Blog Archives

Spring Begins

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Here are my 2 beds. I have learned some valuable lessons since this time last year. One is build a better trellis. I found a good size plastic mesh for the plant to have enough to grab and really hold on to. Also, it’s better secured using zip ties!

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You can’t really see them but it allows the plastic netting to have a good amount of tension.

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Those odd looking things are water walls. You fill up the chambers up with water and let them sit out to warm all day. This allows them to help keep your tomato and pepper plants warm. They saved my behind this year. I decided that I was going to get my plants in the ground because they were looking bad in the containers. Well, you see I didn’t check the weather. DUN DUN DUN… incoming freeze! The other issue was that I went a little crazy buying tomato plants. I got 4 and 2 peppers. I only had 3 water wells but they managed to radiate enough heat to save the whole lot.

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The other thing I am doing different this year is only planting what we ate last year. Tomatoes, peppers, sugar snaps, cucumbers and zucchini. I might get a few more little things but will focus on what I will eat.

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Garden downtime

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve updated my garden. Quite honestly it’s because it’s been around 100° for the past several weeks and everything has just sort of gone into stationary mode.

The cherry and plum tomato bushes have been producing decently well even with the heat and my lack of constant watering. However the larger variety tomato bush that I had has completely failed. By that I mean while the bush would flower almost continuously the entire time it has produced four tomatoes. It was removed today officially.

Right now I’m waiting for ‘fall’ transplants, and cooler weather.

In the meantime this is what happens when you assume that your cucumber plant is not producing fruit

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Birds vs. tomatoes

I can overlook a lot of minor pest issues in my garden. In fact I’ve been dealing with a prominent fire ant situation that I can’t seem to do anything about.

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But I about had a conniption fit when I walked out to check on my garden on Monday evening and noticed the carnage caused by the mockingbirds. What you see there is the remnants of my tomatoes that I picked off the ground in the garden beds. Apparently the mockingbirds had decided that my tomatoes would be a nice treat in addition to their regular diet of birdseed.

They actually entirely ate some of the cherry tomatoes, but what broke my heart was the random poking and destruction of my large salad tomato that was destined to become a BLT. So I put netting over all of my tomato plants.

It’s not very fine netting, they can still poke through it. It does however severely limit the number and location of the tomatoes that they have access to.

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If you look off to the right of that pictures you can sort of see some of it; I would say that that open spaces are probably quarter inch by quarter inch it’s still pretty open netting.

But you know what? It works!

Garden update 6-4

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First the bad news my sugar snaps did not make it. We had some storms a little while ago that had high winds. The sugar snap trellis that I made had become so top-heavy with the sugar snaps growing up it that it was knocked over enough times to pull their roots up enough to destroy the plants. It’s early enough in that year that I am going to replant them, but first I’m going to figure out a better trellis.

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My tomato plants are doing wonderful the plum and cherry tomatoes are so abundant right now that I can’t eat them all. My coworkers love them.

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In front is my regular tomato bush which is slower than the others but it’s still producing fruit. The incredibly large thing behind it is my dill plant which I’m allowing to go to seed. I am doing this so that next year I will have dill seeds to plant, and I will also have fresh dill seed to continue making pickles over the summer.

Other than that I’ve just been watering my garden on a regular basis because of the heat, I’ve also been adding compost tea and fertilizer. This weekend I’m going to go and add more mulch because a lot of what I had originally put down has broken down enough that it’s no longer serving the purpose of mulch.

My cucumber and squash plants are moving kind of slow right now. I think I planted them late, and the lack of mulch is slowing them down.

Admitting failures

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When I talk about admitting failures in gardening I’m not saying that I don’t have plants that are doing wonderfully and are exceeding my expectations. I’m saying that there comes a point when you need to realize that something that you’ve planted is not working and it’s okay to just pull it up and start over. It’s also okay to admit that you planted something that you don’t like, or don’t care to eat.

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The collard greens are a good example of something I planted that failed despite my efforts. With them I don’t know if it was I planted them too early, in the wrong place, or if it was just a bad batch of seeds. So I just picked a different square of something else that didn’t work out and replanted them to see what happens in a different area, and actually in the other bed.

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Another thing that did not work out for me very well where the onion transplants. For these it could’ve been that I bought them late, did not plant them immediately, or who knows what happened. Either way they completely failed to grow after the first month or so. After a couple of weeks of pulling one or two dead onion stocks out I finally just pulled them all. I decided to plant bunching onions in this one of the squares that they had been. I planted collard greens in the other square in an effort to help give my lettuce square some additional shade as it gets hotter.

I don’t have a picture of my other failed plant. And it was kind of a different situation, I hated the plants growth habit, it was Malabar spinach. It was growing it was doing well, the failure in that plant is that it sends up runners. I didn’t realize when I bought the plant that this is what it was going to do which in this case is my lack of research. After several weeks of going through the garden bed and pulling up spinach sprouts everywhere, I sort of had a little temper tantrum and just ripped them all out.

