Celebrating a milestone

This post marks the 300th post to Matt’s Garden Blog!

Who would have thought all those many years ago that I’d still be writing posts about that small patch of ground in the back corner of the yard.  My first post was all the way back in early April 2010.  The posts were not as detailed or consistent back then (that hasn’t really changed) and the images were not quite as clear.  The first image posted was a couple weeks after the blog was established using a now old and retired iPhone 3G.

First garden image posted to the blog.

First garden image posted to the blog.

The gardens have certainly grown and evolved since then. Most notable expansions are the two new garden beds and the perimeter fencing.

Installing the two new expansion beds

Installing the two new expansion beds

Garden with new perimeter fence

Garden with new perimeter fence

I’ve tried to grow a few different vegetables over the years.  I tired Broccoli a couple times, Brussels Sprouts a few years, Carrots most years, Lima Beans a couple, Onions most of the time recently, Yukon Potatoes once, Spinach quite a few times, Sunflowers, Sweet Corn for the second year, Sweet Potatoes quite a bit recently and Yellow Squash pretty consistently now that I started.

The permanent fixtures of the garden have been the Cucumbers, Green Beans, Lettuce,  RadishTomatoes,  Snap Peas and Zucchini.

I have to admit, if someone asked be how long I have been updating this garden blog, I would not have believed that this is now the start of the seventh year.  Will I make another 300 posts and/or seven years?  I guess you’ll have to stay tuned/subscribed and find out.

Happy gardening!

Catch up post

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately and hopefully this catch up post will get me back into the swing of things.  I took a family trip up to Chicago last weekend to check out my sister and her husband’s new house as well as give the kids a taste of a big city.  Before leaving, I took some pictures of the garden with the intention of writing a status update for the blog.  Well, that was a week ago and I am just now getting the post written.  Last week was the time in the garden where everything looks nice and neat.  Not overgrown, not overcrowded.  No troubles with insects or disease yet, just a happy time.  By the end of this month, that carefree time will be over.  Below are some pictures showing the state of the garden before we left for our long weekend.

Here we have the Bush Green Beans, Zucchini and two tomato plants anchoring the far end of the bed.

Here we have the Bush Green Beans, Zucchini and two tomato plants anchoring the far end of the bed.

Next up are the sweet potato plants.  I'm waiting for them to start vining out so I can bury them deeper with the mounds of soil.

Next up are the sweet potato plants. I’m waiting for them to start vining out so I can bury them deeper with the mounds of soil.

Sunflowers are starting to stretch their legs

Sunflowers are starting to stretch their legs

Brussels Sprouts.  Two good, one sick and one already gone.

Brussels Sprouts. Two good, one sick and one already gone.

Four Golden Egg yellow squash

Four Golden Egg yellow squash

Sugar Snap Peas all in bloom

Sugar Snap Peas all in bloom

Mess of onions

Mess of onions

Four more tomato plants

Four more tomato plants

Basil and Lettuce

Basil and Lettuce

Cucumbers with some lettuce and radish growing in the shade of the trellis

Cucumbers with some lettuce and radish growing in the shade of the trellis

Pole beans just starting to climb

Pole beans just starting to climb

Two rows of carrots

Two rows of carrots

Closeup of the blooming tomotoes

Closeup of the blooming tomotoes

Since the above pictures were taken last week, I have managed to harvest a couple more vegetables. First up was some peas which I finally had a chance to steam up tonight. Very tasty. I also thinned some of the onions and chopped them up for a salad and tacos.

First harvest of peas

First harvest of peas

A couple green onions to be chopped up for a salad

A couple green onions to be chopped up for a salad

 

Rolling the dice

I decided to take a chance on the garden today.  In the end, I think the risk will be pretty light. Today I planted about 85% of the garden.  What made me decide to take the chance?  With a 10-day forecast like looks like this?  How could I not take advantage and get the garden going.

A great forecast to start off the month of May

A great forecast to start off the month of May

(I couldn’t get the rest of the 10 days in the screen capture, but the remaining 3 days currently look just as warm.)

In the end, I managed to plant all but tomatoes, sweet potatoes and a basil plant.  The only reason I skipped those three was that I don’t have any sweet potato or basil plants yet and I still need to get some landscape fabric to put down before planting the tomatoes.

Armed with garden tools, seeds and the following planting plan I headed to the garden this morning.  Here is my original plan as designed back in March.

Original 2015 Planting Plan

Original 2015 Planting Plan

As many of you also know, plans have a way of falling apart as soon as they hit reality.  Apparently, I do not have the best spacial mental map of the vegetable plants and how much space they require.  I would think that after all these years in this garden, I would have it down by now and could work from memory, but guess not.  Working with the original plan and going from bed to bed, I was able to re-work and re-orient the plan to the following design. We’ll see how well it works as the plants grow.

Updated Planting Plan for 2015

Updated Planting Plan for 2015

Let’s get to planting this garden! First up green beans. This year I am actually planting both pole beans and bush beans. I’ve got big plans for canning green beans this summer and having a harvest of both kinds should well… I guess give me more green beans.

