Monday, May 24, 2010

The garden is in!

It is as hot and humid as late July outside! I worked out in the garden for about an hour and a half this morning and I finally had to come in. I can't take the heat! But the good news is all of my plants are in. I still need to plant the bush bean and pole bean seeds and I plan to toss a few pumpkin seeds on the compost pile and see if anything comes up. But the transplants are in. All total I spent exactly $50 on plants this year. I don't remember exactly what I spent on seeds, but I think it was in the neighborhood of $6 or so. I still need to buy supplies to make a cucumber trellis as well as bean and tomato supports, but expenses so far have been relatively low (thankfully!).

In the top picture today you can see how my two broccoli plants have grown since I put them in. Also, the nasturtiums I planted between the broccoli are up and growing. Behind the broccoli are the two cucumber plants I bought this weekend. I went back to the variety I tried two summers ago: Burpless Hybrid. They were long and skinny and the taste was the best I've ever tasted in a cucumber. I think my trellis-building will have to wait until after graduation next weekend. Oh, and also in this picture you can see the snow peas flowering and climbing up their trellis. The chives are still in bloom although I think the flowers are on their way out.

Take a look here at my root crops. The beets are really growing. And the green onions and carrots are starting to make a respectable showing.

Here are my hot peppers tucked in behind the flowering sage. I have planted one banana pepper, one poblano, two jalepeno, and four serrano. Also toward the back is a rosemary plant that I tucked into the only available spare place in the garden.

So here is the garden today. Jeff mowed the lawn this morning so I had him pile the grass clippings in the back. Once they cool off and start decomposing, I'll spread them around my plants (tomatoes first!) as mulch. Other things I've added to the garden today that I haven't mentioned yet are Beauregard sweet potatoes (twice as many as last year), two Italian oregano plants, two curly parsley plants, two butternut squash plants, and four Big Bertha sweet bell pepper plants.

Today's weather:
High temp 86 F
Low temp 65 F
Sunny with 10% humidity (which feel like a lot more than that if you ask me!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Planting time!

My lone zucchini plant. I didn't grow zucchini last year and missed it so I decided to grow it again this year.

I have had this day designated as my planting day for weeks now so I didn't let a sick kid or the threat of rain deter me. So this morning I left Jeff at home to tend the sick kid and took my 13 year old down to the Bloomington Farmer's Market in search of plants for my garden. I'd made a list based on my garden plan. That place was packed with vendors and shoppers. I ended up spending $17 and I got 4 tomato plants (2 Cherokee Purples, 1 Beefy Boy, and 1 Roma), 4 hot pepper plants (2 Jalepeno, 1 Banana Pepper, and 1 Poblano), 1 zucchini plant, 4 Sweet Genovese Basil plants, and 1 rosemary plant. I was disappointed that I couldn't find any cucumber or butternut squash plants, and the only sweet bell pepper plants I could find were California Wonder and I want Big Bertha. I also didn't buy any oregano or parsley because I was out of cash. So obviously I am not done shopping for plants although I am done for today. I am thinking of making a trip to Cox's Plant Farm near Clayton, Indiana. Next to the farmer's market, it is my favorite place to buy plants.

Above is a photo of one of the tomato plants I bought alongside a basil plant. (Returning readers will remember that I plant basil among my tomatoes to attract parasitic wasps in order to control the disgusting tomato pest, the Tomato Hornworm.) I am a bit torn about the tomato situation. I only bought 4 tomato plants today and interplanted them with basil. I am trying to learn from past mistakes and last year I learned two things about tomatoes. One is that I prefer to let my tomatoes sprawl with minor support instead of staking and pruning. I find I get more tomatoes that way. The other thing I learned is that you can't crowd tomatoes. They need their room, especially if you let them sprawl. So my 4 tomato plants and basil plants take up all the room I have for them in the garden. But 4 tomato plants is not many at all. I want to make salsa and tomato sauce and I just don't think 4 plants will cut it. But I don't know where I could fit any more in. I need to think about that a while.

My garden planting isn't done. Here's what I've planted so far: lots of snow peas (now flowering), butterhead lettuces (almost ready to start harvesting), 4 rows of beets (2 inches tall), two rows of green onions and one row of carrots (all about 1 inch tall), 2 broccoli transplants, nasturtium seeds (two sets of leaves each so far), a row of sunflowers (about 4-5 inches tall), dill seeds (sprouting), kale seeds (sprouting), 4 tomato plants, 4 basil plants, 4 hot pepper plants, 1 rosemary plant, 1 zucchini plant, and yarrow seeds (the last 6 items planted today). I have already got bush bean and pole bean seeds but I'm holding off on planting those because I'm exhausted. Still need to buy 1 oregano plant, 1 parsley plant, 2 cucumber plants, 1 butternut squash plant, 3-4 bell pepper plants, and 1-2 sweet potato plants. My perennial chives, sage, coreopsis, and lavender are coming back again. Here's what my garden looked like today when I finished (just as the rain was starting, by the way.):

Today's weather:
High temp: 68 F
Low temp: 55 F

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blackberries in bloom

Our blackberries are blooming!

I will spare you the gory details, but I was injured almost two weeks ago so I have neglected my garden during that time. I'm still using a wrist brace and hobbling on bruised legs, but today I was able to head back out to my garden. I was excited to discover the beautiful white blossoms all over our blackberry bushes.

The other plants are growing nicely and have appreciated the rain we've gotten recently. My beets are over an inch tall now so I thinned them out a bit this morning. I can also see my carrot and green onions are popping out of the soil. Also, when I planted my broccoli plants a couple of weeks ago, I planted nasturtium seeds between them and today I noticed them breaking through the soil.

In addition to weeding the peas and lettuce, I planted a few more lettuce seeds to fill in the blank spots that never germinated the first time. I found a couple of dill plants that had apparently reseeded from last year's crop. I saved them and filled in more dill seeds around them. I had an extra blank spot so I planted some kale. It is a little late in the spring to be planting that cold-weather crop, but it doesn't hurt to try. This weekend is supposed to be very cool, but I'm hoping it warms up by the 15th because that is the day I have designated planting day here in our garden. Fingers crossed!

Today's weather:
High temp: 82 F
Low temp: 47 F
Sunny and warm today, storms - possibly severe - this evening.