Spring planting for 2018

Over the last two weekends I was able to get all but one vegetable planted in the garden.

First off though, is this years diagram of the planting plan.  Nothing too radical this year, pretty much most of the same from past years just rotated so I don’t have things in the same spots.

Garden plan for 2018

Garden plan for 2018

The first weekend (May 5/6) was a bit rushed because I had to first get the second garden bed replaced.  I also had to move the lettuce from the back two beds to the second replacement bed.  All of that took a while. In the end, I had time to get the peas and radish planted and get the tomatoes out of their tiny pots and into the ground where they can have all the root and head room they could wish for.

In the years past, I never provided the peas and beans anything other than water and occasional fertilizer.  This year I am giving an inoculant a try.  When ordering seeds this year I threw Burpee Booster into the cart.  We’ll see if I notice any difference.

Giving the beans and peas a boost

Giving the beans and peas a boost

All six tomato plants with ladders

All six tomato plants with ladders

Two Brandy Boy tomatoes

Two Brandy Boy tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Cherry Baby tomatoes

Pea tower with a few left over lettuce plants I did not move

Pea tower with a few left over lettuce plants I did not move

Transplanted lettuce and bean tower

Transplanted lettuce and bean tower

For the second weekend (May 12/13), the goal was to get the rest of the garden planted. The weather forecast looked like this.

Not a good forecast for planting

Not a good forecast for planting

As a result, I was up and in the garden before 8 am in an effort to get as much planted as I could before the rain arrived.  I’m happy to report I was able to get the garden planted.  In fact, it didn’t actually rain until Monday afternoon.  I had time to go to Lowes and get some sweet potato plants and get them in as well on Saturday. Between the vegetable garden and other needed yard work, we ended up being out until dark.  I was beginning to wish for the promised rain so I could be chased inside.  🙂

So, what all was planted this weekend…

  • Sweet corn
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Green Beans – Pole
  • Green Bean – Bush
  • Cucumbers
  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
Twelve sweet potato plants

Twelve sweet potato plants

All that remain are the onions. I’m still waiting on Burpee to process that portion of my order. I am tempted to just cancel the onions and try and find some locally.

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Time to move into a bigger place

The seedlings were feeling a little cramped in their current digs and needed a place where they could spread their roots and grow.  I picked up some 5″ pots at Lowes for the tomatoes and some smaller 3″ pots for some of the lettuce.  With the weather staying decidedly on the ‘sucky’ side (we still had enough snow to cover the ground this weekend), I am afraid that these tomatoes will need to hang out in the house for at least another 3 weeks but much more likely 4 or 5.  Note to future self, start the tomatoes a bit later next year.

Crowded tenants looking longingly towards their spacious new homes

Crowded tenants looking longingly towards their spacious new homes

Still smarting from the year I neglected to label the pots. It was very hard to tell the tomatoes apart that year until there were tomatoes for the picking

Still smarting from the year I neglected to label the pots. It was very hard to tell the tomatoes apart that year until there were tomatoes for the picking

Quite a diverse bunch

Quite a diverse bunch

The plants around the outside of the seed tray all grew much larger and faster than the poor plants in the center. Now that they are separated with a bit more room, I am hoping the slow pokes and play a little catch-up.

Next I need to fix the head room issue

Next I need to fix the head room issue

Unfortunately, giving the tomatoes more root space results in less room under the lights for all the plants. The majority of the lettuce, and lone spinach, will be getting a taste of the outsides for a bit. I’m hoping to get these guys planted into the garden next weekend. Until then, they get a night inside as the low will again dip down to 29 degrees and then back to the deck for hopefully the rest of the week.

More root space means less plant space

More root space means less plant space

Seeds become plants… Mostly

I keep taking pictures with the intent to use them in a blog post. As you can see so far, I have been failing on that second step. So, here is my catch-up post covering the progress of the indoor seedlings.

First sign of lettuce seedlings

First sign of lettuce seedlings, 3 days after planting.

First sign of tomato seedlings, 7 days after planting.

First sign of tomato seedlings, 7 days after planting.

