Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tomato Boot Camp and Gardening Notes

   Yesterday morning, I started hardening off the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.  For the first while, they'll be put them out early (between 5:15am - 5:30am) and brought in an hour later.  The mornings have been cool and a bit overcast, so no worries than they'll be scorched.

   I also started some lettuce seed in milk jugs yesterday:  Sherwood, Galisse, Lollo Rossa, Black Seeded Simpson, Grand Rapids, and Flashy Butter Oak.        

   This morning, I cleaned out the spent canes in the raspberry patch.  It is sunny, mild, and breezy outdoors; perfect weather for this kind of task.  I spotted two ladybugs nestled amongst the cane, which made me smile. The first bumblebee of the season was buzzing around the composters, looking cute and fuzzy (and sounding like a Cessna).  The patch is  s p r e a d i n g, and there are bare spaces in what we loosely consider to be the rows in the patch.  I’d like to dig up some of the smaller canes and move them to the interior of the patch to fill the spaces and keep the patch from taking over the lawn.  There is just so much else to do, though, that I’m not sure this will be a priority. 

   Last year, volunteer pansies were coming up in the raised beds and the north garden.  I didn’t have to plant any, I just moved them where I wanted them!  No sign of volunteer pansies this year, so  this morning I planted some in the black planter in front of the house (a mix of small yellow, purple, and white ones) and around the back corner of the bathtub (Springtime Cassis, a variety that is new to me).

   The Wooly Thyme looks fantastic - soft and green.   Just love it!  The same can’t be said for the rest of the flower bed.  Last summer, it was overtaken by weeds and quack grass, and I didn’t have the energy to deal with it.  The Creeping Thyme is also green and flourishing, but it self-seeded extensively last year and is now all through the bed, filling in the gaps between the weeds…and the grass has grown up through the original clusters.  Ahrg.  If I decide to deal with the flower bed rather than throwing a tarp over it and hoping nobody notices, my mantra will be, “It’s for the bees…it’s for the bees…”

   The trees and lilac bushes are budding like mad. Strangely enough, I have only seen 2 or 3 dandelions.

   The garlic started to come up about a week ago and is already several inches tall.  I had to rescue the bulbils by pulling off some of the mulch that their sprouts were struggling to get through.  I mulched the bulbil section heavily last Fall on the off chance we were in for a very cold winter.  It turned out not to be; we haven’t had a really cold winter for some time, now… 

   After hemming and hawing over what kind of winter squash to grow this year (the tried-and-true Galeux D’Eysines or North Georgia Candy Roaster, or the new-to-me Rouge Vif d'Étampes ("Cinderella Pumpkin") or Delicata), a decision was finally made.  Earlier this week, I started North Georgia Candy Roaster seeds in milk jugs.  The jugs will be kept inside on a heat mat and under lights, and hardened off in June before transplanting.  Hopefully, they will do as well as the first time I grew them! 

It begins!

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