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

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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

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!

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