The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Sunday, March 31, 2013

FARM GIRL'S CORNER - New veggies for the 2013 garden

Hi there, Farm Girl here, welcome to Farm Girl's Corner. We are only about 3 to 4 weeks out from the last frost here at the shed, so a few of us went out and planted some Swiss Chard and kale. Both of these veggies do well in the cold and we expect no problems other than a slower than average germination. We opted for Winterbore hybrid kale and tried and true Fordhook Giant chard.

There are a few veggies that we are trying out for the first time in the 2013 season. Some are new to everyone, this is their first year of availability. Other varieties have been around for some time and this is just the first year that we have tried them. In any event, we' will chronicle their progress from seed packet to pot for all to share.

Most of our new varieties are coming from Baker Creek Seeds this year and include among others, a second planting of Swiss Chard. This particular variety is called Orange Oriole and as you might suspect features orange stems, which should add a nice dash of color to the garden.

It is certainly pleasant in appearance with dark curly leaves and intense orange stalks but it is the promised delicate flavor and and tenderness that lured us in. A 60 day variety and touted as being both hardy and prolific we expect to enjoy it from June until the first frost.

Last year we tried the delightful and easy to grow Boule D'or yellow turnip in the fall and you would think that we'd be through with experimenting with turnips for a bit. But you would, of course, be wrong. We let some overwinter so they would run to seed this year, and so that we can harvest the very early greens which they will produce. What we really want to see is how they perform in spring. So we'll be laying our Boules on the table once again, so to speak.

We are going to try a turnip which we have never experimented with before. Called (in a frenzy of creativity) the Round Red Turnip this is a nice looking turnip that presents more like a radish than anything else. And yet, we are assured of it's turnipy pedigree. Ready for the pot in 50 days this attractive little veggie and its greens will get a good tryout in both spring and fall.

We have been enjoying "Champion" collards for years but now we want to tree something perhaps a bit different. Georgia Southern Creole collards are an heirloom variety over 130 years old and they get the nod for this years collard patch and pork hock pot.

Rave reviews were available for this venerable old southern favorite (kind of sounds like Aunt Agnes except for the "favorite" part) and of course it was highly endorsed for flavor and yield so what's not to like? Collard greens have emerged lately as one of those powerhouse sources of healthful and nutritional compounds, right up there with beets and kale. We'll deliver a full report!

Anyone remember Ingegnoli Gigante Liscio? Worked for Capone back in prohibition, suspected of being one of the trigger men at the St. Valentines Day Massacre? No? Well that's ok, here at the Shed we don't cultivate cold blooded killers, having plenty in stock already, as it were.


We do cherish big and juicy beefsteak tomatoes however and we found Iggy in the pages of Baker Creek Seeds. A prolific and indeterminate beefsteak tomato Ingegnoli Gigante Liscio is an open pollinated heirloom variety. We can save the seeds and grow them for years, and of course, so can you.

Iggy is ready in 75 days and the vines need massive support; not only are the plants huge but sometimes the fruits weigh 2 lbs. and all are quite large. We have high hopes for Iggy!

And you know, I was talking with Agnes and Millie and the other ladies earlier and we all agree that while culture, refinement and gentility are all well and good, sometimes a gal just needs to wrap herself around a big ol' hairy root or two.


And that of course is why we ordered in Mammoth Sandwich Island salsify seeds. Yes folks, salsify or the vegetable oyster as it is known is biggish, nasty looking root crop which has the virtue of surviving if kept in the garden over winter, much like carrots and parsnips. It is called "vegetable oyster" because the folks in the Sandwich Islands drink to excess. There is nothing vaguely oysterish about it.

However it is rather pleasant if used in soups, stews and potpies so we intend to give it a try in this years garden. If not allowed to overwinter it should be ready 120 days from germination.

And there you have it, Uncle Mac and the crew will be trying out an orange chard, a red turnip, an heirloom collard, a huge italian beefsteak tomato and, give me strength, salsify! We'll check in shortly with updates on these and other gardening events so please bookmark us.

Thank you for visiting, I'm Farm Girl and I'm out.

