Sunday, December 18, 2011

Final Post 2011

I've been meaning to post a final garden post before winter for about a month now, but the first snowfall early yesterday (and 40 degree melting today) prompted me to finally shut the book on 2011 for the garden.  Not much has changed in the past month and a half except for the leaves that have gathered and been left in the lower part of each garden, and the holey texture due to curious squirrels poking their noses into everything.  They have gotten into the garlic rows planted for next Spring but hopefully haven't messed them up too much.  They don't really like garlic, they're just too damn nosy, is all.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Preparing The Gardens For Winter

Today was a productive day in the garden.  We got the bags of dirt required, planted the garlic and have the gardens ready for winter.  I say we, but you don't see me in any of these pics.  Kate is awfully protective of me and my problems, she put in a lot of hard work and had the sore muscles to prove it.  Friday she harvested all the usable peppers from the plants she removed today.

Above is the (hopefully) finished product for winter.  She cut down the strawberry plants as much as she could and mulched it with hay, removed the pepper plants, added four bags of dirt and manure, and planted the garlic at the bottom of the west garden (top) and added hay over that as well.  Hopefully the squirrels will leave it all alone now...

More pics after the break:

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Bit Cleaned Up

Well, over on my regular blog I think I said something about a post here on the garden blog soon, so I guess I should follow through.  Truth is, my regular hardware store was out of dirt so I have to make a trip this week to one of the 'big box' places to get some composted manure and garden soil.  Therefore, there is not much to update, but I took some pics yesterday so I may as well document it.

The west garden is all cleaned up and ready for dirt and garlic bulbs.  Only the pepper plants and the thyme, lower right, remain.

The east garden strawberry bed will be trimmed soon and covered with hay for the winter.  In the top right of this pic you can see the potted chives on the left and the newly potted sage on the right.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mid-October Lateness

Not only have I not been posting as much on my regular page, it seems I've lost track of here as well.  I try to post here bi-monthly at the least and I missed it this time.  Oops.  Now, on with it then, eh?

The gardens are pretty much exactly as they were a month ago, except that I removed the cucumber plants soon after the last post.  We have harvested more peppers and still have some to go.  The sweet pepper plant, front left in above pic, has been droopy for the last few days however.  Kate still will pot the sage plant, middle top, and soon plant the garlic for next spring, where is still to be determined.
West garden, traditional view.  You can really see how the pepper plant on the right is wilted compared to the jalapeno plant on the left.

The east garden strawberry bed is still there.  A little thin on the topside, but I expect it to fill out again in Spring.  We may help it by moving some plants up or else we may find some compatable plant that likes the sun a lot to put up there.  Last year we winterized in the first week of December, if I remember right.  Hopefully we won't see snow for at least two more months yet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Is In The Air

It's the middle of September and the garden has wound down for the most part.  As things are removed and winterized I will continue to chronicle it here, for my own reference if nothing else.
The cucumbers didn't flourish like they teased, but it was worth the experience of trying to grow them.  Kate made an attempt at a recipe for them, but I think we need to start with a better, more apt type of cucumber for our needs rather than the free seeds we used.  The tomato plants have been cut down to one surviving grape tomato stem that may be finished after possible frost last night and tonight.  Last night, when these pics were taken, we covered the pepper plants (top left and below) that are still producing and have a dozen or more peppers growing on each.  We will have to cover them tonight as well, then we should warm up a bit again.  Two nights ago Kate cut and brought in both of the basil plants.  The only other things left are sage in the middle top and thyme in the lower left (both in the top pic).

On a side note, the chives that spent the first year in the garden and this year in a pot beside the garden, have been thriving.  I hear some people plant them just for decoration and not just for consumption and I can see why.  Right now they look healthy and have nice white blooms.  We're trying to figure out a place to plant them in the yard, maybe in the area around the tree.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Late Start To September

I'm a little late for an end of August/beginning of September post so I'll just post about what it looked like after work today.  This past week has had highs in the upper 90's (last Thursday) to lows in the lower 40's (the last two nights).
The cucumbers that are almost grown appear to be the only ones that we will get this year.  Also, the tomatoe plants are pretty ragged.  We don't expect the regular tomatoes, that are about half-dollar size, to mature.  There are still one or two stems of grape tomatoes growing, though we will take a wait-and-see approach with them.  The peppers are thriving, however, with several harvested and several still growing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Middle of August

