End of May update

Time for an update on the garden. A few friends and relatives were able to get an in person update last weekend during Ethan’s graduation party. The weather forecast showed a near certainty of rain and storms during the party up until about an hour before it actually started. Very thankful the weather change for the better and we had a great time outside in the back yard.

I also want to welcome any new followers and subscribers.  I heard I might have picked up a few more this spring. Not sure you will find this all that exciting, but welcome all the same.

Zucchini with the row of radish in the background. Both need thinned.

Pole beans doing nicely.

Carrots are a bit spotty but starting to fill in.

Spinach is doing okay so far.

Sugar snap peas are finally starting to get their growth spurt.

Probably a couple too many cucumber plants but appreciate having too many.

Lettuce and Kale which were started indoors are doing quite well.

Onions are still adapting to their new home. Hopefully they will start growing more in a few days.

Sweet corn is a bit patchy this year. Wondering if I didn’t have a consistent planting depth.

Some of the sweet potatoes seems to be having issues this year. The new growth leaves are orange and purple. Hoping they grow out of it.

Steak Sandwich tomatoes are climbing their ladders quickly.

SuperTasty tomatoes are also doing well.

The two Cherry Baby tomato plants are already fighting to escape their cages. I can’t turn my back on them for too long or they will be out.

A closer look at the Cherry Baby and lo and behold there is fruit already!

Yellow Egg Squash is a tad slow this year, but the plants are there and growing well.

Unfortunately, the weeds are also growing well. I had these walkways cleared just a couple weeks ago and the weeds have grown back even thicker.

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Seedling graduation

Today was the big day for these seedlings. Time to graduate from the basement where they have been growing under the protective care of climate control and regularly scheduled lighting out to the high school of a plastic greenhouse on the deck.

With the tomatoes growing so well and the weather being so nice I decided to get the greenhouse off the garage ceiling and out onto the deck. If I am getting the greenhouse out, might as well graduate some seedlings to plants while I am at it.

The graduating class of 2019

As you can see, the 32 cells were getting a bit crowded. Germination to seedling rate was pretty good. There were only two empty cells, one for kale and another for lettuce.

The tomatoes get the bigger red and green pots. Kale and lettuce were relegated to the leftovers. If I had the energy and a plan of where to plant them, I should have just placed the lettuce seedlings right into the garden.

Twice as many tomato plants as I need
Post ceremony

Now, just because these kids are out of the basement class, it doesn’t mean they still don’t need to be monitored. So, naturally the Wyze Cam moved with them. The angle isn’t quite right so I need to find a better way to mount the camera inside the greenhouse but it is a start and still protected from the elements.

Once the growing tray was emptied, I decided to see if I could get a second class through the basement this spring. This second class is a group of zinnias.

Springtime update

I’ve been getting a little behind on the blog posts so I am going to merge a couple planned blog posts into one in an attempt to catch up.

The seedlings are off to a great start and I used the Wyze Cam to capture a time lapse video of the stretching and dancing of the plants under the florescent lights.

The video was made with an image captured once every second and then the resulting video was sped up by 2 times.

I found it interesting to see all the motion of the plants. Especially the two kale seedlings fall over at 0:36 and 0:55. It is also neat to see the change in behavior between ‘day’ and ‘night’.

Okay, next topic…

A few posts ago I talked about how even though I tried to replace all the problematic raised beds last year so I wouldn’t have to do any major repairs this spring, I still have repairs that need to be made.

A couple weekends ago the weather was pretty nice so I dug in and patched up the bed.

Rotten cedar board
Rotten cedar board

Not sure if this is normal with cedar, but I was expecting it would hold up a bit better. After looking at the soil side of the boards, I noticed some evidence of insect and worm damage.

Wondering if it could be worms that caused my issues

A few different kind of worms were present.

Another set of tiny worms

So, what to do about it. I didn’t really want to spend more money on the garden this spring. In the end, I decided to cheat a bit on the repair. I took the boards out and flipped them around so that the weathered outside of the boards were on the inside. I then used some of the salvaged 2×2 stakes from the old repairs last fall and used them to brace up the corners… again. I really wanted to be done with those 2x2s.

I really was hoping to be done with those 2×2 braces
Outside in and inside out

As much as I didn’t want to use the 2x2s again, they do really seem to be working out. Fingers crossed that this will hold up for this year.

Another view of the rotten side out

July Update

Umm… ya. It has been a month since the last blog post. Sorry about that but it has been busy. Here is a catch all post with pictures from the past four weeks or so.

First up are some pictures of the garden from June 13th before we left on vacation.

Here is a shot of the corn.

Here is a shot of the corn.

Three cucumber plants starting to climb

Three cucumber plants starting to climb

Sweet potatoes are taking off. Starting to leave the raised bed.

Sweet potatoes are taking off. Starting to leave the raised bed.

Golden egg yellow squash still look like two separate plants.

Golden egg yellow squash still look like two separate plants.

Some nice green tomatoes on the Brandy-Boy.

Some nice green tomatoes on the Brandy-Boy.

This year we headed back to the mountains. We spent 10 days in Colorado visiting Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, Canon City and many other points in between.

Pet turkey at one of the Airbnbs on our trip. Kids loved it.

Pet turkey at one of the Airbnbs on our trip. Kids loved it.

Panoramic shot of Emerald Lake in RMNP

Panoramic shot of Emerald Lake in RMNP

A stop along Trail Ridge Road in RMNP

A stop along Trail Ridge Road in RMNP

Eventually, as with all vacations, we had to come home. Also, as with past vacations in June, the garden grows by leaps and bounds while we are gone. This year we had over 4.5 inches of rain while we were away and the temperatures were in the 80s-90s. Very good growing weather as is evident by the next couple pictures.  I didn’t bother showing the rest of the garden as it is just a overgrown jungle.

Corn after vacation

Corn after vacation

A ripe cherry tomato!

A ripe cherry tomato!

Nemesis bugs, Japanese Beetles

Nemesis bugs, Japanese Beetles

A week or so after getting back, it was time to start harvesting some vegetables! So far I have gotten peas, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers and green beans. The peas just finished up but I expect the rest to continue producing for a bit longer yet. At least until the bugs and disease start killing the plants. Squash vine borers and spotted blight seem to shorten the squash and tomatoes before they are ready.

Not too bad a harvest.

Not too bad a harvest.

And finally that takes up to today. The shots below were taken in the garden tonight.  Bush green beans are moving into their second week and pole beans are just about to be ready. Corn is fully tasseled and producing ears. I’m guessing another week or maybe two until we get to try some.

They don't call these cargo shorts for nothing. Pocket full o' Green Beans.

They don’t call these cargo shorts for nothing. Pocket full o’ Green Beans.

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.

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