Friday, March 29, 2013

FARM GIRL'S CORNER - Heating things up with the world's hottest pepper.

No, silly, not that, this!


And what is that nasty looking bit of work? That my friends, is the Goode Olde Bhut Jolokia pepper, so called because if you eat the tiniest bit your butt is going to turn to pure jolokia. It is also called the ghost pepper but whatever you call it, do not call it edible.

This is a horrid pepper and in my opinion, unfit for human consumption.

Can't be hotter than the hottest habanero, you say, and you can eat those right enough. Habanero's! HAH! Oh a little warm perhaps and yes you need to  be very careful as far as skin or eye contact.

But a fiercely hot habanero measures a paltry 300,000 units on the Scoville scale, which as all do know is the scale for determining chemical heat in food products.

That wrinkly red thing in the picture? Over a million units my friends.

But they are so much fun to eat, you are thinking. Well lets watch some of the hijinx and tomfoolery associated with eating ghost peppers. This old buzzard probably won't ever have another. And this self styled hard ass? Um, don't think so. This brave girl? How about this marine you know he's tough as nails.

Aren't they having a good time, boys and girls?

But you know what? The ghost pepper is a loser. It comes with an "L" written on it in indelible ink. And why is it a loser? Because of this little slice of hell.


It's hot! How hot is it? Try 2,000,000 Scovilles. People, you do not eat things like this!  These are not meant to be placed in the mouth, or handled with bare skin. You maybe weaponize the damn things!

It's called a Scorpion for the luvva Myth! We do not eat things called "scorpion" anything!

But inevitably, some jackass is willing to try it. And here is one such. Look at the fun she's having!*

You can buy these seeds, ladies and gentlemen. I recommend that you do not. Grow a nice cherry red sweet bell and stuff it with rice and beef and tomatoes. Much much better all the way around!

Thanks for stopping!  (Don't eat these frickin' peppers!)

*Someone should shoot the cameraman, as a public service.

Good grief this thing is even hotter! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Millie makes pancakes and adds to her list of gardening articles.

It was eight of the morn when Millie, the dottie ol' gal from across the orchard hopped the stone wall and presented herself at the Shed door with shopping bags in tow. One of the less hung over inhabitants, Leatherface as it happens, opened the door and reminded her that she no longer had to knock, having being appointed One of the Crew and given the Run of the Place.

He eyed the shopping bags hopefully.


"Pancakes", said Millie, "with raspberries and hot syrup and homemade butter."

A whimpering sound, much like those emitted by a small puppy who can smell, but not reach, the hamburgers being pummeled into shape in the kitchen emerged from under the mask behind which Leatherface usually lurks.

Millie tossed the pancake griddle on the wood stove, placed the jugs of home made maple and berry syrups and hand gathered honey on a warm spot on the back of the top plate, hauled a huge container of batter out of the biggest sack and went to work.

Soon, the shed was filled with incredible aromas. Pancakes fluffy enough to float like clouds made their way to plates. Shed inhabitants manifested like vampires from a crypt at sundown. Jack the Ripper dropped from the loft, Agnes crawled from the haystack. Mallory rappelled  his way down from the port-a-ledge high on the west wall, Vida, looking sleepy*, wandered in from the main house. Uncle Mac and Farm Girl, both a trifle flushed, emerged from the gun room rearranging clothing and sniffing the air like famished wolves. Right on cue two of the latter bolted through the wolfy door and commenced toe-dancing around the wood stove and Millie.

"Murphlumphulflug!" exclaimed Agnes, through an essentially toothless mouth load of pancakes,** "What sort of flour do yew use fer these here flapjacks? They's lighter'n feathers!"
"Saw dust." replied Millie. "From Leatherface's log yard. This was mostly red oak dust, as I recall."
"I was out of flour." she amplified.
Chewing activity ground to a halt as pancake eaters, one by one, took time to consider this. Mac paused, overburdened fork halfway to mouth. He examined the fluffy mass, dripping raspberry syrup and butter in some detail. He sniffed cautiously, then shoveled the mass into his bewhiskered face like a stoker feeding a coal box on an ancient steam engine.

