Garden Update 8/18/14

Here are some photos from the week. Not much of a harvest but we did have a couple more cucumbers (not nearly as many as I would like) and some more tomatoes. Its ironic that the one tomato plant on my balcony is producing more tomatoes than the 6 plants in the garden.  The fall crop is also making some nice progress. The beans are growing fast and carrots are about an inch tall now.

Half Eaten Harvest 8.11.14

I picked a few tomatos at the garden today and my first cucumber of the season. Bad news - the cuke was half eaten. Hopefully there will be more (un-eaten) of these to come.

Few More Tomatos 8.8.14

My strategy this year was to plant mostly yellow tomato varieties to keep passers-by from harvesting. This strategy has been pretty successful thus far. However I have been forced to pick much too many green tomatos as someone (or something) has been chewing or cutting off the stems from the bottom. The most likely culprints are mice or cut worms. I will try to put some dish soap in the water next time I water them as an nature pesticide. Also, I noted the lines at the top of the tomatos which are most likely from irregular watering, but should not affect the taste.

There's Time ..... to Grow!

Now that we are in August, some of you (like me) are probably wondering where your summer has gone as you realize that the time for gardening left is limited. But, there is good news! There is still enough time to get lots more out of your garden this year.

To name a few -
 •Swiss chard
 •Brussels sprouts
 •English peas
 •Mustard greens

Realizing that I neglected my garden for most of July, I have turned to quick growing vege's that will give me a harvest before it gets too cold. There are a number of options but below I have noted a couple of great "fast growing" varieties of fall garden veges.

Little Finger Carrots (57 days)

Pea Snow Oregon Sugar Pod II Seeds (60 days)

Broccoli Di Cicco (48 days)

Radish Cherry Belle  (24 days)

Kale Red Winter Organic ( 50 days)

Harvest Monday 8.4.14

In a quick trip to the garden, I managed to water the plants as well as pick a few tomatos. I am also most excited that there will soon be cucumbers to pick. Sadly most of my cucumber bushes did not make it and I only have about 6 going right now.

Begonia in Bloom, Huzzah!

Begonia 8.2.14
The Begonia Bulb from last year is blooming again, which I am most happy about. The tomatoes on my balcony are turning yellow. These ones look a bit odd as they are quite round when they are supposed to be yellow pears. I also found a single pea plant still blooming and then I planted many more pea seeds for a late season harvest. The weather outside is feeling more and more like fall which is surprising as its still August. I planted a row of carrots today and started romaine lettuce seeds.
Yellow Pear Tomatoes 8.2.14
Last Pea Plant 8.2.14

Harvest 7.30.14

Got a few tomatos, hurrah!

A Visit at Last

OK - I admit it. Given all the renovations at home, I neglected to visit the garden for over two weeks. Today when I finally arrived, I found four large fatty rabbits on my lot. Dinner anyone?

At least now I know that I have my work cut out for me for the weekend. Nonetheless, the garden did keep going and growing even without me. I found a baby green pepper on the pepper plant. The tomato plants doubled in size. The Lilly is almost in bloom.

Successful Seed Germination Guide

Over the years I have learned a great deal (mostly through trial and error) about how to successfully germinate seeds. Notably, my method over the years has come to vary based on the type of seed / plant I am working with. Below are some general guidelines that I have found helpful.

  1. Buy high quality seeds. My favorite is Botanical Interests.
  2. Large Seeds - Consider pre-germinating larger seeds on a wet paper towel for a few days prior to planting in soil. I do this for things such as peas, cucumbers, squash.
  3. Tiny seeds can be sown indoors on top of the soil. I suggest misting the seeds heavily instead of watering. This method is useful for flower seeds such as peonies or any other seed that is tiny.
  4. Research whether the plant requires light for germination. Most of the tiny seeds do need this and thus is is helpful to include them on top of the soil.
  5. Use a light airy soil medium. You can consider using a soil-less seed-starting medium; however, I have had just as much luck with regular garden soil.
  6. Keep soil moist. Forgetting to mist for a day or two could mean a lower germination rate or no germination at all.
  7. Review required temperatures table below and days to germination. Keep in mind that if required temperature is not met consistently then the seeds will take more time to germinate.

