Almost everything is in now. I believe I am just missing zucchini and carrots but the latter may never get planted this year as it is a lot of work to mound up some soft soil for them to grow in.
This is our first picking of the season. More than enough to gift some to the neighbors and in laws for weekend snacks.
Broccoli, Dill and Marigolds
I do believe that the marigolds and doll are helping to keep the cabbage worms away. The broccoli started to take off this past week. A few plants have a small head of florets beginning to develop.
Kennebec on the left, red Pontiac on the right.
These onions sure grew big over the last few weeks. Even the outter rows have taken off.
I imagine that I am only a few weeks away from seeing these garlic plants start to wither and dry out.
These are not bush watermelon so the vines are going to grow quite long. It will be a challenge to keep them contained.
The cucumbers will hopefully survive this year. Last year they ideas from either a disease or pests. I tried using a trellis last year but it didn’t pan out well because these are a short vined bush variety. Let’s hope for better luck this year so that I can make a ton of refrigerator dill pickles.
Corn and Sunflowers
The corn is starting to grow nicely. The first sunflowers I transplanted are really taking off too.
The cherry tomatoes are growing much better than the better boy tomatoes. They are the two larger ones in front.
I watched a rabbit find its way into the garden a few days ago. He jumped up and through the top rows of large squares in the rabbit guard fence, in an area where the deer fence was loose on the rabbit guard fence. I will have to tighten up the fence. The next day though I saw that it’s too late! The rabbit has attacked the soybeans!
I re-planted seeds for the tomatoes and broccoli because I had very poor germination. The weather outside has dropped back down to normal winter temperatures. What’s unfortunate is that the trees, rose bushes, and garlic all started growing and producing buds… then the 70 degree weather suddenly turned to 8 degrees at night!
Nothing to see here… I replanted these but the still didn’t germinate! Not sure whats going on with these seeds…
These are the same type as last year – copra. They really did live up to our expectations because we still have half a dozen in the basement that are still in great condition. These really do keep a very long time. And yes, they are quite potent when you slice them open! It’ll probably be two weeks before I can plant these in the garden.
Only a few of the tomato seeds I planted began to grow. Once I planted additional seeds I was able to get the desired numbers.
After about a week some tomatoes have begun to emerge. I added a few rows of some flowers a few days ago too. Those germinated quite quickly in comparison with the tomatoes. Also, it may have been too wet when I began the tomatoes. I am using a new seed starting kit this year as well as new seed starting soil.
I switched from a burpee seed starting tray because mine had picked up some holes in the corners of the water tray. I used it four years though, and the damage was likely caused by myself. I probably crushed it in storage over the summer. The burpee tray was a self watering one, with a special mat that absorbed water from the water tray and delivered it to the bottom of the actual seed tray so that the soil could absorb it. The new tray set is made by Jiffy and is just a water tray with the seed trays being made from peat. They sit directly in the bottom tray. I had filled the tray with water and the peat trays were floating at first but then after a day became water logged. The soil at that point was soaked instead of damp.
The soil I used was made by jiffy and was an organic seed starting mix. It has lots of green moss growing from it. Previously, for the last four years, I had used a coconut fiber seed starting mix from burpee. It comes as a brick and expands once water is added. The jiffy mix saved some time so I thought, “why not?”. We will see how things turn out…
The seeds for these flowers were just added a few days ago.
The picture on the left is cherry tomatoes, from ferry Morse, and the picture on the right is burpee better boys. I am blaming the poor germination on the soil being too wet… I only need a few plants to make it into the garden, less than last year, so I’m probably cutting it close.
The weather has been warm still so we have more growth here.
And finally you might be wondering, “where’s the broccoli?”. Well, I don’t know! It takes longer to germinate than the tomatoes, if I recall correctly, so I’m not worried quite yet.
It’s been a very warm winter with temperatures ranging between the 20s and 60s… terrible weather considering the kids cannot enjoy cold winter weather.
