Sunday, April 29, 2012

Community Garden Plot Progress

Two hard days of work, but the fencing is up at the plot! I also constructed the frame for the garden gate.
I'll be building the gate itself this week and will install it next weekend.

I marked out and amended the back 3' deep bed and 2 4'X16' beds.

I woke up sore this morning from all of the digging, hopefully tomorrow morning I can move! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

First Work Day at the Plot

Last week they plowed the community garden and marked out the new plots. I've been itching to get in there and put up my fence. I went over at 8am and started putting up the fence posts.

The plot is 20' wide by 24' deep. I had planned for 20'X20' so I'm kind of excited about gaining an extra 4 feet!

Sorry to say this is the only picture I took today, but I was EXHAUSTED and forgot to take a picture when I left around 5pm. By the end of the day I had put up the 3 sides and back fence. The fence is 6 foot tall. JR came by and helped with the fence and we also put chicken wire buried 7" deep around the perimeter.
I'll take some more pictures tomorrow.

I got to meet a couple of my gardening neighbors and they gave me some helpful tips. There are definitely deer and a pesky groundhog to contend with. There are also many birds and they said last year the birds ate many of the tomatoes. I was told to consider putting netting around the tomatoes!! <seriously??!>

the 4 containers you see in the photo above are full of sifted compost that I got for free from the township. I managed to mark off the beds before I left and add the compost. Tomorrow I plan to finish the front fence and construct the gate frame.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Harvest Monday, April 23, 2012

This is my first Harvest Monday post, I look forward to many more harvests to come.
I had my first vegetable harvest from the veggie patch at the house this week and Friday I harvested most of the radishes. It's nice to be harvesting these little rewards for all of the hard work that was put into the beds this year.

The spinach this spring was pathetic looking and starting to bolt. I harvest all of it (which wasn't much). Look how yellow it is...just pathetic. but it tasted just fine in a salad. Next year I will try to overwinter a crop.

Some of the lettuce was harvested to make room for brussel sprouts:

Two of my broccoli plants started buttoning so I harvested the buttons. 

The other 4 broccoli seem to be okay. I'm wondering if I should leave the buttoned plants to see if they send of side shoots or if I should pull them up and plant something else. Will buttoned plants send up many side shoots?

Check out Daphne's Dandelions to see what others harvested this week!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Plantlings on the Porch

Last night I got an e-mail from the community garden organizer that the plots have been plowed and they're marking them out today!! I can't wait to get over there and start on the fencing and layout. Now only if this cold  I have would go away. The Plants on the front porch are also ready to go to the plot. Some are getting pretty big.

The lighting set up and temperature in the basement of this house must be better than in my last house. The plants grew so quickly. I guess I shouldn't complain about that, but next year I'll plant them a couple weeks later. 

In the picture above you can see how large the tomatillos are. 
The pot that looks empty is cilantro (I'm also starting some indoors.)
The rectangular herb pot has basil and sage in it, and the small plants in the front are two dwarf blueberry bushes that were just delivered.

These are some of the of the tomato plants:

I have 20 Roma plants, 2 Black Krim, 3 Principle Borghese, 2 Better Bush. I think I can fit all of the Romas in the plot and the others will go into containers and a new bed at the house.

The ground cherries are doing very well. They were tiny, tiny seedlings that took a long time to grow. But now they look healthy and ready to plant. 

There are some flowers forming. I'm not sure if I should pinch them off or leave them.

Flowers are starting to form on the chives:

More lettuce is ready to be planted, but I'm going to wait until after the weekend. We're expecting heavy rain and then a cold snap.

I couldn't be happier with the marigolds, they will go over to the plot when its ready to plant.

Here are the pansies that I started inside from seed. They look healthy but not much blooming is going on. These will definitely be started earlier next year!

And just as I was about to go check on the plants this morning look who showed up on the porch, he was perched just above my seedlings:

I have no idea what he's eating, but at least it's not green!

I'm so happy to be getting rain, we haven't had many "April showers" this year and the plants could use a drink.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lots of Radishes!

I was never that fond of radishes. I think it is the hot/ bitter snap taste at the end. But through the years I have started to almost like them- especially home grown. I think store bought radishes can have a more bitter flavor while fresh garden radishes are sweeter.

This year I decided to grow some in between my carrots. I grew the carrots using Granny's seed mat tutorial. I spaced the carrots 2 inches apart in all directions. I added radish seeds 1 inch from the carrot seeds (creating staggered rows 1" apart, every other row: carrot, radish, carrot, radish etc..)

The radishes came up within days:

Here you can just barely see the carrots coming up in between the radish leaves:

and just over 30 days later the carrots are about an inch tall and I'm carefully harvesting the radishes. This is today's harvest:

These will go into a few salads, but most will go to my mom this weekend, she LOVES radishes.
After I harvested I started to think about where I could plant more, they are beautiful to look at :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sweet Potato Slips Update

It's been a month an a half since I started the sweet potato slips. In the last week they've really been taking off. I was worried for a while that I wouldn't have any slips in time for planting this year.

The one on the right has 5 vines growing the one on the left only 1. But both have more eyes starting to poke out.

Hopefully now that the vines have grown, the leaves will open quickly and I'll be able to root the vines in time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Couldn't Wait to Harvest!

Today I harvested my first vegetables from the garden: Spinach, Radishes and Pak Choy!!

I made the pak choy into a stir fry with the spinach and added the radishes to a salad.