Monday morning I went out and took pics to post, then forgot to post them.  Tuesday morning I remembered that and went out and took some more pics, then forgot all about it again.  Today I am finally posting, but the pic is from Tuesday, it still looks the same!
Let's do a small rundown, just for the record, shall we?  In the first row at the bottom of the garden, left in this pic, all that is left is the small thyme plant.  Kate picked the carrots the Saturday after my last post.  Like the radishes they were mostly greens and only very small roots.   I may have cheaped out and used too much top soil when filling it originally.  When we add more in the Spring it will be manure and garden compost to enrich the soil.  In the next row is the peppers, sweet in front and jalapeno in back (with over 20 peppers on it!).  Third row is sage above and a large leaf basil below.  I only call it that because there is a small leaf basil next to it in the fourth row.  Also in that row are the grape tomato plant up top and the regular tomato plant in the middle.  In the last row, draped along the small trellis I put in to contain the peas in Spring (which grew larger than I expected, but I had no idea), are the cucumber plants.  They are filling the top of the garden and running down each side.  If you look close you will see one vine that found the top of the tomato plant and continues to grow straight up! 

On a side note, I know nobody really reads this but my labelling system here sucks.  I may have to check out some other garden blogs to get some ideas on labels to organize my posts better.  Also a pic of the strawberry field and some of Monday's pics just for my own reference after the break.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Early August Veggies Ripening

Just a few notes today.  First, there are several small cucumbers growing, including one that is trying to defy gravity.  As it tries to grow up it becomes increasingly round rather than elongated.  You can also see a clump of small ones in the upper right.  (Click the pics to see them bigger.)

Some grape tomatoes are starting to ripen.  This plant grew bigger than we expected.  If it stood upright it would probably be almost as tall as me!  So another gardening lesson learned, if we plant these again we'll need a taller cage.

And here you can see some big sweet peppers in front and some jalapenos growing in the background. There are a lot more jalapenos growing on that plant than you can see here, maybe 15 or more, but I tried to get some of each in this shot.

The weather finally turned a bit milder so the plants aren't baking during the day anymore, but it has also turned dry so I have been watering the garden a bit every day.  I try to wait for evening but since I'm off work I'm pretty bored so I usually do it when they say not to - in the middle of the day.  Oh well, it's just a bit of water.  We've been talking about getting a sprinkler but it certainly isn't urgent.  Until next time, Happy Gardening! 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

End Of July, More Bounty

Last night Kate thinned out the carrots some more.  In the Spring the seeds got all moved around due to wet weather and were growing very close together.  She also picked the lettuce. 

So everything is going well now in the west garden.  Some grape tomatoes are starting to turn red, jalapenos are sprouting all over the plant, and we've already had a few big sweet peppers.  I found out the cucumber plant is a white cucumber plant so I would be waiting quite a while for them to turn green.  We've brought the biggest one in already that either fell off or was removed by a squirrel.  Well, it was just a free packet of seeds we received.

There is nothing new to report about the strawberry bed other than some of the older plants seem to be being replaced with new growth.  That's probably all that will happen until we trim it this fall so I may not show it in all future updates.
And below is just a side view of the east garden.  Can you believe it it going to be August already tomorrow?
All pics are from this morning except the top one with the carrots.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Kate harvested the garlic last night.  Like last year, the bulbs are in nice shape yet small.  This fall she is going to plant the garlic for next spring, so maybe that will make a difference.  Maybe then we can replant and get two crops of it next year, too.  The only other change in the garden is the small thyme plant that was getting lost in the middle has been replanted in the lower corner where the radishes were earlier.  The tomatoe plants are still wilty and the cucumber leaves have been looking like damp rags a lot lately.  We have been watering them in the evenings and now we have rain much of today and some tomorrow so hopefully everything pulls through well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Growth of July

  The west garden has evolved a bit since the last post.  About a week ago Kate picked the last of the peas and pulled the plants along the top.  The small trellis I made to contain them remains, however, as the cucumber plants have grown up, over and through it.  Also, she picked the radishes in the lower right corner.  This was the second try for radishes and like last time they failed to bulb up underground even as the tops were huge and going to seed.  Oh well, I don't really like radishes anyway.  More on this garden with the side view pic below.
  In the east garden the strawberrys are done for the season and the plants look like they have seen better days.  I'm not exactly sure, but I think we should pretty much leave it be until fall when we can cut down the plants and cover it with hay again.
Here I can point out more things with the side view.  Starting at left, the carrots (top left in this pic) are growing well.  Below that the lettuce is ready to eat.  We have already eaten some in salads and I'm sure we'll have more soon.  Next, the Jalepenos and sweet peppers are growing very well.  There are many small peppers started and even a few that need to be picked very soon.  Then there's the garlic.  It layed down last year too and it made me nervous enough that Kate finally picked it.  She assures me that the bulbs are still growing so I will believe her.  The huge tomato plants have been looking sickly lately, withering up in the heat of the past week, but hopefully with water and more reasonable temperatures they will bounce back.  In front of those are the two basil plants, a large leaf one and a small leaf one.  Then  there are the cucumbers, one up top to the right of the tomatoes that's hard to see in this pic, and the monster long one growing down the length of the garden.  It is a lot of stuff in a small area but we seem to be making it work! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monster Cucumber Plant

