In the Ground and Growing

It has only been about 13 days since I started putting things in the garden like onions, radishes, lettuce and other cooler weather seed crops. Maybe a week later or so I decided it had warmed up enough to set the plants that were started inside out. I had been harding them off for a week or so. Ground had warmed to at least their acceptable level. At this point in the season I’m at my most nervous level mainly due to the weather but also with some of the critters that like succulent plants or seeds. I planted beans one year and had to replant as the birds either got the seeds or just as the plants emerged they ate that too. For some reason this year the radishes didn’t want to germinate. I had to replant the whole area. Onion sets were the same, some came up and some didn’t leaving voids in the rows. I had yellow, white and red, all as keepers. Again, I replanted. One of my faults is impatience of seeds popping up. I planted Kale and Spinach and gave them the full recommendation of when they should germinate plus some. Three or four days past and I decided I’d rather plant more onions, partly because they are a cold or at least a cool weather crop and from the change in the weather I thought they wouldn’t make it.

This is from earlier in the season…….

10 each, Banana Pepper and Bells. Lettuce in back plus a cucumber.

Now for the current garden. My peppers may look a little different as I let the tops grow until I had four leaves below and four on top, which also had some tiny peppers starting. I clipped the tops which will cause the main stem to get stronger and for the plant to actually grow more branches which will help produce more crops.

I had two peppers in a starter pot and instead of thinning to one I experimented with the topping of the plant. Furthest back was not topped and closest was. You can see the new branches starting to grow just like suckers on a tomato but these you keep. This is less than a week.
My son-in-law planted these potatoes for me. They are the red and white small round variety. Last year I did the fingerlings.

Hopefully in about a month some of these will producing a small harvest. I have already been eating the lettuce. Salads and a BLT today with 4 types of lettuce.

A Lot Has Happened Since Last Post

I guess I should first of all apologize for the long delay between the March 22nd posting and now, about 34 days.

I planted the indoors seeds in February. There’s 10 banana peppers, 10 bell peppers, 1 cucumber, 2 dumpling squash, 3 Wisconsin 55 tomatoes (slicers), 1 San Marzano tomato (paste/salsa like a Roma), 1 Geranium Kiss (large cherry) and several Tiny Tim tomatoes that only grow 8-10″ wide x 12-15″ tall. Great for pots or in the ground. They are determinant so that once they produce they start to ripen but do not continue to produce anymore. I have stared a second batch.

From the 1st part of March after germination.

Peppers in front tray…red edge are bells and yellow are the bananas. Cukes and squash are in second tray with Tiny Tim tomatoes and back row are the Wisconsin 55 tomatoes.
Tiny Tim tomato
These are all bell peppers as marked with the red paint on the lip.

Sunday I had some help, my daughter and her husband came up and spent 7 hours helping around the property with shrub trimming and the prepping of the garden for the seeds to be planted. One area still needs more work as the Winter Rye hadn’t died back completely but it won’t take long. It’s turned over and I have a new electric battery powered tiller that works great. 20v battery that just doesn’t wear down. About a 4″ depth and a real comfortable tine speed.

The garden is horseshoe is shape with 70 square foot of growing space. It’s raised bed and sitting in an area where I grew directly in the ground. That area is 180 square feet. Andy yet I am planting more in the raised bed with less work. This 70 sq. ft. will have kale, spinach, cucumbers, green onions to eat daily, white -yellow and red bulb keeper onions, radishes, beets, squash, 3 types of large tomatoes plants and several small cherry that I mentioned before, carrots of the regular type and a variety called rainbow….whitish, yellow, orange and purple and lastly 5 varieties of lettuce. Along with the veggies I will plant marigolds for aphids, white, tomato hornworms etc, basil around the tomatoes to increase their flavor and more radishes and carrots around tomato and other plants to help in flavor, soil de-compaction as well as more to harvest.

I forgot to mention the chives. I divided them for my daughter. This would be looking from the southeast corner.
Looking north. Peppers on the right and tomato behind them then the cukes. Tiny Tim tomatoes in the horse shoe then two more tomatoes to the left. Onions toward the camera and carrots and radishes up by the chives. In the back close together are the lettuces and to the left of that is the kale and spinach. Hard to see the tags. Two tags are missing but freshly made today…beets and carrots. Beets are in the back.

