Garden Update and 5 x 5 Challenge – June 14, 2013

2013 Garden Update

Okay, so it is Friday already and I had planned to post this on Wednesday.  I’m not really sure what happened, but that is the way I’m rolling this week.

The rain these past few weeks is finally starting to show in the garden.  The tomato plants are either taking off or producing fruit, depending on the type and when I planted them.  The beans and summer squash have fully sprouted.  The zucchini I planted for the FOURTH time also came up … then disappeared so I think something ate it as this was in an unfenced spot.  I also replanted strawberries.  My herb bed was furnished with some starts someone had but didn’t need, as my seeds there were either really behind in coming up or didn’t come up at all.  (This doesn’t seem to be the year for seeds for me.)

My first harvest took place of two bundles of green onions.  These were grown with no chemicals, yet they didn’t sell on the produce stand.  I’m a bit surprised as several of our customers are picky about that sort of thing.  I cut part of the tops off the two bunches of onions I put on the stand and was able to chop those and freeze them to use later in soups and such.  I’ll be doing that with the rest of the onions as their tops are long.  The red onions seemed to have fair badly with all the rain and became mushy.  The yellow ones did much better.  They didn’t grow round on the end like I had hoped, but they are decent for green onions.  Anyone have tips on growing green onions?  Am I missing something in my soil that will help them grow better?

I also got the cucumbers planted, as well as the patio planter with a few more tomatoes and some herbs.  The tomatoes in the patio planter were the ‘rejects’ from the rest of the plants I had.  They were the smallest and the furthest behind growth wise.  As it is, I have tomato plants in several different stages of development in the different areas of my garden.  This should mean that I don’t have a large harvest all at once, which wasn’t planned but may turn out to be a good thing.

Here is the garden bed under my kitchen window.  I came back from camping a few weeks back and was surprised to see my bean had sprouted (in the upper left corner of the picture), as well as my yellow squash (most of the other plants).  The three tomato plants in the bottom left of the picture are white heirloom tomatoes that I got from someone.  I wasn’t sure how the wood mulch would do right next to them so I cut some milk jugs and used them to create sort of wells to plant inside of.  Of the three plants, two are doing great and one is just looking wimpy.  Not sure what the difference is.

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This is the bed I’m using for the 5 x 5 Challenge.  The bare spot in the middle is where I harvested some onions.  I really need to finish harvesting the onions on the right side of the bed, to allow more room for the other plants to grow.  I added a few sugar snap peas to a bare spot along the trellis.  They have come up, as have the other beans.  The tomato plants are growing and the squash are doing okay.  Some of the flower seeds I added on a whim are also growing, though I don’t remember what kind they are.

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The first planting of strawberries was a disaster.  I’m thinking something got in there and ate them before I was able to put a fence up.  Finally I gave up and went to a local store and bought plants.  Imagine my surprise when I got to the cash register and they were half price … I went and bought six more.  My hope, plan, is for their runners to grow and fill in this whole area.  They are doing great so far and we have little strawberries already growing with  more blooms on the plants.  These are ever-bearing so they should produce some this year.  I also planted a row of sugar snap peas along the left side of the beds as this side is right up against the fence.  Half the beans sprouted and are a foot tall.  The other half are just starting to show.

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The herb bed is another area that I finally gave into the fact that wishing doesn’t make it so.  The cilantro and basil seeds just weren’t sprouting.  When someone called and asked if I wanted some herb transplants, including basil, I said “YES!”  I now have sage, orange mint, parsley, oregano, two kinds of basil, and thyme, in addition to the two cilantro seedlings that decided to appear.  My hope is to make this my herb bed and have some of the plants be perennial.  The sage and mint should come back year after year.  Actually, I should have an issue with keeping them in control.  However, my “should’s” this year haven’t turned out that way so I’m not counting my chicks just yet.

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We got the rest of the mulch spread around the blackberry plants.  This area looks so much better and the mulch should help keep the soil moist in addition to enriching it.

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I was also able to put up four hanging planters with cucumbers.  The first year I did cucumber plantings this way turned out fabulous.  The second year, not so much.  I think it had to do with me remembering to water.  Last year the plants looked fabulous but there were no insects to pollinate them, so the blooms didn’t produce cucumbers.  I’m hoping I didn’t shoot myself in the foot yesterday when I sprayed the grass for mosquitoes (our kids react very badly to insect bites, otherwise I wouldn’t have done that).  These were my second batch of seedlings, as the first just didn’t come up.  Again, not my year for seedlings.  We’ll see how they go.  My goal was to have cukes for our weekly salads, but so far that hasn’t happened.

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This post is part of the 5 x 5 Garden Challenge.  The main goal of this challenge, according to Chiot’s Run blog, is to learn and encourage gardeners, especially new gardeners.  Please join us in the challenge and see how much you can do in a small space.

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