Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Early Harvest

Haven't been able to harvest too much from my earthly carnival as of yet, but the lettuce and spinach have had their initial picking. We took advantage of the little harvest and made a Cajun salmon Caesar salad. The rest of the spinach has been used to fancy up my scrambled eggs. I love green food. I love it even more when I use my hands and heart to help it grow!

My green onions are almost at the picking stage. I can't begin to tell you how thrilled I am at the notion of pulling them up. (I have tried three times now only to be reminded that things take time!) A green onion a day keeps, well, most everyone away - but who cares. They taste so good and really spice up the salads.

I'm going to plant another round of spinach this week since my current plants are flowering and I really want to continue picking it all summer/fall long.

Life is good.


Brocc O'flower

My broccoli plants had small, plum-sized, heads starting on them and then they immediately shot to seed. So, now I have a lovely yellow bouquet of broccoli flowers starting in the garden, but nothing I can steam up for a side dish.

Any suggestions on why this might have happened or how I can start over with the same plant would be greatly appreciated!

UPDATE:
So here's what I've learned! Broccoli is a cold weather crop and the heat is what is forcing premature blossoming of the plants. I'm going to let these ones stay in the garden as decoration, but I'm going to try another set that gets planted in late august. I'll see if I have better luck then.

Good times!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sizing it up on 6-24

Tomato (my seedlings are actually reaching the first rung of the cages )

Zucchini (leaves the size of my hand)

Pepper (doubled in size from just last week)

Spinach (salad size now!)

What the fung?

One of my zucchini plants has some funny looking leaves.

I have no idea if this is fungus or some other plant disease. Moreover - I don't know if I am to just let it grow or if I need to move it.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Here's a picture of the affected leaves and then one of the unaffected.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Things I'll do different next year.

I've entered the growth stage in my garden where vines are boasting with enormous growth. My cucumber and zucchini and impressive with leaves the size of my hand and orange flowers a-glow.

That being said I think I made a plotting error. I think that I should have placed my vine veggies around the perimeter of the garden and guided the vines up and the fence surrounding it.

To remedy the situation I may by some trellises to add to the center to support the plants.

I'm really going by trial and error here. I've read a couple of blogs that have mentioned using a trellis to make the most out of square foot garden space. Maybe it'll benefit me.

I'll keep you updated.

Happy gardening! I have had soil under my finger nails for over a month now!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Reads

Every once in a while I find a blog that I love reading and actually get quite a bit of knowledge from.

Life on the Balcony
is just that.

It's a blog centered on container gardening, but I'm learning a bunch of things that I can apply to my own gardening space from it.

Today I learned what it actually means when a tag says Matures in ## days.

"This number indicates how many days after planting the fruit or vegetable outside it will take before you can harvest something," she writes.

Sounds simple, but it really is information that I don't have in my brain just yet and I'm very eager to educate myself.

Enjoy the blog!

Monday, June 21, 2010

1 part water. 2 parts pepperation

I just wanted to use a post to show you pictures of my baby peppers. I love seeing stuff starting to vegetate. Everything is looking so much bigger this week than it did last. It's reaching temperatures of 85 here. I'm trying to be religious about watering. I don't want to lose any of my little friends.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Broccoli Buddy!

My one Broccoli plant has a pretty little head beginning. How exciting. I better learn when things are ready for harvesting soon or I'll end up ruining all this progress I'm making with my little friends.

Advice is always welcomed!

Elliot's Plant - For Erin.

Our Dahlia is blooming.

She had one beautiful flower when we bought her. It died quickly, but new buds have been showing for a week.

We put her in the care of Elliot - our pet dragon.

She's doing great and the buds are finally beginning to open.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The lettuce is bolting. The lettuce is bolting.

I transplanted a lettuce plug a few days ago into a "salad bowl" with other fine edibles like basil and parsley.

Yesterday when I came outside I noticed that my lettuce had sprouted some lovely yellow flowers at the top.

I had read enough about this flowering process to know that it is called "bolting" or "going to seed" and gives lettuce the dreaded bitters. I just wasn't sure why it was happening to my lovely little crop.

After a bit of research I got my answers.

Trauma.

I waited to long to transplant it. Then I over crowded it in the lettuce bowl.

It went to seed to try to preserve it's species.

Can I still eat the lettuce? "Yes." Can i eat the new little flowers? Research says, "yes." Will I enjoy the flavor? Probably not.

-------------------------------
Plants aren't that different from people, I suppose.
Overcrowd and deny them what they need and alacazam- they bolt.

Lesson learned. And the composter gets its daily dose of leafy greens.


Grow babies grow

Everything in my garden is growing awesomely. Here's the thing...I don't know when you pick things like the green onions. I already missed the opportunity on one kind of lettuce I think because it has lovely yellow flowers on it now. HELP! hahahaha.

Green Beans and a Marigold

Green Onions

Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, Red Onion

Lettuce

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tomato Plants

Wilting.

