Friday, April 30, 2010

Garden Blogger's Death Day - April 2010 Edition

Garden Blogger's Death Day is sponsored by Kate and Crew over at Gardening Without Skills. GBDD is on the last day of each month. In her words, because no one else's could come close, GBDD is:

...the day for gardeners who overwater, underwater, maim, prune or otherwise neglect their plants to a state of dismal droopage or untimely death. This is the day for gardeners like me with black thumbs who kill more than they cultivate, for cadmium-green-thumbed gardeners who have a lapse in judgment and commit accidental planticide, and for any poor soul whose plants fall victim to that fickle mother who controls us all - Mother Nature.

She's mighty impressive that way, isn't she. Kate, too, of course.

My first GBDD for the season is one by choice. Things haven't been in the ground long enough to die on me yet, however all of my radishes bolted, so I suppose that would count as well, but this edition will focus on the onions I had to pull to make room for some more tomatoes that had to get in the ground.
21 whole POUNDS of onions that had to leave the ground. They had all bolted, so there weren't any large bulbs, but I was still able to chop them up and freeze them for use in cooked dishes. I don't have any for fresh storage, but over all, it was still more successful than last year, so I can't complain.

Then there was this one who wouldn't give up the ghost.
He obviously doesn't understand he's already bolted and won't grow any larger. See where the leaves are shorn off? I grabbed it and when it wouldn't come out I braced my feet on the bed and kept pulling until the leaves just tore right off...and I punched myself in the eye and fell on my butt.
Nice. Looks like he's staying until I meander out there with a shovel and a blowtorch. We'll see who's boss, then.
Head on over to Kate's and see how she did this month!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Weekend Outing - Tallulah Gorge

Inspired by others who can find such beautiful places to visit in their back yard, last weekend, the man and I took the children to the GA mountains to Tallulah Gorge. Tallulah Gorge is the deepest gorge this side of the Mississippi, which is neat. In 1970, Karl Wallenda walked a tightrope over the gorge which I guess was cool.

We didn't get to go into the state park and see the falls or walk on the suspension bridge, but we did get to see the gorge from above at a road side stop.
You can see the river running at the bottom. It was a beautiful, sunny and rather warm day, so of course, that means the girl needed her snow hat, which she wouldn't put on for love or money during the winter.
They enjoyed seeing the 'hole in the ground.' The boy was rather mystified that a hole could be that big. It was a long drive 1.5 hour drive there and then back for a 15 minute stop, but I was glad we took them. Hopefully we can do more things like this in the near future.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Standing Proud and Flowering

The winds of last Saturday are still continuing. The broccoli has never fully righted itself, but sure enough, even though they're toppled over, they're arching themselves back to the sun. I don't think the stalks will ever be upright again, but that part seems to be negligent.

The bugs, however, are in full force. I've found tons of aphids on my eggplant and the cabbage worms are making swiss cheese out of my cabbage and broccoli leaves. I've kept to hand picking so far, but I'll have to resort to stronger means sooner or later.

Things are starting to bloom around here. The yellow pear tomatoe plants each have two flowers on them and the peppers have tiny buds. I thought this pepper below particularly interesting since it split from it's main stem and grew in two directions. There's a bud poking out of the apex.
Then, and you'll have to help me with this...the potatoes are flowering. Do potatoes flower?
Lastly, I thought to show Dan how his Cherokee Purple tomatoes are doing. They're rockin' -n- rollin' along and are the healthiest of all of the tomato plants I've got out there. There's no stopping them.
I hope everything is treating y'all just as well.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lettuce Harvest Monday

The lettuce in the back bed is growing daily and looking great. Oddly, I've given away more of the lettuce than we've eaten, which means that I haven't kept up with any of the totals for the lettuce, spinach or onions.
I need a garden scale that I can hang from a hook. Preferably one that can withstand the weather. Perhaps I'll look for one soon. How do you manage to keep up with your totals, or are a lot of them just estimated at the end of the season?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Aftermath

A barrage of fierce storms rolled through all day yesterday. Thank goodness, none of the storms here were as fierce as they were in Mississippi, but we did have our fair share of wind. The broccoli suffered the most of the damage. Seems like all of them have flopped over. I'm hopeful they'll stand themselves upright again when the sun comes out the the soil dries a bit.
Other than that, things have been progressing steadily. The early warm spring weather was a boon for the summer crops and the tomatoes even have flowers already, but it's wreaked havoc with the early spring crops. The onions, radishes and Chinese cabbage have all bolted, making me sad and I'm only hopeful that the broccoli and cabbage can withstand the warm temperatures. It got up to 89 on Friday!

The Gonzalez cabbages are doing a good job of sticking to their square, but if I try them again in the fall, I may just stagger them like the broccoli since they're only now starting to grow heads which, again, has me nervous about bolting.