"It doesn't taste like sawdust.", he said.

"That's because it isn't sawdust. Not anymore. It's been transmuted into the best flour on earth."

"I say", said Mallory, brandishing a fork, "I say, old girl; does it stay transmuted or turn back into oak chips in the belly? Bit of an inconvenience, that, as it were."

"We ain't gonna crap two by fours or nuthin'?" queried Agnes, jaws still working like a wood-chipper.

"No. no!" Millie said. "When I transmute something, it stays transmuted. It is changed on an, um, what do you call it? Things that are really really tiny?"

"Skeet shot?", guessed Mallory.

"A-cups?" suggested Vida.

"Baby birds?" came a pancake muffled voice.

"Biden's brain?"

"Helium pay-outs?"

"Atoms." said Farm Girl.

"Yes!" said Millie. "Atoms! The sawdust has been transformed on a fundamental, atomic level. You have nothing to fear from these pancakes other than an increased belt size."

"And the honey, old thing?", inquired Mallory.

"From the hives at the rear of the orchard." Millie said.

"Umm, the maple syrup?" this from Farm Girl.

"Nothing but pure maple from my trees and some of yours as well, if you'll recall."

"What about", said Vida, spearing a raspberry and holding it aloft for inspection, "These berries. I've never seen raspberries this big or tasted any so good.  It's awfully early for berries. How about it?"

"Erm", said Millie, "The berries. Yes. Well. Shouldn't like to look up their pedigree just now. Perhaps tomorrow."

"What Ah'd like to know is how yew do it?" said Agnes.

At that moment there came a sort of "whoomp" sound from outside the garden side door. It sounded a lot like someone arriving from another time or place via a wormhole.

"Ah", said Mac, "Lacey. And right on time. Heat 'em up, Millie!"

A hand fumbled at the back door which eventually opened, albeit slowly. The woman who stepped gingerly through the opening looked nothing like the one who had walked out of it just three days ago, bound for otherwhen. "On business", as she had put it.

Lacey Delacroix walked slowly, tentatively,  as if she had to concentrate on each detail of every movement. She gripped the barrel of the big .338 magnum rifle, resting the butt on the floor the better to use it as a cane.

Chairs shoved back as the others sprang to their feet, exclamations bursting from their lips. Lacey made a dismissive gesture, however, and such was the woman's force of character that would be helpers held their place. Lacey limped towards Mac's worn out overstuffed chair.

Her camo was tattered, filthy. The bandoleers that had bristled with rifle cartridges three days ago held perhaps 4 or 5 rounds. The Colt Python which had filled the scuffed holster was missing, as were the grenades that had hung from her vest. The fighting knife that had filled the boot sheath was where it belonged, apparently glued in place by dried gore.

Gone too was the sleeping bag unless the the crude blood caked bandages that circled Lacey's head, upper arm and thigh had been cut as seemed likely from it's carry bag. All the damage seemed to be on Delacroix's right side.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Lacey was a mess. Covered in smoke and grime and greasy with her own sweat; she reeked of blood and powder smoke, of cordite and exertion. She was every wounded warrior who had ever limped home from a battlefield. Alive, but only just.

Mac took the rifle as Farm Girl eased her into the chair.

Delacroix exhaled deeply, closed her eyes for a second, opened them and managed a crooked grin.

"You'll have to go uptime," said Uncle Mac quietly. "See Doc Lopetamaine. Now if not sooner. Farm Girl and I will take you."

"Not", said Lacey, "Without coffee. And orange juice. And a stack of those pancakes. I haven't eaten much since I left. And that was a lot longer than three days ago, where I was."

"I think that's a terrible idea," began Uncle Mac, "You're nearly as trashed as that time when..."

There was a tiny mouse like squeaking sound, and Vida G reeled and fainted. Jack caught her before she hit the floor.

"Put her in the haystack" said Farm Girl to Jack. "She'll come around soon enough."

Had anyone been paying attention to Millie they would have seen the air surrounding her begin to shimmer, like that hovering over pavement on a scorching July day. The shimmering grew more intense until the air actually rippled, then the effect simply stopped.