Whhhhat? Two or three of my tomato plants took a fast decline. Yesterday they were standing tall and strong. Today little wilted piles of, well, weedable material. I pulled them out, but I'm unsettled. I wonder what happened. The other four or five in the garden (some started from seed at home, some from store) are standing strong.

Any advice for the weary gardener?

I don't know what I did to let the little guys go. I don't want it to happen to any of my other plants. Good thing I have backups.

Mushroom Compost

Okay - I never realized how much debate there could be over different growing additives/composts/fertilizers.

Now every time I make a decision and spread something new into my soil I find myself second guessing the choice and semi-panicking.

This weekend I saw a bag of Mushroom compost. It said it was good for the soil in vegetable gardens. I bought it. I spread it around my plants. And now I am sitting here questioning the choice.

I also started a second squash garden using 50% mushroom compost and 50% soil.

Any thoughts or ideas about the product?

Should I just leave my soil alone??

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Coal in the Compost

So...

I read that you can put the ashes from the grill in the composter.

I did it.

And now I'm second guessing myself.

I've received some negative feedback and some positive.

I think I'll refrain from putting any additional in, but do i give up on 6+ months of composted materials?

What to do...what to do.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hoard-iculture

I am here to report that we have a problem.

I'm hoarding plants.

It has become virtually impossible, after starting this gardening project, to stop. Every time we drive past a store that has plants we leave with a car full of them.

Then pots must be purchased to accommodate.

Then more soil.

It's a daily game of sun and water, dig and plant.

I've already started to plot out a second space for planting. It's as much fun as I've ever had as an adult. I'm in love.



Thursday, June 3, 2010

Onion Sets

Being that I'm completely new to the back yard gardening box I'm completely fascinated by certain foods and their planting rituals.

This week my eyes are SET on the onion.


After eating three green onions freshly picked and cleaned from a home garden last weekend my brain has been consumed.

When i started my seedlings I did plant onion seeds and I do have about 25 sprouts...but to take my onion adventure even further i decided to take a recommendation and buy onion sets.



Since I had never heard of an onion set I began a little research and have learned a lot in just two days.

You have three options for planting onions...
1. seeds
2. sets
3. transplants - I need to read more on this one. I think they are just sets that have matured and began to bulb.

I've got two of them in action - seeds and sets.

My seeds that were planted are about an inch and a half high. Some of them have been transplanted into my garden and I'm hoping they become full sized onions. About 20 or so are growing right now close together in a pot. I want them to be green onions. It's all an experiment for now.

For a more sure fire growing method I ran out and got the sets today. Sets are bulbs that haven't yet began to sprout green at the top.


They are super inexpensive too. 100 bulbs for just 1.99. I bought a bag of white and a bag of red so I can experiment with the flavors and plant more than my body an bare to eat (or simply more than the people around me can bare for me to eat).

I'm hoping to get them in some dirt tonight. @

More on the onion to come. Including some pictures. I've been bad about getting out there and photographing the progress we are making.

There is so much I want to document with photos and share.

The Mystery Pot


At the beginning of my seed adventure - back in April - I accidentally spilled all of my seed pods on the driveway causing me to have to start over.

I salvaged what I could...and part of that equated to me picking up a bunch of mystery dirt filled with mystery seed and putting it in a large communal pot.

I got some growth in that soil...but I wasn't sure what it was until last night. The growth was identified as tomato plants.

Boy are those little guys hardy.

Oddly, the ones in the pot grew about 3X as fast as my little ones in the peat - yes, a complete contradiction to what I had posted earlier.

I put the big guys in the garden near the little guys I had planted the other day - whoever takes off will be spaced out nurtured even more. We'll see how this works out. Right now I know I'm a little over crowded on tomatoes (and maybe slightly proud of it).

Anyone need a tomato plant?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Garden is IN!

My uncle picked up the wood and surprised me by building the garden box in my back yard. It is wonderful, beautiful and filled with love.

There are a few things I'd like to share with you about the process.

First...the box.
The corners are all bracketed and stable so there was no need to actually bury the wood in the soil. This means the garden is sitting up a little higher than it would have been, which is great for allowing the plants to grow deeper roots.



Second...the soil.
2 yards of soil was the perfect amount for the space. We took a lucky guess and it panned out perfectly. Spreading it out was a lot of work, but not nearly as tiring as pulling it off the back of the truck.



Third...the plants.


Serenity got to put the first plant in the garden. We chose a sunflower to decorate the back corner and it looks so cute. We placed them sporadically around the garden just to give it some color and height.

After that we went through and gave a nice little layout to the other plants - trying to follow the planting guidelines as close as possible.

And the good news is...it appears that all were strong enough to survive transplant. I can't wait to see them grow.


Up Next...
1. I'm still looking for another spot in the yard to put my acorn squash and start some pumpkin.

2. I'm buying seeds to add a couple more things here and there.

3. I'll hopefully post a picture of the entire garden on here tomorrow :)