Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another Harvest and Garden Pics

We made another harvest this week, a couple more squash, zucchini, a good handful of strawberries that had not been half eaten and we went ahead and cut back some cilantro and lettuce.

Here's the first box, the beans have taken off and are blooming now so beans aren't far behind. You can almost see our cat keeper offer on the lettuce and herb box, we set some bamboo stakes into the corners and suspended more of the bird netting over the top of the box. So far this has worked and kept the cats out of the box. The pour little tomato we thought was done for after the wind storm has come back to life with the help of another bamboo stake, it's got a nice sized tomato waiting for color on it now and plenty of blooms.

Boxes 2 and 3 have really filled in now. The squash and zucchini are both doing great, the jalapenos have started to form and are almost to harvesting size, the onions are going crazy and we have little baby carrots going to town. The cucumbers are finally starting to take off and we picked our first the other day, it's kinda bent looking but it's a cucumber. The bell peppers I was worried about, the blooms kept falling off before doing anything and I've found it to be they weren't getting as much water as they like, I've upped the watering schedule and they get a nice big drink just for them as well.

You can just see the tip of the hanging eggplant we installed over the boxes, I'll do a better post on that later, it has taken off and changes everyday.

The rest of the tomatoes! The cherries are going to overflow here soon, there are something like 10 little bunches all looking to be ready right on top of each other, good thing Joe eats them like candy. The new little tomato has taken off and has a couple of blooms going so we'll be able to compare all three fruit sizes here soon.

It seems as soon as I take pictures something grows and changes but it will make for a great slideshow by the end of summer.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The First Big Harvest

veggie harvestSo we've been picking strawberries since they went in, but this is the first harvest of our veggies.

The squash and zucchini have really taken off mom has been manually pollinating both plants seeing as even with the addition of some lovely lavender we seem to have one lone bee attracted to our garden.

These were picked last weekend and tomorrow there will be more ready to come off. I'll get more pics of the garden in total then.

It's not the taking of the photos that I can't keep up with it's that they grow faster than I can get the editing done. Sheesh.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ugh Visitors

So it seems at least one of the "not indoor" cats from our neighborhood has decided to use our lettuce and herb box for its own use.

And of course we just planted a new round of seeds the day before that have now been scratched up and tossed around.

All I can say is ick ick ick. It does make me wonder now if it's not caterpillars eating the lettuce but cats, since they've left one head alone and it's doing great.

So now we've got to construct some form of barrier to keep the kitties out. This has become a big problem in our area due to the foreclosures, people have left their homes and cats as well. New people have moved in and brought yappy little dogs but I have a feeling they're being intimdated by the cats.

I'm going to try the barrier method to keep them out since there isn't any general consensus over solutions except for the hose and ours seem to sneak in at night, we haven't seen any cats yet.

I'll have new pics of the plants up soon, just have to get them off the camera and edited for the site.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Our New Pets or...

How we have been overtaken by the hummingbirds.
Mom decided to try hanging the ole' feeder up to see if any were around.

I don't think any of us expected the turnout.

Due to the size and speediness of the little buggers we have only gotten a real count when they are all near the feeder. So far we know there are at least 4.

And this one here thinks he's the ringleader. Boy is he bossy. He's quite territorial over the feeder which is quite funny when it's empty and we're trying to refill it. I've never really wanted to wear my glasses except when you see one of those coming at your head.

I'll post more pictures and possibly a video after I do a little more research to see if we can't find out exactly what species these are.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

They're Growing!!

As Mom pointed out to me I don't actually have any dates on here for when we planted, oops!

Our tomatoes were planted on March 19, all the seedlings went in the ground on March 20 and the seeds were planted on the 21st.

Everything is now moving along great, the only thing we haven't seen yet is the cilantro, if it does not show up this week I'm going to try again.

Pole Beans sproutingHere are the beans on the 31st of March, we spotted it coming out that morning and by the early evening it had made it this far.

