Planting and Re-Potting

The garden is getting underway!  This makes me so very happy.

Over the weekend Bob put the collards in our big 30×20 garden, covered them with mini hoop houses, and seeded what’s left of last year’s Kennebec potatoes into a wooden potato bin.  The Kennebecs did really well in the potato bins last year, so we expect a decent harvest this fall as well.  But overall, we’ve decided we’re only doing this one variety of potato this year, mostly because I’m on Keto and meals with potatoes are considered cheat meals for me.  I really miss Hungarian Mess, but am down 33 lbs and aim to keep it off.  We’re not sure what we’re going to do with the other two potato bins, probably set them in the shed until next year.  *shrugs*  Right now they’re resting in place, preventing grass from growing neatly around the deck.

In my 12×3 shed-side garden, I direct seeded two varieties of kale (lacinato and curly), and some swiss chard. I also seeded a bunch of buttercrunch lettuce in a half barrel container.  There are a handful of other lettuces growing in the garage still, and those will be transplanted very soon.  I just ran out of time and energy yesterday.

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Re-potted marigolds, replanted deeper up the stems to promote stability.

The biggest “chore” yesterday was re-potting loads of seedlings that needed it.  Since I’m also growing 4 varieties of flowers from seed, I needed more appropriately sized containers.  In hind sight, I wish I had these containers to start them in, and I will next year, but for this year I had to go buy more flowers in order to obtain the right size containers.  That meant, before I could start re-potting, I had to plant the new flowers.  I put them in 2 of the 3 sweet potato pots and one other smaller one. The smaller one went out on the front porch and we set the other two bigger pots near the corners of the garden, hoping to attract pollinators.  So now I will have something like 7 or 8 varieties of pollinator-friendly flowers.  I transplanted the spindly marigod seedlings into the empty store-bought flower containers.  Those are now sitting by the back door, since there is no room elsewhere and it was still due to be in the lower 40’s last night.  The other flower varieties haven’t outgrown their seedling trays yet.

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The label is wrong on the popsicle stick.  These are Hyssop, a pollinator-friendly flowering variety.  I’ve never grown or bought them before.  All new to me, but they look really happy.

I picked the below variety because it was just beautiful.  Check it out here: Gloriosa Daisy (Rudbeckia). “Easy to grow, loves full sun but will tolerate partial shade and is heat and drought tolerant.”  But mine are definitely too small yet to re-plant.

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Gloriosa Daisy (Rudbeckia)

I separated several vegetable varieties into larger pots, too.

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Okra

We have 9 okra that came up.  They’re basically little baby okra so far, but the seed trays I used were pitifully small.  So they got up-sized and I just put them each in the largest containers I have so I won’t have to do again before we transplant them outside.  They grow super fast anyway.

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Zucchini

I seeded 4 zucchinis, and 3 have come up so far.  But, only 1 was big enough to re-pot.  But still, another baby plant. They are so darn cute!

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Bell Pepper sprout

Our bell peppers are not growing optimally.  They were seeded a month ago and still haven’t gotten much past the sprout stage.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong with them.  It seems like I had this problem last year, too, and we ended up transplanting them late.

Update: It looks like bell peppers need to be seeded in warmer temps.  I only have grow lights out in the garage, so that’s where I set them.  That was likely my mistake.  I need to grow these seedlings INDOORS in warm temps!  (reference)

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Sweet Potato slips

I finally snapped a pic of our slip producing sweet potato.  It’s so slow-growing.  Everything is an experiment!  This is the first time I’ve tried growing my own slips, and like everything else, it’s a learning process.  I’m just happy there are some slips taking off at all!

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And on a happy note, my houseplants are doing wonderfully.

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Garden Fever

We now have over 150 plants growing in window sills, under grow lights, or outdoors.  Let’s just say I’ve gone a bit nuts over pollinator friendly flowers. Here’s my seed loot from my favorite seed store, SowTrueSeed.com.

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We already have Milkweed growing along the fence, so I won’t be planting any of that.  It just came in the pack.  Some of these seeds are direct-seed varieties, so I don’t have those growing yet.  And sunflowers, I am opting out of sunflowers since the bunnies cannot stop eating them.

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Close up of Pollinator Garden pack contents and instructions.

I think I have over 50 marigolds growing.  That one isn’t to attract pollinators, but to repel pests.  They will be planted pretty much everywhere beside plants.  I plant to plant most of the pollinator-friendly flowers in pots sitting around the perimeter of the big garden.  But the Rudbeckia will go out front, in the landscaping.  I think they’re pretty and want to show them off.

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Marigolds

The below photo shows a little tiny bee hive.  I’m not sure where it will be hung yet, but it’s for mason bees, not honey bees.  We cannot have honey bee hives here in the suburbs, so this tiny bee home will hopefully become inhabited by some mason bees that want to help us with our nearby garden.

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Mason Bee Hive Structure

One thing I’m particularly excited about, are my Orka plants.  These dudes took off fast!  Next year I should remember to plant them in a larger seed pot to begin with!

