12 Apr

How are your seedlings doing?

Hello students and fellow gardeners!

I thought I would check in to see how your seedlings are doing since our class! The weather has certainly been lovely, and the sun has been shining bright so your babies should have started to grow. If you planted large seeds like cucumbers, they should have popped up in 7 to 10 days. Smaller seeds like tomatoes and peppers always take a little longer, and herbs are typically very slow. Watering is always a challenge depending on the air temperature and whether they are in direct sun or under lights. You don’t want them to dry out, but you also don’t want them to drown. Once up, you can begin fertilizing with a weak dose of fish emulsion. I use 1 tbsp per gallon of water every week until transplanting out into your pots or garden. You can either water into the soil or spray onto the plant (foliar feeding).

I am planning on offering another class on transplanting and direct seeding into your garden sometime in the latter part of May, but will wait to see what the weather is going to do to confirm dates. Let me know If you think that would be of interest and helpful to you.

Have you started any new seeds? This is a photo of peppers that I started on March 9th. By early June they should bed ready to be transplanted out. Now is a good time to start cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, chard and kale. All of these can be transplanted out into the gardens when it is still cool, as long as it doesn’t freeze. It’s also not too late to plant potatoes. Seed potatoes are available now at all of the garden centers. You don’t have to grow them in the ground if you don’t want to. They grow great in large whiskey barrels or wire cages.

I would love to hear from you regarding your seedlings; I want you to really fall in love with gardening and growing good food! That means you must have fun and be successful in your process. I am here to help, so call or email with your questions.

Some of you may not have the time or space to grow enough food for you and your family or may only want to grow a few tomatoes and herbs. That is just fine, too! Just being outside playing in the dirt and watching the magic happen can be such a joy. It’s the ultimate stress buster!

Don’t forget that you can always sign up for my CSA to supplement what you are already growing for this summer season. I am taking applications now and still have plenty of room for new subscribers. You can visit my website to see the information on how it works and also the registration form. I would also appreciate any referrals that you can send my way. I have a passion for educating others on the importance of sustainability in building strong communities. I can only continue my work with your help and support.

Please drop me an email or give me a call to let me know how you are progressing with your garden planning and your veggie starts. I would love to hear from you and offer help whenever you need it.

28 Apr

Seedlings galore!

Hello everyone!

It’s finally beginning to feel like spring!  The meadowlarks are singing,  the robins are gathering grasses and leaves for their nest building and the male pheasants are strutting their stuff!  The sun’s warmth has once again returned and brings forth the promise of an abundant, vibrant garden season.

Thank you all for joining the CSA this year.  I am excited to see and experience the miracles that always present themselves each year as we travel through the spring, summer and fall garden season.  Just a quick update to let you know how things are going here in the greenhouse and garden.


Greenhouse-hotbox seedlins-4-27-14 2014-04-27 007The warmer weather the last couple of weeks has allowed Barbara and I the opportunity to move the tomato and onion seedlings from the greenhouse out into the window boxes to harden off before we plant them    into the garden.  I was bold and even transplanted the seedlings of lettuce, Napa cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and scallions out into the garden.  I am trusting that they can handle the temperature fluctuations so that we can provide you with some early crops.  We also direct seeded beets, radishes and spinach.  As you can see we are getting ready for a bountiful CSA season.


The greenhouse is bulging at the seams with the rest of the seedlings we have started.  There is not 1 square inch of room on the tables for more!  I need to get things outside soon, so that I can start more plants.  This week I will be harvesting the lettuce and spinach that is growing in the ground and send it to Market Day Foods in Bozeman.  It is really nice to have another place to sell my produce.

Greenhouse-hotbox seedlins-4-27-14 2014-04-27 004

I still have a few more openings available for this season’s CSA, so if you know of anyone who would be interested, please let them know.  I was hoping for 16 this year and we stand at 11 as of today.  I will probably place an ad in the Billings Gazette this week.  I had hoped that I would have had a greater response from the article on my garden in the Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine, but sadly that has not been the case.

I have planted extra seedlings of tomatoes (early small, large slicers, both yellow and red, and several different colors and shapes of cherries), peppers (bell, jalapeno, habanero, ancho/poblano and sweet Italian) and eggplant that I will have available for sale for those of you who would like to have a few plants at home.  They are organic, healthy heirloom plants  and in 4 inch pots.  They will sell for $3.75 ea.  Let me know soon if you are interested and I will save some for you.  I also have beautiful large, hardy lavender plants that have been growing in the greenhouse all winter. The are just starting to bloom.  They are ready to plant now.   They are hardy here in our zone and are plants that have self seeded from my lavender that has been growing here for over 10 years, so they are well acclimated to our environment.  They will sell for $5 ea.

There is still time to let me know if you are wanting to can or pickle this year.  The canning baskets for tomato sauce, salsa and cucumber pickles need to be ordered soon, so that I will have the available produce growing for you.  You may want to consider fermenting some of your veggies this year.  I made sauerkraut last fall from some of the “not so perfect” cabbage I had left from the garden, and it turned out great.  I am planning on doing allot more fermenting this year, as it is so good for you, and it is so easy to make.

You are more than welcome to come by for a visit any time to see the garden and greenhouse.  It will be looking better, greener and more lush in a few weeks.  Give me a call if you do.   Just a reminder that for those of you who have not paid in full for your subscription, your final payment is due by May 15th.

Here is a great recipe for taking advantage of the baby spinach that you find in all of the markets right now. It’s quick, easy and tastes great. Enjoy!

Bow Tie Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, and Olives

With appealing Mediterranean flavorings, you’ll feel like you’re vacationing, not watching your waistline. For a non-veg variation, toss in some grilled shrimp or chicken breast.

Serves: 4

12 ounces bow tie pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomato
2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons sliced kalamata or other ripe olives (about 5 to 6 olives)
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Before draining, scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pot to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, combine the oil and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Do not brown. Add the tomato and cook for about 4 minutes longer, or until the tomato starts to soften. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, for about 1 minute more, or until wilted. Stir in the lemon juice, olives, capers, pepper, and salt. Reduce the heat to low.
3. Add the tomato mixture to the reserved pasta and toss to coat. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, if needed, to moisten the pasta.
4. Serve sprinkled with cheese.