Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Update

I planted my first winter sown container out on Sunday. I could hardly walk on Monday because of it, but it's nice to be planting and playing in the dirt again. Sweet Pea "Matucana" planted on a trellis in the back flower bed. The soil in the bed was so wet it wasn't even funny! We have very heavy clay soil and when I dug a hole for the transplant my trowel, the dirt just came up in a big glob. Then, getting the plants out of my jug in one piece complete with roots was a challenge. I ended up filling the holes with some dirt from the veggie bed that has had some amendments added into it.

The potatoes are doing great! With the warmer temps we've been having the past couple of weeks, they're really starting to take off. Some of the containers are continuing to sprout, but they've all got wonderful growth going on.

Red Norlands
They are some of the bigger sprouts, but they also had the most growth on them when I planted them out.

Banana Fingerlings
They are the most numerous since I had so many pieces. If I grow them again next year, I'll only plant 1/4 lb. in a container since they produced the most pieces.

Kennebecs and Purple Vikings
These had the fewest pieces planted and some of the Kennebecs didn't even have growth on them, just eyes formed. I noticed a new sprout on one side of the container today. It's hard to see it in this pic, but I'm excited to see another sprout. I don't remember which variety I planted on which side of the container, so it's going to be fun come harvest time! LOL

(It's in the dark portion of the pic on the left and you can hardly see it. LOL)

The Wando Peas aren't doing so hot. I think the birds are feasting on the sprouts once the seeds germinate. DH planted more seeds yesterday, so we'll see if we get more sprouts. I'm thinking of putting down some tulle or bird netting over them to deter the birds and squirrels, too. Here are a couple of sprouts that have survived.

Notice the wilted, dead-looking sprout in the upper left hand corner of this pic? This is what's been happening to them.

The onions are doing okay. All but 4 or 5 of the purple onions I planted have died. The 1015s are doing great, though! Their bed is being taken over by henbit, so it's going to be my evening weeding project for the next couple of nights.

The carrots have finally started germinating. Not sure what the problem has been with them, but the packages do say it could take as many as 3 weeks to germinate. I think it's been about that long.

The winter sowing project continues. Almost all of the earliest sown jugs have sprouted. The latter ones have not, except for 1 or 2. There's also some really warm weather plants in those, though, so they may not sprout til it really warms up.

The lettuces are starting to bolt. It's just about past their time, but they've done great since last fall!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Things are Moving Along!

Spring is such a fun time in the garden. It's a time of renewal and hope. Things that have been laying dormant for the winter are coming back to life and new things are starting to sprout.

Yesterday, we planted a row and a half of peas (snap peas). We're trying "Wando" peas this year. Wandos are an OP and heirloom variety of peas that seem to be more adapted to our area. They take the cooler temps better and also can stand up to some of the warmer temps we get in late spring as well. In between the rows of peas, I planted some dill, leftover from last year's winter sowing! LOL

The white forks mark the rows, btw. The dill plants are those frilly green things you can barely see. The trellis is invisible. Actually, it's leaning up against the storage shed in the backyard. DH has yest to put it up.

Anyhoo, we planted 2 peas per hole, 3" apart. I plopped the seeds down and the DH followed behind me and buried them. He was like a little boy playing in the dirt, complete with sound effects!

After we did the peas, I ventured to the far back flower bed to clean it up, weed, and find a spot to plant my sweet peas. Many of the plants I planted out there last year survived and are in the process of rejuvenating. The (dis)Obedient plant multiplied like a rabbit! I started with 2 little plants and I now have this blanket of plants, which will look pretty when they bloom, but sheesh! I didn't need THIS many!

I have decided to trade some away and to plant some in the little strip o' flower bed under the kitchen window and possibly along the side driveway. We'll see how that goes!

My Passalong Pink lily. I really hope this thing blooms this year! I've had it for 3 years now and it's not bloomed yet. :>(

You may have to click the pic to see this one, but I am just beyond excited that this Frostweed is coming back. It has one very little, teeny tiny green leaf on it! Just color me happy!

This is my Cowpen Daisy. I love this plant and I'm so glad it's coming back!

Houston! We have taters sprouting!! Yesterday, I discovered my first taters peeking through the dirt in one of the planters. I *think* it was the Red Norlands, but I could be wrong. If I remember correctly, we planted about 6 seed taters in the box and I've already seen 4 sprouts, but there's one more coming up. Today, when I went to check on things after I got home from work, I found sprouts in all the other tater containers as well!! Boing! Boing! (That would be me bouncing up and down with happiness and excitement.)


Here's one just starting to break the surface and poke it's little bud out!

Lastly, the lettuce bed, which also contains a few spinach plants and a cabbage, is flourishing in the warmer temps and spring rains.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Stroll Through the Gardens Today

It was an absolutely perfect day today, after the rain and hail moved out of the area. The temperature was in the 70s, the sun was shining, there was a bit of a breeze, and all was well in my world. Around mid-day, I took a stroll through my gardens to see what was going on and what was coming back to life, what weeds needed to be pulled (got a bumper crop this year!), and what new seeds had sprouted in my winter sowing jugs. Here are a few, okay many, pics from my little excursion.

My winter sown jugs of tomatoes and bell peppers.

A strawberry bloom on one of the strawberry plants the DH dug out of the bed leftover from last year.

Radish seedlings poking up. I planted these last week. :>)

Found this bird's nest in our holly bush! Not sure if it's currently in use or not.

Jug eyeball! Those are self-heal sprouts in there!

A baby toad lily! I just planted these last year, 1 little plant in 4 different places in the front bed. I've already got at least 2 new sprout on each plant!

This Brazos Penstemon has doubled in size over the winter. I have a total of 6 of these and they've already started producing clumps. Yippee!

One of my May Night Salvias coming back from the dead. I was really thinking I'd lost these this winter.

Poppies! Need I say more?

John Fanick Phlox. I only had one measly little stem on this last year and already I see about 3 or 4 stems!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Great Potato Project

It's finally stopped snowing and freezing enough during the day that I have been able to get out in the garden and PLANT! If you've read some of my previous posts regarding potatoes, you'll remember that this year, I'm growing potatoes for the first time. Because we have such icky soil here, I decided to grow them in containers after watching this video from the Farmer's Almanac website.

While I'm not using a trash can, I am using some large containers.

You can clearly see the smaller of the containers in this pic. The big blue square thing at the top of the pic is the 2nd container. It has 2 varieties of potatoes planted in it. The smaller containers each have one variety.

DH made the "sides" on the smaller containers, then we'll add chicken wire (poultry wire) to the top as we start going up with growth of the plant and the potatoes. Because the blue thing on the bottom has these HUGE indentations in the bottom where the legs are formed, we placed a layer of leaves on the bottom of the container to fill up the holes and to keep the subsequent dirt from falling through the vent/drainage holes. We then put about 6" of ammended soil in the container. I lined up my taters that I'd cut and dipped in wood ash over the weekend.

We then shoveled another 4" or so of dirt on top of the potato pieces and topped it all off with a very thin layer of leaves, just to help keep insulated against the still cool temps at night and to keep the soil from drying out too quickly during the day.

One of the really stupid things I did several weeks ago was move the potatoes from labeled containers to the egg cartons without labeling them. I just knew I'd be able to remember which variety of potato was which! Ummm....not so much! So now, I've planted my potatoes and the only ones I'm really sure about are the Kennebecs and the fingerlings. I have no idea which are the Reds and which are the Purple Vikings. The Kennebecs are planted on one side of the big container with what I think are the Purple Vikings. There's Reds in this small container (I think) and the fingerlings are in the other small container. Should provide some excitement come harvest time!