February 28, 2024

Garden Notes: February 2024

February is daffodil month


  • 10th: 0.19"
  • 11th: 0.29"
  • 12th: 2.9"
  • 23rd: 0.67"
  • 27th: 0.1"
  • 28th: 0.15"
  • Total: 4.3 inches
  • range of nighttime lows: 27 to 55°F (-3 to 13°C)
  • range of daytime highs: 57 to 72°F (14 to 22°C)
Weather Notes
  • We had some lovely outside days this month.
  • We also had days with warm thermometer readings, but the wind was strong and relentlessly cold.
  • Warm temps came with rain.
  • Cooler temps came with clear skies.

Greenhouse Notes

My cool weather vegetable growing experiments have done well, even with no supplementary heat.

Broccoli. I only planted a few plants and the heads didn't get very
big, but it was enough for a steamed vegetable for dinner one night.


Lettuce. Could have used more of this!
Note the lettuce starter tray on the left.

Potatoes, thriving after their tops froze last month

Volunteer chickweed is growing in quite a few of my pots


  • lettuce
  • broccoli
  • kale
  • chicory greens
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • chickweed
  • turnips
  • dandelion greens

  • snow peas
  • daikon radishes
  • kale

  • lettuce starts
  • rugosa roses
  • echinacea
  • daffodils
  • strawberries

Garden Notes
  • Still working on weeding and mulching aisles with wood chips
  • Weeded and mulched the asparagus bed
  • On warm days I have to resist the temptation to plant frost sensitive veggies. Our last frost is said to be mid-April, and the past two years we've had killing frosts after that date. Better to be patient than sorry!

Snow peas and newly transplanted lettuce.

To plant my lettuce, I used Daisy's (Maple Hill 101) Winter Sowing Method and can tell you it worked a treat. I loved that the tiny sprouts and seedlings didn't dry out, nor did they need to be hardened off. A keeper of a method.

And here's a surprise.

Surviving Swiss chard (and daffodils)

One of last summer's Swiss chard plants amazingly survived last month's frigid temps, which were the coldest we've experienced since we've been here. It's started growing again, which is most welcome!

Parting Shot

1st homegrown salad of the year! Greens: kale, chicory, wild lettuce, cultivated
lettuce, dandelion, turnip, chickweed; hardboiled egg, feta goat cheese, and cherry
tomatoes preserved in olive oil and vinegar
(which also serves as the dressing)

Your turn. What's happening in your gardening world? Anything?

February 22, 2024

Progress on My Winter Project List

One of the items on my winter project list is sorting out the front bedroom, which has been used as a storage room for the past decade. Finally getting this far feels like a milestone, so I had to document it! 

The loom has been moved out of its storage corner and all its pieces/parts gathered so that it's now accessible for assembly. 

And we've got the big desk set up.

This means more boxes can be unpacked, which means things either get a proper home or are weeded out. That means my pile of storage boxes is getting smaller, and that puts me closer to having space to set up the loom.

We also took a look at what needed to be done to finish the room. The biggest thing is covering the insulation from when the old windows were replaced (front in 2016 and side in 2020). 

Back then, Dan had a huge long list of things he wanted to do, but he finally agreed to just stick with the necessities. That suits me just fine. 

February 15, 2024

Fun With Purple Sweet Potatoes

Last year my purple sweet potatoes did really well. These made up the bulk of my sweet potato harvest, and we've been enjoying them as oven fries or cubed and roasted with turnips or sometimes other veggies. The other day, I decided to try them in a sweet potato pie for our weekend dessert. 

I peeled a couple of them, cut them each into several large chunks, and simmered until tender. Then I ran them through the blender.

I thought the resulting puree was a gorgeous color. 

To make the pie, I used my no-dairy Sweet Potato Honey Pie recipe. The addition of the golden honey and bright yellow egg yolks changed the color a little, but it still baked up as a distinctly purple pie.

Or maybe that's more of a purplish brown, but one would never know the difference in a blind-folded taste test. It was a yummy sweet potato pie.

I had some puree left over, so the following Sunday, I made sweet potato pancakes. Except these were nowhere near purple! 

My guess is that the pH of the batter changed the color. For my baked goods, I always use a baking soda + acid combination from How To Bake Without Baking Powder. For these, it was baking soda + sour cream which gave me beautifully fluffy green pancakes! They were delicious with a little maple syrup. Very fun. 

Anyone else experimenting with something different?

February 9, 2024

Greenhouse Door: Insulation, Hardware, & Steps

Continued from "Interior Greenhouse Door."

So now the gaps are filled in, we have a door knob, can lock the door, and we have steps! These are especially noteworthy, because the 2-inch oak planks were milled by Dan from a tree he cut down about six years ago.

He's had these lovely planks stored in his workshop, just waiting for the perfect project. This turned out to be itl

The soil beneath the steps will eventually be dug out when the floor is leveled. Then,we'll put down a layer of gravel. That may not be for awhile, but we have stairs! 

Still to go are trimming the door and painting the trim.

February 4, 2024

Interior Greenhouse Door

For some reason, we always end up replacing doors and windows during winter, including this one! I reckon it's because the season is slower, so there's more time for bigger jobs like that. It's certainly not because of the weather! Happily, we got a string of mild days for Dan to tear out one of the windows in my sewing room and replace it with a door. 

We discussed door placement options on this wall of windows: the middle window, perhaps? Or maybe the one on the end?

Considering how the room is set up, this end window near the exterior greenhouse door made the most sense. In the photo below, the new door will replace the window on the left, next to the old, obsolete chimney flue.

This will make it a straight shot from the living room, through my office, and then to the greenhouse. We haven't finished the walls in this end of the room, anticipating the installation of the door.

The first step was to remove the window. In the photo below you can see the old-fashioned cast iron window weights that were behind the window trim. They require space to raise and lower, hence these "wells" are never insulated. That's one of the reasons old houses are so energy inefficient!

Dan had the usual challenges of updating a 100-year-old-house, such as different size building materials (for example, 2x4s were larger back then) and puzzling DIY construction techniques.

That's been the challenge with everything we've done! But Dan always manages and got the door opening framed out in no time.

Then the leveling, squaring, shimming, and securing. Here's his progress so far.

Next will be insulating the gaps and then putting up and painting the trims. And, of course, building some stairs. 

I have to say that it's truly convenient to have this door installed! No more going out the back door and around the back of the house to get to the greenhouse. I didn't mind, of course, but this is so much nicer.