Our 2023 garden: transplanting first tomatoes

Well… starting to!

It’s not even 11am as I start this, but I’ve already put in several hours in the garden, trying to beat the heat. Which wasn’t easy, since it was already feeling too hot when I was doing my rounds, first. The weather app was saying 18C/64F, but it felt hotter. It would be good to set up a thermometer in the garden area again.

My focus today is to get the Indigo Blue Chocolate done, and as many of the Black Beauty as I can fit, plus an edging of yellow onions. There are only 11 Indigo Blue and, at about a foot apart, they will easily fit in one row in the bed I chose for them. This bed is somewhat narrower, so it will be able to fit one more row, plus the onions around the edge.

The problem?

There are 26 Black Beauty transplants.

I also counted the Roma tomatoes as I set them out. There are 61, though the plant that broke in the wind yesterday is looking like it probably won’t make it.

Then there are the 30 Spoon tomatoes.

Right now, we have 2 more low raised beds, which are about 15ft long, for about 14ft of growing length. Then there is the high raised bed, which is 9′ x 4′ on the outside, so about 8′ x 3′ of growing space. Aside from a small section in the wattle weave bed in the old kitchen garden, and 4 blocks between the gourds at the chain link fence, that’s all we have left for prepared beds. The squash patch needs work and, of course, we need to get those trellis beds built.

Meanwhile, the lawn is getting out of control, we still need to cut down the dead spruce trees that will be used to make the trellis beds, as well as pre-cut and drag over the trees I cut down for the trellises.

As it is, I did as much as I could this morning, then had to head in to get out of the heat. We are at 24C/75F right now – yes, to me that’s way too hot already! – and we are supposed to reach 30C/86F this afternoon.

I got the Indigo Blue Chocolate tomatoes in, after setting up three of the salvaged T posts to hold their vertical supports, then transplanted some of the yellow onions along the outer edge. The tomatoes were starting to wilt already, so I added a grass clipping mulch around them and along the outer edge of the low raised bed on the one side, being careful not to cover the onions before giving them a final watering.

I was planning to plant the Black Beauty tomatoes on the other half, but I think I will put them in another bed, instead, and direct sow something else with them.

Unless I fill an entire bed with just Black Beauty tomatoes, I will have room for only about half of the transplants. And I don’t want to fill an entire bed with them. A dozen plants is more than enough for fresh eating. The Romas are the only variety that I’d be willing to dedicate an entire bed to, since those are being grown specifically for preserving.

Meanwhile, we’re still getting storm warnings for tomorrow evening. We’ll see if the system reaches us or not, but be ready to protect the garden beds, just in case.

For now, I will be staying out of the heat! Maybe get a nap in, since I will likely be working outside once it starts cooling down, and staying as long as daylight holds.

Yeah. That sounds like a good plan. I didn’t get much sleep last night!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: got a few small tasks done

I headed outside when things started to cool down and gave the garden beds another watering. I also snagged the trays of Spoon tomatoes and “potted them up”.

Which was just taking off the lower leaves and adding more soil to the cups. These were all so tiny when they were transplanted from the Jiffy pellets, the cups were barely half full of soil. Even now, a couple of them are so small, the cups still couldn’t be filled to the top. A few of the largest ones, however, actually seem to be showing the beginnings of blossoms!

We’ve got 30 of these, plus the Romas, and I still don’t know where they will be planted. It all depends on how much progress there is on the new trellis beds that still need to be built!

Next, I transplanted the lemongrass.

I treated the pot a bit like filling a raised bed; on the bottom, I put a layer of grass clippings, which got a good soak, then potting soil. The potting soil was really dry, so it took quite a bit more soaking to get it moist.

For the lemongrass, I decided to break them up and plant them individually, instead of in groups. That meant breaking up the biodegradable pots. These had been started in smaller, square, biodegradable cells of the same material, so when I potted them up, I just put the whole starter cell into the bigger pot.

For biodegradable pots, they sure don’t break up easy. They were still pretty rootbound in the original cells! So I pulled those pieces out, too. Considering how much handling the roots got, I really hope they survive!

