Busy In The Sunset Garden

It’s really been a great week in the gardens. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I think I am almost to the point where I can safely say the gardens are planted. ¬†There may be a few things going in yet, but for the most part, now we just grow.

Here is a good overall picture of The Sunset Garden.

It’s definitely different from my last pictures! ¬†My tomato plants really suffered right after I got them planted. ¬†We had wind and rain all weekend, and I did lose several to the elements. ¬†My initial plan for this garden was to use the Florida Weave to trellis the tomatoes, as that’s my favorite method for doing so. ¬†But when we returned from a weekend away and I found tomatoes on their sides from the wind, I had to quickly change direction and started carrying over my portable trellis panels.

Here’s a good view of the tomatoes.

I think overall I lost about a dozen plants total, which isn’t bad considering I started with 100. ¬† Later today I may stop by the garden center and see if they have any treasure left to fill the holes with, but as it stands, I’m pleased with how the tomatoes are doing. ¬†I need to pick up some Tomato Tone to feed them, but other than that, they seem adjusted and ready to grow.

Back to the other side of the garden.

The fluffy green plants there on the bottom are the strawberries that were in the garden when I got it. ¬†They are growing nicely, but don’t have blossoms yet. ¬†I have no idea what kind they are, but if they were June-bearing I think I would be seeing some blossoms attempting to form.

To the left of the strawberries you can see my pole bean towers that I put in yesterday. ¬†I used the tall red supports, and then push some bamboo poles into the ground inside the supports, and plant the beans around those. ¬†I also added a layer of fencing around the outside of the red towers. ¬†I just have no idea what to expect from critters. ¬†I see veteran gardeners planting greens and lettuces with no barriers, so maybe the critters aren’t really a problem here?

For my part with the critters, my onions are coming up nicely all around the bed.

I keep accidentally stepping on them, but they are pretty resilient and spring back most of the time.  I need to give the onions some weeding TLC soon.  See that wet dirt pile there in the picture?  Today I planted some Bush Baby Watermelon seeds.  I was going through my seeds looking for what else I could put in the garden when I got to the melons.  This particular variety says they only put out 3 1/2 foot vines.  I think I can get that to run on the outside of my tomato plants and we could be in business.  There is another of these mounds on the opposite side of the garden.

One more picture from over there.

In this one you can see the second wet dirt pile that holds watermelon seeds. ¬†In the landscape fabric closest to us you can also see the three brussels sprouts plants at the very end there. ¬†At the far end of that row, if you look closely you can see my two tomatillo plants close to the strawberries- they are doing VERY well and are happy to be there. ¬† Now look a little closely and you can see one lone circle of fencing between the tomatillos and the brussels sprouts. ¬†THIS is a fun experiment, I hope. ¬†I planted Buttercup squash in the exposed dirt there. ¬†Then I stapled a “barrel” made out of fencing over the squash seeds. ¬†The idea being that when the squash grows, it will grow up the fencing, and then down the fencing, and what grows on the ground from there will be a manageable amount of vines. ¬†We’ll see. ¬†Buttercup squash are my absolute favorite winter squash, so I’d love to find a way to grow them in a smaller space.

As you can see, I do have a small bit of room there yet that I could put a few things in. ¬†We’ll see if the garden center has anything interesting yet to add. ¬†Otherwise, I can always throw in a zucchini or summer squash plant.

And Now For The Herbs

Today I managed to get a large portion of the herb garden tended and planted.  That was a bit of work!  Here you can see the before picture- what I had to work with.

Somewhere in there is a sage plant as well as a lemon thyme plant.¬† And way at the back you can almost see the scallions that are there.¬†¬† This was a chore.¬† I had to go through and dig out all those weeds by hand- still digging out that blasted bishop’s weed.¬† Someday I will be rid of it all!¬†¬† I pulled all the weeds to just past the scallions, and then I worked in 4 bags of composted manure.¬† I did manage to find the sage and lemon thyme alive and well, and then I gave them some friends.

I put in marjoram, thyme, lovage, two kinds of basil, and then the leeks and onions as well.¬† Once those were planted, I also planted some chive, fennel and dill seed in the patch.¬† Hopefully in the week to come I’ll find a little bit of time to dig out the weeds beyond the scallions and put in a few more herb plants.¬† Here is my after photo:

I have to say, planting all those onions and leeks by hand was really rather obnoxious.¬†¬† And I just realized that I don’t have any new scallions- just the ones from last year, so I will definitely have to put those at the other end of the bed, along with some parsley, rosemary and whatever other herbs I can find at the garden center.¬† All the ones that went in today I started from seed.

One piece of yard at a time…

Potted up and Planted!

This last week was quite the week, I am still sore!