Another thing that I did today was to go through and work on my succession planting of beets and carrots. While I have not harvested either of these plants there something I am determined to grow successfully.

Garden update 5-14

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Those were my tomatoes last Thursday

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This is what they look like today as you can see once they start to turn yellow and then red it’s a pretty accelerated process. Of everything in my garden my tomatoes seem to be doing the best which I’m really excited about because the way that they taste fresh, still warm from the garden with a little bit of salt on them is like nothing you’re ever going to find in any supermarket. If you can find them please don’t tell. It’ll just make me insanely jealous of you.

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I don’t think that there is anything cuter than a petite baby cucumber. I’m kind of surprised how small the entire plant is in relation to the number of flowers it has on it.

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We had some pretty bad storms here last week. High winds lots of rain, which while the rain was greatly appreciated I’m kind of worried about my sugar snaps. You see the issue with the trellis that I constructed is that as the plants grew up it’s extremely top-heavy. I came outside probably 4 to 5 times and found it just flopped over. I tried putting little stakes in the bottom of it to kind of help anchor it down but the problem with my soil in my garden boxes is that it’s so loose and airy that the stakes don’t really hold on to anything. Lesson learned.

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Just a reminder that is a before and after picture of my cabbage. When I first planted it in the dead center of the square it took up maybe a quarter of the square-foot.

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And finally another failure to report. Those are supposed to be collared greens. I think that they’re doing poorly because they are getting too much shade from the tomato plants during the best sunlight of the day.

I guess the point in all this is that sometimes just trying something will work out in your favor you will be extremely pleased and happy that you did it, and sometimes you look back and realize that that wasn’t very smart.

Color shocks

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With me going out of town last weekend things of been kind of disjointed in me checking on the garden. I’ve known that I have tomatoes coming in for a couple weeks now and then at some point they’re going to start to ripen. I just didn’t expect for it to be this week. Imagine my shock when I go out to look at the garden without my glasses on to just kind of check and I noticed orange blobs in my Tomato bush!

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I noticed that some of the onion tops were no longer green and when I pulled them they came straight off the onion so you see are four tiny pearl onions. I loosely replanted them to see if they will grow again.

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I also noticed I have my first beans coming in. In a week or so we will be feasting on them!

And, because it’s been a long time since I’ve posted to full bed shots here’s what my beds look like now

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I need to go back through my pictures to post sort of a serial progression of things like the cabbage and just the beds in general because it’s hard for me to believe that this time three months ago we were building the boxes

Garden update 4-24

The garden is still fairly calm. but I’m about to be able to take my first pepper of the year!

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That is a sweet banana pepper, I’m probably not going to be able to pickle it like I well whenever I have a larger batch of them.

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So far my plum tomato bush is the most shocking of all of them in the sheer number of tomatoes I’m about to have.

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It’s okay I can make salsa I got jalapeños. Yes, for some unknown reason my jalapeno plant likes to have black stripes. I’m not sure what’s causing this but I’m not worried about it the jalapenos are still firm and the discoloration doesn’t seem to be impacting them at all.

And finally I have to show you the wonder that is my cabbage

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Keep in mind that the
Markers that you see around it are 1 ft.², it was not smart to plant it in the center of the garden.

Also as you notice my rosemary has died. I have a few ideas of why this happened but I don’t know for certain. I haven’t been able to get a picture of them because I have not had my phone out in the garden with me whenever I see them, but for some strange reason we have a proliferation of odd looking mushrooms I like to come up in my garden. They were coming up at the base of the rosemary quite a bit and I think that that contributed to the plants demise.

Gardening update 4/1

It’s been a pretty busy week I was out of town for about 2 1/2 days, came home and tried to cram a bunch into what felt like an incredibly short weekend.

The garden boxes are doing okay and as the temperatures have raised, we had mid 80s here most of the week, I began to notice that they weren’t holding moisture as well as I needed them to.

I ended up buying a garden soil amendment that is basically peat moss, fertilizer, manure combo and sort of went through and top dressed the beds the best I could

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This resulted in some of the squares being a lower elevation because of the seedlings in them. I then mulched over the dressing. I’m not sure if this is going to hurt or help. I guess we will see.

I also removed some concrete pavers that were buried in the yard. I used soil I removed from the garden boxes and some of the moisture control amendment to fill in the area. The plan is to attempt to plant grass seed there.

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The last major project this weekend for me was getting the morning glories, and moon flowers planted.

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I’m hoping in a few days that my tomato plants start to look better than this

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Spring!

Technically tomorrow is the first official day of Spring from the looks of things around here it’s already here. There isn’t really a lot to do garden wise except watch the seeds sprout.

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The cucumbers I directly planted are coming up.

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So are the sugar snaps, bush beans, and bush pickling cucumbers.

I also finally got tomato cages.

The pictures are kinda funky cause we have storms coming in and I hope they don’t obliterate the garden.