June 2020

June 2020 – Garden Update

This month, just like the last was crazy and hectic. I intended to keep this post up to date throughout the month but that fell off the rails REALLY quick. But, I did remember to add in some quick photos.

June 3:

  • I found some energy after work to get some Beans planted.. I put in some ‘Royal Burgundy’, ‘Gold Rush’ and ‘Amethyst Purple’ Bush Beans infront of the first round of Tomatoes that I planted out last week. I also tucked a few little rows of ‘Long Standing Bloomsdale’ Spinach in as well.
  • Across the patio where I have had my tomatoes the last few years, I put in one ‘Dark Green’ Zucchini and a small tee-pee with some ‘Painted Lady’ Runner Beans.
  • I popped my second start of the Cinderella Pumpkin over where I have a mix of more ornamental plants. The first one is across the yard in a big tub that is dug into the ground a bit.
  • I re-sowed some Yellow Crookneck Squash because I still haven’t seen any signs of life on the first round… But May was really cold, so I’m blaming that… as the Peas I sowed around the same time are JUST popping up now. I just wanted to hedge my bets because I really want some more squash in my life.

Work got CRAZY busy and I didn’t keep up with updating this post throughout the month so I’m going to try and do a quick overview on what is happening around here.

  • I finally got my little willow cuttings that I have been rooting in the kitchen window in jars of water potted into soil and kicked outside.
  • Along with the willows, I also potted up my other rooted cuttings like the roses, a grape, a hazelnut, a currant and a few random haskaps. I also picked a few baby spruce to baby along and potted them into larger pots too.
  • Its not looking good for my blue popcorn. There are a few that might make it, but given how cold and slow our spring has been, I don’t think they will take off intime to grow proper ears. Maybe next year.
  • Along those same lines, the blue butterfly peas didn’t germinate, so they’ll have to be added to another year’s projects. Similar thing with the jelly melon… I started them too early inside and then to plant them outside would’ve just stressed them too much. Next year I’ll give them a better shot.
  • I’ve been battling caterpillars on my currants… so I picked up some BTK and I’m waging biological warfare on them now…. In addition to squishing every single one I find. I need to find something similar to wage war on the slugs that have exploded with our cool wet weather. Does anyone know of a slug nematode that is available in alberta?
  • With the beans that I sowed, I’ve had no germination with the gold rush. But those seeds were from 2014. The disappointment is with the Amethyst purple bush beans… Germination is spotty and those are brand new seeds for this year. I think I have 4 plants that have germinated.
  • Cucumbers are starting to do well, although I think the squirrels are starting to get too at-ease in the yard again because one of my pickling cucumbers was snapped off. Is there a squirrel nematode 😉 (that was a joke).
  • Things are really starting to grow and I’m hoping that I will start to have a little more time to be posting a little more often.
Purple Glazer Garlic
Front yard Chives.
Baby apples
Inside ‘Tiny Tim’ Tomatoes are starting to ripen!
Aphid control has arrived!
Paprika peppers… these started growing inside so they are still getting used to being outside, the peppers should get bigger once we start getting some heat and this poor plant recovers from all the stress I’ve caused it.
My lilac that I transplanted as a stick 8-ish years ago. This thing mostly lives in shade, so I don’t fault it for never blooming, but this year, it’s putting on a beautiful and much-needed show.
Making friends at work…. we make the same face

At the end of the month, I got some free peppers and cabbage plants from work, so I got them mostly all into the ground before we had a few days of straight rain… I have a couple left that still need to find a home, but I’ll mention them in next months update (hopefully)

Potting up Propagated Rose Cuttings

Last month, after prunning roses at work, I brought some of the cuttings home with me.

I prepared the ones that still looked good- that had one or two small leaves left and some good nodes, and dipped them into some rooting hormone powder.

Next I pushed them into some potting soil with a little extra perlite added, popped them under the grow-light in my little greenhouse propagator thing, and then waited somewhat patiently.

Out of the 12 Rose cuttings I took, 3 rooted successfully. It figures that the ones that took are the ones that I don’t know the variety

Around June 20, I potted them up and kicked them outside. They’ll be babied along in the pots for the summer and we’ll see what happens in late August.

This little bit of success makes me want to grab a few more cuttings home from work for another shot.

I know I should’ve pruned this bloom off, but I left it to get a little bit of enjoyment. I have since pruned it so the plant can concentrate on growing roots.