Ring of green bean seeds

Ring of green bean seeds

In addition to the new plants, I am also getting an second planting of some of the cool weather vegetables. Another round of spinach, lettuce and radish.

Shaking out some spinach seeds

Shaking out some spinach seeds

Time to get some of these plants out of the basement and into the garden. First up to escape the artificial light is the Brussels sprouts.

Basement Brussels Sprouts get liberated

Basement Brussels Sprouts get liberated

After planting Brussels sprouts, Sunflowers, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Bush Green Beans, Pole Green Beans, Cucumbers, Carrots, Lettuce, Radish and Spinach… I was tired. Oh wait, that wasn’t where I was going, after getting all those planted, the garden is about ready to explode with vegetables.

End result

End result

End result from a different angle

End result from a different angle

Now that all the new seeds are in the ground, I also took the time to check in on the other plants that already blazed the 2015 garden trail.

Radish with some lettuce and spinach in the background

Radish with some lettuce and spinach in the background

Peas are now starting to climb

Peas are now starting to climb

This years onion forest

This years onion forest

In the hopes to improve the pollinators in the neighborhood, I got this swanky Mason Bee house for Christmas. I placed it right back by the vegetable garden. If all goes well, I’ll hope to report later this summer of the new tenets.

An extra band to keep the house secure to the tree

An extra band to keep the house secure to the tree

And finally, I also updated the 2015 Planting Calendar.

Seedling tending day

Today I spent some time tending the tomato and Brussels sprout seedlings. They were starting to look a little cramped in their current cells and some of the leaves were turning yellow. I was a little concerned they were getting their feet too wet with the tray full of water. So, I took advantage of the nice weather this morning to up-pot them before the cooler and wetter weather rolled back in.  These new pots were probably a bit on the small size, so next year I may try and find some that are a little bigger.  If the weather cooperates, I am hoping they will only need to be indoors for another couple weeks before I try and start getting them into the garden.

Bunch of tomatoes a tad too yellow

Bunch of tomatoes a tad too yellow

 

Closer view of the yellowing leaves

Closer view of the yellowing leaves

Plenty of long roots

Plenty of long roots

Transplanted and ready to keep on growing

Transplanted and ready to keep on growing

 

Brings a new meaning to ‘Frozen Vegetables’

Finally picked the last vegetable from the garden Wednesday. I think I was about a week too late. With about 4 inches of snow followed by single digit temperatures it was a bit late to be in the garden.  All in all, the Brussels sprouts seemed to be hanging in there.  I don’t think they will be growing any more, but they still seem to be edible.

 

Brussels sprouts shivering in the garden

Brussels sprouts shivering in the garden

 

Brussels nestled in the snow

Brussels nestled in the snow

 

Harvest haul

Harvest haul

The fall romaine lettuce on the other hand seems a little flattened under the weight of the snow.  I’ll peek back in on it this weekend when the temperatures get back up towards 50.

Fall romaine lettuce not holding up to well under the weight of the snow

Fall romaine lettuce not holding up to well under the weight of the snow

September gardening

It was a wonderful September day to do some work in the garden.

The weather in Ohio can be pretty volatile.  We’ve been known to have some pretty harsh winters and some sweltering summers. This week give us a hint of both. On Tuesday (Sept 10th), the Garden Weather Station recorded the highest temperature of the year, 97 degrees*. In just four days (morning on Sept 14), the low temperature was a nice and chilly 40 degrees.  A swing of 57 degrees.  We also managed to finally get a little rain.  You won’t see it on the weather page though due to the return of the spiders gumming up the rain gauge again.

Despite all the changing weather, I am still getting tomatoes and cucumbers.  This has been the latest in the year I have had cucumbers still being harvested.  My family (and neighbors and coworkers) have been spoiled this year with all the fresh cukes.

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Still getting cucumbers

I spent a couple hours in the garden today doing some of the clean up that I should have been doing over the last few weeks.  I removed a number of weeds, the two squash plants, the pole beans and dead leaves from the cucumbers, brussels sprouts and lima beans.  In the end, I filled a lawn back with discarded plant debris.  As can be seen in the pictures below, it was a great day to be in the garden regardless the chore.

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Beautiful September day in the garden

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September sky and sunflower

 

* The thermometer still reads a degree or two high when the sun is bright and hot.

The Battle for Brussels (sprouts)

The cabbage worms have launched a major offensive while my attention has been elsewhere and have resulted in devastating results.

I spent about an hour beating back the onslaught with my trusty screw.  I estimate removing at least 100 of the vermin.  In addition to physically dispatching the worms, I am also trying an insecticidal soap.  It seems to work on at least some of the worms.  Trouble is, they like to hide on the back side of the leaves, so I have to turn over each one, look for the worms and then either pierce them with the screw, or if there is a lot of them, soak them with the soap.  My hope is to remain vigilant and beat back the tide and let the plants recover.  Unfortunately, I have a poorly timed trip for work coming up that may give the worms some time to recover.  Hmm, maybe I need to sign up some recruits.

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The damage is quite extensive

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Brussels Sprouts or Swiss Cheese?

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How many enemy worms can you find? (Click to enlarge)