I took pictures two days ago but didn't post them so I went out this morning for an updated pic to post today.  The last post was 9 days ago and you can see the growth!  There are now small peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers starting to grow.  The cucumber next to the path has become a monster, growing up the small trellis into the peas and down the side of the garden.  I'm posting the garden side view below so it is easier to compare to the last post.  Pics from 2 days ago, including the strawberry bed, are after the break.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Full Garden Rundown

The west garden is so full of growing bounty that you can't see it all the way I usually photograph it.  So in the interest of our documentation of the garden I chose to shoot it in sections from the side, standing in between the beds.  Let's see how this works out...

Starting at the top of the garden, on the right here, the peas have become quite the tangled plants.  They just keep growing and need a bigger trellis to climb.  We may add about a 4-5 foot trellis up the garage side next year, see if that helps.  Next to the tiny trellis I put in earlier, the cucumber plants that Kate started from seed inside have started to take off.  This is one of our biggest space concerns.
Moving left, further down the garden we have a rough row of cherry tomatoes at the top, regular tomatoes in the middle, and a small basil plant that we may have to move or put in a pot due to the encroaching cucumbers.  To the left of that is another rough row of sage, a tiny but healthy thyme plant and a larger leaf basil than the smaller one next to it.  Further down are 2 rows of garlic (still not enough :)).
Just this side of the good looking garlic are hot and sweet pepper plants, the one lower in the pic, the sweet, was laying a bit the other day so is now staked.  Then at the bottom of the garden, in thirds, are carrots up top, then lettuce and finally the radishes.  The squirrels dug up part of a row where you see the bare spot.  We might move the basil there later, we'll see.
And finally, the calendar has turned to July and the June-bearing strawberry plants must have known as they have finished giving up their delightful berries.  In all, we got around 7 quarts of berries this Spring.  It doesn't seem like a lot, certainly not too much, but it's kind of sad that they're done now until next Spring.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New Gate For The Gardens

Yesterday I added a front rail and gate to the gardens.  I'm actually pretty proud of how it turned out.  It looks nicer, I think, and the easier access to the path in between the gardens is just soooo convenient!  Check out my regular blog post here for lots more pics and commentary!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things Getting Big and Picking Strawberries

Just a quick post to show the growth of all the plants.  No rundown of every single one this time, but I will point out the sprouting lettuce and radishes at the bottom, and the peas have gotten big!  We've never grown peas before, now we know.  Still, they won't last all Summer so we may pull them once they are done producing to make more room for the cucumber plants.
The strawberries have been producing for over a week now.  We have to pick them daily.  We are getting a fairly good yield, but many are small.  I wrote a little more about the strawberries over at my regular blog today, you can read that here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More Planting, Space Worries

After yesterday's post, my wife chastised me for forgetting to mention the basil, planted in an east-west row along with the tomato plants (it's the one by the trowel).  Today she planted another basil, seen by her left hand, in the row with the sage and thyme thereby filling, or over-filling, all the space in the top of the garden.  We'll see how big things get, the cucumbers have me a bit worried if they happen to actually grow well.  Ah well, nothing ventured - nothing gained, right?
The lower part of the garden is divided into thirds under the pepper plants.  The left third still has the carrots, the middle third is now 3 short rows of leaf lettuce, and the right third is another round of  3 short rows of radishes.  Hopefully we won't get pummelled with rain anytime soon so the rows stay where planted.  As you can see, the carrots look pretty random and low, but I'm sure we'll get something from them.
Also this morning, we picked our first 10 (or so) ripe strawberries - they tasted great!  Just a sign of things to come!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June-Bearing Strawberries

The peas are getting very large at the top of the garden, with first pea pods starting to grow.  Just this side of the small trellis several of the cucumber plants seem to be doing very well.  I don't know if they will have much room if they all do well, but I guess we'll take that chance.  We put the tomato cages on the plants while we still can.  They have gotten stronger since we planted them and are starting to grow nicely.  Below that, the sage is growing well and the thyme is still small but growing well.  It is hidden by the 2 rows of garlic.  Then there are the hot and sweet pepper plants.  Kate pulled the radishes, they weren't developing well since the seeds got washed too close together.  The same happened to the carrots in the lower left but she has tried to thin them as they grow to give them a chance.  We still have space to plant more things yet.  Stay tuned, I guess.