The plan now is to set the plants out around the first of June. They say after the last frost but we just had 3 days of snow followed this past weekend with 80 degree weather, welcome to Ohio. Last year we had an early blast of warmth and I got anxious, not going to happen this year. Patience is the key to having a good crop first of all. Everything else follows after the plants get established.

Friday, March 11, 2022

All most half way through March thus the planting season is getting closer. The weather is still too cold to put anything out yet. I know I’ve read that cold weather root veggies can be planted in mid-March however my plan is to hold off until the first of April for most items.

I do have some bunching onions started. I’ve never grown onions this way so it could be my favorite or the last time I try it. The reason for the hesitation has always been the timing. In the past I have always bought onion sets, some are left to bulb up and some are pulled in the early stages to eat as green onions. This year I have red, yellow and white sets to bulb up and the seedlings to use as green onions.

A makeshift dome to keep the seeds moist
Four days after planting the sprouting began
About 3″ high. When they get to 6″ or so I will give them a haircut to promote the leaves and roots.

The seeds are the little black things on the tops. The heat mat was only used to promote the germination after which is was turned off and the grow lights were turned on. They sit under the lights for 8 hours.

Along with the starting of the onions I have been getting some fertilizing components together, that being egg shells and coffee grounds. I use the K-cup and only one per day in most cases so this is a slow process but it is moving along. I have a Cool Whip tub full plus a second one about a third full. The egg shells are even slower. I limit my intake of eggs to 4 or 5 a week. Whether it is scrambled, hard boiled or fried, actually more like steamed in a very small skillet with 1/2 tsp of margarine. I grind the shells to a powder and also keep some in small pieces to just spread around the base of plants to discourage some crawling pests.

In about two or three weeks, depending on the plant I will start the tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers indoors.

Planting Season Chores

It’s getting closer, the planting of the first seeds for the new garden season. We are now just past the middle of February and have approximately 12 to 13 weeks from the possible last frost here in the near middle line of Ohio. I still have about 4 to 5 weeks to start the seeds but there are some that I can start now. Green onions or shallots as they are sometimes referred to can be started from seed now. Onion seeds are like grass seed, throw them on the ground and they will grow.Of course it’s best to do a little more work then that when growing onions but you get the idea.

Other then that there are things that one can do in the meantime to pass the time and get ready for the planting and growing season. Like the picture below where I’m saving coffee grounds and egg shells to use as fertilizers when I plant the plants. Both of these are somewhat controversial as to whether they really work or not so I decided to see for myself. The coffee is collecting pretty good considering I only drink on K-cup a day with a very very rare 2 cups. The eggs are somewhat the same. I limit them to one at a time meal wise with a rare two on occasion. Keeping the arteries clear is a number one reason.

With that being the plans for the future I also need to make sure I have enough of the starting mix and the peat pots to grow the new plants in so I started doing some trial layouts. I only have so much space to work with under the lights. I have made the lights adjustable height wise, I’ll take a picture or two of how I’ve strung them for adjustment. Thirty large pots and eighteen small pots with one larger pots.

I’ve got seeds from last year as well as some to replace the more aged seeds that I’ve had for a couple of years or better. In some cases I’m just wanting to try another variety. An example is the Bell peppers. I have California Wonder Bells and Kingston Giant Bells. California peppers have a great reputation, however, I have had some bad years so I thought I would try something else, similarly I am trying a different Sweet Banana pepper only because neither last years or this years has a real name. They are just referred to as Sweet Banana pepper from Burpee in one case and MIgardener in the other case. One thing you will see in the next picture is beans. I grew them last year but didn’t get the harvest I wanted so I’ve decided they need more space then what a raised bed garden can give them. I use to grow them when we lived on a 5 acre mini farm. Thirty-five foot rows work great and we put up a whole lot.

Below are my marigold seeds from last year and a few from the year before. This was something that I wasn’t sure about either but I will say nothing ate my tomatoes or anything else. Two years ago something ate just about every Roma tomato, taking just one or two bites and moving on. Twenty feet from my northern fence side is the Sweet Arrow Reserve. I have seen as many as 6 squirrels, a couple of raccoons, recently a young possum, rabbits and a full dozen deer in that space in in my yard. The deer are my issue unless they move on as spring comes. I plan on increasing the marigold area around the outside of the fence and, like last year, plant in the garden sporadically.