We invested in a large grow light that we have hung from the ceiling in the basement now. The past four years we have been using a smaller grow light over one seed starting try. Once we transferred our plants to larger containers they no longer all fit under the light. We will no longer have that issue because the grow lights are 24″ x 48″ and cover the entire table we have been using to start seeds. We have two trays setup right now, and they first well under the center of the grow light which is controlled by two switches – one for the lights in the middle and one for the lights on the edges. Once we pot up these plants they can utilize the entire table! It is probably overkill, but hey, it’ll be fun. I just started tomato and broccoli for now, but I will probably start watermelon indoors as well. We are going to try some space saving bush variety of watermelon this year.
With all the heat being generated by those lights, I doubt I will need that heater! Especially considering that the weather outside isn’t cold at all and that I have heating mats under the seed trays.
I also plant to plant asparagus this spring, right in the middle of the garden so that it does not affect the rotation of the other crops very much. The plan is below.
The garlic started to grow in the fall and poked up above the 4″ of leaves I had used as mulch on top of them. Every time the temperature has come back up they have grown a little more, it seems. It looks like all the gloves are growing so I am hopeful for a large harvest (even though I have no idea what to do with all of it).
We started seeds from two varieties yesterday. Cherry tomatoes from Ferry Morse and better boy tomatoes from Burpee. We are going to scale back the number of tomato plants this year because we successfully stocked up on a ton of sauce, crushed tomatoes, and juice last year.
We also started some broccoli. We will transplant them in early spring when its still chilly outside (chilly? its 61 degrees again right now!).
It’s hard to believe that the summer has passed us by so quickly! There is now a chill in the air and the calendar agrees with the weather!
These peas are starting to flower and in about two weeks I should be picking fresh sugar snaps.
The corn has dried our and is ready to be used for fall decorations
These are the Burpee Cupcake Hybrid summer squash. This is actually the second planting because the first planting didn’t make it… .just like the cucumbers.
It looks like these may or may not make it. It looks like it will be a close call whether or not they mature.
The broccoli is still flowering and attracting honeybees and bumblebees into the garden. That’s great because the summer squash needs them!
Still going strong but one of the lady marmande plants is starting to dry out.
Half of the potato containers and drying out while the other half are still green. I may have to call it and pick them soon.
These fruits are smaller than the first few and I think we have had enough of these for one year. The fruits were not as big as advertised. Again, they are the Burpee Meatball Hybrid. You may also notice the two yellow squash in this picture. They are the Burpee Tivoli squash. Its a spaghetti sauce. The plants died as these were still growing. I almost threw them out but they have turned a nice golden color as one would expect of a mature spaghetti squash so we may try them.
We started the weekend with 10 gallons of tomatoes and picked another 5 gallons before the weekend was over. The last 10 gallons were processed yesterday, and they weighed around 42 lbs. I estimate each 5 gallon bucket to weigh 20 lbs.
We made two different types of sauce from the ball home preserving cookbook. Both of them called for tomato puree, 21 cups total. The more red sauce is pizza sauce and the more orange sauce is an Italian.
After using up all of the super sauce tomatoes, I threw all of the lady marmande tomatoes into the pot and made 4 quarts of crushed tomatoes.
I then used the cherry tomatoes and leftover juice from the crushed tomatoes to make 6 quarts of juice.
Sliced Lady Marmande Tomato
Today we sliced open a big juicy lady marmande tomato and it was very delicious! We also picked another five gallon bucket of assorted tomatoes from the garden. I think that sauce is next on the list.
I have only tried dilled green beans twice before, to my knowledge. The first time was at Colonial Williamsburg or George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The second time was Epcot as part of a garden/farmer/harvest Bloody Mary. We are short on freezer space, in fact the door on the upright freezer popped itself open over night and we almost had a catastrophic loss… fortunately we caught it in time. Also, I have dill but because the cucumbers didn’t make it this year I needed to find a way to use it up (when I made dilled zucchini pickles earlier this year it wasn’t yet with my home grown dill).
We picked a basketful of beans, about 3.4 lbs, and made almost eight pints of these dilled garlic green beans. Let’s hope they turn out ok! If nothing else, I can easily make a Bloody Mary with the tomato juice I canned and just throw a few dilled beans into the glass like Disney 🙂