A few days ago I notice the first berries starting to turn red so it was time to cover them with netting.  Since then, it seems a squirrel got in and tried one or two so now we think we have it secured enough to discourage future poaching.  But hey, if they're that determined there's not a lot we can do.  Check out the close up pic below!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Plants Added

It was expected to be rainy or stormy early afternoon today, that didn't happen so we were able to tend to the yard and garden when we got home from work. While I mowed, Kate added several plants in the west garden. Along the top sun/shade line are cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes and basil. And below the garlic are a hot pepper and a sweet pepper plant. Everything else is progressing nicely. The cucumber plants, that were started from seed inside, are stil pretty small, but it is still early. Everything is a little later than last year due to the weather and cool Spring we've had.

In the strawberry bed most of the flowers have turned into small, green, going-to-be berries.  We've never done this before, but I'm hoping all the wet weather we've had and now more of the warm sunny weather expected is good for their growth. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gardens Are Shaping Up Nicely

It's almost the end of May, there has been progress and growth but even now the planting is not done.  At the top, two rows of peas grow between the back fence and a small trellis made out of leftover fence.  Just this side of that trellis several small cucumber plants - started from seed - form a row.  In the middle are two rows of garlic with sage and thyme right behind.  Then there is a blank area kind of shaped like 'T', with radishes in the lower right and carrots in the lower left.  Unfortunately the carrot seeds seem to have washed down to the lower end, but they are growing well anyway.  We still have tomato and pepper plants to put in.  Very soon I would say, after threats of frost yet.

The strawberry bed is lush with very big plants, some still flowering and others even starting to grow berries!  These are June-bearing plants so we look to have a bumper crop but we won't be picking them all summer long.  As long as we can keep the critters away no berry shall go to waste!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mid-May Growth

In the mid morning shadows, the west garden is coming to life despite more yet to be planted.  The peas are getting big at the top, I'll be building a small trellis for the vines to attach to soon.  Below that is open space above two leftover herb plants, sage and thyme I think, my wife will correct me later.  Then there are two rows of garlic, some more open space that will be planted later, with radishes in the lower right and carrots just starting to come up in the lower left.

The east strawberry bed is almost in full swing.  There are several blossoms starting, and Kate said she saw a tiny berry starting already!  When they start ripening we will have to stay on top of picking them so we don't lose it all to the birds and squirrels.  I have a netting that hopefully will dissuade vermin poachers.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Latest Plantings

Just a quick note before I forget-  Friday Kate planted the garlic in the garden and today she planted carrots.  There will also be cucumbers in the garden soon, she has some started in planters inside but they are not big enough to be replanted yet.  No picture, it would just be dirt, but there should be sprouts to show off soon enough.  It seems like a late Spring this year, but looking back at last year we started planting around April 21 and still had a frost warning in early May.  So not so much a late Spring, I guess, as it is warm weather anticipation!

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Plants Arrive

Kate has been receiving plants in the mail a bunch lately and they needed to be planted soon.  We are not quite ready to plant them outside. so yesterday she put them into planters temporarily so they continue to grow.  We put these planters in the porch that we should have back soon from the little construction project going on out there. Most of these were flowers, I believe.  Day lilies, cone flowers, and Lily of the valley among them.

While she was doing that I got as much hay out of the strawberry bed as I could.  (You can see both the chives and garlic chives from last year in pots in the upper right of the pic.)  For now it will line the path between the gardens - not the easiest place to trim the grass or control weeds.  I think Kate may go throught it later this week when she plants the garlic and get some remaining hay and also thin the strawberry plants that are starting out almost as out of control as at the end of last year!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pea Sprouts

Peas are starting to sprout at the top of the west garden!  This row of peas we feared the squirrels got the best of so Kate planted another row just beneath this row, but there are many of those first seeds coming up now.  Also, in the lower right corner radishes were planted last week when she put the second row of peas in.  Much more to come on this side yet.

In the east garden, the strawberry bed, you can see several of the plants poking up through their winter cover.  We have not taken the hay out yet because of all the rain but we shall have to do it soon. Perhaps next week won't be so soggy.