Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's more difficult than I thought it would be to find time to update here. Things in the garden are coming along swimmingly.

We were expecting a big rain last week, and I was worried that my plants would be uprooted and the soil displaced again, from the rain pouring off the roof. The hubster solved the problem, though. He did some research and found a company that would let us buy a piece of gutter, and then meet their team on a job site, where they would shape it for us. We then installed it ourselves, which was easy. It cost less than $40 when all was said and done. Now I just need to replace the displaced Mel's mix with some compost and I'll be able to transplant my two largest tomato seedlings, which really need to be removed from the small cups they're in.

My chard is doing great. I have a couple of plants that have really taken off. I just planted some more seeds right before the rain, so I've got some small seedlings too. That stuff is supposed to grow right through the summer and fall, so I'm sure they'll have plenty of time to mature. I recently realized, though, that I'm not quite sure what the best way is to harvest the leaves, or any of the leafy plants, for that matter. Do you cut at the bottom of the stem? Is it best to cut straight or at an angle? I need to research that, and soon, because the leaves on my largest plant are shading out one of the other plants. Plus, I can't wait to eat it :)

Spinach and lettuce are both finally starting to take off. Spinach is not a good summer crop, though, so it may bolt too soon. I plan to keep it well watered and possibly mulch it to help keep it cool. It's planted on the east side of the house, next to the privacy fence, where it can get the least amount of sun allowed. Hopefully that will help it last longer.

The strawberry plants look healthy, but they're only producing a berry here and there. I'm wondering if they just don't produce a lot the first year; maybe next year they'll do better.

I harvested my first radish the other day. It was small, but tasty. I'm hoping the others will be bigger.

It's my first time ever growing beets, and I'm not sure how big beet greens are supposed to get. Mine are not very big, which makes me think the beets are growing slowly. I can't remember right now how long it's supposed to take a beet to mature. I've had some in the ground for two months now.

I've got tomatoes! A plant called "sugary" that I picked up at a local nursery is producing. The fruit are elongated and remind me of miniature plum tomatoes.

I also have baby poblanos. The plant itself is not very big. I don't know how big it's supposed to get, but poblanos are a good-sized pepper...unless I unknowingly got a smaller variety. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

I planted quite a few seeds about two weeks ago, and now I have quite a few seedlings. They have germinated better this round. I figure it has to do with two things: the soil and weather are both warmer now, and they've been getting some natural watering with the weekly rain showers we've been getting. Perhaps I wasn't watering enough previously. I'm paying more attention to the soil now and making sure the seeds don't dry out.

I'm not having much luck growing herbs from seed this year. The thyme in the square foot garden is doing well, but the basil seedling that I transplanted, died, and the one that's still in a cup indoors is barely growing. I'll probably transplant it soon, and start some seeds outdoors simultaneously, and maybe buy a plant also, just to be certain I get some basil this year. It's my favorite herb. I've tried several times to start oregano indoors and outdoors, but so far no seedlings have survived. Both the mint plants that my coworker gave me and the ones we bought from a nursery are doing well. We'll have mint this year, if nothing else!
The "tomato patch" around the back yard tree needs weeding. A couple of the seedlings are fighting for sun and water, I think. One died. Luckily, I have more in the house :) Three of them are finally starting to grow, though. We may even get tomatoes from them this year! Haha...I have to make fun of myself for getting a late start on the planting.

Speaking of planting, a coworker of mine is also square-foot-gardening it this year. She was telling me the other day how great her garden is doing, how wonderful everything tastes, etc. I told her she must have started planting earlier than I did, to be harvesting so much stuff already. She told me she started her cold-weather crop seeds in February! I didn't know we could do that, but apparently they survive a few frosts. I jotted it down in my notes for next year. I'll be starting much earlier!

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