Spring seed starting

A little late with this blog post. I actually started the seeds back on February 26th. Since then they have been growing nicely.

I started off again this year planting some tomato and lettuce seeds. I always have way more plants started than I have room in the garden, so I cut back this year and just started four cells of each type of tomato and the same for three types of lettuce. That left me with two empty rows. After a few days, I decided to go ahead and try something new this year and start my cucumber and zucchini inside too.

Here are the dates so I can refer back to this again next year.

  • Tomatoes and Lettuce planted on Feb 26th
  • Lettuce emerged on March 1st
  • Tomatoes emerged on March 4th
  • Cucumber and zucchini planted on March 5th
  • Cucumber emerged on March 9th
  • Zucchini emerged on March 10th

Below are some pictures because, well, what is the point of a blog without at least a few pictures.

Time to order some seeds

First off, Happy New Year and welcome to the 2017 season of the garden blog!  I hope to do a better job keeping the blog updated this year, but a lot of that will depend on how busy I get with work and life.

The last couple years, I have been using some of the seeds I had purchased from past years.  While it did same me some money, last year I noticed some issues with germination and overall yields.  Irregardless, it was time to replenish the seed cache as I have used up most of the stock.

The order this year isn’t too much different than in years past but there are a few new comers and variety changes.  Most notably new this year is Kale.  We’re a bit late to the Kale bandwagon but have started adding it into the salad mixes and I must say I am liking the color and texture it brings.  It tastes decent and at least makes the salad look healthy right up until I dump too much dressing on it.

Other notables, while not entirely new, in the second year of growing sweet corn, I am going to a childhood favorite variety.  This year I am going to give ‘Kandy Korn’ a try.  I promise to not over plant the garden this year.

I’m also going to mix up the tomato varieties again this year.  ‘Oh Happy Day’ and ‘Cherry Baby’ will join the favorite of the past few years ‘Brandy Boy’.

Finally a new variety of cucumber will be tried. I was not happy with the cucumbers last year as they just really never did much.  This time around I am going to give ‘Burpee Hybrid II’ a chance.  The claim of being disease resistant sounds very appealing to me as I seem to constantly have some mildew or fungus killing off my plants before they get to the end of the season.

Below is the full list of seeds and plants ordered.  I’ll pick up Sweet Potatoes locally closer to planting time.

Item Number: 55610A1 Pkt. (200 seeds)
Item Number: 51474A1 Pkt. (2 oz.)
Item Number: 69501C3 Pkts (1 of Each)
Item Number: 68072A1 Pkt. (100 seeds)
Item Number: 53595A1 Pkt. (30 seeds)
Item Number: 13789C75 plants each variety (225 plants total)
Item Number: 53512A1 Pkt. (300 seeds)
Item Number: 60855A1 Pkt. (1000 seeds)
Item Number: 62450A1 Pkt. (25 Seeds)
Item Number: 61101A1 Pkt. (35 seeds)
Item Number: 51205A1 Pkt. (25 seeds)
Item Number: 54310A1 Pkt. (25 seeds)
Item Number: 63480A1 Pkt. (20 seeds)
Item Number: 61861A1 Pkt. (3000 seeds)

Sweet potatoes

Surprise!  Despite the lack of posts this year, the garden does still exist. I still hope to write a sweet corn recap post as well, but will document the 2016 Sweet Potato harvest first.

Today I dug up the sweet potatoes and closed down the garden with this final harvest. So, how did they do?  Check the pictures below.

Nice, loose soil for the potatoes to grow in this year.

Nice, loose soil for the potatoes to grow in this year.

Yield from the first row (west most which gets the most sun)

Yield from the first row (west most which gets the most sun)

Middle row yield. Only two plants in this row, so harvest was lighter.

Middle row yield. Only two plants in this row, so harvest was lighter.

Yield from the third row. Had three surviving plants, but also got the least amount of sun.

Yield from the third row. Had three surviving plants, but also got the least amount of sun.