Once transplanted and watered, I very carefully mulched with grass clippings. This pot is set up on the concrete landing of the stairs in front of the main doors. A good, warm microclimate for an herb that needs much warmer temperatures than what we usually grow here. It’s going to get pretty baked, though, so the clippings will help moderate the temperatures as well as protect the soil and transplants. Once the clippings were in place, I was going to give it one last watering.

The handle broke off the sprayer.


I bought is at part of a 2pc set, so I did have another nozzle I could use. I just don’t like it very much. It’s the kind where the spray is adjusted by turning the tip of the spray head. It doesn’t spray very well. Ah, well. Something else for the list of broken things to replace!

Then I finally!!! finished the cover over the shallots bed.

The ends are now closed off, so no cats can walk through and use the shallots as a bed!

As I was finishing this off, I could hear thunder that seemed to be coming closer, so my daughters and I quickly got the rest of the transplants inside. According to them, we did have smatterings of rain today, while I was in the city, and even had a very brief downpour last night! I never heard a thing. There sure wasn’t any sign of it when I watered the garden beds this morning.

Whatever system I was hearing this evening, it passed us by. A good rainfall really would have been nice! It got so very muggy out there!

Tomorrow is supposed to be another hot one, with no expectation of rain at all, so I plan to get an early start. The largest tomatoes need to be transplanted, but I want to put in the supports for the indeterminate Indigo Blue Chocolates first. The Black Beauties can be staked individually.

Which means an early bed time for me, and hopefully a good sleep!

The Re-Farmer


Well, the heat is really kicking in. Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, I checked the temperature, and we were at 20C/68F

That was somewhere around 3 – 3:30am

As I write this, it’s past1:30pm, and we’re already at 31C/88F. We are now above the 30 year record high for today, set back in 2015. I’ll still take that over the record low of -3C/27F! We’re getting heat warnings all over the place. Winds are high and we’re looking at possible thunderstorms this evening.

Pain levels were high for me this morning, so the girls took care of feeding the outside cats and setting the transplants out on the picnic table, under the old market tent and sheltered from most of the wind. Then my younger daughter did a fantastic job of cleaning up the branches from when I harvested trees for the permanent trellises we will be building. I just asked for the branches I tossed over the fence to the driveway side to be picked up, but she cleared away the big branch pile in the trees, too! Even sorted out longer pieces that we can potentially use, others suitable for the fire pit, and the rest went into the big branch pile we still have just outside the gate by the fire pit.

She was still working on it, when I finally made my way outside.

I started watering things, before it got too hot, and was able to mostly empty the rain barrel. If we do get some rain this evening, it won’t be enough to need to add the diverter to prevent it from overflowing.

While watering in the old kitchen garden, look what I found!

Our very first potato has broken ground!

This is one of the Irish Cobbler potatoes, which were the first ones planted.

I am very happy!

While watering further afield, I found the Crespo squash was very wimpy and made sure they got a super deep watering. These plants grow very big and, if they survive long enough, are supposed to produce very larger pumpkins, so they are going to need a lot of water. The nearby leaking rain barrel that I filled with a hose still had some water in it, so I was able to use that, while refilling it with the hose, at the same time, to water the raspberries, cranberries and sea buckthorn, too. I filled the barrel to almost half way, and hope to be able to see where the leak is. It may be more than one spot.

Things are looking quite lovely out there! The crab apple trees near the house are in full bloom, and the ones along the north side of spruce grove are almost there. The common lilacs and the double lilacs have sprays of buds that are starting to open. Of course, we have a sea of dandelions blooming and starting to go to seed, but the mowing will have to wait.

There are a few outside jobs that I want to work on, but will have to work around the weather conditions. Thankfully, the days are getting long enough that, if I time it right, I can get some good productive hours in the early morning and the evening. I’m not good with mornings, though! So far, at least, the house is not over heating, but we’re going to have to set up the screen “door” at the top of the old basement stairs, so we can leave the real door open to help cool the house down.