Garden box with strawberries and pole beansHere they are on April 6, a week later. I figure they'll be up the trellis by next week. The strawberries are doing well, we've been collecting a few every 2 or 3 days since they went in.

Slicing tomatoesThese are the cute baby tomatoes, my daughter Sydni has been diligently checking them everyday to look for changes.

Onions sproutingThis is the onion set 10 days after planting. I have to say I only wanted to plant them as more of an experiment than anything so I am pleasantly surprised they are doing so well.

Green Onions GaloreI don't plan on buying green onions all summer, these will definitely be on the list for next year.

Baby Romaine LettuceItty bitty heads of lettuce are now popping up. They really are tiny and quite easy to look over.

Garden box with Carrots Onions Jalapeno and Bell Peppers CucumbersThis is box 2 with the onions, carrots, peppers and cucumbers. On the larger image you can just see the tops of the carrots starting. We looked today and it appears that a couple of jalapenos may be starting as well. Everything else is just putting out new leaves and getting bigger.

I also finally got a packet of chives and they have been planted with the cherry tomato, hopefully they will spring up soon too.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Planting Time!

All of the seedlings are now in the ground and looking pretty good. Most of the seeds and the onion set are in, so far the only growth we can see there are the onions sprouting.

In the first box we have 8 Quinalt strawberries and 8 Sequoia, both everbearing. The Kentucky Wonder pole beans have been started behind them, we're staggering those so hopefully it will spread out the harvest.

Left to right we have 2 Straight Eight cucumbers, 2 Burpless Hybrid cucumbers, a California Wonder Bell Pepper and a Sweet Red Bell Pepper. In the front row we have a Jalapeno our onion set which was just some generic yellow onion we got at HD to try for fun and our carrot seed which I can't remember the variety of right now. Like I said the onions are the only seeds sprouting right now, the 2 burpless cukes don't seem to be doing as well as the straight 8s but that may be because their peat pots were much drier than the others.

Here are the squash, a yellow crook neck and a green zucchini. These were planted mostly for Mom well cause she's the only one who'll eat them. But I do plan to try some zucchini bread and carrot cake cookie recipes to sneak more veggies into the kids with.

This is our slicing tomato we went with an Early Girl 50 this year, turns out the Celebrity we grew 2 summers ago and loved so much wasn't a Celebrity so instead of trying to guess what it was we went with the highly recommended Early Girl, who has 2 tiny little tomatoes starting a week after transplant. Surrounding the stalk we've planted Parsley seed, they're good companion plants and it keeps us from finding another spot for it.

Our picking tomato is a Sweet 100 Cherry tomato. We love cherry tomatoes around here, it's what I use in salads and Joe will eat the entire plants' worth if we let him. This one is blooming after just a week in the pot.

The other box, which I don't have a pic of because it would be a pic of dirt, has had Oregano, Cilantro and Vivian Romaine Lettuce planted in it, all seeds which none have decided to show up yet. I'm not worried this is our first year trying seed and if it doesn't work oh well, try a different route next year.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Planting Begins and of course and New Plan!

We started planting a little earlier than planned last week when we went to go check out the seedling stock at the HD. We figured hey we'll look around at what all they have in stock and find out when the delivery truck will be there next.

Little did we know or plan for him to be sitting there and all too willing to take our list and pull fresh stock off his truck. He really was quite nice about it and even went searching for specific varieties.

Of course we really were not intending to plant yet so of course plans had to be changed.

Now to back track a bit, cause I'll have more on the actual planting next week....

Shoveling poo sucks.

Our soil blend consisted of 4 parts MiracleGro flower and veggie soil, 2 parts steer manure, 2 parts peat moss and 1.5 parts compost (that had a variety of assorted poos in it).

We blended roughly 29 cubic feet of that mess over 3 days. Boy can my shoulders tell it too.

But we got it all in the boxes and pots and all ready for seeds and seedlings.

