Sunday, May 17, 2015

16 May 2015 Garden Progress

I wasn't home last weekend and it didn't rain at all in those two weeks so I was a little worried about the state of things. But most everything was mulched and the sun isn't too severe yet so everything was fine; but the soil was very dry.  Grass cutting had to come first though so I didn't get in the garden until Sunday. It takes six hours to cut my yard.

The two tomatoes more than doubled in size and are dark green so I know they are doing fine.  There is no threat of freezing this week so I removed the plastic covers. I'll leave the water-filled bottles for insurance.  In the back are the peas. They aren't growing as fast as I expected they would but it was pretty dry. I gave all the plants a heavy watering so we'll see what they look like next week.

I was taking some stuff down to my compost bin and saw a pile of what I'm guessing are cantaloupe seedlings. They were growing from discarded seeds from sometime ago when my wife ate some cantaloupe. So I thought, "Why not try to transplant them?".  I'm not confident that they will take or survive the many yard rabbits I have. But it costs nothing to try so I planted six groups of seeds; this is the largest. I don't eat cantaloupe myself but my wife does so if I can grow some this year I'll be a hero. I have grown them before in this garden but it has been many years. They take up a lot of room if they sprawl across the ground. I don't normally have the room to spare but this year's garden will be smaller than normal. I usually trellis cucumbers and melons when I do grow them. Keeping them off the ground makes for better fruit with fewer disease and insect (slugs and snails) problems.

The peppers look great; in fact they are ready to blossom. I am going to pinch off the blossoms though because I want the plants to get bigger before they start to set fruit (yes, peppers are fruit). At my local grocery store Saturday, I bought peppers at $1.25 a piece. That is just crazy.  I normally get 4-5 bell peppers from each plant so at that price they are worth $5-$6.25 each.  I paid $2.50 for four plants so I should come out ahead. 

My youngest son and I went hunting quite a bit this past fall and winter and we only got two rabbits.  There just aren't as many around here as there were when I was his age. I used to get my limit several times a season. But my yard has way more than its fair share of rabbits. If you look closely at the spinach plants you will see the amount of damage a rabbit problem can cause.  So I put cages around these four plants. Spinach grows really fast so I will be able to harvest the outer leaves next weekend. The carrots are also just about ready to be dug out. There should be about 20-25 carrots in there and I've eaten a dozen that I pulled out to thin the rows.

I pulled the glass off the cold frame and watered everything. There is a spinach plant and two rows of radishes growing in there. I want to plant some more stuff but I was short on time. The radishes will be ready to pick next weekend. The reflective sides and mirrored back makes the best use of limited sunlight in the winter and early growing season.

The strawberries had a rough winter. Between the severe weather, rabbits, and deer, I lost something like half my plants. It is very fertile soil so the ones that do grow should be large and flavorful. I will probably replant this bed next year. I usually pull all the spent plants in the fourth year and grow anything other than strawberries for at least two years to reduce any chances of building up diseases in the soil. This will be a nice raised bed for vegetables during that period.

If you looked at my blog when I showed my raspberry patch after thinning, you might find it hard to believe this is the same place. But it is. One advantage of thinning, and I do it every year without fail, is that it opens up the plot to more sunlight. Most raspberries grow on two year-old canes. In other words, the berries grow on last year's canes. Mine grow on new branches that grow off of last year's canes.  If all goes well, this year's crop will be double what I got last year. I'm looking forward to it. We rarely have any left after fresh eating to get any into the freezer.

Today I planted green beans and onion sets. I'm not planting many, just enough to keep us in fresh beans. I still have beans in the freezer from last year and the year before. We will continue to cook them and make space in the freezer.

1 comment:

  1. Instead of a full posting I'll just make a comment today. It hadn't rained in over two weeks so I put a sprinkler in the garden and gave it a good watering. Something ate a lot of the spinach even though I put cages around them. I'm guessing a deer since they could put their head down inside the cage. So I put tops on all of them. I also installed netting over my strawberries, which were eaten back to the ground. I picked a half dozen carrots. I also picked off some flower buds on the pepper plants so that they get a little bigger before fruiting.