Walkabout As My Veg Grows

I get so excited when our garden comes alive and the blooms burst forth.  There is satisfaction to see the veg we plant flourish, especially the seeds we plant as there is always some breath holding until they poke up through the soil.  For the most part our garden is doing well.  The only issue is our tomatoes went into a bit of a shock because even though I kept an eye out on the nightly temps in the weather reports, the reports were wrong and it got much colder than it was supposed to.  It looks like most of them will recover as I really prepped the soil with nutrients but I will have to switch out some with the leftover plants we still have in the greenhouse.  It is hard not to worry over them like a mother hen.

Walk with me through our garden…

Garden 1 2014

Our black beans are half an experiment this year as half of the beans that we planted were from beans we harvested.  So far so good!

Garden 2 2014

Good old Brussels Sprouts.  Once these are ready to harvest I have a few recipes to try for my husband.

Garden 3 2014

I always look forward to the pea flowers.  So delicate.

Garden 4 2014

I was beginning to wonder when the potatoes were going to poke through but they finally did and they are growing strong.  We just picked one kind this year and gave each bit more space to see if we get a bigger harvest.

Garden 5 2014

These did very well this year.  Usually we lose about half of the seedlings but fingers crossed most will keep going.  Which will be great for our homemade stock.

Garden 6 2014

I think something has been nibbling the tips of our onions as there are quite a few that are suspiciously flat topped.  I’ll have to keep an eye on them.  Haven’t seen any telltale footprints though.

Garden 7 2014

This flower is so aptly named.  Jumps up everywhere but it is pretty and edible so I let it.

Garden 8 2014

We find the strawberry plants everywhere and we dig them up and put them back in the strawberry patch.  A bit like herding cats…

Garden 9 2014

I think these are ready to start cutting and make some crumble or tarts.  Which will make our son very happy.

Garden 10 2014

The weather needs to clear as we have a boatload more pepper plants to get into the ground.

Garden 11 2014

Life is good.  🙂

 

 

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Not Long Now Til Fresh Tomatoes!

I got carried away with seedlings again this year. I think we have about 80 tomatoes and nearly 10 tomatillos. Problem is, our garden didn’t miraculously grow over the winter so we’re faced with the puzzle again of where to put it all. Granted it’s a good problem to have but I know I’ll be giving some of the seedlings away.

We struggle with blight and other issues so each year I had new things to try to help keep the plants healthy. And because we do things organically it’s important we find solutions that fit into that. We’ve used copper powder for the blight. We’ve learned to keep the leaves and plants dry while watering the soil and keeping up with pruning any shoots that start to yellow.

After reading about what minerals the tomatoes needed we added egg shells last year for the calcium. We noticed an improvement so for the past couple of months I’ve been saving the shells.

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Our seedlings got a bit leggy as I started them too soon. I always forget and do that but hopefully I will remember next year. The jungle gets a bit much!

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This year we are adding Epsom salt. This will give the tomatoes magnesium. Gardener swear by it for tomatoes, peppers, and roses. Various articles state that research doesn’t bear this out but I figured it won’t hurt to try. To plant I dug a deep hole and added crushed eggshells, about a tablespoon of Epsom salt, and some organic tomato food. Mix with the soil then fill the hole with water.

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Gently separate the roots and place in the water.

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Fill back in with soil, add the cage, and water again. Repeat!

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I cannot wait for fried green tomatoes, fresh caprese salad, and homemade sauce!

PS this is my first post on my iPad so feedback on how it shows on your screen will be welcome.

Finally warm enough to plant! But the wind…..

It seems like we live on sea cliffs this year with the wind we’ve had to contend with.  We’re an hour and a half from the ocean but not that you’d notice.   I enjoy a nice breeze but there are days when it’s strong and constant.  It doesn’t help us keep warm with the wind chill.  I had Saturday off but the wind chill kept me in.  I love gardening but not when I’m shivering and turning blue!  Sunday I had to work but it was gorgeous out even with the high winds.  So I was very excited when we got out early!  Time to plant!  🙂

I had to pin everything down as I worked so I wouldn’t be running round the garden catching things and I had to duck my head as the dirt swirled but it was wonderful to be outside and digging in the dirt.

Every year we try to rotate the crops in our raised beds so this year the broccoli and Brussel Sprouts will be near the door.

First planting 1 2013

It’s important to plant the seedlings properly so they thrive.  It can be a shock being transplanted.  Though these seedlings are in the hardy category it still makes sense to give them a great start.  I dig a hole big enough for the seedlings and put in organic plant food and fill the hole with water.

First planting 2 2013 First planting 3 2013

Place the plant in the hole and fill it up.  If the dirt is really dry water as you do this.  This will help the plants from going into shock.  Gently tamp down the dirt so the plant is in snugly.  Don’t compact too much though as you don’t want to destroy the ecosystem in the soil.

First planting 4 2013

Water thoroughly.  In this bed I also planted my son’s cabbage from school.  It’s a program for third graders to learn about gardening.  I think it’s a fabulous idea for kids.  In September kids can submit photos to win a contest.  🙂

First planting 5 2013

First planting 6 2013

I had time to plant the peas so I took advantage of the weather and got it done.  I love planting peas.  They are so amazing right off the vine and they are a great plant for the garden as they fix the nitrogen into the soil for the next crop.

First the seeds have to be inoculated.  Looks icky but it works.  I soak the seeds while I prep the bed.

First planting 7 2013

The seeds need to be planted in troughs as you want to gradually add dirt to the roots as the plants come up to keep them cool.  For a plant that has such delicate flowers they really love the cool weather.

First planting 8 2013

We moved over the “trellis” from last year.  They are getting a bit beat up so we may have to come up with a new plan next year.  We’ll see how they work this year.

First planting 9 2013

The seeds can be planted an inch apart down the row.  They can handle being planted close together.

First planting 10 2013

Water the seeds and cover with about an inch of soil and then water again.

First planting 11 2013

Then keep fingers crossed that the rabbits don’t get them.  We had a big problem with 3 rabbits last year.  Spent quite a bit of time chasing them off.  They ate a few plants so I had to plant new ones.  So far no issues this week but if they do then there is a product we get for organic gardening that has dried blood.  Gross but effective.  Certainly gets our dogs attention.