Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 20, 2009

Boy am I tired... /sigh too much time playing Farm Town on Facebook with my wife.  I should have known my addictive personality would latch onto it. Thankfully though my youngest and I did some real gardening before hand.  Actually I got a ton accomplished in about an hour outside with my son.  He sure had fun too. He misses his brother when he stays the night over at Nana's on Wednesdays. 

Let's see, when I got home I knew I wanted to plant the cukes I had over-grown in the house.   Their roots were sticking out from the soil blocks all over the place.  I was thinking on the bus that my cukes are way behind everyone around here, and I want them to be ready at the same time my brother's are so we can have a pickling party.  I hate making pickles alone. 

I'm not holding out much hope for them, although they do look pretty.

Yeah, all the rest of the ones I planted out died, or maybe got munche, not sure.  Anyway, I currently have a dozen or so seeds soaking overnight to direct sow in the morning.  It worked last year and nothing else has worked this year, so it's how it's going to be.

After these three were planted in bed #1 with some compost worked in before hand, it was time to take care of the peas in bed #4.  They've done much better than the ones in bed #3 because I had a cold frame over them for several weeks.  They're about 4 to 5 inches high right now and so it was time to build my trellis.  I'm using the old 2x2 one with twine laced between screws at 6 inch intervals that I used unsuccessfully this fall.  The peas in bed #3 will have the benefit of my 7x15 trellis. 

The 2x2s are just untreated pine, so they're slowly rotting away, and the twine is rotting too so it breaks easily.  You can't see it but I had to tie it back together multiple times.  Let's hope it doesn't break before the peas die back and I harvest some seeds from what we don't eat.  I would hate to have to do some emergency surgery on the trellis. Hehe.  You can't see it but a couple are starting to be trained to grab the bottom string.  Also, the re-seeding I did is showing good germination after soaking them overnight.

At the front of that bed is a mixture of Mokum and Purple Haze carrots.  They've come up well, but I'm a bit nervous.  I'm hoping that the foliage is radically different between the two varieties.  Not that I care which is which, I would love for the kids to be surprised when they harvest them, purple or orange, you never know, hehe.  What I am worried about is that I may have a bad weed infestation all of a sudden, since the stems are nothing like carrots are supposed to look.

Insane isn't it?  Looks like blades of grass.  Very odd.  I know I composted grass and some of it didn't compost all the way before I spread it over the garden, but it shouldn't have viable grass seed in it, should it?  I don't want to pull any carrots before they're even close to being ready.  Thoughts?

Of  course between the carrots and peas in bed #4 are my yukon gold potatoes that I showed you a sprout yesterday.  Well, made my way over to the other end of the yard where my Butte's are in my bins.  They were getting close to needing to be covered before the rain storms hit two days ago.  I admit I hadn't been out to check on them in the thunder storms.  Look what I found.

Oh my how you've grown, hehe.  Seriously, this is potentially VERY bad.  Those stems are way more than 4 inches tall. I may have missed the opportunity to grow potatoes this season.  If they think they're stems instead of roots, the game's over before it starts.  I could build up 5 more boards and fill it with more dirt than I have on hand, only to get potatoes in the bottom six inches just like they were early varieities.  I really don't want that to happen because I didn't want to go out in the pouring rain and lightning to carefully add dirt by the handfulls around each plant. 

Hoping for the best I did just that today when the weather was sunny and in the low 60s.

Here's my little helper who insisted on helping me drag 3 bags of Mel's Mix over to the bins.  He then helped spot the worms that had miraculously appeared inside sealed bags of Mel's Mix.  There were a surprising number.  Anyway, it's almost time to add another board.  I was getting hungry at this point and still had another bin to do, so I didn't do it. I will have to add a board before I hill anymore, which should be in a day or two.

The other bin was even taller than the first.  That one I absoultely needed to add a board.  It took a ton of dirt to fill in the blank spots and hill the plants, but here it is finished.

Yay! I finally have my second board.  My buddy Judy is close to harvesting her bins, but such is life in the "other" 8b (I hope you got Patti's newsletter and read our joint articles on the zone issue!).  Anyway, I'm excited even if I don't get squat from them.  If so, a painful lesson learned.

