Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lessons Learned

So it's been a while. Almost a month. I kinda wanted to wait till lots more started happening and I started having something to write about.

First of all, even though I have written down a list of everything I've planted in my handy journal, here is a list for everyone else to see what I've planted.

The official planting list of 2011:
Sweet basil
True Greek oregano
Extra curled dwarf parsley
Sweet marjoram
Cilantro
Dill
Catnip
California Softneck garlic
Calabacin (Summer) squash
Glacier tomato
Black Cherry tomato
Sweet Treat Hybrid carrot
Alaska peas
Tendergreen bush bean
Greyzini Zucchini (Can I just say that I love that name?)
Waltham 29 broccoli
Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach
Quinalt strawberry
Ozark Beauty strawberry
Yellow onions/scallions
Detroit Supreme beets
Russet potatoes
Pontiac Red potatoes
Melting Sugar snow pea
Kiwigold raspberry bush
Brandywine raspberry bush
Latham Red raspberry bush
Heritage raspberry bush
Darrow blackberry bush
Ebony King blackberry bush
Ground cherry
Winter thyme
Long Green Improved cucumber
Healing Hands lettuce mix (Burpee)

Let that list sink in for a minute. Man, I don't know how I managed to find space for all that stuff. Granted, I've "added" 5 more beds in the area where the original bed was, and all those spices and the lettuce are in pots right now. And some of that garlic in containers as well, and a few strawberries. And even though I could very easily let myself get carried away, I've only planted a few....transplants....of the squash, beans and cucumbers. (and some extra seeds, just in case.)

I'm already thinking of my second planting of things once a lot of this comes out of the ground, and fall planting. But, where are we now? What's been happening since I posted last? Well, I'll tell you. The cucumbers flowered on 4.18.11, and were planted outside on the 30th. The week before, on the weekend of the 23rd, I transplanted my squash (Greyzini), beans and tomatoes outside. These aren't looking so hot, but I think it's because I didn't harden them off, and it's still a little too cool, and they'd already started flowering. Not the tomatoes, but they're looking pretty puny. Pretty sure one of the Black Cherry tomato plants has died. Should've listened to Cindy. But, on the bright side, it looks like they're starting to bounce back.
While the flowering parts of the squash and beans (and the beans themselves!) died, new parts of the plant have started to grow. And to cover my ass, since I don't want to call myself a failure, I stuck some seeds in the ground too. At the best, it'll be a decent attempt at succession planting. At the worst, I'll be buying the frozen sliced zucchini from Giant all summer. In the middle, where I think I am right now, I've gotten sprouts from both the beans and squash within 10 days.
Apparently I also planted some yellow squash seeds too, forgot about that part. So far I know that only the zucchini has sprouted. I did the same thing when I planted the cucumbers outside, I stuck some seeds in the ground also. No sprouts there yet.

My cold weather crop bed is doing great, but it makes sense since it's still barely getting to 80 degrees out. The potatoes are huge, beets leaves are probably about 4 inches long (and based on leaf height and planting dates, I should have some beets in a couple of weeks!), broccoli sprouts are big but no crowns yet, and I think all but one of my carrots seeds is growing. Those should be ready to eat soon, I think. Carrot and beet salad? Yes, I think so.

With the raspberry bushes, I planted the two I'd bought several weeks ago, along with the blackberry bushes, but I think those died...probably because I left them in my car after buying them. So, I bought some more, ones that already had buds on them- the Kiwigold and Brandywine. The blackberries haven't done anything, and there were none left at Lowes that were thriving. I keep getting suckered into buying more strawberry plants. I've given up on the seeds, but I feel like the plants are growing either....I'm hoping they just take a LONG time to pop up.

My peas and snow peas are growing magnificently, and I'm really excited to grow those again. Actually, one of the peas started flowering a couple days ago, and they've gotten around a foot tall. I rigged up some teepee  trellis type things for them. The peas should be done around the same time as the beets, but the snow peas will take a couple more weeks after that. And I was wrong. Just checked my notes, the carrots take about 70 days, the beets are 59, and peas are 58 days. So.....beet and pea salad?

Looking towards the future, I'm thinking I'm going to plant all this stuff over again, depending on how much actually grows- beans, zucchini, squash and cucumbers in a month or so, and then near the end of summer, mid August I guess, I'm going to grow the rest of the veggies- beets, broccoli, spinach, peas/snow peas, carrots, onions and garlic.
Definitely going to put some garlic in to grow over the winter, because I think those are doing really well. (When are they going to be done?? When will the leaves turn brown and fall over??)
Also think I'm going to go with a "less is more" philosophy. One of my biggest problems is that I thought I'd be able to easily reach everything in the 5x5 bed, but the plethora of weeds has proved me wrong, and I'm only really able to get the biggest ones out of the very middle. So, we'll plant along the edges and leave the middle alone. Good plan.

I haven't been very happy with the spinach. When all was said and done, I only had two growing. I'm sure I pulled out some of the others as weeds since I didn't know what they looked like, but they took so damn long to show up that it's their fault. And finally, the lettuce mix. Slow growing, but there. I'm irritated. I want some cut and come again salads. But I'll probably buy them again. Too tired however to post pictures, or write in complete sentences.

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