Finally, today I took the time to make the markers for the plants. As you can see I just ripped some scrap wood to write the names on then cut some sticks and put a 45 degree angle on one end. I put some indoor/outdoor glue on the angled end, put the name piece on and then used a pin nailer to hold it until the glue dried. On the next warm day I will spray the names with a clear sealer to protect them from the sun and rain. Afterall, all that scrap is pretty much nothing more then untreated pine. There are a few sticks that are from a skid that I ripped its slats to make the tags. Next update should be about the actual planting of the seeds followed a few weeks later by an update about hardening off of the plants and going to the garden.

The Beginning of the 2022 Planting Season

Here it is, February 9th and the ground is frozen and or covered with snow. I here you can plant or sow poppy seeds or carrots and onions. I can’t quite fathom sowing seeds and expecting them to germinate in this weather. This happend about a week ago. Under that white stuff is a raised bed, horse shoe shaped garden that I planted Winter Rye in.

What I have been doing is planning and re-planning this years endeavor at gardening. Several layouts have been made. Partly due to the fact that I am not sure, in some cases, what I want to plant beyond the usual tomatoes, onion etc. I even have issues in picking the variety, is it going to be too larger for the area or is it too much since only one in the family eats it?

I’ve also taken advantage of looking different garden tool ideas, some to purchase and some to make. Last year I made a small rake, for a better term, to do light scraping of the ground around plants to keep the soil loose. I also made a planting marker where I took a 2″ x 4″ x 2′ board, rolled the edges with a router and drilled holes the length of the board every 2″. I filled the holes with cut dowel rod of 1/2″ x 2-1/2″. When I marked a row I put the board dowel side down and pressed it in to mark the holes for the seeds. This year I saw something on Amazon for $25.95 that is for square foot gardening.

As you can see, mine isn’t as pretty and actually not finished, still need to paint the colors around the holes and then seal it but it will do the job and the only payment was my labor as the wood is all scrap materials.

FYI, the colorful sheet in the first picture shows the plants to be planted by color coding however, this isn’t a complete listing so you need to do some homework if you have something not listed. There are 16 Red circles, 9 Yellows, 4 Blue and 1 Orange; Reds include carrots, radishes, small beets, bibbed lettuce and scallions. Yellow would include large beets, pole beans, bulb onions (red/yellow etc), blue is for chives, lettuce, shallots and the orange is the single hole for peppers, tomatoes or anything that is on plant per 1 square foot. It is more for marking the center of the square unless or even if you don’t start from seed indoors.

Along with the making tools for the season(s) I finally got my marigolds separated. I have one large and two small containers that held things like pretzel bites with peanut butter in the centers or pretzel sticks. The seed tray here is what I started to pull them from after drying them out thouroughly, only thing is….there were 3 trays and somewhat heaping. I have a woods about 20′ north of the garden so I plant a two foot area to ward off the critters. It’s a Reserve so we get plenty of deer (a dozen the other night), racoons (maybe a couple at a time), rabbits, squirrels ( 4 generally out back). The east side is for hummingbirds and butterfly flowers with some marigolds and then the west and south are but not as big. I will say it works. Bugs were down to a minimum last year in the garden and no one ate my tomatoes unlike the year before.

I have some more tools to make and I will show my garden layout that I made on a program called Procreate. My daughter helped me get started with the program, no more drawing or printing graph paper. Come on Spring……

Synopsis of the 2021 Garden

The plan here is to try to bring you through the garden last year in words as the photos have been posted, well all but what will go in this edition. As such, there should be a beginning and an ending of the season. My postings started out with good intentions last year but I failed to keep it up. For one thing, I didn’t get organized.

The word synopsis simply means to review or summarize a subject matter, a written work or the condesation of a work. It can or is used more today as a replacement for an outline. Outlines generally show the organization of the subject matter with little discussion of each time piece of progression. A snyopsis would be held to the end. A synopsis is an orderly piece of work on the subject with the added rhetoric of each stage of the work. Same result at the end, a summary. I will do my best to keep to the point and to keep it organized. This is where the pictures will be of great help.

