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

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Finally some time in the garden

And by some time, I mean just 3 measly hours Saturday morning before the rain moved in.  The weather was finally nice for a few days, Thursday through Saturday around noon.  I spent the first two at work and softball games and was determined to get out in to the garden before the rain came in on Saturday.  It would have been nice to have had more time, but what I got was still welcome.

Another year of winter damage to the old garden beds

Another year of winter damage to the old garden beds

Dig out the sides and brace them with 2x2 spikes

Dig out the sides and brace them with 2×2 spikes

More digging

More digging

More aligning

More aligning

In addition to doing some garden repairs, I also planted my lettuce and one spinach seedlings in the garden. They were happy for the new beds on with the weather in the mid 60s on Sunday and tolerated the rainy 50 degree day on Sunday. I’m not so sure they are happy with the 33 degrees and snow today however. I know this is Ohio, but come on, enough with the lingering crappy weather.

Lettuce plants

Lettuce plants

Some more lettuce plants

Some more lettuce plants

Rushed this post a bit as I wont have any time of the next few days to work on it. Hope it isn’t too bad.

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.

Starting indoors

Hello and welcome to the 2018 growing season.  After yet another year of diminishing blog posts, I’ll see if I can do any better this year.

To kick off the 2018 garden, I’ll start with a post about starting some seeds indoors.  Today I started by planting some tomatoes, lettuce and spinach.  I was going to try and start some kale too, but can’t seem to find those seeds.  I’m using the same seeds as purchased last year to save a few bucks.

Last year I think I was a bit over zealous and started my seeds a little too early (Feb 26th).  This year had a lot of other things going on and I didn’t stress out too much about starting the seeds a bit later.  Time will tell if I waited too long.

New soil in the seed starting traya

New soil in the seed starting traya

Three varieties of tomatoes. Same as last year.

Three varieties of tomatoes. Same as last year.

Just for fun, three different types of lettuce as well.

Just for fun, three different types of lettuce as well.

All settled in on the growing shelf in the basement

All settled in on the growing shelf in the basement

First Sweet Corn Harvest

This week I bought some sweet corn from the local grocery store and was a bit disappointed after husking the ears. Many of the kernels were smashed. I decided to go ahead and pick four of the ears from the garden to supplement the meal.

First four ears of corn from the garden

First four ears of corn from the garden

After husking

After husking

As you can see, two of the ears were pretty well developed but the other two could have used a few more days. I also have to admit that the flavor was just okay. I was expecting a much sweeter taste having about the shortest possible time from stalk to steamer. I’ll let the other ears hang out in the garden a bit longer and give it another try next week.

Kitchen side of gardening

While the garden has been enjoying the abundant rain this past week, I spent some of my time in the kitchen turning a few of the vegetables into tasty dishes.

Old Fashion Green Beans

First up is some Old Fashion Green Beans. Not that fresh, steamed green beans aren’t good enough, but if you add in some bacon and brown sugar they can be even better.

You know when the recipe starts off with Bacon, it does not really matter what follows. :-)

You know when the recipe starts off with Bacon, it doesn’t really matter what follows. 🙂

Bowl of green beans for dinner.

Bowl of green beans for dinner.

Trimming green bean tails.

Trimming green bean tails.

Fresh picked and cut green beans.

Fresh picked and cut green beans.

Final product. Green beans, bacon and brown sugar.

Final product. Green beans, bacon and brown sugar.

The annual zucchini crisp

At work we have a breakfast club where each member of the club takes turns bringing something in for breakfast on Fridays. Most of the time there are donuts, bagels or muffins among other tasty treats. While technically not a breakfast food, I thought I’d bring in Zucchini Crisp. I’ve detailed the making of this dish a few times before (click here for the original posting with link to the recipe) but figured I’d capture a few more pictures of the process again this year.

This year I started with a 16 inch long zucchini. I wanted to capture how much I used for future reference.

This year I started with a 16 inch long zucchini. I wanted to capture how much I used for future reference.

Peeled and sliced.

Peeled and sliced.

Removing the spongy, seed core from each slice.

Removing the spongy, seed core from each slice.

Amount of zucchini remaining.

Amount of zucchini remaining.

The zucchini magically turned into apples and mixed with a lot of sugar and cinnamon.

The zucchini magically turned into apples and mixed with a lot of sugar and cinnamon.

Next pour the zucchini mixture on top of the bottom crust.

Next pour the zucchini mixture on top of the bottom crust.

Sprinkle the rest of the crust on the top.

Sprinkle the rest of the crust on the top.

Finally, before cooking, we sprinkle some more cinnamon on top.

Finally, before cooking, we sprinkle some more cinnamon on top.