I started out Monday night potting up all my tomato seedlings.¬† I started at 9pm, and ended up finishing up cleaning up at 2:15am.¬† It took a bit longer than I anticipated.¬†¬† When I was done I had to take a count, it looked like a lot more than I thought I had.¬† I potted up 98 tomato plants, and 96 of those are growing well a little over a week later.¬† There are 2 that are questionable (both Dr Wyche’s yellow, which is actually an orange tomato, go figure), but they weren’t looking very good when I re-potted them either.¬†¬† I have room for 24 tomatoes in my garden, and 8 of those will be from Erika.¬† I will have quite a few to give away this year.

Peppers

My peppers are still not doing very well.¬† I have what I would call 5 healthy plants, and 3 or so that I might be able to plant but they will be pretty small yet when I plant them.¬† I learned my lesson for next year on starting peppers, so now I can’t wait for next year’s pepper planting (I know, there is a whole year yet).

The basil is doing pretty well, I should end up potting them up this week too.  Looks like I will have between 6 and 8 each of Sweet Basil and Basil Genovese.

On Saturday I tilled the garden.¬† That was quite the workout.¬† My garden this year is 25×12, and I found that all the area that we claimed from the lawn is pretty heavy clay.¬† I amended the soil a little, but it will need a lot more work next year to grow things better.¬† I am hoping that dropping a shovelful of loose dirt and compost in the hole with the tomatoes and peppers will help.

Tilling

After tilling we planted onions (100 each of yellow and white long day), carrots (mix of rainbow and purple haze), and 4 types of lettuce.  I followed that up on Sunday with 70 radishes or so, then measured and placed stakes where all my tomato and pepper plants will end up.   I am hoping to see some sprouts by the end of the week.

Onions

May 1st: Erika’s First Planting Day

I spent a good deal of time both yesterday and today pulling weeds from my garden.  Today they came out really easy, due to a lovely spring storm that blew through last night.  I set myself a goal, and told myself that if I could clear from post to post, I could permit myself to plant.  So I did it.  I pulled and raked and pulled some more, and surprised myself by clearing nine feet of garden bed.  With all that space just sitting there, how could I not go ahead and plant something?

The thing about this particular space is that although it is about four feet deep, only the first 19 inches are plant-able, due to sun requirements.¬† This particular piece of yard will get between 6-7 hours of good strong sun, so it’s great for lettuces, greens, and other things that would bolt come summer time and hot, scorching temperatures.¬† Given that it is only the first of May, and we could potentially still see frost for a few weeks, I planted frost-tolerant vegetables first.¬† As I get more garden cleared, we’ll plant other delicious things, all leading up to Memorial Day, when I can plant the tomatoes and peppers in their permanent beds.

So today I started with snap peas.¬† I’m using a tomato cage as a trellis, and when the pea tendrils get close to the top, I will invert a second tomato cage and zip tie it to the top of the first one.¬† Voila, instant six-foot pea cage.¬† I also planted some cherry radishes in with the sugar snap peas, since I had plenty of room in the space yet.

Next I planted Broccoli Raab.¬† I’ve never eaten broccoli raab even, but it’s reputed to be wickedly easy to grow, and can germinate in the low forties- a perfect spring vegetable.¬†¬† I followed that patch with one each of red and green romaine lettuce- our favorite around here.¬† Next came a foot of beets and a foot of my favorite Swiss Chard.¬† Next went a patch of scallions, but it occurs to me that my scallion seed was a few years old- I may need to go buy some new seed and start over, as onion seed doesn’t save too well.¬† After the onions came a patch of French Breakfast radishes, and finally a patch of spinach.

I almost feel a sense of bliss, knowing that there are seeds growing in my backyard.¬† I definitely didn’t think I’d be getting anything in there yet.

I also got my compost bin cleaned out.¬† There was already one here, except that someone filled it with sticks and wood.¬† I pulled out the sticks and dumped my first bucket of compost.¬† I’m really excited about being able to compost- I go through a lot of kitchen garbage, and it’s always bothered me to throw it out.¬†¬† Now I can use it to create new nutrients for my garden- free fertilizer- now that’s a great thing!

I did scare away a big fat bunny yesterday.¬† As I thought about that bunny, I thought it would be really easy to line the fences of the property with chicken wire, and keep the bunnies out.¬†¬† But then I also thought that maybe I should try keeping them away naturally first, so while Zander and I were out we stopped and picked up some onion sets, and as I plant, I’ll be lining the back of the garden with red and yellow onions.¬† I also have intentions for marigolds.¬† We’ll see if we can keep the rabbits out of the garden this year.¬† And if not- I know where to get chicken wire.

Happy Gardening! I expect I’ll have a whole series of planting days, as I get bit after bit of my garden cleaned up and ready for planing.¬† And just last night, as I laid in bed, it occurred to me that I have a perfect spot for some Scarlet Runner Beans- I can’t wait to give those a go!