Last night, in the midst of all of the terrible weather, was our school's prom. The kids all looked so nice. The frufru dresses seem to be a thing of the past and now the silken negligee type dress is in as well as the I'm-so-short-you-can-see-the-crease-between-my-tuchus-and-thigh dress, but it's amazing how the clothes make the kid, for every one of them was saying yes or no Ma'am all night long. They really had a good time and none of them showed up on the county mugshot page this morning, so I'm hopeful they all got home safely.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Helicopters, Snot and Worms

It's the grumble, grumble edition of TCY, I'm afraid.

Last year, since it was the first year of the garden, I had perfect soil and no weeds at all. This year, weeds have blown in, and acorns and pine trees that have taken root. Now there are little helicopter seed pods rooting everywhere and the snot is pouring off of the pine and oak trees. Each sting of snot is invariably ridden down by an inch worm. I can't tell you how many I squished out of the garden today. As a matter of fact, when I was making my point known to the kids, sure enough another string of snot landed on my head along with, what else?, another inch worm.

I'm on edge as to the army that's obviously parachuted down to ransack the garden. I only hope I grabbed the majority of them and I'll find the rest tomorrow.

On the bright side, I've had 100% germination with my cucumbers, squash and zucchini and the radishes and lettuce are producing like mad. Woohoo!

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Determination and Sacrifice

I'm determined to grow carrots this spring. Last spring, they were a total failure and I can't decide if it was because I didn't leave them in the ground long enough or if it got too hot too quickly. During the fall, I had greater success, but I'm eager to prove they can be done this spring as well....that is if they don't bolt like the rest of my onions and all of my red meat radishes did today. *sigh*

Then, I took everyone's advice to heart and thinned out the sweet potatoes in the pots to only two slips per pot. I originally put the others in the main garden, but realized that if I was going to let those carrots grow until they either worked or bolted, I was going to have no where to put my melons. So, I sacrificed the slips and they came out again. I emailed a co-worker today who said she'd love to plant them ASAP. I'm sure they'll be totally stressed after being planted and uprooted three times, but hopefully they'll bounce.

That brings me to another statement, and I don't think it's a complaint. I'm working on the word 'statement.' Monday, I took my surplus tomato seedlings and put them in the faculty mail room. Within three minutes of my school wide email about their availability, my box was returned to me empty. I was thrilled that others would want them. However, I don't know who is going to plant them since no one sent a thank you, which wasn't really necessary and I didn't even think about it until I started getting emails back stating that they were gone, and I didn't have enough, etc. I'm grateful that people would grow them if I started them and I may consider doing some more, and I intended to give them away so I'm not upset by the lack of thank yous, so I don't quite know what I am. Consternated, maybe, that the only ones to respond were ones with mild, although appreciative, rebukes? Eh...maybe I'm not quite sure I am anything at all. I'm most likely just being a girl and over analyzing as is my God given right for being a woman. Just makes me realize I need to vocalize my thanks more, even for the smallest things. It's something I was apparently needing to learn.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Garden Love

It's a heart!
or a butt.
Eh, to each his own.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A One and a Two or a Three?

I missed my one year 'blogaversary!' I know I've got posts on here dating back to 2007, but those were post dated from the actual time I began the first post. A year for many of you may not seem like much, but we as a society hardly ever stick to anything for a week, let alone a full year. How long do most diets last? How many weeks until you flake out on your gym membership or try to walk or bike more to work? I'm telling you, a year's a good deal and I'm thrilled to have met so many of you along the way who have helped me learn how to manage my garden.

Now for the two or three......I'm doing my sweet potatoes in containers this year. The pots I bought are just crazy large, but I don't know if I should do two shoots per pot or three. I've got three in there now, but my goal is to get large, serving sized potatoes and not those thin scraggly ones I got last year when I let the vines run everywhere in the bed. They haven't rooted so fiercely yet, so I can still take one out if I need to. What do you think: two or three? I suppose it matters if they'll grow potatoes close to the surface or stretch themselves towards the bottom of the pot to grow the tubers. The pot comes up right above my knees if that helps with the size.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Harvest Monday

Woohoo! I can finally do a harvest Monday. Here's some of the salad we've pulled from the garden in recent days. There's a radish under there as well.
It's so nice to see green out there in the garden and actually be able to harvest some of it. I forgot how exciting it all is.

Stop by Daphne's to see what everyone else is harvesting this week!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Garden Film - April Edition

Things are really starting to pick up around here and I figured to do a monthly tour around the garden to see how things progress through the season. Filming never does work out properly, does it? First, the camera only had 35 seconds of film, then the batteries died and then, when I finally thought I had it all completed, I just played it back and realized I must have had Thomas on the brain. Thomas sent me the bok choy seeds and they're doing great! But I also said multiple times that Thomas had sent me the Cherokee purple and black cherry seeds, but he didn't. Dan did.

