Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day, or Patriot Day, or whatever they're calling it now.  What it means is that unless you extended  your taxes, you're done for the year and can get back to gardening.  At least that's how I felt.

First let me say, folks are really up in arms over my decision not to plant green beans this year.  Let me say I tried them last year and nobody in my family liked them. I even tried blanching them and freezing them.  The one time I cooked some frozen ones I tried cooking the heck out of them in the microwave like was suggested.  No luck.  Again, nobody in my family liked them.  We like canned green beans, so sue us, hehe.  Anyone want two gallons of frozen geen beans? hehe.  My brother's going to grow some this year, so I'll try them again.  If I like them I'll grow them again next year.

This is going to be a hodge podge of stuff today.  I don't have a main topic to discuss, but a ton to say.  First off, I'm still getting tons of traffic from all over.  If you've stopped by from somewhere else, stay a while, hundreds of gardeners that keep coming back can't be wrong, hehe.  What's more is that my potato bin page has now busted through 15,000 views.  That's incredible.  Before the article I was happy to have 5,000 views!

On a separate note, yesterday evening instead of posting some of this, I was busy drafting next month's article for Patti's GardenGirl ezine.  It's going to be great. I get to work with my mentor Judy from Alabama.  If you haven't seen her blog there is a ton of great info there.  Oh, and if you haven't signed up for Patti's innovative garden ezine, I would recommend you do so.

Now, I'd like to take you on the first of many garden tours to come.  If you've been reading my blog from last year, you know that I love to share my garden with folks, both in person and digitally.  For now however, not much is going on since it really isn't spring yet.  If you recall, I only put seedlings in the ground a few weeks ago.  Anyway, here we go.

Here is the back of bed#1.  Of course I knew I was going to plant cukes on this section of trellis this year.  Aside from hanging out right along the ground, they look like they've held up to temperatures in the 30s over the last few nights.  In front of them was a plug row of broccoli when I found my seeds were particularly viable this year and tons of them grew strong seedlings.  Now that I see this pic though, on the right there are actually two seedlings.  I didn't realize that  when I planted them.  Darn, I thought I was going to be able to plant two cauliflower in the left two squares of that row, I guess it will only be one.  That means more squares of the overflow bed #4 will get cauliflower.  More on that much later.

Right below that is one of the only rows of bed #1 that I hadn't planted lettuce.  So look what those seedlings have done so far...

On the far left is two mustard greens.  Anyone know when I should harvest them for a salad? I want them to spice up the salad a bit, but they should be tender like lettuce.  Thoughts?

The rest of that row is two squares of Salad Bowl and one of Red Sails.  Below that starts a row of salad greens with two extra Red Sails seedlings that I need a place to thow them.  Notice there's no Italiensheir (no, I vow to never spell it right) in my bed?  Well, for some reason, none of them took.  I swear I tried at least four of them.  They worked no problem last year.  I guess I had better direct sow some.  Darn, I just remembered how tall they are.  I guess they'll go in front of the mustard greens... they look tall.  hehe.

Finishing up the covered bed #1 is the front.

Up front I've got a slew of overwintered carrots.  And I swore we'd harvested everything from them last fall, or if we missed any, the coons got the rest, but no.  I understand that overwintered carrots go to seed.  I hope that means that I can still harvest carrots that are edible before they shoot up stalks.  Let me know if I should just rip these out.  I would hate to do it since these are by far the closest carrots my son has to being ready to eat.  Oh, and in front of those are two squares of radishes.  Gotta have radishes for salads.  I sure hope they hurry up since the lettuce is almost ready.

Well, much as I'm sure you'd like to see the other beds, I don't have pics of them, so here are a few shots I took over the last few days that I found on my phone when I was uploading them...

Hehe, gotta love squirrils.  This is my nice, neat garlic rows, broken up by some pretty purple flowers that I never planted.

When I was watering my potato bins, look what I found!  Yep, two sprouts.  And I was searching back through last year's posts, this is far earlier than last year, and I planted sooner.  Must have been the major sprouting action I had for these seed potatoes.  Now for the bad news... we had a tid bit of frost this morning, on our historical average last frost date.  Potato spouts don't like frost.  Time will tell.

Lastly, when I was bringing in the seedings from their hardening off time outside when it got dark, I couldn't help but look at them, really look at them.  Frankly I hadn't been paying much attention to them before, but with all the talk about sick tomatoes on GW, I couldn't help it.  Grrr. 

So, what'cha think?  Anything to be concerned with this plant? Sorry for the blurriness, my camera doesn't take good close-ups.

Or this one...

So I've got curled, browning leaves on one, and odd discoloration on the other.  Otherwise the seedlings are all studry and growing strong.  If I get time this weekend I'll consider plant them outside in my new SWCs!

Hope you've gotten out to enjoy your garden.


  1. I had the same problem with my tomatoes and I posted about them over on Patti's messageboard. There's some good advice there under "My tomatoes are sick". I repotted mine, let them dry out a little, and then fertilized them to boost the phosphorous. It seems to have worked and they are doing well now. I like your purple flowers :), I have grape hyacinths coming up all over the place and I didn't plant them either.

  2. The odd coloration on the second tomato picture just looks like it was burned - likely was touching your lights for a while and got damaged. Nothing to fret about. The first picture of the tomato looks like stress damage - probably a combination of nutrient deficiency and some mechanical stresses (cold, jostling around). If the plant is otherwise doing well and growing on then (again) I would not concern myself about it. However, if it is not thriving then I would seriously give consideration to a drench of some weak kelp emulsion and a little epsom salts diluted in the tea. The shot of readily available for uptake phosphorous and magnesium are often just what is needed for tomatoes and peppers that are languishing. WEAK dilutions are the key though and not all the time. However, most potting soils and germinating mixes are low in nutrients (germinating mixes are often sterile), and if you have starts that are in that environment for long periods of time with no additional nutrient supplementation - they often begin to show signs of nutrient stress.

    The carrots are quite edible but you should do it now. Once it goes to seed the core gets all pithy. You will also find that the roots are quite "hairy" now - as the plant is creating a more complex root system in preparation for seed production. You can peel the carrot and it will be fine to eat though. Not as much fun for your son to pull and just eat out of the garden though. I would use a garden fork and pull all of them up... peel them, and then put them in the fridge (in a plastic bag) for snacking on.

  3. I lost all of my traffic when I switched to blogspot. The old site got 36,000 hits over an 8 month period, and is still getting 200 views a day. Go figure....

    I wouldn't be concerned at all about the tomatoes, mine looked far worse than that.

  4. Little potato sprouts will be unaffected by light frosts. Some of my taters from last year got overlooked and were sprouting in March. Very low to the ground mind you, not ready to go vertical or truly leaf out. It seems they know how to deal with the weather when left to themselves.

  5. I like your purple flowers! I believe they are hyacinths. We get those all over from squirrels down here also. Good luck with your tomatoes and potatoes!

  6. Looks like your garden is getting underway again. The lettuces are looking great as always. I think the PNW should be called lettuce growing capital of the world.

    You should definitely try fresh green beans again from your brothers garden. I think they are best steamed until they are just tender, 6-10 minutes and served with a little butter and S&P. I agree that frozen beans are horrible.

  7. Some of my 5 kids won't eat home grown beans...they say they 'squeak' in their teeth and they just can't handle it!

    If you family won't eat it why bother growing it is my motto! Kim

  8. container gardenerApril 20, 2009 at 9:20 AM

    Try tossing the green beans in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast them in your oven. If they are still not a hit, add a bit of chevre and some sundried tomatoes. This is the best way to eat fresh beans.