Quick Garden Update – April 18/2014

I know it’s been a while since I last updated you on the progress of all the growing things around here… It’s been a stressful few weeks, but everything is getting back to normal life again. Normal, but also a little better than normal, because I get to hug my ponies every single day again… Something I haven’t been able to do in nearly 6 years!

Just quickly, the herbs and flowers are all chugging along. The lavender still amazes me… All you have to do is brush it with your fingers and the calming lavender scent is released into the air. Lemon Balm – Awesome, I love it. I love it so much I am contemplating  just filling the whole place with Lemon Balm and scrapping all the other things. Last weekend I moved a few of the herbs out to the Greenhouse:

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Tomatoes
The group I started in February are desperate for more room, and have quickly out grown their little corner of the windowsill… Hoping I have them moved out to the greenhouse tomorrow… And that the greenhouse, a mini hot-house, and some fleece/frost blankets do the trick in keeping them alive.

All the others are in various stages of potting up, and becoming despirate for space too… Fingers crossed the weather warms up unseasonably early!

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Peppers

I am very excited about all the peppers we will be growing this year (Jalapeno, Cayenne, Hungarian Hot Wax, and Medusa). They are all making decent progress too. The Medusa peppers just sprouted a few days ago, and the Hungarian Wax are just working on their true leaves right now, but the Cayenne and Jalapeno are doing very very well. I also splurged on some Habanero seeds last week, so those are just getting started and are a little behind the boat, but we’ll see what comes of them.

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Eggplant

REALLY need to get them potted up asap. There is basically no way to distinguish between the 2 varieties right now, other than the little picks I have to mark them. They are also both about the same size now.

Ground Cherries

I am so very excited for these! They are very cute little seedlings if I do say so myself.

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Leeks

These are looking sad lately. I may have moved them too far from some decent light, they are too shaded from my tomatoes, OR I over watered, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for them, and will probably move them out to the greenhouse soon so they can get light again.

Brassicas

I just sowed a bunch of these, so keep your eyes out for a post about them. It only took 3 days for them to all sprout, so I need to find them some room to live where there is enough light

 Broad Beans

I sowed these in some newspaper pots, to try and get a jump on spring… They are just sprouting now, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have never grown them… or ever knowingly tasted them for that matter… BUT I’m still excited.

 

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I have also sown a few things inside the greenhouse, but I’ll talk about that in a greenhouse update soon… when there is (hopefully) something to show for my early seed sowing.

March 30 Update

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March 30/2014 Garden Update

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Yesterday, my friend Cal and I drove into the city to go to a bunch of garden centers. A few were far more impressive than others, but in all of them we found some inspiration for an in-the-works project (that I will tell you more about when it is an actual thing), and our upcoming year of gardening ALL the things. I also found some seeds that were on my list of things I want to grow… Although it looks like the slightly more obscure ones I will have to order for next year. I also found some new hardneck garlic to stick into the ground asap, since I didn’t get it planted before winter hit; and some Shallots. I was losing hope that I would find any. There were also some German Butterball seed potatoes, so I can’t wait until its time to stick them in some dirt. Before I go on rambling about all the cool things we are going to be growing (and ruin the surprise for you), Here is the update on all the things that are growing already:

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TOMATOES

Since I started some of these extra early, They really need to have a new home soon. If you know any ways that I can convince mother nature to co-operate and give us a beautiful early spring, (perhaps an anti-snow dance?) please send them to me. In all seriousness though, We are working on getting the greenhouse prepped and ready, so they can move there soon.

Roma and Rainbow Blend (started March 5)

These are growing beautifully. But they are outgrowing my windowsill very quickly.

Black Krim, Brandywine Red, Brandywine Pink, Bonny Best (started March 15)

This group is working on their true leaves. Yesterday I potted them up into 3″ pots, since their roots were really outgrowing the little peat pellets. Once they get a little larger, they will probably get another potting-up before they go out.

Cherry – F1 Hybrid Mix (Monarch, Honeybee, Ladybug) (started March 12)

I potted these up last Sunday (March 23), and they are looking very nice. We’ll see about this “spring” thing, and maybe they can go into their final pots next.

Yellow Pear and Marglobe (started March 17)

Working on their true leaves. I will probably pot up these soon, since their roots are developing quite fast (I like to minimize the amount I need to disturb them).

Green Envy (started March 20)

Sprouted on March 26

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Boxcar Willie, Orange Wellington, Golden Cherry, Black Russian (started March 22)

Sprouted on March 28 (I got bonus Orange Wellington seeds in my trade! So awesome!)

San Marzano (started March 23)

Sprouted on March 29

I also found two more heirloom Tomato seeds stashed away, but I am trying to resist sowing the seeds until next year. Since I can hardly contain my current tomato habit. But if you are curious…They are ‘Manitoba’ and ‘Mortgage Lifter’.

