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

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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.

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.

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