These were the only 3 radishes that were ready to harvest. I think more will be ready this weekend.
At planting time I planted carrots between the radishes, so I had to carefully pull them out without disturbing the carrot seedlings.

This was the largest pak choy. The others seem to be about a week behind.

The peas grew several inches today and are starting to reach for the bird netting. I'll need to remove it soon and take my chances that the squirrels and birds don't start digging.

The Napa Cabbage heads are forming:

These Swiss Chard plants were started and transplanted weeks after the ones in the other bed and they're twice as tall. They were almost lost in the overnight  freeze that we got but have fully recovered.  I'll have to remember to plant them in this sunny area next year.

I almost gave up on the onions I grew from seeds. They were so tiny I never thought they would grow. They were hardened off early under the row covers, but were showing signs of stress with all of the strange weather we've been having. I put them in the sunniest edge of the bed, right next to the driveway. They are looking fantastic now and have almost caught up to the size of the leek starts I purchased.
In front of the onions are the beet seedlings. They didn't all germinate, but I think I'll have enough anyway.

Today is the average last frost date for our area. Although I know that its too early to be planting summer squash I did it anyway. I know its a risk but I'm on an experimental mission this year, determined to grow summer squash and zucchini and defeat the dreaded squash vine borer. I will post more about my plan for this later. But part of the plan is to plant a crop early before they emerge and then have back up seedling ready to replace the early planting if there's a frost or the borers attack. I'll cover the plants with a row cover on cold nights and will be applying insecticidal soap weekly to the vine.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 15th Around the Veggie Patch

The vegetables have been growing like mad this week. I expect to harvest radishes, lettuce and pak choy next weekend!

The broccoli and cauliflower are getting really tall 

This is my first year growing kohlrabi. The bulbs are starting to form: 

The kale is growing slowly, I think in the fall they will get a more sunny spot.

The lettuce is almost ready to harvest. I'm disappointed with this spinach variety, some of it is getting ready to bolt. I plan to harvest some tomorrow just in case.

The chard in the salads bed is in part shade, it's growing slower than the chard in full sun. These are the squares where the gherkins will be planted so hopefully they will be ready by then.

Today I took off the row covers and added rabbit fencing to all of the beds. I also planted the catnip to a container on the deck. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be 87F. I'm going to give everything a good amount of water in the morning. Hopefully the lettuce will not bolt with the heat.

Pepper Seedlings Turning Yellow UPDATE

I posted a couple of weeks ago about how my once healthy pepper seedlings were starting to turn yellow. They started out a rich green, then developed purple spots on the leaves and then started to turn yellow.

I did some research and found a variety of reasons why this might happen. Luckily most of the reasons were not disease related.

 Possible causes:
- Watering with chlorinated water.
- Over watering causing nutrient deficiencies or excess nitrogen absorption.
- Too much light (from florescent lights indoors) causing a phosphorus deficiency.

Purple spots on leaves and the stem is usually a sign of a phosphorus deficiency.
Yellowing leaves are usually a sign of a excess nitrogen.

I decided to leave most of the plants alone and see what happened over time. With these plants I stopped watering them until the soil was dry. Then I only watered with non-chlorinated water. I filled a jug with tap water and then let it sit out overnight so that the chlorine would evaporate.

I chose 3 plants as test subjects to see if a different treatment would make a difference. I removed the 3 plants from their pots and examined the roots. They looked healthy  but the soil felt pretty waterlogged. I carefully  shook most of the soil off of the roots and replaced it with new dry soil. The plants were watered with regular strength liquid kelp (made with non-chlorinated water). Before this watering the seedling had only been watered with 1/2 strength liquid kelp. I only gave the plants enough liquid to dampen the soil. Then they were set under the lights and were not watered again until the soil was very dry.

No changes were made to the lighting set up.

After the first week all of the plants had leaves that were drying up and falling off, but also showed some new green growth on top.

After the second week (now), I am starting to see a big difference between the 2 groups of plants

Plants left alone:
- bottom leaves dried up and fell off.
- new leaf growth on top, but all of the leaves remained pale, curled and upright

The test subjects:
- bottom leaves dried up and fell off.
- at the beginning of the second week new healthy leaves formed and plants appear to be on the mend.

Because the test subject plants seem to be a success I repotted the remaining plants today and gave all of the peppers a drink of regular strength liquid kelp.
Hopefully they will all return to normal or at least be on the road to recovery in time for planting.

UPDATE 5/2/2012: I only bottom water my seedlings. Instead of watering by pouring water into the pot from above, instead fill a tray with water and allow the plants/ soil to absorb the water. This will help prevent the nutrients from being washed out of the soil.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Figs and Blooming Update

Mr. Figgly the fig tree got his first leaves this week. We brought him back onto the sun porch because of the freeze warnings this week. Yesterday when I went to check on him I noticed 3 tiny figs forming!

In the veggie garden everything is growing nicely. It was nice enough outside yesterday that I took the row covers off and let everything breath for a few hours. Below is one of the Napa cabbages.

The radishes are starting to form:

The shade garden is so colorful right now, some of the hostas, ferns and other perennials are coming up. I added some compost around each plant to give them an extra boost.

The purple azaleas are blooming!

I'm still waiting to get started on the Community garden plot. Hopefully it will be marked this week and I can start to put up my fencing. Some of the seedlings in the basement are getting big and need to get into the ground soon.