Tomatoes going strong two weeks after planting.

Tomatoes going strong two weeks after planting.

Lettuce two weeks after planting.

Lettuce two weeks after planting.

Becoming a little indoor jungle

Becoming a little indoor jungle

I failed to capture a clear picture of it, but about 2 weeks after planting, I did finally get a single spinach plant to emerge. I’ll assume it was due to the old seeds, but who knows. Maybe it was unfavorable conditions to start them.  You can see a tiny part of the spinach plant in the last picture above being smothered by the mongo lettuce plant in the adjacent cell.  I did move a few of the lettuce plants to some of the open cells in the hopes that they will do better with a bit more space.

With the lettuce growing so well, it has me wondering if I could grow lettuce in the basement all winter.  Surely not as good as growing it outside, but it might be nice to have some fresh greens occasionally during the cold winter months.

Starting indoors

Hello and welcome to the 2018 growing season.  After yet another year of diminishing blog posts, I’ll see if I can do any better this year.

To kick off the 2018 garden, I’ll start with a post about starting some seeds indoors.  Today I started by planting some tomatoes, lettuce and spinach.  I was going to try and start some kale too, but can’t seem to find those seeds.  I’m using the same seeds as purchased last year to save a few bucks.

Last year I think I was a bit over zealous and started my seeds a little too early (Feb 26th).  This year had a lot of other things going on and I didn’t stress out too much about starting the seeds a bit later.  Time will tell if I waited too long.

New soil in the seed starting traya

New soil in the seed starting traya

Three varieties of tomatoes. Same as last year.

Three varieties of tomatoes. Same as last year.

Just for fun, three different types of lettuce as well.

Just for fun, three different types of lettuce as well.

All settled in on the growing shelf in the basement

All settled in on the growing shelf in the basement

Sweet Potatoes for 2017

Here is a post that is a couple weeks late.

I was a bit worried this year that I might not find sweet potato plants. A friend from work and I usually keep an eye out and buy them locally when we see them. After striking out at the usual spots I was finally able to find some. I have to say, these plants look to be some of the best we have had. Time will tell if they actually produce in the fall.

These were planted Memorial Day Weekend, May 28th.

Finally found some sweet potato plants at one of the local Lowes

Finally found some sweet potato plants at one of the local Lowes

Decent looking sweet potato plants this year

Decent looking sweet potato plants this year

Deep hole for the tall plants

Deep hole for the tall plants

Just the top leaves are left above ground

Just the top leaves are left above ground

All 12 plants planted

All 12 plants planted

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.

All in now

Another great day today and I decided to roll the dice and go all in with planting the garden. The 10 day forecast has nothing colder than 44 degrees and many more days in the 70s and even 80s. So, after work I went out to the garden and got to planting.

Planted today:

  • Pole green beans
  • Zucchini plants and seeds
  • Cucumber plants and seeds
  • Yellow squash seeds
  • Sweet corn
  • Kale

Most of these are just repeats of the tried and true from previous years.  I will record a bit more details about the Sweet Corn since this is just year two and last year didn’t go as well as I would have hoped.  This years variety is Kandy Korn.  Lesson number one from last year was to not over plant and make sure to leave a little room for the plants to grow.  This year I cut back on the number of seeds I planted and have about 18 seeds planted in each of the four rows.  I also tried to stagger the seeds by placing the adjacent row’s seeds in the middle of the two neighbors.

According to the Kale seed packet, it is recommended to plant it in a container.  I retrieved one of the old pots from the garden and planted some Kale in it.  I will follow up in a couple weeks with a second back to try and extend the harvest a bit.

Pole beans planted around the bean tower

Pole beans planted around the bean tower

Zucchini home for 2017. Plants in back, seeds up front.

Zucchini home for 2017. Plants in back, seeds up front.

Cucumbers. Three plants and four seeds planted.

Cucumbers. Three plants and four seeds planted.

Sweet Corn. This year's variety is Kandy Korn.

Sweet Corn. This year’s variety is Kandy Korn.

Watering the seeds

Watering the seeds