A Little History

Back in 1977 we bought some land, built a house and lived on 5 acres for 22 years. This is where I started gardening. I had done some with my dad while growing up but he was in SAC, Strategin Air Command of the Air Force thus he didn’t have the time to devote to a garden. We had a 21 cu ft upright freezer and a 22 cu ft chest freezer. My garden started out small, especially for 5 acres but I changed that over time. In the end I was planting a 35′ x 120′. The first year for that one I had the farmer that farmed the front and back of the property, the house sat in the middle of a 1250′ deep property, take his big bottom plows through it and let it sit through the winters freezing and thawing process. That spring I borrowed a neighbors 5HP Troybilt Pony tiller. I had an 18 HP yard tractor that had an 8″ bottom plow and a set of discs. Every year after that I plowed and disced as needed. At this point I owned a 3.5HP Troybilt Junior tiller which was great for inbetween rows that were planted at least 24″ apart.

I planted everything you could think of, bush beans, potatoes, carrots, radishes, broccoli, cantelope, cayenne peppers, bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, cilantro, varieties of tomatoes, onions…green and keepers and in some years corn. One year my dad and I planted 500′ rows of sweet corn. There were 4 varieties, 4 rows each equally divided in the length. Silver Queen, Iowa Chief, a bi-color and one that I’ve forgotten the name. All prepped with the tractor and tiller then we pushed a planter that both dropped the seed, covered it as well as it marked the next row. That was the depth of the back field and after that when I had to do it myself I planted across the property, about 205′ and reduced the number of varieties to just two. We moved from there in 1999 so that I could be closer to work. I had a 45 minute drive one way and worked all but 3 or days a month plus I was on a schedule at the end that had me going in at 3 AM two to three days but no early weekends. We moved into a condo at first so no garden there then we moved into a new home in a new subdivision but no real place to put a garden and finally we bought into another new subdivision where the lots have room for a garden, in my case a perfect spot on the northside of the property with a 20′ barrier to a nature reserve. So far, I’ve been pretty lucky with the wildlife visitors at night. Rabbits, raccoons, deer and squirrels have been my visitors but haven’t really done any damage. First year the raccoons or the squirrels made meals out of my Roma tomatoes. A bite here a bite there ruining that fruit. I have found that a garden surrounded with marigolds seems to be the answer.

Changing the Style of the Garden

Up until last year my gardens were always in the ground. I’d run the rotor tiller through it in the fall and then again in the spring. If I got lucky and only got some rain and no hard pounding rains then it would be easy to work. But a year or so ago I noticed that it was getting harder to bend down and get up on the old knees so I decided to try a raised bed style. I had reduced the size of the garden from 12′ x 18′ t0 12′ x 12′ or 144 sq ft. I wanted a walk around area ,and to be able to reach the middle without stepping into the garden. I ended up with a horseshoe shape that was 10′ on the long side with two 4′ wide x 8′ long legs with a 2′ x 5′ wide area between these legs for access from two sides all around. I built the frame with 2″ x 8″ x 10′ and 8′ boards. I then put cardboard down as a weed barrier and a worm grower. Seems like this helps in the establishment of worms. The next step would be to fill with a good mulch product. Fortunately I had a good friend with a truck. I had to work around his schedule but he and I went to Home Depot one evening and picked up the wood then my wife and I cut and screwed the pieces together. A couple of weeks went by and my friend and I went to a local mulch place and filled his truck with a good planting soil for gardens. We came home, pulled the fence off one side of the garden and began to fill the frame. There was some left so I sent that home with the friend. I also spread pine chips all around the outside, about 3″ thick, so after a good rain I can get in there right away and not get muddy.

In Doors

Last year I started the plants early, not by choice as they were more likely on a good timing because the weather had been so warm early in the season but the weather didn’t cooperate. It turned too cool and windy past my last frost date by nearly two weeks. Our last frost dates is generally between May 15 and May 21 depending one who you listen. For some reason I have seen the forecast for the whole state being the same when we all know that if you go up to Lake Erie it will not be warm enough to set out tomatoes, peppers and the like but very possible in the southern part of the state.

Outdoors

Time to harden off the plants to get them ready for transplant. I had started seedlings for neighbors, friends and family so I did the hardening off for them as well. When it was time to move to the garden those plants were given to the owners of their new homes.