Here’s hoping all this heat and, if the long term forecast for June is at all accurate, rain will mean a healthy garden and a good harvest!

The Re-Farmer

It all comes down to the weather

Well, my plans for the day changed again.

We’ve got high winds today, with an expected high of 29C/84F. I wanted to get the transplants out, though.

With the wind direction, I was able to use the picnic table under the old market tent by the fire pit. They won’t get full sun, but with the expected heat, that’s quite all right. They will still get some wind, which is good for them, but not enough to send them flying across the yard.

The next while is expected to continue with high temperatures, with high winds and a possible thunderstorm tomorrow, though only one of my weather apps is predicting that. Overnight temperatures are also expected to be quite warm.

I decided today was a day to do some direct sowing, while also raking up some of the grass clippings to lay down some much needed mulch. If we’re going to be getting thunderstorms, I want the soil protected as much as possible. If we don’t get the thunderstorms, I want the soil well mulched to keep it moist, and from getting too hot!

I set up the extra phone to take time lapse video, so that will be put together for another post. With the peas, I planted the free Hedou Tiny bok choy from Bakers Creek and Jebousek lettuce I got for free from Heritage Harvest. As the peas grow up the chain link fence, they will shade and shelter the lettuce and bok choy. Then I prepped and planted the Tom Thumb popcorn.

I don’t know if I’ll have the energy to get back out there again today, but I’d really like to transplant the Black Beauty and Indigo Blue Chocolate tomatoes. They are getting quite large, and I’d rather transplant them than pot them up again. That and it would mean a fewer trays to take in and out every day! As it is, there were some Spoon tomatoes that didn’t make it, and removing the pots meant I could combine 3 trays into 2, with some judicious rearranging. When I transplant the bigger tomatoes, I want to transplant some of the onions in with them, too. The Black Beauty tomatoes are determinate, but the Indigo Blue Chocolate are indeterminate, so I need to consider the different types of support they will need. I also need to resist transplanting all of them, if I start running out of space. We had very good germination rates and few losses, and it’s the paste tomatoes that I want to have a lot of. I can always give away the extras! It’s the same for the remaining peppers. We have a 100% germination rate on all but one variety, and of that one variety, there’s only one peat pellet didn’t germinate – and I only planted one seed per pellet!

With the way things are looking, we may have to start doing outside work in the morning and late evening. The hottest part of the day tends to be around 3pm, but stays hot until about 6 or 7.

In my youth, I wasn’t bothered by the heat the way I am now. Makes it harder to get things done!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: doing what we can

Today has been a nice, cool day, but very windy, with smatterings of rain. So windy, we didn’t dare set the transplants outside. They’re hardened off by now, so they should be fine. I just don’t want to have tomatoes blown half way across the yard!

So we did what we could, and the wind actually helped by keeping us mosquito free. I even had both daughters able to come help me at the same time! My older daughter normally sleeps during the day, but she couldn’t sleep. A night working on the computer left her more than happy to do physical labour outside, no matter how tired she was!

Thanks to the extra help, we got all three beds done in short order!

That black plastic had been on the bed in the foreground for a week or two, but the weeds underneath were too established to be killed off in that length of time. I moved it to the first bed that was complete – only one end is uncovered, because we found a couple of onions while weeding it, and they got transplanted at the end near the grow bags.

I just realized something. I think I forgot my gloves on the high raised bed, after taking this picture. 😆

The bed in the foreground was easily the worst for weeds, but all of these beds are so much better than when we first started gardening in this area! Every year is a little bit better. Once we’ve got the high raised beds set up, we’ll be sure to set aside the soil we’ve been working so hard on, and using it to top up the high beds.

That won’t happen until the fall, though. Until then, we’ll be collecting the materials and getting them ready, so that once things are harvested, we’ll be able to get right at it.

The next priority is to build the new beds and trellis tunnel – though if we just build beds with trellises, and turn them into tunnels later, that will be a good start! These will be permanent trellises, so I don’t mind taking extra time to make sure they are solidly built, but also, we need something to plant in. We have so many transplants and seeds, but not enough prepared beds for them.

