Freeze Warnings and Frost Advisories

This year we are being reminded why the safe planting date isn’t until a week or two into May. Last night we had a Freeze Warning where the temperatures reached a low of 30 degrees. Tonight we have a frost advisory with temperatures expect in the mid 30s.

All the tomato plants outside in the small plastic greenhouse have survived so far.  Looking at the forecast seems to indicate that this might have been the last of the cold weather.

Tomatoes surviving the cold nights

Tomatoes surviving the cold nights

Two other items of note. I stopped back at Walmart and pick up some more cheap 6″ pots for the remaining plants.  It makes it easier to distribute them around the shelves and seems to help reduce the moisture loss from the disposable pots.

Also, if you look at the bottom of the shelves you’ll see an old brake rotor from the minivan.  I was worried the whole thing might blow over in the wind and thought that some weight in the bottom might help hold it in place.

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Tomatoes are as bad as the kids

Tomatoes are as bad as the kids… constantly out growing their clothes and needing more room.  It isn’t quite the same with tomatoes I guess, but these have certainly grown bigger than the space I have for them in the basement.

Tomatoes growing up through the lights

Tomatoes growing up through the lights

I decided to finally bust out the growing shelf/mini greenhouse I bought from a friend a number of years ago. It has been sitting in pieces on a garage shelf ever since buying it. Today it gets put to use.

Tomatoes new home

Tomatoes new home

Vegetable shelf on the deck by the back door

Vegetable shelf on the deck by the back door

We’ve still had quite cold temperatures and it has unfortunately still been common to see snow. This morning there was frost. The weather forecast for 10 days is showing two days in the upper 30s and highs in the 50s and 60s. I’m hoping this little greenhouse will provide enough heat to get them through these cold nights.

Door closed and hopefully going to hold the heat in and cold out

Door closed and hopefully going to hold the heat in and cold out

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.

July Garden Update

I’ve been a bit busy since coming back from vacation, but that hasn’t stopped the garden. This post is a summary of the various gardening activities taking place so far in July.  The garden has been getting plenty of rain recently, with just another inch today, so as long as we continue to get sunny days in between the showers the garden should really continue to take off.

Zucchini and squash from the garden

Zucchini and squash from the garden

Sauted Zucchini

Zucchini sauted in butter and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Sweet corn in fill tassel

Sweet corn in full tassel

So far so good, but the ears are what counts.

So far so good, but the ears are what counts.

First red tomato of 2017

First red tomato of 2017

A few bowls of green beans so far this year.

A few bowls of green beans so far this year.

Broke out the pressure canner again this year after skipping last year.

Broke out the pressure canner again this year after skipping last year.

Just eight jars of green beans canned so far this year.

Just eight jars of green beans canned so far this year.

Just tonight I picked some cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini. Ill give you one guess as to what the one on the right will be used for later this week.

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.

Freeze Warning

Here is the cost of planting early. A freeze Warning has been issued for tonight with forecasted lows of 32 degrees. As a result, the garden looks like a shanty town with makeshift tents made of old sheets and buckets.

Ghostly garden

Ghostly garden

Reuse before recycling

Reuse before recycling

Garden all tucked in for the night

Garden all tucked in for the night. Sleep warm.