Sunday, April 17, 2016

Garden Update: April 17

"Look, look, garden growing!  ME SO HAPPY!!!"  Ahem.  Now that I have that out of my system, we can have a nice calm mature chat about the garden.  Oh, who am I kidding.  I feel like a little kid growing my first bean plant-- stuff is coming up, the transplants are taking root, and the garden is really coming together.

The short bed is now fully planted out with the five peppers and four eggplants, as well as beneficial marigolds (repel flea beetles).  If you look closely you'll see a six-pack of sunflowers in the back, from the Master Gardeners' Spring Garden Market where I volunteered yesterday at the Info Center. I planted a pair of them in the back of the pepper bed this morning after this picture was taken.  That bed can be seen from the street when both of our cars are out of the driveway, so I want it to look nice.

In the corner bed, the peas are somewhat diffidently bonding with the trellis.  I regularly go out and twine the lagging peas into the trellis and gradually they are taking hold.  The big squash is from the Spring Garden Market, an Emerald Strain Buttercup that I got to replace the Sweet Dumpling squash seed that never came up (it was several years old).  The tiny one behind the blue sign is my Sunshine kabocha that I grew from seed.

The herb bed is now fully populated, and is doing well.  From the top left, Biergarten sage, golden sage, curly parsley, English thyme.  Bottom row from left, sweet marjoram, tarragon, savory, spicy oregano, dill.

The medium bed is mostly tomatoes and basil, with some small stuff planted in between.  On the right side, the Gold of Bacau pole beans are looking good behind the Sungold cherry tomato.  Lettuce leaf basil is growing well in front, with a Hawaiian Pineapple tomato in back.  Between them, too small to see in the picture, a red and green scallion combo has been coming up.  The bare spot next to the beans was seeded a few days ago with Gladiator parsnips.

On the left side of the medium bed we have our Black Krim tomato in front, Genovese basil next to it, lemon basil and fennel behind, and then an Early Girl tomato.  I found out this weekend that I will need to give up my beloved Early Girls in the future-- EG is owned by Monsanto, and I boycott anything from that company whenever I can.  The blank space in the back was seeded with carrots about 3 weeks ago, and they often take 4 - 5 weeks to come up, so I'm still hopeful.  If I haven't seen any carrots by mid-May, I will try again.  For this seeding I put the seeds on the surface as suggested by the package.  If I seed again, I will try surface seeding but then sifting about an eighth inch of soil over them.  And maybe floating row cover to keep them moist.  But I have been watering every few days.  Ah well.  We'll just have to see.

The long bed has beans and tiny stuff growing, that is mostly too small to see.  The rightmost side has golden wax beans at the top and some Roma beans at the bottom, and my Kamo Kamo squash in the middle.  My six packs of cilantro and dill were finally big enough to transplant today, so they are now along the leftmost board.  Teensy weensy Forellenschluss lettuces are coming up in the damp foreground.

The middle section of the long bed has my Beit Alpha cukes at the top, and also the other sunflowers from the six pack, planted after this pic was taken.  The Georgia Candy Roaster squash is still just a pair of cotyledon leaves in the middle.  In the front, next to the Roma beans, tiny green dots are Japanese "ping pong ball" type sweet turnips.  I seeded golden turnips next to them that are not up yet, and Catalina baby spinach ditto up near the cukes.

On the far left of the long bed, we've got a couple of big transplants-- a Romanesco zucchini in the middle and Persian cukes up in the top corner.  Turns out my Persian cukes finally came up, but I don't need them now and will give them to a friend at work next week.  The zucchini was an impulse buy from Summer Winds, but now I'm glad that I bought it-- my Ramipicante seeds were older and didn't come up.   

What's all the little green stuff?  Glad you asked!  All along the front of the bed, it's beets.  Chiogga beets on the left, and golden beets on the right.  My golden beet seed was from 2010, and only about 20% of it came up.  I just reseeded yesterday with new 2016 seed, and filled in 3 or 4 places where the Chioggas didn't germinate.  I also filled in 4 spots each on the golden wax and Roma beans with fresh seed.   The little square of green things on the middle left is Green Fortune baby bok choi.  I seeded a new square to the right of it.   Too small to see but coming up well along the top left board are Renee's seeds "European Summer Lettuce Bouquet" with a mix of green, red, and speckled lettuce.  We'll see what comes up, there was no guide to telling the seeds apart.  I bought that blend specifically for the Batavian Nevada in the mix-- I've had great luck letting that go to seed and saving the seed, and getting volunteer lettuce in the fall and spring.   Finally, in the middle along the top are the Bright Lights and Peppermint chard seedlings that I've transplanted.  They're too small to tell which are which.

 Naturally I can't do all this gardening without help-- here is half of the helper team, Jasper, lounging under the birdbath.  So far they haven't helped themselves to anything in the garden beds, but they are getting bolder.  I only let them out into the backyard with supervision!

 How is your garden growing so far?  Drop me a note and share!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Seed Starting Redux

Things are starting to come up! Yay!  The quickest is the baby bok choi "Green Fortune" from Renee's Seeds, up in under a week.  I planted a square foot of 16, with 2 or 3 seeds in each space.  Once the seedlings get a bit bigger, I will snip the smaller one(s) and let just one plant grow in each space.  Always always always snip your seedling thinnings with scissors.  If you pull them out, you will disturb the roots of the seedling you want to keep!

Pole beans "Gold of Bacau" are starting to come up,  of seeds sowed Sunday 3/27.  I'm surprised they have taken that long, but it's still cold at night.  It may be that the warm days we've had this week spurred them into action.  With respect to bush beans, I saw one bean each of my Roma Italian and of my Golden Wax just starting to break the surface this morning in the garden.  Those were planted March 29th after work.

My Beit Alpha cucumbers are up, and just this morning, so are the Persian cukes (photo further down with the squash).   I actually found a 4-inch pot of Persian cuke seedlings at Yamagami's Nursery last weekend and snagged it-- I figured I could always have extra cukes or give them to a friend.  My Persian seeds are a few years old, so they might have been slow.  Hard to see, but I have some chard up in the six pack in the front and one or two in the back.

Squashes had me worried, as I hadn't seen any for the longest time (ok, really, just a week or so), but now they are starting to come up.  Sunshine kabocha are up this morning (with the Persian cukes), so I moved them outside.   Kamo kamo came up yesterday, and ditto.

A tour of the garden this morning revealed that I have about 10% of my chiogga beets up, and maybe 5% of my golden beets.  I'm excited to see more beets come up!!   No carrots yet, but they can take 21 days to come up.   Meanwhile, the bare-root strawberries are starting to flower.  Of my 10 plants, 3 of them dried up despite watering-- the roots just didn't take.  When the current plants start to send out runners, I'll ease those into the spaces left by the 3 that didn't make it, so that I'll have a full planter box of 10.

The rhubarb crown has put up 3 big leaves so far, and I peeked down at the base-- more leaves coming.  So tempting to pick just one stalk, but I need to let the plant establish itself and get strong.

Still need to start my lettuces, plant nigella seeds, replant some of the zinnias that don't seem to be coming up-- I've had good luck with the cosmos, and have a number of seedlings in the planter box, but only two zinnias so far.   My dahlias started coming up, and were promptly eaten down to a num by the snails, ARGH.  I don't know if the dahlia will regrow or not.  I might seed zinnias in that bed too, between the alyssum that I planted there (you can see the dahlia bed behind the rhubarb).