Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 15, 2008

Well, today was the median weather between 40s and icky and 80s and sunny.  The morning was grey and damp. By mid morning it was grey and warm, maybe 55-60.  By 1 it was downright warm around 65.  Then around 2 the sun came out for good and it got up into the upper 70s.  Tomorrow's high is expected to be 87!  EEK!  I hope to get out and water my plants in the morning.  Maybe my tomatoes will perk up. They sure didn't today.  The reason... Their spot gets full sun from sunrise until about 2.  It was complete overcast until 2 when the sun came out and was blocked by trees and then the house.  I still think it's the best spot for them, but if the sun doesn't come out early I'll be angry.  Full of dirt and water, that container isn't mobile... hehe.

When I got home, we'd already decided to make use of the sun to go for a walk. I hadn't gone for our 3.5 mile walk in a week.  We like to do it at least 3 or 4 times a week, weather permitting.  We don't mind rain, but it sucks for the kids.  By the time we got back it was 7:30.  All four of us toured the garden and I took lots of pics (see below for the row-by-row tour).  Then we folded up the plastic tarp and stored it in the shed.  Boy do I need to clean it out and organize better.  That's a project and a half. hehe.  Then, while my wife got the kids fed, I decided that my potatoes were way too tall not to be covered. Don't you agree?

So I burried them alive! MUAHAHAHAHA!

Oh yeah, and good news! The tiny seed potato in the upper left corner started sprouting from an eye! Again I have no idea if sprouts are roots or stems?  Any idea?  I pointed it up and barely covered it with dirt after I added.  That way it will catch up hopefully. I'll just get fewer potatoes from it. No biggie.

To back up, during my tour of the garden, it seemed pretty clear to my ignorant mind that at least the biggest spinach and lettuce was ready to harvest.  NOBODY will tell me that but it's got to be. The lettuce leaves are as big as my hand for goodness sake!  So I broke down and called my brother to ask.  He's never done spinach, but he said the worst thing that can happen is that you get baby lettuce or spinach if you harvest too early.  He also said to bend and cut lettuce from the center, but only two or three of the biggest leaves per plant. So that's what I'll do for dinner tomorrow.  A lettuce, spinach and radish salad!  Maybe grill up some chicken and yummy!

Ok, now for my garden tour.  First off, an overhead shot of my spinach with my furry leg in the shot to show perspective... I wear a size 9.5 shoe, hehe.

I know, my choice of squares is a bit odd. I planted the first square and then for good measure I planted two plants in that little triangle on the right.  Then I planted the next square over and the other triangle in the upper right.  Then I planted the third square over.  I think I'll wait a bit to plant the final two squares at the bottom.  I'm not sure how long spinach will continue to produce, nor how fast they'll re-grow leaves after harvesting, so I don't know if I need more space for spinach.  I've got room.  Something to ponder for later.

Next is my lettuce.  I took two shots because the Italiansheir is too tall and blocks the Red Sails from this angle...

Notice the succession planting on the right?  It's coming along nicely, so I planted three more squares in the next bed over, and they're sprouting nicely too! Here's my Red Sails. Don't you love the color, won't it contrast nicely with the greens?  hehe.

ROFL you can't tell where one plant ends and the next begins. Four plants have overrun the square! If I don't pick some of the big leaves soon they'll smother the seedlings in the next squares over.

Now it's time to share my cauliflower...

You can see my best plant in the middle there. It's over a foot tall, but it hasn't started growing a cauliflower stalk yet. /shrug  Also, on the left are my succession planted cauliflower. But I decided not to plant 8 plants this year. Instead, I decided to plant 6 cauliflower and 6 broccoli to free up more squares for other plants that take up less space.  Besides, I don't know that it'll work and that I'll like these varieties.  So in the upper two squares on the left where you can't see anything are two direct sowed broccoli seedlings. My only two direct sowed. All the others were salvaged from my initial indoor growing failure or started inside in peat pots until they sprouted and started growing.  I'm quite proud of them even if they're TINY.  On my to-do list soon, though not tonight, it's dark... plant a ring of radishes around those seedlings.  I've got them around all my other broccoli. hehe

Now for the carrots...

Aren't they cute?  All in neat little rows!  For some reason the ones on the left didn't grow. /shrug.  I started from bottom to top with my succession planting. Next I need to do the next two or four squares on the left that have nothing.  That's where my tomatoes WERE going to go until I planted them in my SWC (you can see it in the top left corner).  I know I want more carrots, but again, I'm not sure if I want 8 SF.  My kids love them and we do too, but do we really need 128 carrots? ROFL

Lastly for my recently unveiled bed #1, my pole beans.  These were soaked and then germinated inside in damp coffee filters until they sprouted, then went straight into the ground.  Unlike their bush bean cousins, they seemed to sprout much faster, and with much greater success (though my bush beans are actually sprouting FINALLY!)...

I know it's hard to see, but there are three in the left and two on the right in this photo. THey're small but definitely sprouting.  Not sure if the others will sprout. I planted 8/SF in four inch rows to account for the trellis.  Though if they don't all sprout I'll just keep planting until they do, just like my peas, which are doing quite nicely now (again FINALLY).  Let it be known that I planted too early I think.  I still may do it again next year but I'll do it with hoop covers over all my beds.

For grins I decided to share a shot of my peas.  Note the tiny plants intermixed with the big boys?  Those are the ones that were black holes in the dirt for peas.  I think one spot took 3 peas before it actually sprouted.  Oh and notice the bush beans in the middle?  Yes they're small but there is definite sprouting.  Indoor germination in coffee filters worked... to a point. I had to go through multiple coffee filters worth of seeds to germinate enough to fill 9/SF for 4 SF. This after I tried direct sowing failed when Mel said to. It will be interesting to see what hoop covers do for broccoli, peas and beans... Next year.

Lastly, I didn't take a picture because it wouldn't come out right, but this one day of hot weather sprouted dozens of corn seeds that I planted over the last week.  It's amazing!

Oh wait, I can't stop my post without my to-do list for the weekend... My wife wants to have a garage sale, but I need to mow, plant more seeds, build my trellis (if I get the netting) and cut more boards for my potato bins.  Not much, but I may think of something more when I'm out there in the hot sun...

Enjoy your garden!


  1. Wow your potatoes are looking great! If the weather is getting that warm, you'll be adding another board in about a week.

    Your spinach is looking awesome too. After harvesting it, you'll find that it will grow right back pretty quickly.

    All of your lettuces are really looking good. I think I'm going to plant more varieties this fall and follow your cue. I only planted a couple varieties this spring.... maybe we can do a seed swap -- I'd like to try some of the varieties that you've had success with.

    Wow your carrots are doing great. Once they germinate (that's the hardest part where you have to have the most patience!). Did you notice a difference in using the board to cover them up verus not covering them up?

    Your peas are growing very well. They will be climbing that trellis before you know it.

  2. The board did nothing for my carrots to germinate, but I think the poor weather had more to do with that than anything. They're germinating very well without any help actually. I don't think I'll use the plank method in the future.

    As for the lettuce, the Salad Bowl isn't doing as well as the others. I'd be willing to part with some seeds but I don't know anything about seed saving in general or lettuce seed saving in specific so I wasn't planning on saving seeds this year. Too much to learn.