Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Maybe I Should Have Waited...

I think I might have gotten ahead of myself.  I started winter squash and cucumbers indoors a few days ago on heat mats. They sprouted very quickly and are growing faster than I expected.  Here's hoping May is extra warm so I can put these out early!

"North Georgia Candy Roaster" squash

"Patio Snacker" cucumbers

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Experiments 2016 - Patio Snacker, Candy Roaster, and Painted Mountain Corn

The weather continues to be mild! We have started to get the raised beds ready for planting and the yard cleaned up.  Two or three hours per day on the weekends.  Slowly, but surely.  

Last weekend, I planted shallots (first time growing them), red onions, green onions, and a bit of garlic.  I also potted my Dahlia tubers and brought them into the plant room where they'll stay until early June. Growing in the milk jug greenhouses on the south side of the house are Lacinato kale, parsley, Swiss chard, Golden Acre cabbage, Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage, and pansies.  In the last few days, I also planted German Giant radish, Red Acre cabbage, Copenhagen cabbage, Red Mammoth cabbage, Summer Savoury, broccoli, and garlic chives in milk jugs.

Tomatoes and peppers under the grow light.

The cat tree is occupied by transplants, so Bea's snoozing on the top shelf.

Shelves set up in the living room.

A big patch of volunteer pansies were growing in one of the raised beds along the driveway, so this week I transfered those to small pots and to the metal flower box in front of the house.

I am probably getting ahead of myself, but today I decided to start "Patio Snacker" cucumbers (hybrid variety...only 10 seeds in the package...?!) and North Georgia Candy Roaster squash in milk jugs.  I will keep them inside on heat mats and if all goes well, will harden them off in late May and transplant them outside in June. Growing winter squash here without a greenhouse is pretty hit-or-miss.  It's best to grow small pumpkins or varieties like Red Kuri.  But being me, I still try to grow bigger varieties like Australian Butter Squash, Sweet Meat, and this year, the Candy Roaster.  Fingers crossed.  We'll see what happens.

Potted dahlia tubers

Another experiment this year will be growing Painted Mountain Corn, which I obtained in a seed trade.  It is supposed to be an early variety.  The description from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds reads: "These incredibly tough plants were bred in the bitter cold Mountains of Montana, they boast impressive cold hardiness, earliness, drought tolerance and they thrive at high altitudes. Montana farmer, Dave Christensen has dedicated his life's work to naturally breeding a corn that will thrive in harsh conditions, and since the 1970s has sampled from over 70 open pollinated varieties of corn to create painted mountain corn. These are old heirlooms grown by Northern Native American tribes over thousands of years as well as homesteaders from harsh northern climates. The bright color of the kernels indicate a high nutrient content, making it an excellent corn for decoration or for eating! Painted Mountain Corn can be eaten fresh, ground, roasted and make a highly nutritious flour for muffins, johnny cakes, tortillas and chips!"

Painted Mountain Corn, with new roots!

I am trying the method of starting my corn that is shown in this video.   I hope the weather cooperates when it is ready to be planted!

Update (April 27th) - rooted corn in vermiculite

Update (May 2nd)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Potting Up With Bea

This morning, Bea helped me put away my tomato seeds...

Moments later, I walked into the laundry room with some seedlings to find Bea making herself comfortable in my work station...

"Are those green things edible?", she wonders...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Feels Like Summer!

We have been enjoying very warm Spring temperatures this year.  April 1st and 2nd hit 20 degrees and hardly any snow remains on the ground.  Our property was a muddy, spongy mess until yesterday, when we had a solid day of brisk wind that dried things up.  The garden patches are still wet, but everything else is dry enough that we can start cleaning up from last Fall and pulling weeds.  Even the raspberry patch is clear, so unless it snows heavily in the next two weeks (always a possibility!), we can start to trim down and thin out the canes soon, too.  

Click on pictures to enlarge

Giant Musselburgh leeks and flat leaf parsley

One of two trays of rosemary

(L to R) Two trays of marigolds, feverfew, and yarrow

Ping Tung eggplants and sweet bell peppers (mixed colours)

Parsley in a milk jug greenhouse

Tomato seedlings - this year I started:

  • Bonny Best (red, round, canner/slicer, classic/long-standing heirloom)
  • Early Annie (red, round, canner/slicer, heirloom similar to Bonny Best except it's determinate)
  • Red Zebra (red w/orange stripes, beefsteak, heirloom)
  • Principe Borghese (red, small, heirloom, good for sundried tomatoes)
  • Amana (orange beefsteak, heirloom)
  • Sungold (sweet orange cherry, hybrid/commercial)
  • Speckled Roman (red and orange striped, elongated, heirloom- not sure these will germinate, as the seeds are old)
  • Mazarini (pink, heart-shaped, paste, heirloom)
  • Pomodoro Nano (red, roma, paste, hybrid/commercial)
  • Black Prince (“black”, round to heart-shaped, medium size, salad tomato, heirloom, indeterminate)