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!

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Welcome to the Jungle

I think this year, at least in the later part of July, the garden gets a theme song. The two leading candidates are Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses or The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens. So far, I have yet to finding a sleeping lion or a corruptive large city in the jungle garden, so maybe in the end, these are not the best candidates after all.

Before looking at the current state of the garden, perhaps a refresher on what the garden looked like BEFORE the plants took over would be a helpful perspective.  Check out this post from a short three months ago.

Welcome.  Enter if you dare.

Welcome. Enter if you dare.

Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Green Beans

Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Green Beans

Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Green Beans

Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Green Beans

Sunflowers on the left, yellow squash on the right.

Sunflowers on the left, yellow squash on the right.

You can actually see a bit of gravel pathway in this one.

You can actually see a bit of gravel pathway in this one.

Some lima beans peeking on the left with towering sunflowers in the background.

Some lima beans peeking on the left with towering sunflowers in the background.

Independence Day Update

Today is one of those perfect July days. Blue sky dotted with puffy cumulus clouds, light breeze and temperatures in the mid 70s. I figured today would be a great day for a garden status update.

For starters, we get a update on the garden from a short distance away.  It is amazing how much the plants have grown in the last 3-4 weeks.  The warm temperatures and well timed rain have done wonders for getting the plants off to a great start.

Garden Jungle

Garden Jungle

Already overgrown

Already overgrown

In the picture above, we see the cucumbers climbing and covering the trellis with the green bean tower in the upper right.

Most of the tall plants are in the front of the garden this year

Most of the tall plants are in the front of the garden this year

Green beans are close

Green beans are close

The green beans are doing pretty well this year.  A small pest problem just starting with a few leaves being perforated, but sprinkled a bit of the Bt powder in the hopes it will ward off the pests.  Depending on what it is that is eating it, I may need to switch over to some insecticidal soap.  I am thinking the first green beans on the table will be later next week.  Hmm, better make sure I have some brown sugar and bacon on hand.

Bunches of baby cucumbers

Bunches of baby cucumbers

The cucumber plants have been producing more baby cucumbers than I could count.  So, why haven’t you seen any pictures of all these wonderful cucumbers harvested?  They never make it past the tiny baby cucumber stage.  They turn brown, shrivel up and fall off shortly after the bloom falls off.  Researching what is going on here is on my todo list.  Could it be lack of pollinators?  Perhaps there is a mineral deficiency in the garden?  If I ever figure it out, I’ll be sure and post it.

Golden Egg Yellow Squash

Golden Egg Yellow Squash

Sort of the same issue with the cucumbers is also happening to the squash as well as zucchini.  The plant is producing plenty of fruit, but it just does’t seem to mature into something harvestable.  So far, I have only gotten one yellow squash from the four plants in the garden.  I’d guess that the plants have produced close to 40 fruits, but they just can’t hang on.

Peter piper picked a peck of ... Well, you get the idea.

Peter piper picked a peck of … Well, you get the idea.

The pepper plants are all starting to produce some peppers now.  Not exactly sure what I am going to do with all of them once they are ready to harvest, but I’ll either figure that out when the time comes or give them away to those who already have it figured out.

Baby Lima Bean

Baby Lima Bean

The Lima Bean plants are doing great this year and are full of blooms.  A few have already turned into baby Lima bean pods.  I’m hoping that this years harvest will be better than last years.

Zoomed in Zucchinis

Zoomed in Zucchinis

Kind of an ugly zucchini.  Again, as I mentioned with the cucumbers and squash, the zukes just are not keeping their fruit.  Off to the left you can see a bit of the Bt powder that I have sprinkled across the stem in an attempt to keep the evil squash vine bore at bay.

Sizable Onions

Sizable Onions

I am very excited about the onions this year.  The yellow in particular have a few very respectable bulbs which have grown quite well.  The reds are doing okay and the white onions seem to be staying subterranean for the time being.

Just shy of 7 feet

Just shy of 7 feet

Another update on the sunflowers, here we see the tallest approaching the seven feet mark.  Pretty soon it will be hard to measure these guys.

Green tomatoes

Green tomatoes

I haven’t talked about the tomatoes too much this year.  Here is a Brandy Boy hybrid showing its newest fruit.  The Sweet 100 are doing pretty good as well with some small green tomatoes.  Sadly, the Fourth of July variety still have a ways to go and will once again not live up to their namesake.

Expanding Sweet Potatoes

Expanding Sweet Potatoes

Not sure what is happening under the ground, but the sweet potatoes have certainly started to fill in their area and expanded outside into the walkway.

Last picking of peas

Last picking of peas

Finally, we have one more picture of the sugar snap peas.  I picked all these pods today and am figuring that this will most likely be the last peas harvested of the season.  I’ll think about getting a second planting in if there is time and energy.

End of May Garden Status Update

Okay, so technically tomorrow is the end of May, but I took these pictures today.

The garden is starting to hit a growth spurt. With high temps in the low to mid 80s, the plants have started to really take root and expand their foliage.

Here are a few pictures.

Sweet Potatoes are looking a bit better.

Sweet Potatoes are looking a bit better.

While this row of sweet potatoes looks better, there was at least one plant from the whole batch that looks as though it is not going to survive the transplant.

Onion forest

Onion forest

Climbing peas

Climbing peas

Green beans, peppers and a basil

Green beans, peppers and a basil

This section of garden is a bit crowded.  The pole beans are surrounded by their admirers of peppers and a basil.  I went a little overboard with the peppers.  I picked these up at a local Lowes and couldn’t restrain myself.  I bought a red, green and yellow sweet pepper and two different hot peppers.  In the hot variety, I got a cayenne and a habenaro.  What I am going to do with all these peppers I don’t really know yet.

Cucumbers are growing

Cucumbers are growing

The cucumbers are still not doing great, but they seem to be starting to grow now.  I have a few replant in as well to better my odds of enough plants.  I really liked these cucumbers last year and they produced like crazy.

Big leafed Lima Beans

Big leafed Lima Beans

This Lima Beans have had a bit of a struggle getting going, you can see the war wounds from the bugs in the leaves.  I may have to treat them in a bit if the bugs get too bad.

First harvest and more sprouting

Last night, I picked my first vegetable of the season. One lone radish was big enough to pull.  The others should be along shortly.

First harvest

First harvest

Finally, the lima beans are also joining the garden party.  They have been pushing up for the last couple days, but they really started to look good last night.

 

Lima beans are up

Lima beans are up

Planting by moonlight

After an already late dinner due to softball practice and a track meet, I decided to go ahead and plant a bunch of seeds in the garden. It was getting pretty dark by the time I finished. I did however manage to plant the following: zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, yellow squash, sunflowers, lima beams as well as a second planting of spinach and salad bowl lettuce.

Getting some help from Julia planting pole beans

Getting some help from Julia planting pole beans

Two rows of lima beans

Two rows of lima beans

This year I have been sprinkling in some fertilizer along with the seeds to give the growing plants a bit more nutrients. I figure the soil in the beds is probably getting a bit tired and depleted over the years. I try mixing in yard waste and other organic material but I don’t think it is probably contributing as much as the plants are taking out.

Fertilizer I am sprinkling about and mixing in to the soil before planting

Fertilizer I am sprinkling about and mixing in to the soil before planting

Not quite done, but losing daylight fast.

Not quite done, but losing daylight fast.

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.