Sunday, February 18, 2018

Status Updates of Early Starts

Update on what's going on, in the greenhouse and in the garden.

In the greenhouse, the tomatoes are doing really well.

I'll probably transplant some of these into individual 4" pots next weekend or so.

Outdoors, the rhubarb is doing well in its new home (transplanted a week ago).

I added a couple others this weekend, also.

We'll see how this goes. It kind of seemed "too easy."

I also transplanted the raspberries last weekend.

They're doing pretty well, too.

Today, I transplanted some of the Romaine lettuce that I've had growing in the pepper beds in the greenhouse, into the back raised bed.

Kind of nervous-making: this is pretty early. But lettuce isn't supposed to be intimidated by freezing weather.

We'll see.

This is how the Schizanthus is doing.

It's weird how only half sprouted.

I re-planted the other half. We'll see how that works out.

I also planted some Alyssum in a pot: a couple of colors.

I'm hoping that these will spill over the side and make a real pretty hanging basket.

Just germinating.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Plantings Mid February

Planted some stuff today:

These seeds are on warming pads: back tray, left to right: dill, Pattypan squash, some unknown seed (maybe 4 o'clock flowers), Anaheim peppers, white onions from 2014, bench peppers from 2014.

Front tray, left to right: sunflowers, basil, both from 2017, Mexican tarragon, green onions, lemon cucumber, year uncertain, nasturtiums 2017.

Planted some mescalin, garden greens.

Planted some vines. I'm starting some Black-Eyed Susans (bright yellow flowers) and some Cardinal Climbers (bright red flowers.

I think the vines may be similar. The flowers are not the same at all (color or shape). 

The goal is to plant these together in one (larger) pot, with a trellis on it, so the two colors can climb together.

It might look cool.

I found a package of seeds labeled "Carnival Gourd" this morning. No idea where it came from.

I really enjoy "Carnival Squash." I wonder if that's what this is? Maybe not.

So I planted it.

We'll see what comes up.

I'm not impressed with the hot pepper starts, so I'm re-starting some of them.

Lemon Drops (hot, not super-hot)
Carolina Reaper (SUPER hot!)
Cayenne (pretty hot)
Trinidad Scorpion (super hot)
Mini Bell (not hot at all, but yum!)
Golden Star F1 (yellow bell)

I really want a lot of bell peppers, hence the extra bell pepper starts.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Update on Starts and Things.

Because super-hot peppers need a very long time to germinate, I started those seeds the second week of January. I've since learned that this was kind of late for those peppers. Live and learn.

These are the super-hot peppers. At the bottom are Cayenne peppers. The others that are starting are Yellow Reapers, from which Carolina Reapers were bred.

But we're still early. It would be unusual if there were many up yet.

And I still have some growing in plastic starting bags.

These are the medium hot peppers. Fresno peppers are up. Lemon Drops are not (they were slow last year, too); neither are Felicity or Paprika peppers.
Bell peppers are inconsistent, too. Yellow bells are iffy. Red bells are great. Purple bells, also iffy. But these are pretty early.
It's habit for me: I always start peppers and tomatoes at the same time. (I'm beginning to catch on that maybe that needs to change.)

These are the tomatoes that I started at the same time. They're all doing varying degrees of really great.

Legend (determinate, slicing)
Chocolate Cherry x2 (indeterminate, large cherry)
Unknown purple tomato seeds (from 2013)
Brandywine (slicing, from 2013) and again,
Brandywine (slicing, from 2016)
Theoretically, I should begin harvesting fruit off of these late March. I think that's overly optimistic, but mid April makes some sense. And if nothing else, I'll have some really fairly mature plants to put into the new raised beds.

As long as my hands were dirty, I dug out much of the herb garden this year. looks like the oregano and the tarragon didn't make it. But I may still be surprised. I still need to find a home for garlic chives and licorice mint. Maybe this is the answer I'm looking for.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Transplanting Rhubarb & Raspberries

Spring seems to be coming early this year. That may just be because I'm paying attention. The bulbs are poking their heads up, the trees and shrubs are budding.

And the raspberries are budding. Even the rhubarb is beginning to think about leaves.

In the ongoing update of the vegetable garden's raised beds, we accomplished an important milestone today.

We decided what to do with the raspberries and rhubarb! We've been really uncertain about that for a long time.

At issue: we're replacing all the low, wooden (rotting) raised beds with taller ones that bring the dirt up to counter high.

This is much easier for these knees, for this back. And we're using galvanized steel, so it shouldn't rot for a hundred years or more.

We decided on downsizing both, though that wasn't a surprise. The rhubarb is going in one of the galvanized bins. It's only getting half a bin, though I'm sure it would like more. I'll have some to give away.

And the raspberries will be at the very front of the garden in front of the very first raised bed.

We "graze" the berries, we don't harvest them. And this way, the berries are:

a) at ground level (not at counter height) for easy reaching, and
b) the very front of the garden, in easy grazing range.

That raised bed will be challenging to reach from the front, but it will be easy enough to reach from behind.  

Before I was done, I mulched the rhubarb (and the asparagus) with mushroom compost.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Update on the Garden Update

In the ongoing saga of the garden upgrade:

We're getting ready for the largest, and second-to-last raised bed. The others so far are 8' x 3' x 2' high (more or less; they ship them in nested sets, so some are slightly smaller).

This one will be 8' in diameter: round. I calculate that as needing about five yards of soil. We'll use mostly garden mix, with some mushroom fertilizer added in, maybe in the middle layers.

Once this bed is in place, there are only two steps to go: we'll replace the bed that formerly held the raspberries and rhubarb (more about them shortly) with a 10' x 3' x24" high bed.  This will be the last purchase.

And finally, there's one bed in the back that has just been holding extra dirt. That will go in where the garlic is now, but not until I have opportunity to harvest the garlic. We can't do without garlic! 

I plan to cut the bottom out of this one as well.

I've been cutting the bottoms out of most of the beds (with the exception of the first one, up against the fence with the espaliered apple tree). It turns out that some plants (notably asparagus and sunflowers) like deep roots, up to 9' deep with asparagus. Plus it gives the worms a clear path in and out.

The main motivation for the change is that the original wooden raised beds are rotting. They need to be replaced, and this is actually no more expensive than using cedar wood or planks made from recycled plastics, or any other option I could find.

Plus these give a higher bed. Easier to keep working the garden.

And we've added cinder blocks under them to get them another eight inches up. Strictly a convenience thing.

Then we'll shovel sixty-eleven loads of wood chips in between all the beds. That'll be fun!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February First: Starting Some Garden Greens

Planted Parsley, Swiss chard, feldsalat & corn salad (going to compare those!), and spinach.

Indoors. Starting pots.

Documenting stuff: I needed Google Translate to read the (German) instructions on the feldsalat package. Google translated feldsalat as "corn salad."

On the other hand, the seeds were very different. The fledsalat seeds were tiny and oblong. The corn salad seeds were larger, like radish seeds, and round.

Next evening, I added some coriander and some Romaine lettuce.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Re-Started Hot Peppers

When I started the "super-hot peppers" three weeks ago, I started them like I start normal peppers: in soil, on a warming pad, with a plastic cover.

Additional research suggests that may not work for super-hots. But since they take 4 - 6 weeks to germinate, we won't know for another month.

So I started some more seeds: Ghost, Carolina Reaper, Orange Habanero, Lemon Drop. I started them in moist paper towels, in baggies, on the warming pads, under the trays.

Note that several things have germinated:

• Red bell peppers.
• Fresno peppers (I'm growing these for my son).
• Cayenne peppers.
• Tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. Looks like every single tomato seed sprouted.