Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The cat decided it would be a great idea to explore one of the big seedling trays. Remarkably some seedlings poked up after the catastrophe. So far green beans, pumpkins, and Amish paste tomatoes have come up. Tonight's plan is to plant eggplant, a few tomato varieites and a few peppers in 2 gallon plastic buckets loaded with compost. I think danger of frost is past and I can bring the plants in on cold nights.
At the community garden I decided to take a chance and plant zucchini. Way too early to do so, but I figured for the cost of an envelope of seeds ($0.89) it was worth a shot. Made a line of five hills and an extra hill in the back of the garden. Be nice if I got a few zucchini before the bugs go to town.
Time to get serious about getting the back garden ready and planning how to support the tomatoes. I think for the plants in the back yard I'll stake them. I'm tempted to do something more elaborate at the community garden, but I may resort to staking in the end. I've also decide to make room for some cucumbers at the community garden.
Oh, and the gooseberries are flowering.

UPDATE: I planted 10 two gallon buckets with various tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and beans. Oh and dill. The weather forecast shows nothing below 40 for the next ten days. Hopefully no frost, but if there's a risk I can haul in the buckets for the night.
Bucket brigade
Oh, so still need to plant some potatoes, starts some cukes and zucchino rampicante (the zucchini with the solid stem immune to borers). Also need to start some ground cherries. Lots to do!

Oh, and a groundhog ate the few pea plants that came up. CURSE YOU GROUNDHOG! I caught him in the act. He ran off. Jerk.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Time to Sow

Jacket weather seems to be fading nicely, although the threat of a frost is not officially passed. I heard an unsubstantiated rumor that within the week we might see high thirties again. I guess we'll see. The peas are in, and have been since mid-March. But the germination was lackluster at best. I have literally a dozen plants that are an inch or two tall now. But I planted easily over a hundred seeds. Admittedly, some of the seed was old and may not have quite the mojo that it once did. But I also had two new envelopes of seeds from a local store. So a pretty puzzlingly paltry return on investment. I had a section of welded wire fencing over the middle section of the pea bed so that bigger critters would be less likely to molest them. Yet the seeds under the fence section fared no better than the rest. Not sure what would be doing this. I'm tempted to plant some more seeds and see if I can do a little better - right now I hardly have enough plants for a meal of sugar snap peas. Here's one of the suriviors.

Pea seedling, yay!
Chives are doing well. I always relish the arrival of the peppery purple chive flowers, but no signs of flowers yet.

Number Chive is Alive
Garlic seems to have survived the ravages of the winter. I present this photo as a cautionary example regarding weeding. In my defense I have since weeded about half the bed, and I promised the poor plants I'd do the rest this weekend.

My weed bed with sporadic garlic
The Quaker community garden has seen fit to upgrade me to a 1/2 plot this year. Woot! My spot is 10' x 25' and will soon be overflowing with tomatoes. Decided that Amish paste tomatoes will feature prominently with several other varieties to see what does well. Here's what things look like right now. On the left is garlic transplanted from last year's quarter plot. The tilled area in the foreground is part of my neighbors allotment.

My plot!
Another exciting development, I got 3 asparagus crowns from another gardener. I can't harvest this year, but at least one of them seems quite happy in his new digs.

One day I will EAT YOU!
Other than the above, nothing is planted outside yet. May 15th is the last frost date for my area. However I've got the basement operation up and running. Perhaps a bit late. A month early rather than 2 months. Ah well. Here's the setup.

Getting started
Doesn't seem like too much, right? Well here are the varieties I've got going.

Tomatoes, Cherry:

  • Black Cherry
  • Red Cherry, Large Fruited
  • Sungold
  • Amish Paste
  • Mortgage Lifter
  • Super Beefsteak
  • Cherokee Purple
  • San Marzano
  • Roma
  • Tigerella
  • 4th of July
  • Black Krim
  • Brandywine
  • Steak Sandwich
  • Serrano
  • Jalapeno
  • Habanero
  • Hungarian Wax
So a decent selection. I'm doing some last minute panic shopping to pick up a few more things, hot peppers, Rutgers tomatoes, Ping Tung Long eggplant. Also need to see if I can find some Jerusalem artichokes. Finances are a bit tighter this season, so I relied on seeds I already had. Wish me luck.