Archive for April, 2008

New Seeds Arrived Today 04-28-08

Black Squash Zucchini 54 days 04-24-08

On Saturday, I got some seeds I ordered online:

  • Ace tomato
  • Stuffing tomato
  • Baxter’s Early Bush Cherry tomato
  • Liberty Bell tomato
  • Delicious tomato
  • Mortgage Lifter tomato
  • Local Savoy Cabbage

I’ll probably save the tomato seeds for next year. I have way too many tomato plants this year. I can probably start some Savoy cabbage this season but we’ll see. I might wait until Fall to start these off.

It was really hot on Sunday, around 90 degrees and as a result, my plants suffered. I looked in my backyard after church and they were all wilty except for some plants I had in pots. I was amazed at how fast it can turn from good to bad to worst. I just watered everything on Saturday and everything was wilting the next afternoon. I now make it a point to water every morning. Well that’s all for now. I plan on transplanting this afternoon. I neglected planting on Sunday since it was so warm so I’ll do it this afternoon (it’ll only be around 75 degrees). Happy gardening everyone!

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More seed starting…04-25-08

Seedlings (click to enlarge)

I can’t believe we’re in the middle of spring already. During winter, I couldn’t wait for it to come and now it’s already here. I finally realized it was spring when I was walking around our campus with a couple of my coworkers as part of an “Active for Life” program. The weather was wonderfully nice: not too warm and with a slight breeze. Our campus is wonderful. It has the best scenery and landscape. My coworker showed me that the school has rosemary growing crazy at one of our buildings. I had to make sure it was rosemary and once I picked it up and smelled it, it was definitely rosemary. She said that if I ever need it to just take a handful. It would be doing the landscapers a favor. The rosemary bushes were growing like crazy all over the place and I could “prune” some for them. It was wonderful to see herbs being used in a great way.

Today, I planted several more seeds in my attempt at succession planting this spring. I started some more

  • watermelon radishes
  • cherry belle radishes
  • romaine/cos lettuce
  • fish pepper
  • Nardello sweet pepper
  • ornamental corn
  • snapdragons-apricot
  • watermelon sugar baby (pre-germinating in a bag)
  • spinach-giant noble (pre-germinating in a bag)

Tomorrow, I plan on planting out some more seedlings I have indoors: mainly beans and some stocks, zinnia, chicory, oriental and shirley poppies, and nasturtiums. Wish me luck and as always happy gardening!

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Gardening 04-24-08

Pretty Pot from Mom and Dad

Today involved a little gardening. It was windy and very gusty at times. I had to take most of my plants off the fence so they wouldn’t blow off.

The radish plants I planted in November are finally flowering. I can’t wait until they finally get to seed so I can rip them out and plant something else. It seems like it takes so long for things to ripen to seed. I have several Bok choi plants that are ready to seed but they’re still green and not ready to pick yet. I plan on planting some peppers in their spots but right now the peppers aren’t too bothered being in their transplant pots. Once I see roots poking out of the drainage holes, I’ll be concerned and maybe move the Bok choi to a different location. We’ll see how the season progresses.

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Growing Swiss Chard: the Colorful Spinach Substitute

Last year, I started growing swiss chard for the first time. I only grew several plants because I wasn’t for sure if I would like the taste or not. Anywhoo, it grew like crazy and I was able to make one dish with it. I cooked it like spinach, sauteeing it with some olive oil and garlic. After it wilted a little, I added some lemon juice and red pepper flakes. It was a great side dish. Swiss chard is such an easy plant to grow and the varieties are endless. They have a variety called rainbow swiss chard and the colors are amazing. They’re a perfect addition to any vegetable garden or a side plant in the front yard. They’re a vegetable that I can’t live without. What do you guys think about this one?

This year, I was determined to grow continuous crops of swiss chard. The first batch, I started in January. January 1st to be exact. They took a week to sprout and grew like mad. At first they were leggy and spinly but after a couple of weeks, they grew thick stems and strengthened up really well.

Swiss Chard Seedlings at 31 days 02-04-08

I moved them outside in the ground in an area that gets late morning sun, a couple of weeks before my last frost, around February 11th. They looked so puny and defenseless. To protect them from critters like the dreaded slugs and snails, I would cover them with plastic cups for the next two weeks at night and uncover them in the morning before work. It worked. The snails didn’t get too much of them and they grew very well.

Swiss Chard Transplanted 02-11-08

So they grew and they grew without too many problems. Not a pest to be found. I’m still crossing my fingers! Here they are a month and a half later, still growing steadily:

Swiss Chard 59 days 03-23-08

And grew they did. I’ll probably harvest these soon and make some yummy side dishes.

Swiss Chard 90 days 03-23-08

Here are some pics of the other swiss chard plants I have laying around the garden. I plan on planting them in a spot near my fence that gets regular morning sun. They really enjoy full sun but part sun wouldn’t hurt them much.

More Swiss Chard Seedlings 40 days

Swiss Chard Seedlings Transplanted 45 days

Well that’s all for now folks. Happy gardening everyone!

