two or three plants made the transplant. I’m still working my way through my peppers. They need to be transplanted today- which should be pretty easy. But I’m running out of room in my green house. I need to put in another shelf so I can double stack the flats I think. I’ve got sweet potatoes and strawberries in there too, along with a bunch of asparagus I have to get in the ground.

    Do you know how to tell if your strawberries made the winter? I can’t tell for the life of me.

    I planted brassicas yesterday, and now am working on my long haul squash seeds like loofa. I am gonna start more squash than I planned because two friends of mine didn’t start any seeds for one having a newborn and the other having some health issues. So I’ll have some plants for them in a few weeks they can plant out and take care of. I also bought the Tiffen Mennonite (sp?) ones that are like Brandywine tomatoes for my friend. She had a lot of rot last year so I got these for her hoping they would help out. She lost a lot to the early October frost too. I also discovered the basil and oregano seeds I was going to plant were wet and started to sprout so I had to plant all those. It might be over kill- but I will just have lists of basil and dishes and dried oregano I guess!

    I never throughly about starting lettuce seeds now. I just might do that as I have a nice long planter I could set up and get greens real soon. The store bought lettuce has been awful. We only buy spinach to eat. A friend of mine is the produce manager at our local store and he said all the head lettuce has been like that lately- and he thinks it is from an outbreak last fall/winter so they are spraying more pesticides in the fields. It’s awful. I can’t wait to have some fresh lettuce here.

    My husband had new links made by his work for our spreader, and after doing a little extra grinding, we were able to spread raw manure on the fields last night. I can say it was so nice not to have to spent $11 a link like what we would have buying them! We cleaned a small area where my dairy heifer and her sheep friend live and the kids were ecstatic to ride along and that we got to spread the poop on the fields.

    Do you plant a lot of garlic? I finally have a good crop coming up this spring and I am just tickled pink at how great it’s growing already! Lord knows I use a lot of garlic in my cooking so I am hoping I have a lot to use up and some to save for the fall seeding.

    • Don’t give up on your Long Tom seedlings. They sometimes start out looking weak, then shoot up like mad.
      Usually if you look closely at your strawberry plants, you’ll see tiny, folded leaves in the center of each plant. If still unsure, dig up one plant. If the roots look strong, the plant is alive; replant it. If not, then dig up another and check. If the plants are dead, the roots are black and starting to rot; soft and not healthy looking.
      We don’t plant a lot of garlic. Some, but not a whole lot as I don’t cook with a bunch of garlic like my friends do. I use many more onions of all kinds.

      • I’ll dig the strawberries today to see their wild counter parks have all sprouted here so I’m thinking I lost them all to the freeze. Hopefully I’ll salvage a few. And I like garlic. But also onion. Every dish just about has onion in it here.

  3. Spring has already sprung here and heat is just around the corner. The leeks are already gone. Beans and tomatoes went in two weeks ago. We just picked the last of the broccoli and cauliflower but have cabbages and kale still coming. Last week we planted corn and sweet potatoes. This week we did the first two pickings of green peas, and yellow squash will go in tomorrow. Flowers (mostly zinnias) aren’t ready to go out yet but once they’re in things will shift into maintenance mode. It’s enough to keep a body busy!

  4. My husband started experimenting with building a small hydroponic system in the basement and has had good results with lettuces and bok choy for our salads in the cold months. I brought in a potted pepper last fall and it bloomed as soon as it got acclimated to the south window and produced peppers in March. We will be expanding the indoor lights and hydroponics area next fall for more homegrown salads during the gray Wisconsin winter!

  5. I’m waiting for the next shoe to drop, regarding the weather. We’re having 80’s and it’s way too soon for it to be real. I hope in your zone, that shoe won’t be available!

  6. I’ve been transplanting some of my starts. It’s painful for my right knee and I’m told I’ll need it replaced. I’ll wait until fall harvest. I went to a local nursery and the started tomatoes were 3.50 a piece. Crazy, I start all my own. I have to admit I plant a fair amount while sitting on my “kiester”. I use a stool for weeding. The benefits of age- hah!

    • I agree!! I’m HOPING I can plant, sitting on a five gallon bucket. If I can get up off one. My knee still gets very sore if I do too much walking, standing, etc.

  7. Do you grow sprouts? My husband found a wooden dish rack that nicely holds about 10 quart jars (we never do that many at once) on a good angle and I grow sprouts for us in the winter so we can have greens. It’s not lettuce but it sure helps!

    • No, I don’t. First, we’re too busy and second, I always feel like I’m wasting seed. Like each broccoli seed makes a tiny sprout but a very large plant. So, I wait for the plant. I do love sprouts though!

  8. This is the earliest in May I’ve ever planted. Usually the nights are too cold and I hope the warmer than normal nights continue. Better half got antsy re: planting. I’ll have to bite my tongue if he says the zuke plant is too close to the tomato plant.
    Taters are doing quite well and I can’t wait for fresh ones. Strawberries have all flowered. A few bare spots at one end but usually some “escapees” from outside the cage that can be transplanted. Usually have a good crop of “daughters” so those can be used as fill in too.
    Only went morel hunting once, found two small ones. I’ll go out again this weekend (lots of hours at work-work lately). Good crop of Dryad’s saddle (pheasant back) which our friends harvest.
    Ever so pleased with not only saving but expanding the ramps in the woods – been a 10 year project. They are so over harvested. We use some and I’ve given a couple of friends some. I dig very few, usually ones that come up in an area where they’re likely not to do well/survive.

    • I’m always looking for the next shoe to drop this time of the year when we get hot weather, then the temp dives down to freezing unexpectedly. I hope that doesn’t happen with you!! Our mushrooms haven’t even started yet. We have few morels, but I keep looking and don’t pick the ones I do find, hoping they’ll spread.

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