I'm so sorry, Dan. I didn't mean to slight you. Your seeds have grown into plants that are outpacing everything around them. They're magnificent and I'm truly grateful that you were kind enough to share.

Here's the film. Try not to judge me too harshly.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Growing Potatoes in Containers

This year I gave in to the peer pressure to grow potatoes. Everyone's potatoes always look so beautiful in their posts and the taste reviews were fantastic. Apparently, just like a tomato, there's nothing like a home grown potato.

I didn't have room in the SFG to put the potatoes and I kept finding links to growing potatoes in containers, so I decided to give it a try. I put a little soil at the bottom of each pot along with a part of a seed potato and tilted the pots to get the sun way down in there. It seemed to take forever for anything to happen, but once it did, there was no holding those plants back! Once they got about six inches high, it was time to hill them.
I actually did this one plant two days ago and had to hill it and the others again today. I'm in awe of how fast they're growing. They're almost to where I can stand the pots upright and not have to lean them.
Now, grow me them taters!
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Onions - Foiled Again

Seems like I'm running par for the course when it comes to onions. I've had hollow onions and onions that never grew past pencil thickness. This year, the onions actually got pretty large around and were looking rather impressive until Tuesday morning when I realized that many of them were sending up a seed stalk.

Whereas normal for garlic, apparently, sending up seed stalks for onions is bad. I've read it's caused by extreme temperature fluctuations, which we sure have had this past week. I read you could cut off the stem, but it really wouldn't matter because the onions wouldn't be good for storage, so I decided just to cut my losses and allow more room for the non bolting ones to bulb up.

So. What do you do with onions that are bulbing and sending up a flower stalk? Yes, I used some in dinner tonight and I chopped some up to freeze and use later, but I just have something against frozen onions since they never work just right. I weighed my options for the rest and chose this:

There was only one taker all day, but hey, it was worth a shot. I'm planning on setting out the tomato transplants later this week. Hopefully those will fare better.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Always Expanding

I can safely say that the only thing that expands faster than my waist line around here is the garden. I've been drooling over additional beds since last summer when the man built the other corner yard for me, but I've logistically had to wait for the trees to fill in to get an adequate idea of where the shadows would fall. The trees are just about filled in enough, so last night, he built these for me.

Ta Da!

Both boxes are 6x4 and will have trellises moved a foot up from the back so I can plant on both sides. I learned from last time!

Here's how the boxes sit in relation to the original corner yard.
In about an hour, I'll start seeing where the shadow of the trellis falls and position the boxes first according to that. Then, as the day goes on, I'll judge the rest until the sun moves behind the tree line which is right there where the grass ends behind the beds. I'm really hopeful that we'll get a good amount of sun. I've got my fingers crossed.
Technically, our first frost free date should be April 25 or thereabouts, but the temps have been so nice recently and there's nothing under 45 in the long range forecast. I saw EG was planting out some cucumbers and I sighed. My broccoli in the corner yard is where I had slated for my cucumbers to go, but they show no signs of being done soon. Once again, EG made me look outside the box. Actually, outside one and into another. I'll move the cucumbers to one of my new beds and swap out the lima beans to the broccoli bed which will go in later, anyway.
Hopefully I can get these beds filled and planted by the end of the week!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Visual for Yesterday's Post

Spring is a season developed and sponsored by tissue companies. I'm convinced of it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gardening Through the Haze

The weather has just been beautiful lately. Friday afternoon, my neighbor and I had the children running around outside as we sat watching and trying to find out who was burning brush in the neighborhood. We were convinced it was smoke. It was everywhere, making everything hazy, but it lacked that smokey smell.

It was pollen.

They mentioned on the news that since we had such a late cold snap that the trees and flowers were all blooming at the same time instead of a few weeks apart like they should. I've never seen pollen so thick in the air like that.

This will be a great week for gardening! I'm on spring break, so I can hopefully get a lot done. Tomorrow, many of the potato plants need hilling. After weeks of nothing, they grow inches each day. Then, we're building the last two beds, so I'll need to fetch the materials to fill those.

Finally, I'm having problems with some of my tomato seedlings. The ones I transplanted into the old flower pot containers from transplants last year are growing by leaps and bounds. The ones in the large peat pots hardly look a day larger than when they were transplanted. I wonder why they're stunted. They're the same varieties, planted and transplanted at the same time with the same mixture. The problem is obviously with the large peat pots. Come to think of it, my cucumbers and squash didn't grow well in them last year, either....any idea why?

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.