Millie Quackenbush was gone. Whoever stood where she had been but a second before was a complete stranger. And yet...

"Och, Lass," said the newcomer, "But you're sore hurt. I can ease you..."

There is a feeling most folks experience while standing under high tension transmission lines, a nearly subliminal sensation of barely restrained power which seems as though it might burst forth with unimaginable consequences at any moment. That feeling filled the shed now. One of the wolves whined, a high pitched sound for such a massive creature, the other whimpered faintly. Then all was silent.

Although the air within the shed was undisturbed Millie's - for that of course was who the not so new comer was - now raven hair began to stir as if caressed by a light breeze. Violet hued sparks formed at the tip of each strand, ran up and down her arms, framed her face, brushed her torso and then raced up an down her body from head to toe.

She extended her right arm, palm upward, hand cupped. The energy flowed like water into her upraised hand, brightened, became more opaque. Images made of pure power formed and transformed there; a rearing unicorn, a violet in bloom, a demon skull, an exquisite fairy dancer, a songbird, an eagle, a swaying birch, an elfin swordsman, one after another flickering into and out of existence just at the border of perception so that later when they all talked it over no one was quite sure what it was that they had seen, of if they had in fact seen anything at all.

Millie blew gently, and the energy, now a perfect sphere wafted towards Lacey, settling on her breast just above her heart. It spread rapidly, cloaking Delacroix momentarily in violet glory and then, vanished with a sharp pop, seemingly absorbed by Lacey's damaged frame.

Lacey gasped, and then seemed to relax. 

She looked questioningly at the unfamiliar yet familiar figure by the stove.

"Thank you." she said, "Whatever that was, thank you."

Millie leaned forward, stretched out the clenched hand that had cupped the healing energy until it covered an empty saucer, then deposited something there that clinked as it struck.

Everyone leaned in to look. Five leaden balls the size of large peas lay there.

"You carried those in your leg, do you ken? They are better out than in. You must see that Doctor upstream in time and that soon. You are not in much pain now and I've slowed the bleeding but you are still hard wounded."

"When is the Lopetamaine healer, Angus?" she said, addressing Uncle Mac.

"Oh, 2850 as we reckon dates. They use a different time scale of course. A lot happens in the world from now until then."

"I doubt it not", said the new Millie, "and speaking of time..."

The air shimmered and rippled once again and when it stopped, grey haired Millie Quackenbush stood to the griddle.

"there is just enough left to fix a stack of pancakes to fuel your trip to the future."

And that is what she did.
Hold on there Mr. garden blog writing person (garden blog?), what happened to the gardening articles Millie was going to share?
Hah! Hold your horses! After the unforeseen interruption Millie proceeded as follows:


"Well lets see. We gave you a dozen articles to gnaw on last time, you can catch up on those right here; there's a lot to add. Buy the way, Aunt Agnes wrote the bulk of these with some help from Farm Girl. There may be hope for her yet."

"Who said, don't count on it? Oh. All of you did. Well that's just cold!"

"Here we  go."

Ever wonder what goes on under the soil that you stand upon while you weed and water? Well a whole lot as it turns out. Find out a bit about that, right here.

Growing carrots in a container is easier and more productive than you might ever believe. Here's the word on just how easy it is.

Have some watches to unload? A few big screen TV's that you would rather not explain? You need a fence, my friend! But we gardeners need them as well. Here is why and how.

Every one deplores a garden full of slugs. They are not easy to deal with but you can easily get help. Learn how to harness toad power to deal with slimies in the garden right here! 

Beets come in all kinds of colors and shapes. Not just your Granny's red beets anymore!

Chard is closely related to beets and as healthful as well. It is also early and easy to grow, says so right here!

Why would a blender or a mirror be considered as gardening tools? Find out here.

Ah the goodness of spinach! We'd like to tell you all about it!

Want more bang for your buck? Well who doesn't; (ask any call girl.) Well certain home garden vegetable favorites give you just that, they are dual purpose veggies.

Peas, early, sweet and delicious. Grow some now, here is how!