Finally it’s time to move to the garden. Picture a horse shoe standing up in front of you. The top is 10′ across. The outer edges are 8′ high. At the bottom where these 8′ legs stop they both have lines that turn towards each other for 4′. Where that stops the lines turn towards the 10′ line for 5′ and the a 2′ line is drawn between them. It’s almost a ginger bread man without arms or a head. The 10′ long side is north so tall items had to go there like tomatoes. I put all the onion varieties in one place along with radishes and lettuce. I looked at this as the salad section. This would be the left leg. On the other leg would be plants that could be harvested and then a new crop of what ever I wanted could go in. I put the two types of peppers inbetween these sections. I think it was 8 plants each in one row so they extended to the center near the tomatoes. I dispersed marigolds through out the garden and I believe it worked. I don’t like not putting a growing plant out so I had pots of various sizes in the corners. One of my tomato plants (Tiny Tim) only gets to maybe 18″ high but was loaded with cherry tomatoes. There are at least two other varieties that do as well, taking up very little space but really put out the fruit. They are determinate so they put the fruit on and then quit.

End of Season

So, the season has come to an end and now I have a garden that I cannot use a tiller in but I don’t have to bend over as far either. The soil will be easier to dig in since it isn’t trampled on. I have planted Winter Rye as per suggestions from various garden sites. I had to put a netting over the garden after planting the rye as the birds thought it was their smorgasboard for eating. Pulled the netting off after about a week and a half. It was a windy day and a very large piece of netting to cover the 10′ x 8′ area with over wrap included. After pulling it off my wife and I used two furring strips that will hang over the 8′ sides, anchoring the netting in place so the winds of the fall don’t wreck havic and the birds are kept at bay.

Next…..the season is upon us and I’m making changes, getting ready, improving the seedling

Some Things Seem To Be Coming Along…..but

Some of the things that should be nearing harvesting are just now coming along but a tad late and in some cases not worth the effort. The broccoli is tall, about 18 to 24″ with huge leaves but no crowns to speak of. In all probablity I will end up clearing this area so that I can start a fall crop of something a bit more guarrateed, like beans. I’ve cut small tender leaves from the broccoli, the ones around the area where there should be a big crown, and found them very tasty. I’m having salmon tonight with a side of brussel sprouts. I may try to put. some of the leaves in with the broccoli along with the green onions that I picked today. Only 3 but they had bulbed up with very small stems thus making them hard to eat as green onions.

The yellow and red onions are bulbing, not like I would want them to but they can stay where they are until the tops drop over. Then I’ll pull them and if no rain is forecasted they can lie in the garden to harden off or dry out a bit. Then I’ll move them to the drying racks of which I plan on building two more starting this week.

The bell peppers are few but yet starting to grow. I found today that I need to stake them, the stems never got big enough to hold a big pepper so I will help them along. I’ll probably do the same thing for the banana peppers as well.

The tomatoes are just not doing anything. I have tomatoes on the plants but they are almost all the size of cherry tomatoes. Two of the plants are suppose to produce slicers or 6 to 8oz fruits. One is a tad smaller then a golf ball and the other is a tad larger. I actually have two or three plants that are suppose to be of that size but, the fruit is small. The Tiny Tims are a 6 x 18″ tomato plant which my plants do seem to be following that guide, however, the fruit is like the large marbles I use to play with as a kid. Some of the plants are loaded and some have one cluster and that’s it. Time will tell is all I can say now.

The Okra, it should be nearly 36″ high, mine is half that at best. I keep getting one, maybe two pods per plant which doesn’t make a meal or a snack. I grew them for a snack. I take the pods off hoping the plant will shoot up and then I could leave it alone to produce a lot of pods. The jury is still out on this one but I don’t really have my hope up, probably a lost cause for this year.

Cucumbers are vining real good, lots of flowers and some pickles starting. Interestingly enough is that the plants started indoors have stayed small and tight but the ones where I stood inside the garden fence, took a shovel and chopped away at the ground on the otherside and then just dropped some seeds in are actually doing the best. I’ve said this before, I doubt that I will start cukes indoors in the future, not worth the effort. Best luck fror me is starting them outdoors. I’ve always had to give them away until this year.

The potatoes appear to be doing fine. I think we’ve dodged the beetles but since I need to let the plants die back I won’t really know anything until fall is upon us. These are the red and white fingerlings which were just going bad in the pantry, they had softened up and most didnt have eyes sprouting so we will see how things turn out.