This is the small lettuce and herb box, it's since been moved to a sunnier location.

This is the beans and strawberries box, the trellising is done with pvc pipe and bird netting.

The far box is the yellow squash and zucchini, the closer has cukes, peppers, carrots and onions.

You can also see how small our yard is and how you can you know hear everything your neighbors do.

And now for the new plan layout. I've also added a widget for plangarden.com to the sidebar over there, if you click through and become a member I gets points. It really is a cool software, I've already plotted our garden and started notating planting dates and expected harvest dates. Click to make it readable size.

That's it for this week, I've got a load of photos to format of our plantings to do before posting them, but things are looking good.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Boxes are Done!

So we got our boxes made. They look really nice, we found some 12 x 2 x 12 redwood on clearance and they had just enough pieces to make our 4 boxes. The bottoms are fence planks cut to size. We also coated everything with water sealer to help prolong the wood life (even though redwood is recommended for garden boxes) and it makes them all dark and pretty.

We've got them built and lined with weed cloth, mainly to keep the soil in while giving ample drainage and we are now getting the soil started, oof are my back muscles not liking that.

Ha! and there's mom who does not really like to be in pics, but I told her I needed a visual reference for a 4 foot tall box.

Next week we should have all the boxes filled and the trellising done.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Garden Plan version 273465

So it's been a real experience trying to figure out just what we wanted to plant and just how to go about doing it. After a multitude of revisions on what, where and how we now have a working plan to go by.

I also found this really cool online software to use in planning and record keeping for our garden to make sure we not only do it right but to see the results in numbers at the end of the season.

Here's a picture of our plan so far. You can click on it to make it readable.

This is a rough sketch of our back patio area. Seeing as we rent, we don't want to destroy what little grass there is in the back yard so we are going with a mix of containers including leftover 20 inch round pots for the tomatoes, 3 2 foot by 4 foot "square foot" planting boxes, and one 16" by 3' leftover scrap box.

The patio has a pergola installed above it but do to lack of common sense somewhere in the line of contractors and builders, it's actually installed the wrong way, instead of providing shade it creates weird tan lines if you sit under it too long. But that had also given us some vertical posts evenly spaced around the area to which we are going to attach trellising. Which might by the late summer actually provide us with some shade to relax in.

The trellis will be used by the cucumbers, pole beans and squash and zucchini, we'll use tomato cages for well the tomatoes and also the peppers.

We haven't narrowed it down to what varieties we're going to plant yet, that will be decided mostly by what we can find locally as far as seedlings and seeds go. We are also thinking of adding a few dwarf fruit trees since one of the local nurseries had trees already producing nicely.

The plan is mostly laid out according to companion growing charts, which veggies like each other enough to help produce better yield. We haven't seen too many pests in our area except for the overabundance of snails (ick ew ick) which will be discouraged pretty much if anyone wants me anywhere near the plants, and cats, which due to the foreclosures in the area are being abondoned in greater numbers, spayed or not ( the local shelter had been great in helping with this problem).

The software program I used is called PlanGarden it offers a 45 day free trial which I'm taking advantage of and if at the end of the trial looks to be helping then I'll buy the $20 one year subscription. So far just for ease of use in setting up a plan it looks to be worth 20 bucks. If I do make a subscription I'll add a widget to the sidebar.

You can find PlanGarden here.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

New Garden Blog

So we have decided to start a real vegetable garden this year. We've grown herbs and tomatoes before and they did well especially the tomatoes.

We're doing an altered version of the square foot garden. In total we'll have 24 sqft. of vegetables. Do to so many of the varieties we're planting being vertical growers and vines, we're not using the grid pattern of growing so much as the philosophy of less work, less time, more harvest.

I'll post our planting plans as soon as I get them scanned in but here's a list of what we intend to grow.

Tomatoes both slicing and cherry
Pole beans otherwise known as green beans
Yellow neck squash
Bell peppers
and whatever else we like at the garden center.