What is the biggest veggie garden pest? If you live in bear country you already know the answer.

Lettuce end on a leafy green note. Have you started your lettuce yet? Gee it might be about time!

All righty then! There are a dozen more little nuggets of gardening wisdom from the one and fortunately the only Aunt Agnes, as fact checked by farm Girl and delivered by me, Millie.

Stop back soon!

 Some time later, around dusk;
Uncle Mac stood in the garden studying the Small Square Bed. He was debating whether to start radishes there, or parsnips, or radishes first and then follow with parsnips, with a view to overwintering the latter.
It's lonely at the top, he reflected, and took a pull at Napoleon's brandy.***
He heard the shed door close and sighed.
Something warm, curvy and oddly farm girlish oozed up beside him, detached the brandy bottle and sipped.
"So, Angus," she said in tones overly sweet, "is there anything that you feel you should tell me? In the interest of lets call it, full disclosure? Hmmm?" 
Uncle Mac sighed again, retrieved the brandy.
"Yes, I suppose there is."
*Vida, no matter time of day, always manages to look sleepy. Sleepy looks good on her.
**There is a picture of this. Aren't you glad we didn't post it?
***"Don't you mean "Napoleon brandy" Mr blog person?
      No. It used to belong to Napoleon, allright. Hence the possessive.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Farm Girls Corner - Container carrots

Farm Girl here, welcome to Farm Girl's Corner! Just a quick follow up on our carrots in a bucket, which Vida G so ably detailed for us in a recent post.*


Our carrots sprouted just 10 days later and are doing well, We expect to decant them sometime in very early June. There has only been one day that we have been able to place them safely outdoors in direct sunlight but for the time being they are doing quite well in front of the window.
There is still plenty of time for you to start your own container carrots, (a fun project for children of all ages), but I would do it now. In a few more weeks you will be able to seed them directly.
We'll keep you advised of the success or failure of this particular bucket load.
Thanks for stopping! 

*I'd go straight to the end of the post, there is a lot of irrelevent drivel preceeding the meat of the topic.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The last onion

Howdy! Agnes here and Ah'm fixin' to chop up the last onion from last year's garden, it's tuna salad sammiges and soup for lunch here at the shed! Don't yew wish yew could have some? Well yew cain't!

Now this here is an Ailsae onion, a variety which is not supposed to be much of a keeper and yet we used the next to the last about mid February and it was jist fine. Farm Girl said, "Let's keep that last 'un a couple more weeks and see what happens", and here it is, March 12 already.

There's that rascal now...

Ah got a bad feelin' about this...looks allright but its just a bit shrunk and squishy like. Anything shrunk and squishy Ah generally have no use for, lets see now...

Shhsphew! No that one waited around a bit to long, kinda outstayed its welcome if yew savvy my drift. Don't want to be findin' that in my tuna salad!

But yew know what? It's ok because if yew can grow sweet juicy, biggish onions like Ailsae, which are not s'posed to be long storing and still get the five months from mid-September to mid February out of them, Ah say yew are doin' jist fine in the onion department.

Jist have to grow a nice long keepin' red to take up the slack is all.

Well thank yew all for settin' in on this experiment; that's all Ah got fer today.

If you was wonderin' yew can git some Ailsae plants from Exhibition Seeds and a bunch more places too Ah reckon so why not give them a try this year?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Farm Girl's Corner - Designing a productive vegetable garden Pt. 3 - How big is it?

Hey, Farm Girl here and welcome back to Farm Girl's Corner! It's time for part 3 of "Designing a productive vegetable garden". If you missed parts 1 and 2, well shame on you but here they are: One, and oddly enough, Two.


The secret is to design your garden from the inside out or better still, from the seed catalog out. Gather the family around the table, open a convenient seed catalog and decide what everyone likes. Arugula? No takers, no garden space required. Asparagus? Yay! And if everyone loves beans will one variety be enough or do Lima's, greenies, wax and a shelling bean all make the list? Everyone loves corn but do you want an early AND a late variety, to please all the raccoons  all the time?