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How Time Flies; The Ups and Downs of Gardening.

Well, I must appologize for not putting anything up here for quite awhile. I have not had the luck with my garden this year like I have in the past and being older out to touch with tech when WordPress made changes I didn’t keep up. I think I have it under control now thanks to my daughter so if you will indulge me I’m going back to April to regenerate this years garden postings.

This past winter I pretty much decided to do a raised bed garden. By the time April had rolled around I found myself in need of making some decisions like what am I going to plant, how much am I going to plant of any particular veggie and the need to understand spacial needs of plants. You read on seed pack lables that some plants need to be 12″ or 18″ apart in their rows and the rows need to be 24″ wide. That really works where you don’t have hard boundries but if you are doing a raised bed of 4′ x 8′ then you have hard boundries. With the sample about you would get 3 rows wide and 8 plants per row or 24 total. What I had been reading was you can get more plants out of the raised bed because you can plant your plants closer together. An example is banana pepper should be 12″ to 18″ apart in a row but raised bed people will let two seeds come up and if there is an easy choice to make to clip the weaker one they will but if both look strong and healthy then they will let them grow. This blows the theory that they will compete for the nuturients in the ground which is true, however, you will also find that these people just might give the plants like this a little more fertilizer and or water to keep them healty.

I started out with a 12′ x 12′ or 144 sq. ft. fenced in garden, basically no borders. I made several design shapes but settled on a horseshoe shape. It measured 10′ across the long back (northside) then 8′ down both outsides (north to south) then back in towards each other (4′ equally towards the center) then both going back towards the north 5′ and ending up closing the finished horseshoe shape with a 2′ board. The board were 2″ x 8″. I saved cardboard to fill the bottom which keeps previous weeds out and promotes the propagation of worms. Also helps in moisture retention.

This is the garden at that point…no soil yet, this became an issue as well.

So, I went from an almost totally usable 144 sq ft to 70 sq ft. It sat like this for nearly 2-1/2 weeks. I was suppose to have our mower/landscaper pick up a load of compost soil and deliver it but we had just enough cold weather and then the heat turned on that mowing for him was number one or his first committment which I understood. I ended up getting an old neighbor to help me out. We made two trips, one for the soil mixture and one for the pine chips in the walking area. I didn’t want weeds or mud to be an issue.

This took place right around the normal last frost date for our area, May 15th, but I got really unseasonalby warm, we’ll call it hot. I paniced almost thinking I’m now behind schedule. I had already started to try to harden off the plants from the basement where they were in a very controlled enviroment.

Once these got somewhat hardened off it was time to plant. The soil felt great, easy to work in, was moist but didn’t stay saturated after a rain. I got to planting and found I definitely had more plants of some varieties then I had space for, or at least in the old way of thinking. This was taken around the end of May so they were in the ground about 2-1/2 weeks, pretty much the same size as when I planted them. One difference in this image is the trellis.

The original trellis was in a T-pee form with vinyl covered metal poles that I lashed together. I figured a side wind would knock them over (west to east) so I did a re-design as seen here in these four images

Works perfect and has held up in the winds of 20mph.

The garden, like I said, moved on very slowly. The leaves weren’t dark green there was minimum fruit being developed and no upward growth. I had small container, large container and the full garden, it all acted the same so I started looking for a common denominator…..ahah, the soil. I remembered that when i first moved here 3 years ago I took sand from a bricklayers pile and added it to my clay soil to try to help loosen it. In actuality it takes a long time to amend clay. That year I did have pretty good plants put out of 12 pepper plants I got zero peppers. Tomatoes did fairly well and the cukes too. One of my new neighbors brougt a PH meter and checked my soil, I was acidic. So, with this memory of the past I bought a meter and sure enough I was acidic……4.5 to 5. I should be 6 at the most and really closer to 6.5 to 7 fo r my plants. I also found I needed to add more fertilizer. I read up on the PH and bought some quick release lime. I almost doubled the amount recommended and added it faster then the recommendation. I also did a little more fertilzing then the recommended. It hasn’t been a cure all but it has helped tremendously. I have tomatoes starting to show, I’ve picked a little more than a dozen banana peppers and the bell peppers are producing. I have wax beans and green beans almost ready to pick and for some reason, even in these 90 degree days the lettuce is not bolting but it is producing good lettuce. The onions are starting to bulb out, red, yellow and white. I did’t want the white to bulb but that’s okay. This is today’s result of a lot of work and watching. Babying if you will of a garden.

