Friday, February 24, 2017

A Busy Day in the Dirt

Asparagus is doing well. Started three varieties from seeds last year. All three varieties - nearly every start - seems to be sprouting right back up this spring after dying  back last fall.

They're going into the asparagus bed outside, a little at a time. It's February: I'm nervous about putting things outside.

Seem to be doing well. Still being careful. 

Notes: Small round pots: Mary Washington. West. 
Square pots: Argentueil.  East end of that bed.. 
Large round pots: just "Asparagus." Center. 
   (From Mike the Gardener.)

Tomatoes are a couple of inches tall now.

Added some more:

* Firecracker tomatoes (determinate, slicing, reportedly yummy).
* Monster (huge slicer: a pound or two).
* Beefsteak (an "organic" slicer)

Some of the last batch of peppers are sprouting, too.

Added some peppers:

* Lemon Drop (Small, yellow, spicy). From saved seed. From TJ's seed saving.
* Felicity. (jalapeno flavor without the heat). These are a hybrid, so I'm de-hybridizing them. This is the F1 (first generation out of hybrid).
* Habanero. (yep: hot).
* Hatch peppers (I don't know: the grocery store had sold out of hatch peppers, but there were seeds remaining. I've been told that they're yummy).
* Gatherer's Gold Sweet Italian (billed as a "golden variation of the sweet Italian frying pepper")
* Anaheim (mid-size; little bit of heat; dry really well).
* Feher Ozon Paprika ("Tasty and substantial paprika-type peppers break through the tops of compact plants")

Comment: Some of these seeds came from a friend of Sue's who had too many seeds. I thought it important that I do my part to help. 

'Nother comment: the little tent things were fun to make. The tomatoes & peppers are all on warming pads, but this is still February in an un-insulated, un-heated greenhouse. So they all have tiny little personal greenhouses, too.

I also set up some grow lights for some of the starts.

Brassica starts there include Raab, purple broccoli, 4 kinds of kale, plus collards and lettuces.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Early 2017 Starts

It's the middle of February. I started my third set of starts today.

First set: late January: started one tray of "Assorted Chile's." I've observed that peppers in general are usually not ready when I want to set them out, so I'm starting earlier this time. But I'm also starting with things I'm not life-and-death about.

That's the left tray in the top photo.  They've been on a warming pad since then, with a plastic "mini-greenhouse" over the top.

Second set: early February: brassicas. A fair bit of kale and broccoli and cabbage and kohl rabi and other brassicas.

No warming pads, but they're under cover.

Also at that time, a friend had given me a load of inexpensive peat pots. That's the right half of this photo.

Those didn't expand to their promised 2" height (they didn't hardly expand at all), but I'm still experimenting with them. I've got them soaking in a tray, with four or five lettuce seeds in each one, hypothesizing that the roots might do something.. We'll see how these do, if indeed they do anything at all.

Then today, 2/12, I started quite a few more. Mostly tomatoes, a few peppers. Also on a warming mat, also with a plastic "mini-greenhouse" over them.

Tomatoes this year:

Slicing: for real: firework tomatoes. Supposed to be large, even, and delicious. Indeterminate (correction: determinate. Darn.). Also a batch of multi-colored tomatoes, largely for fun; who knows whether they're determinate or indeterminate.

(Science trivia: "determinate" tomatoes try to fruit all together - that's good for agribusiness and large scale canners. And when they're done, they stop growing. "Indeterminate" varieties keep growing for approximately eternity, given enough food, water and warmth. )

Paste tomatoes: San Marzano, as before. We've liked these.

Cherry tomatoes: We've had great success with Chocolate Cherry in recent years. I also planted some 2013 seeds of a sweet cherry tomato. We'll see if those even sprout.

Spring is coming.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

My First Olive

OK, I'm excited.

I just found an olive on my olive tree. I'm late, this should have been harvested some time back, but I hadn't seen it in the back of the greenhouse.

When do you harvest olives? "October, November and December: Depending on the olive variety and the area and the weather, green olives are harvested in September and October for the table. Olives for oil are picked around early to mid-November, when the olive have just turned green to purple and they're at their fullest with oil."

So it's an over-ripe olive, but it's an olive.

How long does it take for an olive tree to bear fruit? "That is a function of cultivar. 'Arbequina' and 'Koroneiki' begin fruiting at an early age (about 3 years). Other cultivars do not make fruit until they are five to twelve years old. Most olive cultivars will not produce fruit without a pollinator tree of a different cultivar."

My tree is two years old. 

Of course, it's hardly edible yet. The process for making olives suitable for eating is long and arduous. I'll wait until I have an actual harvest before trying that.