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Okra starts

And these are Bob’s babies, his collards.  I started them, but he’s taken over and making all their care decisions now.  We have 8 total, but two are still in seed starting trays.  These dudes seem happy, just like the Okra.

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Collards

Want to know what else is happy?  My tomatoes!  We are planting 6 Purple Cherokee, 6 Roma, and one Sunset Cherry.  That’s the plan anyway.  I always start more seeds than I plan to plant in case some don’t make it.  We plant the best and give away or compost the rest.  Again, there are more tomato starts in smaller seedling trays that haven’t been upsized yet.  These guys were spindly when I transplanted them into this tray.  I planted the stalks about two-thirds of the way under the soil, to help them grow with a strong, shorter stalk.  Keeping the grow lights hanging just above them, as close as they will go for a while, also helps keep the tomato plants short and therefore build a thicker main stem.  These have already started fattening up.

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Purple Cherokee and Roma tomatoes

This year we are trying cabbage for the first time.  Bob always said “it takes too much space” in years past, but I’ve convinced him to let me try a couple netted along with the collards and broccoli.  Right now, the broccoli, collards and cabbage pretty much look like all the same plant.  That reminds me, I’m out of popsicle sticks.

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Cabbage

Oh! And I don’t have a picture of it, but there is a little twig with some tiny leaves in last year’s failed sweet potato pot that looks like, you guessed it, a sweet potato plant!  That’s not only amazing -that it survived an Ohio winter- but blessed because I am not having the greatest of luck growing my own slips.  Maybe they will come through in time, but it’s questionable at this point.  I suspect there just wasn’t enough sun in our south-facing window.  Or, it was too cool.  But, there are little buds growing on my sweet potatoes, less than an inch, so maybe they will take off soon.

5 Tips for Growing Big Sweet Potatoes

And speaking of potatoes, this weekend we plan to plant our Kennebecs, weather permitting!  How’s your garden plans coming along?

 

 

Indoor Gardening Tasks

While March brought warmer weather patterns in general, this past weekend was a return to frigid temps and snowflakes.  I just could not get warm, even in the house!  But, that’s me.  I am always cold (sigh).

But as usual, we kept very busy squeezing the most out of the weekend, trying to do things we enjoy, like spending the day with adult kids and each other.

The weekend consisted of menu planning, list making, grocery shopping, sleeping in, visiting an animal shelter to look for a new friend for our dog, cooking, baking, watching Bob paint while relaxing a bit, and…. gardening tasks. Not all of these things we enjoy, but….. it’s all a means to an end. Oh…. and we did taxes, too. Joy. 🙄

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Our indoor nursery, not very elaborate!

I had planted about 50 marigolds from seed I collected myself from last year’s plants that we bought from a big box store.  Only 1 came up, so I reseeded those. I’m not sure sure what went wrong, and need to research it a bit.  But it just occurred to me… maybe the big box store’s plants don’t reseed well? It’s also the first time I’ve tried to grow marigolds from seeds, so I’m in newbie territory yet again. Anyway, I reseeded the marigolds, this time with a lid to help keep the moisture and temp more even. Hopefully that helps.  It was also time to seed tomatoes and peppers. Of those types, this year we are growing:

Purple Cherokee tomatoes
Roma tomatoes
Sunset Cherry tomatoes
Jalapenos
Long Sweet peppers
Bell Peppers

Also growing indoors:
lettuces
Broccoli
Cabbage
Collards
Marigolds

Bob transplanted the collards.  Those are his babies.  Though I planted the seeds initially, he’s now “taken over” their care.  We plan to put 5 in the garden, but I always grow a little extra to account for any that fail.  So, we have about 7 started.  I need to transplant the broccoli and cabbage to larger pots, but I pooped out last night.  Soon though.

There’s a schedule this year listing what to plant, when, and how much. Yep getting serious here.  That’s all my doing, after buying a log book and filling it out over the winter.  But Bob created the plan/diagram of where to plant stuff in the big garden.  We both had a say in what and how much though.

Towards the end of last season, we started a list of things we want to remember to consider or do for this season.

2019-04-01 Reviewing 2019 Plans

We later found out that dashers are a type of hybrid we’re no longer interested in.  And we are growing some seeds I ordered from half way around the world.  I’ll blog on that eventually.  We have had our full of banana peppers for years probably, so we’ve also since decide on ZERO of those.  Instead we are growing more cukes and some jalapenos to stock up on homemade sweet jalapeno relish, delish!

Some of our potato boxes did better than others last season. What did the best was Kennebecs.  I’ve since researched them a bit more and found out they are technically a determinant variety, but for some reason they were the best potato box variety we grew last year.  So, we’ll stick with those again this year.  We’re not messing with other varieties.

And Okra, there will be MORE of those than in years past.  Yummy.

I also finally broke down and bought a quality humming bird feeder.  Bob went out and got me a 6 ft garden hook to hang it from, near windows so we can see up closer than our other bird feeder.  Unfortunately, due to the return of snow flakes this weekend, we did not get to fill it up and put it out.  Soon though!

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We love growing our own food and hope to expand to a small farm someday, hopefully!!