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Gardening: 04-23-08

Ladybug tomato 72 days 04-12-08

Today was just a simple day of gardening: watering all the veggies and flowers, walking around looking at the bok choy seed pods, and…urgh picking snails off my precious peas! I hate snails with a vegence! They’re annoying little buggers. I’ve tried about everything to get rid of them: coffee, coffee grounds, copper, etc etc etc. Today, I crushed a bunch of egg shells and put them in front of my peas and the other stuff they like to munch on. The crushed egg shells are suppose to hurt their bellies and deter them. I hope this will prevent them from crawling all over my peas and eating them to the nubs.

On another note, my scarlett runner beans, sequioa beans, swiss chard, radish and lime basil I planted a couple of days ago have sprouted and are doing well. I planted out the scarlett runner and sequioa beans this afternoon. I put some in the ground and some in pots, just in case we move too soon, I want some beans to come with me. This morning, I also staked my tomatoes I have in containers. I have a supersweet, gardener’s delight and ladybug hybrid tomatoes in pots. I noticed that I have flowers forming on my squash seedlings. Eek. so exciting. I’ve had tomato flowers for awhile now (probably in the past 2-3 weeks) and I can’t wait to have tomatoes. Yummy!

Yesterday, I visited my parents and little brother and came home with tons of Asian groceries, Bento boxes, and some gardening pots and a garden hose. I have a neat blue pot that they gave me since they weren’t using it. It’s a rectangular pot that sits 4 inches tall and probably 6 inches wide. I’ll take a picture tomorrow and post it. I think I’ll put some low growing plants in it. I don’t want something that will take away from its pretty “pot” beauty.

My co-worker gave me two apricot seedling and a lilac plant. It was a nice gesture from her. I had given her some tomatoes, peppers, bok choi, and squash seedlings I had extra of and she came back and gave me some plants. She’s so nice and very kind. Tomorrow, I plan on continuing the acts of kindness by giving her an avocado plant I had started from a pit and some seeds I know she’ll enjoy (bok choi, sunflowers-tall, catnip-for her cats, basil, and California poppies).

Tomorrow, I plan on giving everyone a good soaking with fish emulsion. Hopefully the cats don’t get wind of it or else it’s going to be a full house. I also want to plant some of the bean seedlings I started indoors. For errands, I have to bike over to the Library and pay our electricity bill. Gee how fun uhh? Well, it kind of is since I’m biking. I love biking! Happy gardening everyone.

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More Seed Starting

I’m a firm believer that seeds can be started anytime of the year. Today, I started the following:

  • Scarlett Runner Beans
  • Sequioa Beans
  • Chinese Lanterns
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Goji Berry
  • Money Plant
  • Radish-watermelon
  • Radish-cherry belle
  • Geranium Alpenglow
  • Chinese Houses
  • Shoofly
  • Swiss Chard-bright lights
  • Butternut squash
  • Lime Basil

I’ve been neglecting starting seeds in the past couple of weeks. I’ve just forgot to start some more.

Everything else in the garden is looking great! The tomatoes even had some tomato flowers. I had to pick them off because if they produced fruit, the plant wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of the weight of the fruit. Well, that’s all folks! Happy Gardening!

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Radishes, radishes, radishes!

I think my cherry belle radishes are ready to harvest. They’ve grown into little round bulbs a little bigger than a quarter. I really wanted to wait to harvest them when my tomatoes are ready to pick but that’s going to take awhile. I plan on giving them to my father-in-law who loves radishes. He can have this batch while I plant some more later.

I hope he won’t mind eating produce from my garden. I know some people are hesitant to eat from other people’s gardens but hey it’s food after all and at least people can trust a home-gardener’s produce since they probably don’t use a great deal of pesticides and harmful chemicals.

Have you ever met one who’d rather eat stuff from the grocery store than in their own garden? Well, now you know one. Yours truly was hesitant and weary of eating from her own garden in the beginning. Weird but true. I was just worried about the soil and what the previous owners buried in it (I had found odd accoutrements in my soil when I was adding soil). But, I realized that most farms use steer manure in their gardens and sell edibles at the grocery store, then why can’t I eat from my own, organic garden? I finally overcame this fear when one morning, I was out in my garden looking at my lettuce. I picked a piece off and dunked it in some water from a watering can and reluctantly ate it with a face that could scare you. Then, an epiphany came to me: it tasted just like lettuce! I was so excited, I picked a bunch of lettuce leaves, went inside and whipped up a bowl of salad with radishes and dressing. I ate it thinking: this came from my garden! I grew this all myself. Here’s a picture of my first harvest that I actually ate and enjoyed. I was so proud!

My first homegrown salad (click to enlarge)

 I also have some cherry belle radishes that I planted last November flowering. I’m going to allow them to flower so I can collect seeds from them in the summer. They’ve gone to a point of no return. They’re no longer any good but instead bitter and hard like a rock.

Radish flower (click to enlarge) 

My watermelon radishes are progressing. They’re slowly grudging along. I’m still fighting those darn snails but I think I’ve come up with a way to deter them: coffee! In Nature magazine, two researchers tested their belief that coffee will deter and kill snails and slugs. They suggest spraying your plants (except for lettuce since coffee may turn it yellow) and adding coffee grounds around the plants the slugs/snails like. There is something in coffee that upsets snails and slugs’ internal parts and they will avoid those plants that have caffeine on them. It doesn’t hurt to try and we have lots of coffee laying around. I’ll let you guys know how well it works or if it works at all.

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