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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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.

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.

Spring Garden Update

Spent a bit of time in the garden tonight. Hard to pass up 70 degrees and sunny.

I’ll start with the good news first.

There is green in the garden!  The peas are comping up pretty well and I am hoping to hold off the pill bugs long enough to get them up off the ground and out of harms way.  Radish plants are doing well along with both the Romaine and Salad Bowl lettuces.  The spinach is a little spotty, but I am hoping enough of this first planting will grow to get us by until I get the second batch started.

The peas are coming!  The peas are coming!

The peas are coming! The peas are coming!

Another view of the peas.  Trying to be a bit artistic but not sure I puled it off.

Another view of the peas. Trying to be a bit artistic but not sure I puled it off.

Short row of radishes

Short row of radishes

 

Now, as for the bad news…I’ve got another busted raised bed that is in need of repair this spring before I can plant in it. At some point, there won’t be enough left to repair and I’ll need to replace them.  Until then however, back to Lowes for another set of 1x1s I can cut down to make spikes I can drive in to shore up the sides and posts.

Another busted bed again this spring

Another busted bed again this spring

Time to plant in the garden!

It has been quite a while since my last blog post. I have to admit, I have gotten a bit lazy over the winter. I hope that this post will serve as a bit of a catch up on some of the early spring activities.

Indoor seed starting. 

The indoor seeds are off to a good start. I was a bit concerned as we took a week long trip shortly after the tomatoes sprouted. I was worried they would run out of water while we were gone. In the end, there was no need to worry. The seed starting tray had plenty of water to keep the cells moist and plants growing.

Tomato seedlings before the vacation

Tomato seedlings before the vacation

Close up view of the tomato seedlings

Close up view of the tomato seedlings

Tomato plants after returning from vacation

Tomato plants after returning from vacation

Close up of the growing tomatoes

Close up of the growing tomatoes

This weekend I finally went in a trimmed out the extra plants to bring the count down to just one plant per cell.

Onion plants

Again this year I purchased some onion plants online from Burpee. The problem is they showed up on March 25th, three days before we left on vacation. The weather was too cold and wet to even venture to the garden, much less prepare a place to plant them. So, I gave them a good drink of water and tucked them into the basement. My hope was that they will survive long enough for me to get back from the trip and get some nice enough weather to get them planted. While they looked a little more dried out than before we left, they seemed to be doing okay.  Fortunately, the weather here in Ohio was quite nice over the Easter weekend.  After eating too much ham and deviled eggs, it was nice to be able to spend some time in the garden and get the onions planted.

Soil is dry enough to be worked

Soil is dry enough to be worked

Onion plants finally in the ground

Onion plants finally in the ground

Another view of the onions

Another view of the onions

 Cool weather planting

After getting the primary mission complete, onions in the ground, I starting to think about what to do next.  It turned out that the raised beds were dryer than I had anticipated so I went ahead and planted some radish, lettuce, spinach and even some snap peas.

The week since planting has been plenty wet and decently warm.  I’ve not got a couple peas trying to push through as well as radish, lettuce and one tiny spinach plant.  With the weather forecast showing high temperatures in the mid to upper 60s, I expect their growth to continue.

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.

Early spring garden update

The long and cold winter seems to be reluctant to fully give up this year and yield to spring. While it has fortunately been able to stay above freezing, the temperatures have struggled to get above average. In spite of the cooler weather, there is still some growth in the garden. Here are how things stand as of today.

Peas are sprouted and finally starting to spread some leaves.

Peas emerge

Peas emerge

Onions have adjusted well to their transplant and are starting to green up and gain some height.

Onions doing well

Onions doing well

Spinach is looking pretty good. Perhaps better than in years past.

Strong start for the spinach this year

Strong start for the spinach this year

Finally, the early birds of the garden. The radish have gotten off to a good start as well.

Radish looking good so far

Radish looking good so far