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PEPPERS

Yesterday, on our garden center adventure… I picked up some Medusa Pepper seeds. They were quite pricey, and there wasn’t a lot of seeds in the packet, but they look like fun. I sowed them last night, so they should sprout in 7-14 days. They are sweet, non-burning, “child safe” and edible peppers. Cal also picked up a variety pack of sweet Bell Peppers, so our garden should we more well-rounded with these additions.

The Jalapenos and Cayenne peppers are growing nicely.

No sight of the Hungarian Wax Peppers that I sowed on March 20 yet. They probably haven’t been warm enough. With the cold snap that hit us again, My window hasn’t been getting much warmer than 24C during the peak of sunlight (where it is usually around 40C).

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EGGPLANT

The Asian (Ping Tung Long) is working on it’s true leaves. (started March 5)

The Italian (Violetta Lunga di Napoli) is probably thinking about true leaves. I can see micro leaves starting to emerge, but nothing to really write home about yet. (started on March 15)

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GROUND CHERRIES (started on March 5)

These have started to put on more leaves since they were potted up on March 26. These are one of the things I am really looking forward to trying.

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LEEKS (started on February 18)

Nothing new, they just need to hold on until they can go into the ground.

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ONIONS 

I wanted to experiment with growing onions from seed, So I have 4 pots of Northern Gold, and one from my onion flower of last year that I started on March 24. The ones I had tried earlier in toilet paper rolls had too much mold trying to grow, so I scraped them. I also started 4 pots of Walla Walla onions yesterday. We also have some red Onion sets for our actual onion crop.

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POTATOES

I missed out on ordering my Pink Fir Apples. Next year I wont put it off so long. BUT I have some Purple Caribe and German Butterball as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. They are “chitting” away on top of my fridge. I will probably be picking up some Russian Blue later today as well. Then we will just need to find some kind of fingerling potato and decide between the “regulars” like Norland or Yukon Gold. I will probably try for a little bit of an early crop in containers in the back yard.

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If you are interested in the progress so far, here are the links to the previous updates:

March 22

March 15

March 9

February 19

March 22/2014 Garden Update

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It was feeling a lot like Spring around here. Gophers have started to wake up and are chirping away out in the fields. The Geese are making their pit stops here, en masse. The snowbank/drift in our back yard from the storms at the beginning of December was down to about 3 feet tall at its highest point… We could see our patio again. And at work… MUD… So much mud! Then the first day of Spring happened and Mother Nature decided we were getting too used to this “Spring” thing, and hammered us with a winter storm again. Lucky for me, I have Spring in my windowsill. Everything is doing amazing. Now if Mother Nature would co-operate, I can start putting the plants for the Greenhouse garden out there. (We are hopefully getting our soil preparations done later next week over there)

But, without anymore chatter, Here is the updates on my little seedlings. (Tomorrow I’ll cover the Herbs and flowers, just like last week)

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TOMATOES

I may have developed an inability to control myself around seeds. I bought more. But only because I saw the Yellow Pear ones that looked so amazing on the many gardening blogs I read, and I just really wanted them. Right next to them in the display were some Marglobe ones that are an Heirloom determinate variety that I think would be great for my mom. Right next to those were some “Green Envy” cherry tomatoes, and I said to myself “why not”. There may have also been an heirloom pepper in there too, but we’ll cover that in the Pepper section. Then I may have allowed myself to trade some Heirloom seeds… “Boxcar Willie”, “Golden Cherry” and “Black Russian” should be here any day now.  I can stop anytime, I swear (she said unconvincingly).

It took 5 days for the Yellow Pear and Marglobe to start sprouting. Pretty excited for both of these. Green Envy should be up by Monday. 5 days seems to be the general length of time it takes for my tomatoes to sprout.

The Cherry Tomatoes (Hybrid Mix of yellow, orange and red) took a little longer to sprout than I expected (more than 7 days), but once they broke through the soil, they took off! They are very leggy, but I can just plant them deeper when they get potted up.

The Pink and Red Brandywine’s I sowed last weekend, Sprouted on March 20. The Pink ones were a day earlier. Black Krim and Bonny Best are also sprouted. The Black Krim had some spotty germination, but I have 4 solid little seedlings out of the 6 that I sowed.

The Rainbow blend and Roma’s that I had potted up last week, are doing AMAZING. I am experimenting a little with using 1L containers that the coffee cream comes in, so my seedlings can have a very developed deep root system, but I’ll tell you more about that later in its very own post. Also… the Rainbow blend may not be just Brandywine tomatoes… Some have standard leaves and not potato leaves. Weird.

Needless to say I am very-much looking forward to my tomatoes this year!

