Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blooming Potatoes

This week the potatoes started blooming.

I'm only growing 1 pot this year. I love potatoes but I try not to eat to many, so they'll be a nice little treat when they're ready.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Painting the Garage

Part of my Spring to do list included a number of non-gardening chores.  One of which was to paint the garage.
Last summer we built a shed onto the back of the garage so I could turn the garage into a art studio.
This is what the garage looked like when we moved into the house:

Last spring I installed 2 windows and an electrician put in an electrical panel.

In the late spring J.R. and I built the shed addition.

Over the winter I insulated the garage and added plywood panels to the interior walls.

This weekend I painted the exterior of the garage to match the shed.

I really like how it turned out, one more item checked off the list!
I'm planning to add shutters and window boxes later.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Front Flower Bed Border

I had a very nice birthday yesterday: sushi for lunch with my mother and then I went into Philly for dinner at Tinto with J.R. This was the second time we've been there, the food is excellent (Tapas and awesome wine selection).

Today I worked on reshaping and creating a stone border for the front flower bed.

Last year we had some really ugly overgrown juniper bushes removed. I built the lattice that you see, there was nothing there before and I planted annuals. The stone matches a border that is along the fence by the roses.

I still need to remove the grass in the bed, but that will wait until tomorrow.
The plants that you see toward the back are Cleome or "Spider Flower" that self seeded from last years garden. They've already been thinned out twice but keep sprouting! I'm going to reduce them down to a handful of plants. They get really big and topple over by the end of the summer if I don't stake them.

And lookie here, my pansies in the flower box (grown from seed) finally decided to bloom:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Plot Progress

I spent the day at the community garden plot. It was supposed to rain all day but I lucked out and it even got a little sunny this afternoon.

Most of my time was spend weeding. Some of the weeds and grass are easy to pull, but because the area was tilled I'm having to dig up thistle everywhere. Thistle can create multiple plants when the root is cut up. If you don't dig out all of the root you will never get rid of the thistle. I've had to pull up sections of the red mulch to weed under it. Some light gets through and causes the weeds to grow under it. I'm trying to decide if I should pull up the plastic and mulch with straw or keep it down and keep weeding underneath. 

The picture above is of the Roma row.

Here are the other tomatoes. I'm trying the Florida Weave type trellis on them instead of staking.

The first tomato is forming!

One of the red amaranth was planted here at the plot, the other was planted at the home garden. Something is eating the leaves. I think maybe slugs. I've found them all over the plot.

I had big plans to use an old wooden ladder for my beans, then I went to look for it and remembered I thew it out when I moved (grrr!). So I used some branches that fell from our oak tree over the winter to build a tee pee. To the right of it is a butternut squash plant.

I found flea beetles on my eggplant tonight. I'm going to bring a row cover over there tomorrow to cover the plants until they have flowers.

Here are the tomatillos.

The first lantern is forming on one of the ground cherry plants!

I planted the watermelon and pumpkin yesterday.

The peppers are really taking off. I'm so happy all of the plants survived.

Towards the end of the day as it was getting dark I planted some cucumber and bean seeds. I still have one 4X4" bed to plant and a trellis to put up, after that all of my planting at the plot will be done (for now anyways)!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Late May at the Morris Arboretum

Yesterday was a day to take it easy and enjoy the nice weather. I took a short drive to the Morris Arboretum to see what was growing and blooming.

I'm very lucky to have several gardens in the area that I like to go visit, enjoy the scenery and get gardening ideas.

Even the professional gardens have to deal with groundhogs. This one was protecting her baby who was not far away. 

What a beautiful day!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Beginning of My Stay-cation

It's been a busy couple of weeks at work but as of today I'm on vacation for 10 days. It's my birthday next Thursday so I decided to take the week off to catch up on some projects and gardening.

I've been eating fresh sugar snap peas almost every night this week. I've been able to harvest about a handful at a time. Just enough to dip in some cilantro & chive yogurt dip as a snack with a glass of wine before dinner.