Potatoes and onions and squash on the list? Are you planning to eat just what ripens as it ripens or are you going to save and store those spuds, onions and warty blue Hubbards? Lets go back to the beans, are you going to try canning?

That garden just grows by leaps and bounds, doesn't it?

Be of good cheer, you don't have to plant everything the first season. It would be too much work and you have too much yet to learn. It wouldn't be enjoyable or productive and you might sour on what can be a wonderful experience and that would be too bad.

But you can build the fence to size, that way you won't have to keep extending it. If you are in deer country that fence should be at least 8' in height.

When calculating the interior space remember you are not merely calculating the actual planting area, you also need to include plenty of space to walk, possibly to push a wheel barrow through. Here at the shed we initially left 18" wide walkways. What a nightmare! No room to bend down and work the beds without a zucchini up the gagootz.*

Now we have no walkways under 36" and it is a pleasure to work in the beds.

You will find it useful to a have a two foot bed running all around  the inside of the fence, the fence is an excellent trellis for cucumbers, beans, small squash and the like.

Keep in mind that 4' is about the maximum width for a raised bed. Wider, and they become difficult to work in comfortably.

Can you incorporate a shed into the north side of the fence? Wonderful!

How about running water and power as well? Terrific accessories all but perhaps you need to wait a bit to see how much you enjoy gardening first.

And there you have it, a few simple tips to help you lay out your first garden. Thanks for visiting Farm Girl's Corner.

Happy gardening!

*Kind of like bending over when Uncle Mac is nearby.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Container gardening with carrots. We get around to it eventually.

Uncle Mac was cleaning his ten gauge with the unconscious ease born of long practice, alternatively eyeing Farm Girl and the hay bales as if an idea was forming in the back of what we call - for lack of a better word - his mind when the north or Millie's Orchard side door banged open. Vida G swept in, bearing a five gallon bucket and happy grin.


Three pairs of eyes swiveled to take in the unusual apparition, four if you count Mrs. BobKats' in the rafters.
"She appears," said Uncle Mac, "to be wearing an oriental.."
"Asian!"  snapped Delacroix, "You have to say Asian these days, you dinosaur!"
"An oriental gardening hat." said the dinosaur, glowering. "Work gloves, a denim shirt, jeans and if my eyes fail me not, work boots?"
"Who are you, and what have you done with Vida G?"
"Ha!" said Vida G, "AIl that I've been doing the last half hour is planting the first official veggies of the season. I've caught the gardening bug and I thought I'd dress the part. Like the outfit?"
"Looks good on you," said Farm Girl from the corner. "Why the transformation? When you came to listen to Mac's pitch you had no interest in gardening, thought firearms were the Devils own creation and that travel through time and space were figments of schoolboys' and drunkards' imaginations, if I may paraphrase. And as for staying the required three days and two nights in the Garden Shed for orientation, I believe your exact quote was, 'Only if a suitcase full of diamonds changes hands.' "
"So what changed your mind?"
"The suitcase full of diamonds was a powerful motivator." Vida said, "besides, this place, the Shed, the garden and the land around it causes a change in things after a while. Like attitude, point of view, and sanity for example."
"I mean, you can't coexist with people who should really be dead," she waved a gloved hand at Farm Girl, "or who don't actually exist", indicating Delacroix, who smiled brightly, "or whiskery old space-time Jockeys",...
"Old?" said Uncle Mac,
"and not have your world view altered to a certain extent. Throw in serial killers, dead mountain climbers, certified card carrying spell-slinging witchescertifiable drunken antique hillbillies not to mention wolves dire and otherwise, pet bobcats, tame weasels..."
"Ermine," said Farm Girl, helpfully.
"ermine, if it pleases you, talking raccoons, talking deer, talking turnips for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus and who knows what might stagger in next...,"
Vida paused for much needed air, Delacroix adroitly stepped into the breach.
"I've been teaching her to shoot. Jack's been teaching her knifework, Leatherface has her cutting firewood, Farm Girl is covering gardening skills..."
Vida had her wind back.
"Yesterday I took my first solo time jaunt. Thing's are absolutely impossible and absurd here at The Shed, and I'm having the time of my life!"
"Chain saws? Knives? Shooting? And you soloed through the wormholes? Where have I been?" Mac looked bewildered.
"If you concentrated on something other than warming your winky you might by accident notice what goes on around here." said Farm Girl.
Ignoring farm girl, Uncle Mac addressed Vida: "How far back did you go?"
"Not back, Uncle Mac, forward. I went forward, to right here."
Uncle Mac looked stricken.
"You know the rule? Any time any where into the past but only 15 minutes into the future? Saving medical emergency of course?"
"Of course! I stood right here at 7:46 PM, jumped ahead 15 minutes to 8:01, called the lottery hot line, got the winning Pick 4, back to our timeline by 7:48, into the Bentley by 7:49, out at Vesuvio's by 7:55, playing 8646 straight and boxed 10 times by 7:57! Ain'tcha proud of me?" Vida was beaming.
"Erm." said a shell shocked Mac, "What was the take?"
"$ 33,432.55"
"You need $ 33,000.00 like I need a case of Alaskan king crabs! The contents of the suitcase alone is more than the GNP of 7 third world countries. We checked." 
"I know! said Vida, It was just for fun and practice. When the check arrives I'm putting it in the activities fund." 
"We don't have an activities fund." said Mac.
"We do now." observed Delacroix.
"Well." said Uncle Mac, "Well. This is good, you're adapting nicely. But no more time jaunts, fore, aft or sideways without Farm Girl, Lacey or me in tow. You have no idea how dangerous wormholes can be, and how easy it is to get lost. And when you are lost in the wormholes, gal, you are lost forever."
"But more to the point, we brought you in as roving reporter and Shed historian, to chronicle the daily saga of our little gardening community on a daily basis, if need be.  We're currently waiting on Millie's story, the tale of Pineapple Girl and the big snatch, background pieces on all Shed denizens human and otherwise, and an interview with Mr. Bear."
"Not to put to fine a point on it, Lassy, but you are getting a little behind."