May 2020

My April update was less than stellar, so I will try and make this one better. I am back to work now, so a thorough update like in March might not be in the cards, but I will try and keep up with my sporadic and random posting, and doing a monthly update. As long as I am keeping up with keeping all the plants alive, and (ideally) harvesting food from most of them, that is the main goal

 

May 2 –

  • I planted out 3 pots of potatoes (15 gallon re-used tree pots).
  • I also planted a 7 gallon pot with some onion sets that I started in small cells in the house to give them a head start. If the weather turns, these would probably be fine, but since they are in a pot, I can move them into the garage if needed. You can’t trust mother nature in May around here, but you can hope she will be nice.
  • Additionally, I have been moving my inside baby trees out for the whole day, and then back inside for night. They might be fine outside now, but I will probably wait a little longer… at least until the trees around the neighbourhood start getting their leaves.

May 8-10

  • My landlord decided to build a new fence, so I needed to move all my raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, strawberries and my rescue Emerald Cedar before they were all crushed. I manged to get them all in pots, and I’ve been trying to pot up the strawberries into all their own containers. I might not get any berries from any of these this year because of this move, but hopefully they will at least stay alive and I can find them a good safe home – probably at my parents house.
  • My goal for the 10th was to get my baby trees potted into their own pots and kick them outside… But it is snowing today and the nighttime temperatures are still below zero most nights, so I will keep babying them in the house until next weekend maybe… Stay tuned 😉

Work got CRAZY busy, and I’m not even sure what day it is anymore at this point… So here is a quick breakdown of the rest of the month. If I don’t write this down now, I won’t get this update posted in time. This is going to be a bit disjointed as I write down what I remember doing.

  • I got about half of my baby trees from this year potted up. Still finding time to get the rest done. Some of them might end up just straight into the ground at my parents house and I’ll wish them luck surviving the real world (but probably build them something to protect them from deer at the very least). I also went through my Chance seedlings from last year and managed to write something about them… You can read that Here.
  • May 24, I kicked out some of my taller tomatoes. They were getting roasted by the grow light because they grew so tall, so I’m risking them to the last frosts we are possibly predicted over losing them all together. I still have the 2nd round that I need to find homes for, but I’ll try and get them hardened off correctly at least.
  • We had crazy rain and snow around the 21st. Work was not fun… I was out of any cares left and mostly just came home and slept. I’m pretty sure we ate chicken fingers and ketchup was counted as the vegetable. I hope this all calms down soon.
  • My Combo Apple has finally started to come alive, although one of the grafted branches (It lost its tag saying what it was), is very slow to wake up and I don’t know the long term survivability of it, but Its growing at the very least. The rest of the tree is a Heyer #12, and one branch of Dexter that is doing well… The other mystery graft is doing better than the first, but not as good as the tree as a whole.
  • I also kicked out my Celery (except 4 of them), into the ground on May 24. I’m still hoping to make a self watering container but we’ll see if getting the parts to do that is even an option with how busy and tired ive been.
  • I have some haskap cuttings that are hopefully rooting. I didn’t mark each branch but i figure i’ll just mix them all up and if they survive, then at least I have a decent haskap patch for the future that will pollinate itself… ideally anyway.
  • All of my blueberries survived the winter and are coming to life, except the pink popcorn. I snapped its branches shovelling snow onto it and I don’t think its going to recover.
  • I left a white currant out over winter and that thing is going so amazingly strong. As if the White currant wasn’t already my favourite currant… Now it extra is ;). Words are hard, I’m tiredd.
  • I started cucumbers, pumpkins and zucchini inside around the 15th, and they have all sprouted, except the Black Beauty Zucchini. I’ll give it some more time, but at least I have the Dark Green. I also sowed some Yellow Crookneck Squash outside, and there are no signs of life just yet. Its been cold, so it gets a pass. If there is nothing by the first week in june, I’ll sow more seeds.
  • I kicked the zucchini and pumpkin seedlings outside as soon as they germinated so they don’t get too babied in the warm house.
  • May 24th I also kicked the Blue Popcorn out as well. I think I ended up with 8 little seedlings. Hopefully they make it and I get some cool corn.

That is about all that my tired exhausted brain can manage at the moment. I’ll catch up on more tomato posts once I have the time (and brain power). I know I did more things, but I can’t seem to put into words what they are.

As of May 31st, I have not done much more, apart from watering things, and some quick plantings at my parent’s house. We had a tornado warning today, with one touching down just a little bit north east of here. It is pouring rain as I quickly finish off this post, and if it isn’t too wet tomorrow, I might try and get my zucchini seedlings in the ground. We have some below zero nights in the forecast, so I will be waiting to put out the cucumbers, cucamelons and peppers… and the rest of the tomatoes.