No pictures today, but I'm sure there will be lots of posting this week!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Well Hello Mr. Stripey, Welcome to My Garden

I have no willpower.

I planted 17 Romas, 1 Black Krim and 4 Principle Borghese tomato plants in my community garden plot last week. These were all plants that I had grown from seed. I still have 2 bush tomatoes that will go in containers or the home garden. I had no reason to buy another plant, but this variety had been calling out to me ever since I saw the heirloom plants arrive in the store.

You see, one of my Black Krim plants stem broke during transport to the community gave me an excuse to buy it! Also, because it's an heirloom I'll be able to save the seeds for future years. So you see, it's also an investment. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rain, Potatoes, Peas and Plot Progress

This weekend I got the plot gate built and installed and some of the beds planted.
Planting happened a little earlier than usual because of the great forecast.

I'm trying out red plastic mulch for the first time. I really don't want to spend the hot month of August weeding in the sun so hopefully this will help and an added benefit would be if it increases fruit yield.
I only was able to plant half of the Romas, the other half will get planted later in the week.

The bed with the straw mulch was planted with ground cherries, peppers and tomatillos.
The bed in between will have squash and the front bed will have eggplants. I'm still figuring out what will go in the side bed and the back bed. Probably beans and maybe corn or sunflowers. It's tricky this first year because I need to figure out how the sun will move across the plot in the summer. I'm surprised that the neighbors on either side of me have not shown up or put up their fencing. I know it's still early, but I'm always so eager to get started.

It's supposed to rain until Thursday so I won't be able to work over there until then.

In the home veggie patch the peas are starting to form:

And the potatoes are growing, time to add some more compost!

This is the time of year when I wish I could take a week off of work just to spend time planting. The weekends never seem long enough!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cauliflower and Blooming Peas

When I came home from work tonight I took a walk around the garden and noticed the peas were blooming!
These are the sugar snap peas. I also planted 2 types of shelling peas which are not blooming yet.

The broccoli and cauliflower have been under a row cover for a few days because of the freeze warnings this week. It looks like most of the broccoli has buttoned due to the temperature changes, but the cauliflower is growing nicely. Next year I'll wait longer to plant broccoli.

Also growing well is the Napa cabbage, but I'm a little concerned about cabbage worms as I've picked 10 off of my Pak Choi so far. I think I need to invest in some insect netting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Peppers Progress and Hardening off Plants

First I wanted to post an image for those of you who are curious about how the peppers are doing. It's been another 2 weeks since I last posted about my pepper seedlings that were turning yellow with purple spots.

I haven't done much of anything since transplanting the remaining peppers. I let the soil dry out before bottom watering with non-chlorinated water. I haven't fed them for 2 weeks, so today I gave them some liquid kelp before setting them out onto the porch to harden off.

As you can see they are growing nicely and have regained their leaves and green color! They're not as full as they normally would be but I'm very happy with the progress that they've made.

The plant on the bottom right in the above image is a pepper that was planted 3 weeks later and did not have any problems. You can see that it's fuller, darker green and almost the same size as the "problem" plants.

The 10 day weather forecast is looking great for planting with temperatures in the 70's during the day and 50's at night. But the peppers will not go in the ground for another couple of weeks. They'll spend their time on the front porch and sun porch hardening off until then. 

Today I also started to harden off some other plants. Here are the eggplants:

There are 7 total, the 4 smaller ones are toward the back, hidden by the larger ones.

Here are the amaranth, cucumbers and zinnias:

And some petunias and lettuce that are ready to be planted:

Moving all of these plants outside will make a lot more room under the grow lights. Still inside are squash, melons, sunflowers, more herbs, lettuce, zinnias and amaranth.

This weekend I'm hoping to plant the larger tomato plants, but it depends on the forecast. If the temperatures remain in the 50's at night I'll go for it. If after planting the temperature drops lower  I'll cover them with a row cover. Some of the plants are getting so big that they really need to be in the ground soon.