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!

Post frost update 

After a very cold morning, the garden seemed to do well enough. In addition to getting the garden supports all back in place, I also decided it was time to put in a second planting of green beans. This time I planted a single row of bush green beans between the bean and pea towers.

Bush Green Beans to supplement the pole beans

Bush Green Beans to supplement the pole beans

The cucumbers were also not looking happy and I already lost one of the plants and one of the seedlings. I planted a few more seeds in the hopes that the warmer weather now will be kinder to them.

The rest of the garden is looking pretty good. Below are a few status updates.

Tomato glad to be past the frost and ready for the 80s next week

Tomato glad to be past the frost and ready for the 80s next week

Sweet corn a bit patchier than I would like

Sweet corn a bit patchier than I would like

Lettuce and radish looking good

Lettuce and radish looking good

Onions perked up

Onions perked up

Peas still looking good.  I think they liked the cooler weather.

Peas still looking good. I think they liked the cooler weather.

Spring Garden update

A quick check on the garden tonight and even though it was a bit cooler and cloudy today, the garden seems to be off to a decent start. New plants sprouting and the early planted plants are not looking worse and in most cases actually improving.  Once we get through a chilly morning tomorrow, the weather looks to warm up and get sunnier so I am anticipating some more good growing days ahead.

First Pea plant has emerged

First Pea plant has emerged

Just three days in the ground and here are the radishes already

Just three days in the ground and here are the radishes already

Lettuce sprouts are also making an appearance

Lettuce sprouts are also making an appearance

This Brandy Boy tomato seems to be enjoying its new home. Nice and greed with new leaves already starting.

This Brandy Boy tomato seems to be enjoying its new home. Nice and greed with new leaves already starting.

Zucchini with a bloom already.

Zucchini with a bloom already.

Not sure what to make of the early blooming zucchini plants. I wonder if it is perhaps a sign of distress. I guess it is possible starting them inside earlier than I should have as well as being cramped into the smaller container messed up its development cycle.

Easter planting of radish, lettuce, peas and … tomatoes?

The weather recently is more like late May than middle of April. With temperatures over 80 degrees yesterday (record high temperature) and upper 70s today, you couldn’t ask for better weather on Easter weekend. Saturday I spent some time tilling up the garden beds. I’ve been neglecting the soil for a while now and in the years past I haven’t had a lot of time to spend in the garden when it was dry before jumping straight into planting. With the weather being so warm this year, I really didn’t have any excuses. I picked up 10 bags of Sta-Green Garden Soil from Lowes and worked two bags into the five beds that haven’t already had something planted.  By the end of the day, those beds looked pretty good and ready for planting.

10 bags of Sta-Green Garden Soil

10 bags of Sta-Green Garden Soil

Two bags of Sta-Green Garden Soil tilled into the bed.

Two bags of Sta-Green Garden Soil tilled into the bed.

Five beds tilled up and ready for planting

Five beds tilled up and ready for planting

So, my seedlings have not been looking good since I transplanted them into the bigger pots. I tried more water. I tried less water. I moved them outside to the deck where they could get some fresh air and real sun. Nothing I did seemed to help.

A tray of not so great looking tomatoes

A tray of not so great looking tomatoes

Yellow and sickly looking seedlings

Yellow and sickly looking seedlings

What to try next?  Well, with the warm weather we have been having I figured what the heck, let’s just plant them in the garden and see if that helps. So today, Easter Sunday, I decided to go ahead and plant half of the tomato seedlings.  I’ll try and nurse the remaining inside as a backup should a freeze or frost still happen this spring.

Before I get too far ahead of myself though, I needed to update the new garden planting plan for 2017.  Below is my plan for this year.

Garden planting plan for 2017

Garden planting plan for 2017

Today I planted two plants of each of the three tomato varieties, Brandy Boy Hybrid, Oh Happy Day Hybrid, and Cherry Baby Hybrid.  In addition to the tomatoes, I also planted some more seasonally appropriate vegetables.  I planted the Sugar Snap Peas, Radish and more lettuce.

Peas planted and ready to grow

Peas planted and ready to grow

Little tomatoes planted a little too early

Little tomatoes planted a little too early

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.

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