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.

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Spring planting for 2018

Over the last two weekends I was able to get all but one vegetable planted in the garden.

First off though, is this years diagram of the planting plan.  Nothing too radical this year, pretty much most of the same from past years just rotated so I don’t have things in the same spots.

Garden plan for 2018

Garden plan for 2018

The first weekend (May 5/6) was a bit rushed because I had to first get the second garden bed replaced.  I also had to move the lettuce from the back two beds to the second replacement bed.  All of that took a while. In the end, I had time to get the peas and radish planted and get the tomatoes out of their tiny pots and into the ground where they can have all the root and head room they could wish for.

In the years past, I never provided the peas and beans anything other than water and occasional fertilizer.  This year I am giving an inoculant a try.  When ordering seeds this year I threw Burpee Booster into the cart.  We’ll see if I notice any difference.

Giving the beans and peas a boost

Giving the beans and peas a boost

All six tomato plants with ladders

All six tomato plants with ladders

Two Brandy Boy tomatoes

Two Brandy Boy tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Cherry Baby tomatoes

Pea tower with a few left over lettuce plants I did not move

Pea tower with a few left over lettuce plants I did not move

Transplanted lettuce and bean tower

Transplanted lettuce and bean tower

For the second weekend (May 12/13), the goal was to get the rest of the garden planted. The weather forecast looked like this.

Not a good forecast for planting

Not a good forecast for planting

As a result, I was up and in the garden before 8 am in an effort to get as much planted as I could before the rain arrived.  I’m happy to report I was able to get the garden planted.  In fact, it didn’t actually rain until Monday afternoon.  I had time to go to Lowes and get some sweet potato plants and get them in as well on Saturday. Between the vegetable garden and other needed yard work, we ended up being out until dark.  I was beginning to wish for the promised rain so I could be chased inside.  🙂

So, what all was planted this weekend…

  • Sweet corn
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Green Beans – Pole
  • Green Bean – Bush
  • Cucumbers
  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
Twelve sweet potato plants

Twelve sweet potato plants

All that remain are the onions. I’m still waiting on Burpee to process that portion of my order. I am tempted to just cancel the onions and try and find some locally.

Sweet Potatoes for 2017

Here is a post that is a couple weeks late.

I was a bit worried this year that I might not find sweet potato plants. A friend from work and I usually keep an eye out and buy them locally when we see them. After striking out at the usual spots I was finally able to find some. I have to say, these plants look to be some of the best we have had. Time will tell if they actually produce in the fall.

These were planted Memorial Day Weekend, May 28th.

Finally found some sweet potato plants at one of the local Lowes

Finally found some sweet potato plants at one of the local Lowes

Decent looking sweet potato plants this year

Decent looking sweet potato plants this year

Deep hole for the tall plants

Deep hole for the tall plants

Just the top leaves are left above ground

Just the top leaves are left above ground

All 12 plants planted

All 12 plants planted

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!

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)

Sweet potatoes

Surprise!  Despite the lack of posts this year, the garden does still exist. I still hope to write a sweet corn recap post as well, but will document the 2016 Sweet Potato harvest first.

Today I dug up the sweet potatoes and closed down the garden with this final harvest. So, how did they do?  Check the pictures below.

Nice, loose soil for the potatoes to grow in this year.

Nice, loose soil for the potatoes to grow in this year.

Yield from the first row (west most which gets the most sun)

Yield from the first row (west most which gets the most sun)

Middle row yield. Only two plants in this row, so harvest was lighter.

Middle row yield. Only two plants in this row, so harvest was lighter.

Yield from the third row. Had three surviving plants, but also got the least amount of sun.

Yield from the third row. Had three surviving plants, but also got the least amount of sun.

Yield from the third row. Had three surviving plants, but also got the least amount of sun.

Gabrielle helping to demonstrate the size of the potatoes this year.

All the sweet potatoes piled up together.

All the sweet potatoes piled up together.

Vertical Ventures

After watching the garden grow over the past few years, I came up with a couple ideas to take advantage of the airspace above the garden.  The first idea is to try to get the yellow Golden Egg squash to grow up instead of out.  Last year the plants ended up trailing off outside their home bed, across the walkway and up into the neighboring bed.  They don’t appear to be a vining type plant, so I imagine it will take a bit of coaxing to grow vertically, but I figure I’ll give it a try even if it means tying the plant up to the trellis.  Nothing too fancy for the trellis.  I just bough a 4 ft folding panel trellis from Gardener Supply last year when they were on sale.  I liked the fact that it had larger openings which I think will help give the plant some room to fit.

Trellis for Golden Egg Yellow Squash

Trellis for Golden Egg Yellow Squash

View of the opposite side of the experimental squash trellis

View of the opposite side of the experimental squash trellis

The second idea has to do with sunflowers and pole beans.  Having grown sunflowers the past couple years as well as pole beans, I started to wonder if perhaps I could get a second crop of beans using the tall stalks of the sunflowers as supports. Today, I decided to give the idea a try. I had some leftover pole bean seeds and planted them along the already well established sunflowers. I’m not sure if the beans will like to grab a hold of the sunflower stalks or not. I’m also not sure they will get enough sun tucked under the fairly thick canopy. In the previous years, the sunflowers were always planted in a single row going east-west. This year I have a double row running north-south. We’ll just have to see how it goes, but I’m thinking the orientation could be better than what I have this year. Oh well, even if it is a fail, I am only out about a dozen bean seeds.

Organic pole bean towers

Organic pole bean towers