Needing some room to grow

I’m afraid I might have started some my seeds a bit early. The tomatoes are fine but the lettuce, cucumbers and zucchini seem to be growing faster than spring weather is getting here.

To give some of the plants a bit more elbow room, I transferred about half over to some 3 inch pots.

I also received my onion plants in the mail this past weekend.  I checked the garden tonight and it is still too wet to plant.  Tomorrows weather looks like a great day, but I am not too confident that a single day will dry out the soil enough to prep it for planting.

Crowded seedlings

Crowded seedlings

Angle view of the crowded seedlings

Angle view of the crowded seedlings

Transplant in progress

Transplant in progress

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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)

Easter onions and seedling transplants

Still having trouble getting back into the groove on this garden blog. Here is a combined post to try and get me caught up.

It seems rare enough to get decent weather for Easter Sunday here in Ohio much less a nice one when it falls on March 27th.  Not only was it nice enough for an egg hunt outside, but it was warm enough to even get into the garden.  It has been a warm enough spring that I managed to get my onion plants out already.  I’m calling these my Easter Onions and I am really hoping they come out the color of Easter eggs when it is time for harvest.

Easter Onions

Easter Onions

Jumping ahead a few weeks to just last week, I was able to get back out to the garden and get some of my cool weather seeds started. Nothing too exciting to see here but I planted peas, lettuce, spinach and radish on April 20th. There was rain forecasted and I figured I better get some seeds out there and let mother nature do the watering.

Finally, this weekend it was time to give the poor seedlings locked up in the basement some attention. The tomatoes have outgrown their starter cells and it was time to give them a bit more room for those growing roots.

Seedlings outgrowing their home

Seedlings outgrowing their home

Unfortunately, there were more tomato seedlings than I had pots for.  And even then I will have more tomato plants than what I really need to plant in the garden.  I always feel a little bad leaving a few of the seedlings behind.

A bit more room to grow

A bit more room to grow

Down selected to 16 tomato plants.  Five HoneyBunch and SuperTasty each and six plants of Big Beef.

This year with labels!

This year with labels!

Unlike the mistake of last year, this time I took a bit more time to put in some markers with which tomatoes are which.  😉  Always good to learn from past mistakes.  As many as I make, you would think I would be a lot smarter by now.

Jump started lettuce

Jump started lettuce

Final action of the day was to directly transplant the basement lettuce out to the garden. This was the first year trying this so I’ll be interested to see how it works out. I didn’t do any hardening on these, just chucked them outside. Will be nice to get some early lettuce from the garden if this does work out.

To close out this post, we can start where we began with Easter Onions.  They can be seen in the background of the picture above looking decent so far this year.

Hello 2016

The garden blog has been pretty dormant as of late but it is time to get things going. Today I prepped and planted the indoor starting seeds. I’m probably a week or two late actually, but… Well… I guess I really don’t have an excuse.

This year I am again starting way too many tomato plants. I have eight cells each of the three repeat varieties of tomatoes from last year; HoneyBunch Hybrid, SuperTasty Hybrid and Big Beef Hybrid. In the final eight cells, I decided to give indoor lettuce a try. I split them between Romain and Looseleaf blend.

I was again suckered into trying the pellets that magically expand in when water is added.  These at least expanded, but they just were not large enough to fit the cells.

Refill pellets that are too small for the cells.

Refill pellets that are too small for the cells.

Luckily I still had some seed starting soil from last year and managed to fill in the gaps.

Additional soil added on top of the small plugs.

Additional soil added on top of the small plugs.

In an effort to not mix up which seeds are which, I will hope to refer back to this picture below.  I should be able to tell the tomatoes apart from the lettuce.  🙂

Tomato and Lettuce seeds being started indoors this year.

Tomato and Lettuce seeds being started indoors this year.

Dungeon indoor seed starting shelf.

Dungeon indoor seed starting shelf.

 

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.