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!

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.

Progress in the garden

A quick check on the garden tonight and I was happy to see some more plants emerging. No need to write a big preamble here, the pictures and captions should suffice.

Nice circle of peas

Nice circle of peas

First sign of a green bean

First sign of a green bean

Zucchini from seed has made an appearance

Zucchini from seed has made an appearance

Sweet Corn has also joined the party

Sweet Corn has also joined the party

Brandy Boy tomatoes are looking a nice shade of green

Brandy Boy tomatoes are looking a nice shade of green

Lettuce started indoors has started to look good this week

Lettuce started indoors has started to look good this week

 

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

Time to order some seeds

First off, Happy New Year and welcome to the 2017 season of the garden blog!  I hope to do a better job keeping the blog updated this year, but a lot of that will depend on how busy I get with work and life.

The last couple years, I have been using some of the seeds I had purchased from past years.  While it did same me some money, last year I noticed some issues with germination and overall yields.  Irregardless, it was time to replenish the seed cache as I have used up most of the stock.

The order this year isn’t too much different than in years past but there are a few new comers and variety changes.  Most notably new this year is Kale.  We’re a bit late to the Kale bandwagon but have started adding it into the salad mixes and I must say I am liking the color and texture it brings.  It tastes decent and at least makes the salad look healthy right up until I dump too much dressing on it.

Other notables, while not entirely new, in the second year of growing sweet corn, I am going to a childhood favorite variety.  This year I am going to give ‘Kandy Korn’ a try.  I promise to not over plant the garden this year.

I’m also going to mix up the tomato varieties again this year.  ‘Oh Happy Day’ and ‘Cherry Baby’ will join the favorite of the past few years ‘Brandy Boy’.

Finally a new variety of cucumber will be tried. I was not happy with the cucumbers last year as they just really never did much.  This time around I am going to give ‘Burpee Hybrid II’ a chance.  The claim of being disease resistant sounds very appealing to me as I seem to constantly have some mildew or fungus killing off my plants before they get to the end of the season.

Below is the full list of seeds and plants ordered.  I’ll pick up Sweet Potatoes locally closer to planting time.

Item Number: 55610A1 Pkt. (200 seeds)
Item Number: 51474A1 Pkt. (2 oz.)
Item Number: 69501C3 Pkts (1 of Each)
Item Number: 68072A1 Pkt. (100 seeds)
Item Number: 53595A1 Pkt. (30 seeds)
Item Number: 13789C75 plants each variety (225 plants total)
Item Number: 53512A1 Pkt. (300 seeds)
Item Number: 60855A1 Pkt. (1000 seeds)
Item Number: 62450A1 Pkt. (25 Seeds)
Item Number: 61101A1 Pkt. (35 seeds)
Item Number: 51205A1 Pkt. (25 seeds)
Item Number: 54310A1 Pkt. (25 seeds)
Item Number: 63480A1 Pkt. (20 seeds)
Item Number: 61861A1 Pkt. (3000 seeds)

Mid summer garden update

I’ve continued to take pictures of the progress in the garden but just never get around to posting them. I’ll use this post to try and catch up a little.

Sweet corn experiment has been very educational. Biggest lesson so far is that I planted too much corn for the garden bed. While the plants have grown well enough, the overcrowding appears to be resulting in small and not fully formed ears. I hope to be getting my first few picked ears in a couple days and will post more details then.

Baby Sweet Corn

Baby Sweet Corn

As has been typical in past years, the yellow squash and zucchini get off to a good start, but it is only a matter of time until the squash vine borer puts and end to it.  I’ve already pulled one of the squash plants and executed the squash murderers for their crime.

Yellow squash and Zucchini

Yellow squash and Zucchini

Always nice to get some red splashes in the garden. These cherry tomatoes were the first to break the red barrier.

First red tomatoes

First red tomatoes

Not a bad haul for one night in the garden. A good chunk of these will be passed around to the neighbors and coworkers.

More vegetables than we can eat

More vegetables than we can eat

I suppose if there were no pests, gardening wouldn’t be much of a challenge and therefore not much fun. Would be nice to not have to fight them all every year.

Can you spy the pest?

Can you spy the pest?

So far this Tomato Horn Worm has been the only one of its kind found so far this year.

How about now?

How about now?

Finally a view of the sweet corn from a bif of a distance away to see how tall it has gotten. If nothing else, we should have some decorations for Halloween this year.

Sweet corn is nice and tall

Sweet corn is nice and tall

May not recover from this

The most recent storm that came through last night didn’t seem as bad to me, but the sweet corn seemed to experience it a bit differently. After the earlier storm, it was leaning. This is almost knocked flat. I am not sure this is recoverable.

Corn knocked flat

Corn knocked flat

I spent some time installing some additional string between the posts. I tried to pull up some of the corn and get it up as best I could. I am afraid it won’t be good enough. At least one of the stalks was thinking about shooting up a tassel, so the time remaining to get reestablished is running short. The picture below is where I left off.  Still quite a mess.

After some more string and some careful proping

After some more string and some careful propping

I’ll let it go and see what happens. Maybe something will still come of it. One thing for sure, I can see now that I planted way too dense. Next year I think I need to knock out about 15-20% of the plants and see if that helps.  Always learning.