Delacroix groaned and buried her face in her hands. Farm Girl collapsed slowly backward into the hay from which stifled sounds, sobs perhaps, escaped periodically.
Vida G was no longer grinning.
"I", she said icily, "have not had a little behind since I was 12 years old. It is my lot in life. Now, I will go talk to the bear. He is more sensitive."
"Wait!" said a confused Uncle, "This is a serious gardening blog! What's with the bucket?" 
Ah. The bucket. Indeed.
 Hi! Vida G here, roving reporter for Uncle Mac's Garden Shed and today I've stolen a march on the entire gardening crew by planting the first crop of the year! No, not potential transplants, they don't count, but an actual in-situ crop!
Yes. A container garden of carrots in a five gallon pail or other suitable container is an easy way to get a jump on the season.
One easy way to get started is to wait for an unseasonably warm sunny day and then scrape the snow off of what is left of last years compost pile. Once the snow is removed cover the pile with clear plastic and weight it down so that it can't blow away, and let the sun do it's work, thawing the compost.
Meanwhile drill holes in the bottom of a used 5 gallon pail, for drainage purposes. 
Later in the afternoon when the compost has cooked for most of the day, scratch loose enough compost to sift. Then, fill the bucket to within a few inches of the top with the sifted compost. Fill the bucket all the way to the top with basic, unfertilized potting soil.
In this case a 65 day nantes type carrot, a "Nelson Hybrid" from Territorial Seeds was the carrot of choice. Most carrots will do just fine in a container, if it is deep enough.
Plant the seeds about 1/4" deep in the potting soil, water lightly and place in a sunny window. It can take 6 to 21 days for the carrots to emerge.
Once the plant are showing two inches of top or so take every opportunity to leave them outdoors - once there is no danger of frost leave them outside 24/7, out of the reach of bunnies and deer of course.
Then just wait until the maturity date and pull several handfuls of fresh yummy carrots weeks before anyone has them in their garden. Want more carrots? Use more pails!
This has been Vida G, reporting live from Uncle Mac's Garden Shed. 
Stop back soon!