Yield from the third row. Had three surviving plants, but also got the least amount of sun.

Gabrielle helping to demonstrate the size of the potatoes this year.

All the sweet potatoes piled up together.

All the sweet potatoes piled up together.

Mid summer garden update

I’ve continued to take pictures of the progress in the garden but just never get around to posting them. I’ll use this post to try and catch up a little.

Sweet corn experiment has been very educational. Biggest lesson so far is that I planted too much corn for the garden bed. While the plants have grown well enough, the overcrowding appears to be resulting in small and not fully formed ears. I hope to be getting my first few picked ears in a couple days and will post more details then.

Baby Sweet Corn

Baby Sweet Corn

As has been typical in past years, the yellow squash and zucchini get off to a good start, but it is only a matter of time until the squash vine borer puts and end to it.  I’ve already pulled one of the squash plants and executed the squash murderers for their crime.

Yellow squash and Zucchini

Yellow squash and Zucchini

Always nice to get some red splashes in the garden. These cherry tomatoes were the first to break the red barrier.

First red tomatoes

First red tomatoes

Not a bad haul for one night in the garden. A good chunk of these will be passed around to the neighbors and coworkers.

More vegetables than we can eat

More vegetables than we can eat

I suppose if there were no pests, gardening wouldn’t be much of a challenge and therefore not much fun. Would be nice to not have to fight them all every year.

Can you spy the pest?

Can you spy the pest?

So far this Tomato Horn Worm has been the only one of its kind found so far this year.

How about now?

How about now?

Finally a view of the sweet corn from a bif of a distance away to see how tall it has gotten. If nothing else, we should have some decorations for Halloween this year.

Sweet corn is nice and tall

Sweet corn is nice and tall

May not recover from this

The most recent storm that came through last night didn’t seem as bad to me, but the sweet corn seemed to experience it a bit differently. After the earlier storm, it was leaning. This is almost knocked flat. I am not sure this is recoverable.

Corn knocked flat

Corn knocked flat

I spent some time installing some additional string between the posts. I tried to pull up some of the corn and get it up as best I could. I am afraid it won’t be good enough. At least one of the stalks was thinking about shooting up a tassel, so the time remaining to get reestablished is running short. The picture below is where I left off.  Still quite a mess.

After some more string and some careful proping

After some more string and some careful propping

I’ll let it go and see what happens. Maybe something will still come of it. One thing for sure, I can see now that I planted way too dense. Next year I think I need to knock out about 15-20% of the plants and see if that helps.  Always learning.

Big storm

We had a pretty big storm come through early yesterday morning.  Between the two rain gauges, the garden received somewhere between 3.34 and 3.75 inches of rain in just a couple hours.   The weather station reported the lower number and as can be seen in the image below, the low-tech plastic gauge had the higher value.

Lots-o-rain

Lots-o-rain

Even though the winds didn’t seem too bad, the Sweet Corn around the outside of the bed didn’t enjoy the event.

Leaning corn

Leaning corn

I attempted to ‘fence’ in the wayward stalks in the hopes that they can right themselves in the coming weeks before it is time to start producing some ears.

Corn support fence

Corn support fence

 

Quite the jump while on vacation

Our family vacation this summer took us out west to California. Since there was so much to see and do, we stretched the trip out to ten days. So, while we were seeing this…

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

And these…

Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias

Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias

Doing this…

Horseback riding at McGee Creek Pack Station

Horseback riding at McGee Creek Pack Station

Feeling this in June…

Snowball fight at eastern gate of Yosemite National Park

Snowball fight at eastern gate of Yosemite National Park

Hiking to here…

Tenaya Lake in Yosemite

Tenaya Lake in Yosemite

Experiencing this…

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Eating too much of these…

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger

The sweet corn back home in the garden went from this…

Sweet corn on June 8th

Sweet corn on June 8th

To this…

Sweet corn on June 18th

Sweet corn on June 18th