Well, that's it for tonight. Hope you enjoy your garden!


  1. Those are definitely weeds next to your carrots. It can get into your beds simply by wind carrying it.

    I am betting you caught the potatoes fast enough that you will be fine on the harvest.

    Last comment, your son is sure a cutey!

  2. engineeredgardenMay 20, 2009 at 11:17 PM

    At least you got to spend some time in the garden with your little helper! Boy, he sure does look happy...Heh. I always have to make pickles by myself, because everyone else is glued to the tv all the time...Maybe your potatoes will be ok, i'll harvest mine in a couple of weeks, and really ain't expecting much from them.

  3. It looks like you and your son had a great time playing in the dirt :-) Your cukes seedlings look great -- I'm sure they will do well planted in the garden.

    I have to agree, those are grass seedlings near the carrots. I would just pull them -- I don't think it would hurt the carrots. I actually dig down next to my carrots to find out what size they are so that I don't pull them too early. If they aren't big enough, I just cover them back up and they keep growing with no problem. So i don't think you'd disturb the carrot roots very much by pulling the grass seedlings.

    Wow -- look at those potatoes! I don't think it's too late to hill them. I would just add a board every other day and put Mel's Mix in there on the same interval. Those stems will root...

  4. I hit the submit button too fast!! I didn't finish commenting LOL Yes, I got Patti's ezine! Loved the articles :-) That is so cool. We'll have to team up again for the next month's issue. I was also so excited to see that Fred used pics of my "teenage" chickens in his article! I was reading the ezine and got to Fred's part and though... hmm, that looks like Buffy.... OH that is Buffy LOL Patti and Rob does such a great job with the ezine. I'm really excited about being able to contribute.

  5. Hey Sinfonian - I have a question about the bins. I planted some Kennebec potatoes in a 2 x 3 bin myself this year and they are doing great. I am already up to my last board (which makes the bin 2.5 feet tall). When covering the potatoes with more dirt - do you actually bury any of the stems or do you just put soil around them? I have been just putting soil around them and down the middle of the plant - but haven't really been covering up any major stems. I'm not too sure where these additional roots will form.

    Thank you!

  6. You have an adorable little helper! My boys get out of school tomorrow for the summer. I'm that my teenage son will help me build some more boxes... and that my tween will help me do some more planting!

  7. My cukes are about the same stage as yours, so you're not alone lol! If you can't harvest in time for your brother, we can have a pickling party instead. I still have green tomato relish and pickled beets left from last year, but didn't plant cukes last year. This year's my first try, so we'll see what happens!

  8. I had and still have loads of weeds in my beds since spreading my compost on them this year. Not sure what the deal is because the compost was stemming last summer. Oh well, I guess I will have to pull them all one of these days. I hear you on not knowing what is carrots and what is weeds, I have been having them same thought.

    Good to know to bury the potatoes before they are 4" high. I just planted my bin a few days go so I am just patiently waiting for them to grow. I decided to only fill it 4 boards high this year and if I have potatoes all the way up I will go the full 6 next year. Hedging my losses :-)

  9. My latest cukes are about the same size as yours. They're my 2nd batch. I planted my seedlings out too early and they didn't like the cold we had been having. A hail storm did them in for good. I was chatting with my neighbor yesterday - he recently bought 3 cucumber plants and 2 of them died after planting. I think our weather has just been too cold.

    My Kennebec potatoes did the exact same thing during the rains we had a few days ago. I checked them yesterday and was completely shocked at how much they had grown. Of course, I ended up scrambling to fill them in with soil.

  10. Your garden looks great. I have really been enjoying reading about your triumphs & trevails. Some of your challenges are really familiar as I am just over the hill in Boise, ID. (I don't have to worry so much about excess water tho! *grin*)

    Have a quick question about "earthing up" my potatoes. I moved them from the ground into bins so i could use this technique. I am a little confused about when to add more compost. I have just started to see leaves above the compost. Do i cover the leaves as soon as i see them? Or do i want only a certain amount of the plan exposed to the sun?

    Thanks and keep sharing your garden experience!