I know this has been long and I’m sure I have missed stuff but at least it’s out there. As the real harvest time comes around or if something really developes from this garden I will surely try to be more timely the next time.

The question comes down to what have I have learned this year. Vegetable gardening is easy and pretty straight forward but after being very successful as a borderless gardener, having a 125′ x 35′ garden in the past and planting 4 rows at approximately 400’long of 4 varieties of sweet corn I thought I could do it but going raised bed was a learning curve. I’ll do well this year but just wait until next year.

We Keep Getting Closer to the Planting Date

We are nearing the planting date or the moving if the plants from indoors to outdoors.  Last frost date in this area is around May 15th.  This year is going to really be a toss up since we have already had several days in the 70’s and two that touched 80 degress for a bit.

The raised beds haven’t been filled yet but should be by hopefully mid-week.  The problem is getting the mix of ingrediants mixed.  Deb’s Mulch is where I get it from and she told me that if we get too much rain she can’t mix.  As you can see, the basket on top rotates and the fine holes would clog with too wet of mulch, soil, compost.

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As to the plants, well they are definitely getting close.  Tomatoes and cucumbers could go out now.  Peppers and broccoli are very slow.  Of course I haven’t put any beans out as well as some other plants/seeds for the same reason…weather.  Bottom left picture needs a lot of growth in the upper left side.  Broccoli and peppers mainly.  The top right and and left show the cucumber that has flowered.  I will cut the flowers off and plant up into a larger pot otherwise the plant will try to feed the flower and stunt the growth of the plant overall.  The tomatoes, Baxter’s and Early Girl are doing real well.  I have Timy Tim’s for containers and they are true to their name….Tiny.  Full maturity is 6″ wide and 18″ tall but are heavy determinent producers.  I have a small row of green onions in the flower bed next to the garden are and for experimentation purposes I planted some fingerling red and white potatoes that had started to get soft and sprout.  I grew potatoes years ago with good luck but those were regular potatoes and stared with seed potatoes.  If this works I think I will put some in the raised bed area.

Until next time…..Spring is here and I am so glad.  I’ll include the raised bed in the next publication.

Moving Right Along

It’s been about two weeks now since my last posting on the garden seedlings.  This one won’t be long as they are in a slow grow mode.  I keep the air cool as I don’t want them to get to big too fast.  I really want them to have sturdy stems.  The tomatoes in general are doing well as are the cucumbers but the broccoli needs to really get stronger.  The pepers, sweet and bells, are slow but growing.  I don’t think I will get the numbers I wanted so I may have to get some plants to subsidize.  The Tiny Tim tomatoes are doing well but I can see why they are called Tiny Tims.  Very small plants.

I got my wood delivered and we cut and pre-drill the boards.  Did find I made a calculation mistake.  I thought I could put a 9′ board down for a side inside a 12′ long space.  I even shifted the opening on one end to only a foot from the end of the board to the fence.  I was going to make this the trellis end since it is on the north side.  The plan was to not need to walk in the area and to pick from outside the fence.  This would have left a 2′ space on the other end to the fence.  When I tried to walk in the area(s) I found it too difficult for comfort so now I need to cut a foot off two 9′ boards and a foot off two 6′ boards.  This way I will have 2′ on each end of the garden and should be able to both get by and work in the raised beds.  Sounds confusing but it really isn’t.  I’ll be assembling this either today or tomorrow.  We had rain so it could be too muddy yet to get in it.  Once it’s put together I will have the compost/soil mix delivered so it can settle in and get sun warmed.

Here are three pictures of the seedling.  I’m at a point that I believe I need to give them a one shot drink of a diluted fertilizer.  The cucumbers are the issue but then if they don’t grow I’ll just plant some seeds directly in the garden since they grow so easily.  Probably the easiest veggie I know to grow but I have no issues with tomatoes either.  I may try to grow my own hothouse tomatoes next winter…one plant, three grow lights and good heat, who knows what will happen until you try.