 Bean, lima  85 degrees F  7 to 10 days
 Bean, snap  75 to 80 degrees F  7 days
 Beet  75 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Broccoli  65 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Brussels sprout  68 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Cabbage  68 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Cantaloupe  80 to 85 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Carrot  75 degrees F  12 to 15 days
 Cauliflower  65 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Celery  70 to 75 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Collard  70 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Corn  75 to 85 degrees F  7-10 days
 Cucumber  70 to 85 degrees F  7 to 10 days
 Eggplant  75 to 85 degrees F  10 to 12 days
 Endive  70 to 75 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Kale  70 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Kohlrabi  70 to 75 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Lettuce  65 to 70 degrees F  7 to 10 days
 Melon  80 to 85 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Mustard Greens  70 degrees F  5 to 10 days
 Okra  80 to 85 degrees F 7 to 14 days
 Onion, bulbing  70 to 75 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Onion, bunching  60 to 70 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Parsnip 70 degrees F  14 to 21 days
 Pea  65 to 70 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Pepper  78 to 85 degrees F  10 to 14 days
 Pumpkin  70 to 75 degrees F  7 to 10 days
 Radish  65 to 70 degrees F  5 to 7 days
 Rutabaga  65 to 70 degrees F  7 to 15 days
 Spinach  70 degrees F   7 to 14 days
 Spinach, New Zealand  75 degrees F  10 to 15 days
 Squash, Summer  75 to 85 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Squash, Winter  75 to 80 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Swiss Chard  70 to 75 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Tomato  75 to 80 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Turnip  65 to 70 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 Watermelon  75 to 85 degrees F  7 to 14 days
 *Chart courtesy of Heirloom Seeds.

Tragedy in the Garden

Dismembered Tomato 5.12.14

I have had a number of losses in the community garden since becoming a member. Notably, when you have a plot of land in the middle of a city it is not surprising to see homeless folk, students, as well as furrier vagrants. Yesterday, I went to the garden and discovered that someone had cut most of the branches off from the four tomato plants I put in last week. The cuts appear to be at an angle which makes me fear that these were done by other  gardeners looking to root a "cutting" of the plant.  It sickens me to think that a fellow gardener would do such a thing.

Dismembered Plants 5.12.14

Plot 5.12.14

Tristan Strawberry Flower 5.12.14

Lettuce transplanted 5.12.14

Warmer Weather Excitement

I thought the warmer weather would never come given the winter we just had in New England. Now that it's here, I'm excited to get everything started. I ordered the cucumber seeds (2 varieties) and now patiently await their arrival. My favorite seed brand is Botanical Interests and they are well worth the wait. In the meantime, I found some Burpee seeds from 2012 and put them on a wet paper towel to test germination. Could these still work? No large loss if they don't.

Also, on a side note, I started some Kale seeds and Jalapeno seeds from last year.

2014 Cucumber Variety
2014 Cucumber Variety

Garden Update May 6, 2014

It's been a busy weekend in the garden. I tilled the tomato row and covered it with a new black cloth as well as planter the first four tomato plants. I got these as a steal for $2 each at home depot. Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that I did not plant these out too early. 

I also had a nice daffodil "harvest" and was particularly excited that the Tahiti Daffodils came back this year. They are my faves! I also planted some Thai basil in the community plot as well as four little pots on my patio.

Thai Basil (community plot) 5.5.14

Oriental Lily Bulb (planted 4/27/14)

Newly planted Tristan  (pink flower) Strawberries 5/5/14.

Peas on Patio 5.5.14
Patio Thai Basil
Chives on Patio
Home Depot Tomato Plants 5.5.14

Bloom Day 4.20.14

Huzzah! This is the first flower I've seen this year. I'm not quite sure when this was planted, but I'm guessing it's been at least 2 months. This flower is an amaryllis but I'm not sure what variety. I'm also excited to go back to the garden and am just hoping that the daffodils are  now blooming.

Onions and Peas Planted

Finally feels like Spring.

Patio Garden 3/10/14

Not much here right now. It's kind of sad to see my patio so empty. I'm very excited for the daffodils, tulips, and crocus to start blooming. I did find that the tulips we're getting a head start.

Forcing Daffodils Indoors

These are leftovers from the daffodil bulbs planted in the fall. I am curious to see if they make any progress in water. Keep in mind that they have not been exposed to the required extreme cold.