Starting up again after the mild winter

First let me say, I'm so relieved that I didn't post more about our DIY greenhouse.  It survived until about mid January when we had a snow/ice storm that caved in the top somewhat.  The windstorm we had in February just finished the job on it.
We did get a few fresh onions, some fresh greens, our leeks are just about ready to be pulled and made into soup or what not but we didn't get as much as we were hoping to get.
I think a bit more of a significant investment will be needed.  As it stands it looks like this might be the last year we put a lot of effort into our garden because we might be moving to another house here on the same military post.  After that move we'll only have another year and a few months before my husband will be retiring, gratefully, after 20 years in the service.
At that point we move North to the Future.  To any that don't know what that refers to, that's Alaska.  We'll  be moving most likely to Fairbanks as that's where we own a home at which point we'll first settle in with our new CIVILIAN lives, and then we'll be gearing up to our dream.  Owning and running our first Organic CSA in Fairbanks.
We've learned a lot here in Maryland but in Alaska, well gardening there has it's own massive challenges and rewards.
But I'm getting sidetracked here.    Last week we started by first emptying the worm bin of any liquid that had been saved on the bottom (pretty much worm pee/liquefied worm poop) and emptied it into all of our beds.
 My son helped a bit in with this as he was thoroughly excited to be pouring "pee pee" on all the plants.   We've also added blackberry bushes here.  Honestly, we've gotten tired of fighting the soil out front here.  We've spent so much time raising the fertility of the soil out back that we really didn't want to invest massively in more compost, fertilizer, and plants when we (at the time) thought we have just two years in this place.
Blackberry plants are notorious for their ability to grow and produce in the worst conditions so we decided we would spend the $5 per plant and put two of them in this area.  Later I plan to plant nasturtiums around this area as I learned my lesson with the planters on top of the fence out back.  Out back they dry out way too fast and what the sun doesn't do the squirrels finish.  Last year the dang squirrels kept dumping all my containers out.  Very frustrating.
In this bed we decided to plant raspberry bushes.  Again I don't know how well they'll do but I simply got tired of fighting out here and since we have such a short time now, well I guess I can say I have short timers attitude.  Oddly enough our cabbages that we planted last year are suddenly recovering and actually are starting to grow.  

Yet another surprise.  The parsley and Yarrow.  They've both hung in there and are actually starting to look as if they might be getting stronger.  Since this picture my husband has tilled up this area and as of today we planted Parisienne carrots, cherry belle radishes, pak choi, fennel and Chinese cabbage.  Oh and we added generous amounts of well rotted manure, compost from the worm bin, and lots of worm tea.  I'll show another picture next week to give a better update and also to see if anything has come up yet.

 This area back here looks a mess.  We've had straw, shredded paper grocery bags, and dead leaves all over these beds.  Nice thing is all that was slowly rotting into the raised beds.  One other task we had last week was to shovel out all the old mulch in between the beds and throw it into the beds themselves.  This stuff had rotted down to almost nothing so it has made the soil ultra rich.

 This is what remains after our makeshift greenhouse came down.  We've got Red Russian Kale, some sort of green that hubby and I cannot for the life of us, figure out what it is along with purple kohlrabi, leeks, onions, and mesclun.  Without that greenhouse a good portion of this would've never made it through the winter so I'm grateful that at least we had it for a bit.
GARLIC!!!  30 PLANTS (hubby later told me he counted just to see how much we actually have)  I cannot wait till late May early June when we'll get garlic scapes!  Just a FYI, if you want/use garlic scapes then you have to purchase the roughneck garlic.  Not the softer variety.  In my book, roughneck is better simply because I get two harvests out of the same plant.  Nice.

Here we have emptied the rows between raised beds of all the rotted down mulch, then we added a layer of newspaper and then piled new fresh mulch on each row. 


A few other surprises. Our worms actually survived the winter in our makeshift greenhouse!  Wow!  I mean really, I didn't expect that!  So this Spring we are starting with about 500+ red wigglers and loads and loads of eggs that we went through yesterday.  I should contact Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs to see if he'd like this one.  Very slimy job, going through composted remains and looking for worms and eggs.  We got half our container done.  Next weekend we'll try going through the rest.
Another surprise, our potted Lavender, mint, lemon balm are all coming back.  Guess this winter wasn't hard enough to kill them.  Nice.  I won't have to buy any more this spring!




Well, it's time for me to run.  Tonight we're actually having one of our blue hubbardtwo meals.  Tonights cheese fondue and Wednesdays Hubbard squash casserole.
Hubbard Squash Casserole
2 lbs. Hubbard squash, peeled and diced
1/2 cup soaked and cooked brown rice
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 tablespoons bulghur flour
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper
4 oz. fresh bread crumbs
coconut oil
Toss all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and oil until the squash is well coated. Put in a well-oiled casserole dish and cover with breadcrumbs. Drizzle with oil and bake at 325 degrees until deep caramel brown, about 30 minutes.

We've got one more squash to use which might be used in a soup. Not certain yet. As it stands we've got lots to use up before things really start to produce again. Tomatoes, beets, pickles, jams and jellies, chutney, etc etc. Tomorrow we're using up our dried corn, potatoes, carrots, some bell pepper and a bit of a ham hock in our crockpot to make corn chowder.
That with a nice fresh salad, some cornbread that I made last night should make a nice meal. Oh and the leftover strawberry rhubarb pie that I made last year should be a nice touch as well.

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