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Tomato seedlings

PEPPERS

My Cayenne Peppers are doing amazing. They all look like little pepper plants now. I should have a great crop of peppers from them if I do everything right, since I have about 10 plants… AFTER thinning and downsizing to only the healthiest ones.

My Jalapenos are a little slower than the Cayenne, but still great. They were started a little after the Cayenne’s so they have that excuse. I have 4 still in the peat pellet starters and I will be potting them up this weekend.

And since I have minimal self control around a seed display, I have some heirloom Hungarian Wax hot peppers. I started 2x 3″ pots of these on March 20th. Since its been a little colder around the window because of the snow, I wont be too surprised if these take a little longer to germinate.

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Cayenne Peppers in 4″ pots

LEEKS

Amazing as ever! I may need to think about thinning them again soon… REALLY need to not sow the entire package of seeds next year.

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Leeks – almost need thinning again

STRAWBERRIES

Super slow. Not much new to report from last week. The few that have true leaves are getting stronger though. I will be sowing more of these in the Fall, so that they are stronger healthy plants by the time Spring comes around.

EGGPLANT

Did I tell you I found some Italian Eggplant? “Violetta Lunga di Napoli” is sprouting!

My Asian Eggplant “Ping Tung Long” has sprouted and is slowly moving along. I’m down to 4 of those rather than 6. Two of them couldn’t break out of their seed shell and were not looking good, so I put them out of their misery.

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“Violetta Lunga di Napoli” Eggplant sprouting

GROUND CHERRIES

These are working on their true leaves. I am looking forward to them. They are definitely not something you can find in the grocery store around here.

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Cayenne on Left x3
Ground Cherries on Right x6

SWEET POTATO

The sweet potato experiment from last year, is getting a do-over this year. I have a sprouting potato on my fridge, so I should get some good slips from it. The question will be whether I can keep them warm and happy enough to produce some potatoes.

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Sweet Potato producing slips

POTATOES

I waited too long to order my Pink Fir Apples. We went to place the order and they were sold out… So sad. Next year I won’t wait so long. Now the potato plan will probably just be regular varieties you can buy at the garden center. My Pink Fir Apple dreams will have to wait until next year I guess. I will console myself with more tomato plants.

ICEBERG LETTUCE

I had an old packet of Iceberg lettuce, and I thought I would challenge myself to try and get an actual head of lettuce from it. We’ll see how it goes. At the very least, I will end up with something green to eat. They have all sprouted. Soon, I’ll try and pinch out a few to grow on and hope for heads. The others I’ll just have as salad leaves.

Check back here tomorrow for the update on all my Herbs and Flowers.

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Left – “Ping Tung Long” Eggplant
Right – Jalapeno Peppers

 

 

March 15/2014 Garden Update

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By the looks of my windowsill currently, you wouldn’t guess that it has only been a week since I last updated you. It has been ever changing as I shuffle things around to place them in a more optimum place. It has even changed since I took that poor picture.

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New thermometer and leggy herbs

I “splurged” on a little digital thermometer to tell me the Max and Min. temps of the day, which can be indoor or outdoor. I was concerned about how cold it was close to the windows at night… and then how hot it was during the day with full sun shinning in. So far the lowest it has dipped (inside my house, right by the window) is 10C (and our furnace is set at a minimum of 18C… so if it goes below that it kicks on)… so at least 8 degrees different at night. On the hottest days so far this month, it has been 44C in the window. Huge range. I may go pick up another one of these thermometers for my little “greenhouse” shelving unit thing I have in my backyard. If it isn’t getting below 5C in there at night, I may start putting the hardier things out there and free up some precious windowsill space. (Also… by “splurge” I mean that the one I found was like $5)

I also added more wire shelves to gain as much room as possible in my little window. Now I just need to find some square seed trays and I would be a happy little penguin. The long trays just stick out a little too far for the higher shelves.

But without further ado, here is Part one of my update… (Part 2 will be tomorrow and will just cover the herbs and flowers)

TOMATOES:

I potted up the 4 earliest Rainbow Brandywine tomatoes that were starting their second set of true leaves… The next round will be potted up in a few days time… along with the Roma tomatoes. Just wanting them to put some more leaves on.

I sowed some Cherry Tomato Mix seeds (F1 Hybrids… Red-Ladybug; Yellow-Bumblebee; Orange-Monarch) So I’m kind of excited to see which ones I end up with (fingers crossed that I get at least one of each). They haven’t made their appearance, but they were only sown on March 12.

I sowed some more tomatoes this morning: Bonny Best, Black Krim, Brandywine Red and Brandywine Pink. I would also like to find a few more varieties, but if I don’t, I can wait until next year… I’m not even sure where I am going to put all of the ones that I am growing this year!

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PEPPERS

My Cayenne peppers are finally looking like plants and working on their true leaves! So excited!