Sorry for the lack of photos again… Maybe June will be different.

Chance Crabapple Seedlings (from 2019) UPDATE- May 2020

In the fall of 2019, I did a series of 3 posts about my Chance Crabapple Seedlings. They were all pulled from my flower beds under the (probably) ‘Radiant’ Crabapple that hangs over our fence.

So in my posts in the Fall, I did two photos of each of the 18 crabapples. One showing their heights. This post is just going to be a quick check-in, and I’m going to outline the ones that either didn’t survive the winter, or were just slow to come out of dormancy comparative to the others. I have photos of the ones I kept, but they are just quick shots and not the greatest… I just didn’t want another photo-less post.  Also, for my own notes, this is current as of today (May 19, 2020).

Lets get the culled ones out of the way before I add some photos of the keepers.

Culled: 2, 5, 6 (All from Post 1), 7, 9, 10, 11 (All in Post 2), 15, 16 & 17 (All in Post 3).  (I was hoping that 5 and 6 would’ve done better, but it is what it is)

Still going:

#1: This one was one I was really impressed with, so I’m glad it made it through winter. It isn’t much to look at just yet, but I hope it gets stronger throughout the summer.

 

#3: This one is very similar to the first one. There is some tip die-back, but I hope it recovers and comes through the summer even stronger.

 

#4: Similar to both 1 and 3, this one should come through the summer even stronger. They all have a very similar leaf to the mother tree.

 

 

#8: This one was the first to get leaves this Spring. I think it will do really well and I can’t wait to see what colour flowers it will have if it can survive to that stage of life.

 

 

#12, Last fall this one had a deep emerald leaf and red/purple veins. The edges of the leaf are really serrated and just like number 8 above, I can’t wait to see what kind of flower this one will have- if it makes it to that stage.

 

 

#13, I’m pretty excited about the leaf on this one as well. – It is very similar to the last survivor of the bunch…

 

 

#18: The leaf on this one in the fall was a a deeper purplish-Green… I hope it holds up. Its a very unique little leaf color, and I can’t wait to see what comes of this one as well.

 

Well, that is is for the survivors of the 2019 Chance Crabapple Seedlings. I’m thinking I will do another post in the Fall to document their growth this summer. It might be a few years before they get to the flower stage, but I hope they all make it. I was pretty rough in my cull, but I don’t want to waste my time on tiny little trees that just wont make it here. Plus I need as many pots as I can get for all the new seedlings I have been growing in my kitchen window.

I’ll be keeping these in the 1-gallon pots as long as they are still growing well. They’ll get bumped up to a bigger pot of they need the space, but If I can keep them in these more manageable pots, then that is ideal… Depending on how this year goes, I may end up planting them out at my parent’s place to see how they manage life, but we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Brandywine

Continuing on with my little “series” documenting each of the different tomato varieties I am growing this year, we have Red Brandywine. This pack of seeds originally came from McKenzie seeds. I bought it in 2014. I grew it that first year when I had the greenhouse to use. Ever since then, I’ve been pushing it to the wayside in flavor of other varieties. But I want to get some fresh seed for myself, so it is on my grow-list for this year.

McKenzie’s seed packet description: “A ‘Heirloom’ variety that is well known for its size and excellent flavor! Deep red, very large size fruits can weigh up to 900g (2 lbs)! Rich sweet flavor is great for salads, canning, soups and sandwiches. Deep, well drained soil is best. Indeterminate. Potato Leaf variety.” 

While I didn’t get these from MI Gardener, they do have them on their site, so here is a quick link over there if you are looking for an affordable source.  You can also find them at Renee’s Garden, Wildrose Heritage Seed, among others.

In trying to find more history on this one, I stumbled on this page that has a well laid out history, and has documented the confusion associated with this variety. You can go straight there to read their words rather than me trying to figure out how to say the same thing without stealing their words.

I have seed for both Red and Pink Brandywine. I’ve saved my own seed from the Pink Brandywine. In future years, I might have to grow them at the same time and see if there is any real difference. Apparently the true Red Brandywine is supposed to be regular leaf and NOT potato leaf like stated in the seed packet description.

I might have to splurge at some point on some actual regular-leaf Red Brandywine seeds from Victory Seed. They have a decent history listed there.

 

You can check out the previous tomatoes I have written about this year: Tiny Tim, Chernobyl, Black Russian