Thursday, April 12, 2012

Welcome back, gardener

Oops. Guess it's been a while since I wrote. Last summer got away from me and I never could find the right time (meaning motivation) to update.
So to finish up the 2011 growing season:
The peas and snow peas never did very well- or at least they never produced much fruit. I don't know what went wrong, really. I tried again this spring with more, and with them better located to get more sun. It still took a long time for them to start sprouting, (the ones I planted this year) exactly a month. 
All the strawberry crowns that I bought and planted did exactly NOTHING. Not a single damn sprout popped up. I bought some live plants from Burpee this past...October-ish? and planted them in some hanging planters (that are hanging out on the ground) They seem to be doing pretty well. With the weird winter this year, they were trying to fruit last November (!)
The only tomatoes that did really well were the black cherry tomatoes; I'm not going to try and grow tomatoes from seed again. I really do think my problem last year was that did my tomatoes from seed and that I started the seeds too early. I think I also need to invest in some grow lights and a special place to grow them (seeds, that is) instead of sticking them on the table in front of the window with a lamp on them in the craft room. And actually, I have three plants that will be shipped next week!
Along with the tomatoes, the other seeds that I started inside and transplanted didn't do well either: Cukes, squash, beans. All those I'm going to direct sow this year. When I finally was willing to believe that my transplants weren't going to do well, I stuck some some seeds in the ground with them which did pretty well- the wax beans exploded in the barrel planter. I had TONS. I find it ironic that I couldn't get the wax beans to grown indoors, but they did amazingly well outside. 
I definitely need to work some fertilizer/compost/organic matter through my beds for next year. 
The cukes didn't do well being direct sowed, but I ended up buying some seedlings from the local nursery that grew really well. I got a lot of really delicious, big fruits. Too bad I don't like pickles. I wonder if you can can cukes and not pickle them- with a pressure cooker, or course.  I'm hoping to do seeds this year though (I've already bought them)
Squash didn't do well either; they weren't getting fertilized. I put in some flowers so hopefully that will bring some bees or not-veggie-ruining bugs to help with that. 
The carrots didn't do well in my opinion. I mean, they grew about 1/2" to an 1", but I think I should've let them grow longer? I know I pulled them out because I thought they had been in the ground way too long but weren't getting any bigger. The forum that I read told me that they needed to stay in. This year I used seed tape for the carrots. We'll see if it does better?
Humble garden beginnings
And lastly, the pepper plants I bought from walmart did great. I bought them on a whim, and stuck them in the 5x5 planter. They was supposed to be a red, orange and green plant, but they never changed colors. I didn't leave them growing long enough. And I accidentally ripped off half of one of the plants with the hose. ooops.
So, that's that. 

On to 2012!

Planting list:
Sugar Snap pea
Little Marvel Pea
Oregon Sugar Pod Pea
Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean
Gold Rush Wax Bean
Packman Broccoli
Red Potatoes
Russet Potatoes

 I tried to grow some broccoli from seed, but that didn't work. I mean, it worked, they grew but they were too leggy and didn't grow very well in the raised bed The packman broccoli are transplants that I bought from Lowes.
They're doing very very well; hopefully I'll see some heads forming soon. I read online it usually takes 60 days from transplanting to see heads form. They were planted on March 11th.  

I've planted the wax beans next to the broccoli, and next to are the carrot seed tape strips. I put in three. They sprouted in about 2 weeks, and I've thinned them out. Someone said that one of the most common mistakes that a newbie gardener makes is that they don't thin out their seedlings.

Lily of the Valley

In an effort to get more insects/bees that could help pollinate my veggies, and to make the yard look a little nicer, I planted some Hellebores and Lily of the Valley since they do well in a shade garden. 

First hellebore bloom

 I mentioned the peas that I was trying this year- I put some little marvel pea seeds into the barrel planter (because it did so well with the beans)- 18 in all but only 6 sprouted. I planted some more in the barrel last weekend.

Snow or snap peas?
Same with the snow/snap peas. I planted 6 of each, but I only got 4 of one of them. I think it might be snow peas because that's the order I wrote it down in, but I can't be sure. Either way, I planted some more snow/snap peas in the 5x5 last weekend also, and some more in the second new raised bed. So, hopefully tons of peas/snow peas/snap peas/beans/wax beans any day now. 
I'm giving potatoes one more shot- planted them in a laundry basket copying an idea I saw on Pinterest. Except I'm dumb and I should've lined it with something. The soil "erodes" out the holes every time I water. Oh well. Only the red potatoes have sprouted as of now, hopefully the russet potatoes will soon. 

Last but not least, the fruit bushes- I planted 2 blueberry, one black berry, one raspberry and 3 strawberry bushes/crowns last fall, and they're starting to take off and fruit. I know I was supposed to prune them, but I guess another rookie mistake, I didn't....Oh well. Next spring, I promise! That's about all for now. 

I have 2 different cuke seeds to plant, along with melon, zucchini and summer squash. I'm going to wait until May to put those in. 

So far so good?

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