My first sowing of Jalapenos went into 3″ peat pots today also. They weren’t quite ready, but I really needed the little tray they were in for new seeds, so they got bumped. The second sowing is still working on sprouting… so it will be a little bit before they are all ready.

Also, maybe next year, I will try and grow some sweet peppers too, instead of just spicy ones.

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Cayenne Peppers working on their true leaves

LEEKS

I lightly thinned them on the 12th. Note to self not to put the entire seed packet in next time. These are going to just hang out until its time to put them out.

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EGGPLANT

The Asian (Ping Tung Long) Eggplant I sowed on March 5 is just sprouting now.

I found some Italian Eggplant (Violetta Lunga di Napoli) seeds and sowed them today… So this little Eggplant section will be a little more exciting next time I update.

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Asian Eggplant sprouting

STRAWBERRIES

Some seeds are still sprouting, but others are working on their true leaves. This is a long process, but I can’t wait for these to be real plants.

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Tiny strawberries working on their true leaves

GROUND CHERRIES

I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but I broke down and got some Ground Cherry seeds. They have sprouted!

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“Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries” sprouting
(I’ll thin them once they get a little bigger)

ONIONS

I picked up some Annual Bunching Onions and thought I would give some of them a little head start. Then I thought I should try some of my own onion seed from the flower I had last year. Its all an experiment, but they are starting to sprout and it has only been a couple days!

I waited too long today to get a picture of the little onion shoots, and now the light is all gone. Maybe next update they will be less camera shy.

 

Tomorrow… Herb and Flowers update!

Last week’s update.

March 9/2014 Garden update

I am struggling with how I will update on the garden progress this year. Videos may be an option, once I get a new computer. I’m also considering updating in groups… all the peppers one day, all the tomatoes another day… But I’m not sure. Progress is so fast in some and so slow in others. I may just got back to doing “Follow Along Friday” until things go outside and it gets more complicated… For now I will just keep all my seed starting endeavors all grouped together, since that is all there is to talk about right now anyway.

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As of today, here is what is going on in my windowsill:

On March 5th, I planted 6 pellets each of Asian Eggplant, Jalapenos, Rainbow blend of Brandywine Tomatoes, Lavender, Roma Tomatoes, and Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries. Not much to report other than a few seeds have already broken through and are on their way to sprouting.

Earlier, on February 28th, I started 4 pellets of each: Jalapenos, Cayenne, Spearmint, and the Rainbow blend of Brandywine Tomatoes… The Cayenne and Jalapenos are slow, but are starting to sprout finally; there is a little movement in the Spearmint; But all the tomatoes have sprouted! I also started 9 pellets of violas. I just love their delicate little flowers, so I can hardly wait for them to sprout and go out in the front yard!

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Rainbow blend Brandywine Tomatoes

On February 15th, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and started planting… Sage, Flat-Leaf Parsley, Cayenne Peppers, Strawberries (should have been even earlier on these but I didn’t have the seeds yet), and Leeks.  The Sage and Parsley are almost ready to transplant. The parsley is working on its true leaves, and the sage is working on its second set of true leaves.

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“Patio Temptation” Strawberries have all sprouted

The Strawberries have all sprouted… They are SOOOOOOO tiny. And all but 1 of the 6 four inch pots i planted the cayenne peppers into has sprouted. Can you tell I am really excited about trying my hand at growing Cayenne this year?  Last but not least, the Leeks. They are amazing. I will need to thin them soon, but I just want to enjoy their full green-grassy-ness a little longer.

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The Leeks last Saturday (March 1)
The Leeks Today (March 9)
The Leeks Today (March 9)

And the Lemon Balm that I started back on New Years… is amazing. I pick leaves off the more vigorous plants whenever I get a chance. They just smell so incredible. I may start some more once I pot up the sage and parsley – I promised to give my mom some to help deter mosquitoes away from their deck.

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Lemon Balm

To top off all the great sprouting news… We are in the midst of a Chinook again! It was + 11C yesterday, and that is the forecast again for today. Maybe I can get the boyfriend to build me some cold frames so I can move things outside a little sooner.

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Sage

Varieties I mentioned in this post:

Eggplant – “Ping Tung Long”

Jalapeno Pepper – “Tam Jalapeno”

Roma Tomatoes: “Roma V.F.” (Heirloom)

Rainblow Blend Tomatoes: “varieties such as Black, Pink, Red and Yellow Brandywine” (Basically I wont know what kind until after it grows… but they are Heirloom seeds)

Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry “physalis pruinosa”

Cayenne “Long Red Slim” (Organic)

Spearmint (Heirloom); Lemon Balm (Heirloom); Lavender (Heirloom)

Strawberry “Patio Temptation”

Leeks “Monstrous Carentan”