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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First plantings

Over three separate dates I have managed to get three different types of vegetables planted in the garden this spring.

First up was the lettuce and kale. These was planted Easter Sunday. The job was quick due to expert help.

Gabrielle helping plant some lettuce and kale.

Two rows of greens. One of lettuce and another of kale.

A few days later on Wednesday (4/24), I managed to get the sugar snap peas planted. I’m trying something a bit different this year with an outer and an inner ring of peas.  I’ve been having some issues getting all the plants past the germination and seedling stage, so this should increase the odds of getting a full set of plants.  Plus, the seeds are a bit old, from the 2017 season, so if they don’t germinate well for that reason I’ll have extras.

Rings of pea seeds

Good night peas, see you in about a week or so.

Finally, today (4/27) I planted the tomato plants. It might be a tad early but they have outgrown the greenhouse and need to get into the garden.  The taller of the plants were growing up and through the wireframe shelves of the next level.

Two plants of cherry tomatoes

This year, the cherry tomatoes will get the prime location of the garden. They are being planted in the Southwest garden bed. The variety of cherry tomato is Cherry Baby Hybrid.

New tomato cage

I’ve had issues in the past with some of the tomato plants out growing the tomato ladders. The cherry tomatoes especially would grow all over the place including up and beyond the top of the supports. This year I bought some new Tomato Tower cages from Gardner’s Supply which I am hoping are a bit taller and provide better support for the sprawling cherry tomatoes. They are a bit taller than the green tomato ladders I have been using but I’m still expecting the plants will spill out over the top.

View from the top

Both new cage towers

For the big tomatoes this year I am planting Steak Sandwich Hybrid.  These plants are in the Northwest bed.

Tomatoes in northwest bed

Rounding out the tomatoes are two SuperTasty Hybrid. These are planted in the Northeast garden bed and I am going to test out their claim of being ‘disease free’.  I’ve been struggling with blight on my tomatoes for quite some time now and we’ll see how these fair.

Tomatoes in Northeast bed

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.

Indoor seed starting

It is finally time to get some things planted, albeit indoors. Again this year I am starting the tomatoes along with some lettuce and kale.

Time to dust off the indoor seed starting system
Time to dust off the indoor seed starting system

This indoor seed starting tray and watering system was on the pricey side when I bought it, but I have been able to reuse it for a number of years now and I have to say it works quite well. The water from below design really helps keep the trays moist without the need to be hyper vigilant with watering.

32 cells of soil
32 cells of soil
Three varieties of tomatoes
Three varieties of tomatoes.  One from last year and two new ones.

Again this year I plan to plant two plants of three different tomato varieties. A repeat of Cherry Baby Hybrid along with Super Tasty Hybrid and Steak Sandwich Hybrid.

Also planted some lettuce and kale

I also planted some leafy greens to get a jump start on the spring time salads.

Big tomato

Is there such a thing as a tomato being too big for your hamburger?

Is there a hamburger there somewhere?

Is there a hamburger there somewhere?

Believe it or not, there is a whole hamburger, slice of provolone cheese and bottom bun being hidden underneath that slice of tomato. As you can probably imagine, it was also a giant mess of a burger to eat but it sure did taste good.

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.

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.