Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rule #5: Transplant or Thin, You choose

Newly Transplanted Radicchio

They can look pretty sad at first!

This is where they were started in July
Personally I have found that transplanting works well. You can thin the rest to eat and leave a few plants where you have sown to allow to grow.  These are the first to be eaten at my house, because they are not under the hoop house.  Because I was a little busy with a newborn  my transplanting was delayed a bit, which turned out to be better because the hurricane came through!  I transplanted my radicchio on September 10th this year.  As you can see they are pretty sad looking for about a week, then they start to perk up.  Just make sure you get as much root as you can when you dig them up!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rule #4: Start your radicchio seed in July

In the Maryland area that is!  This radicchio is actually for harvesting in the fall/winter season.  There are some bolt resistant and fast growing radicchio you can grow in early spring.  You can also have cutting radicchio/radicchio da taglio throughout the summer.  Any radicchio seed could also be planted when you choose if you just want to eat them as "babies" and not let them get full grown. Now there is a lot of controversy about when during the month to plant.  I have looked up several sites on growing with the moon and it says to sow seeds with the new moon.  This doesn't always seem to follow what "the Italians" (how I will refer to my moms Italian friends who have been growing radicchio in this area for years!) tell me.  Usually I just plant when they do and if I miss that window I plant with the new moon.  So my seeds were planted on July 18th.  This was just after the full moon.   It seemed to work just fine.  After planting you must keep the seeds moist, but not over watered.  For me I go out and mist them several times a day and for the first few days I cover them with some burlap. This must be taken off after a few days as the seedlings emerge.  I found a wonderful company called Seeds from Italy and their website is in my links section.  Most of their seeds are from the Franchi seed company.  So this year I started the seeds in my far right bed which still had one tomato plant and other low growing plants in the middle of the bed.  This is where I had a little trouble.  The front of the bed seemed to have gotten more sun than the back because of the tomato plant.  So in the front I planted Pan di Zuccchero, Verona, Castlefranco, Treviso, Grumolo, and Bianca di Bergamo.  These came up great and hardy.  The only one that didn't come up was the Bianca di Bergamo, probably because their seed date was older than the rest. I will need to get new seeds next season.  In the back of the bed I planted Treviso Tardiva, Lusia, Puntarelle, and two varieties of Endive-Riccia Ruffec and Bionda a cure piano.  I also planted some fairly old seeds from my dad that were a strange looking variety.  I seems that they are grown for their stems, but as I expected they did not germinate.  Although these back of the bed seeds did come up they weren't as strong as the front of the bed seeds.  Once I took the tomato plant out at the end of it's season they got stronger.  Lesson learned for next year. This is the first of many future posts on my my trials with radicchio this year.  I am trying many new techniques to "finish off" the radicchio this year including blanching and forcing.  More on that later!

Baby Radicchio
Just a few days old

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rule #3: Just do it.

So this post is about the girls.  I have a ton of posts I need to do about the radicchio but they will take too long and I was thinking about the big steps our household has taken this week.  Funny how they are slightly related in "topic"if you will.  The "just do it" refers to things that I have been meaning to just do, but have been a little hesitant.  First, Larkyn is officially sleeping in underwear.  It's a little scary, but she is doing great. The first night I hadn't meant to leave her in her underwear, but I forgot.  I had to get up with Mckinley at around 4 and I went into her room to check on her and she woke up, so we took a potty break.    We are  so proud of her.  On another note I have also started cloth diapering with Mckinley.  Just like Larkyn I am starting at 6 months.  I actually don't mind it, but it's that first leap that is hard. I got some super cute tie-dye diapers called Butterbears and I have turned them into all in 2's using the lining of my g-diapers so that I can use the same outside several times.  I am also still using my g-diapers with pre-folds.   So there it is....done and done!
Mckinley in her new cloth diapers.
Big Girl Larkyn!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rule #2: Build a Hoop House!

So this year I went a little crazy with my winter garden.  I planted 6 varieties of radicchio and 2 of endive.  Well, a few of the radicchio did not geminate and I didn't have time to replant. I did originally plant 9.  More on that in another post!  So when I went to transplant them in early September I used 3 of my middle beds.  Now in the past years I have only used one bed and we created a small plastic row cover using PVC piping.  This year was another story.  John used some of our old fencing and a new grey electrical piping to create a walk in hoop house!  I am too excited.  It even has a door.  I have my radicchio transplants in there plus some lettuce and arugula.  Unfortunately I did not get to transplant the endive or all of my radicchio in there but they are a cold weather crop and can even do OK at about 30 degrees.  So I have been picking and eating them first.  I may eventually have to put some plastic over them as well depending on the weather and how fast we eat it!  The top pic is mid construction and the bottom pic is John finishing the door.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rule #1: When Life is Busy...start a blog.

Makes sense, right?  Well really I just wanted to have a place to share my love of gardening and my experiences raising my kids.  I'm thinking that, like my garden, this blog will at times be hard to keep up with, overwhelming, exciting, rewarding, and have varied seasons!  Life is busy.  I have two beautiful daughters (a 3 year old and a 6 month old) and husband who is always creating projects for himself in between two demanding jobs.  We also have 3 slightly older, but young acting dogs. So yes, lots of cleaning! I've got a ton of pictures that need to be put into scrapbooks and a million books I would love to yes I am starting this blog.  Take away...when life is busy you have to make some room in it for yourself and what you want to do with those extra few minutes!