In other things, I got a response to my email to the vet about Judgement. They don’t do “walk ins”, but if we can catch him and call them, they will find a way to get an available vet to see him. So, of course, there’s no sign of Judgement, today! *sigh* With not being able to put any weight on that foot, he is very vulnerable right now.

Hopefully, he will come home again, soon!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: taking a chance with transplants!

I really hope I didn’t screw up by transplanting these so early. They all need really long growing seasons, though. It was either transplant them, or pot them up, and I really didn’t think they’d benefit from being potted up.

So here it is: today’s transplanting of Zucca melon, African Drum gourd, Caveman’s Club gourd and Crespo squash.

I actually thought I had two Zucca melons to transplant, but when I looked at the label, I saw that the smaller one was a drum gourd. It’s a good thing I labeled them or I would have been in for one heck of a surprise at the end of the growing season.

Assuming these survive getting transplanted. Also, assuming they don’t get eaten by something along the way!

The Re-Farmer

A garden preview, and kitty video

Much of today has been a total waste. I got almost no sleep last night, and it was basically all because of the cats! First, there was the constant stream of cats wanting in and out. I swear, even the cats that are outside the door have a sense of when I’m finally lying down and comfortable in bed, because that’s when they start scratching at the door again! As the ladies have been able to tolerate more of the other cats, that means more scratching at the door to be let in or out.

All that, because we’ve got two cats that always go after Nosencrantz, forcing me to keep the door closed to keep them out!

The other cause of interruption was Nosencrantz.

I have one small window I can open – a window with a deep sill the cats like to sit on. The screens on all the new windows are high quality, but the cats have still managed to damage all of them. With mine, I tried to have most of it blocked off with a window fan, a salvaged metal mesh window screen and a hunk of Styrofoam insulation, to protect the screen, but even when the fan was put away for the winter and the window kept closed, the screen would get clawed at. I finally removed it completely – then had to hide it behind the metal mesh screen – because Nozencratnz still wanted claw at it!

We ended up getting what is supposed to be cat proof window screen, and have replaced the screens on several windows, mine included.

Yes. It’s supposed to be cat proof. However, I don’t think even cat proof window screen can withstand a cat sitting up on its hind end and going at it with both front paws! Even if the screen managed to survive the attack without getting holes, chances are it would get yanked right out of the frame, eventually.

That’s what I was trying to stop all night. Nosencrantz is fixated on clawing on that screen! I even jammed the salvaged screen in front of it. It’s narrower than the window, and Nosencrantz would just reach around the metal mesh screen, to claw at the window’s screen! There aren’t even any bugs or blown in fluff that she’s after. She’s just after the screen!

So that was another thing that had me getting up repeatedly. Oh, and also the sound of cats using the carpet as a scratching post, instead of the scratching post… 😕

I’ve now stolen my husband’s box fan, which fills the window almost completely. I just had to stick some cardboard between the wall and a shelf to cover a gap on one side. Hopefully, at least that problem is solved.

The whole thing left me feeling awful by morning. A sleep repeatedly interrupted is far worse than simply being up all night. It’s not even feeling physically sleepy that’s the problem, though I was so physically tired, I felt ill. It’s the affect on mental acuity that really knocks me out.

The girls took care of feeding the outside cats and taking the transplants out so I could sleep in, but I still found myself constantly awakened and having to open and close my door. I finally gave up and tried to leave it open, cat fight or no, only to have the breeze from my open window slam it shut, over and over!

Yeah. I was pretty miserable this morning, and finally gave up.

The afternoon, at least, was better after indulging in my last energy drink. 🙄 I finally went outside to see how much work I could manage to get done.

Which turned out to be far more than I expected.

I took a significant risk today.

I did some transplanting of squash and gourds!

Normally, these would not go in until about the middle of June, but some of them were getting quite large. I didn’t want to keep potting them up, and they were getting so big that taking them in and out of the sun room to harden off was damaging them.

I took photos of the progress and will put together a small video later, but here is a preview.

Four of the transplants were climbers, so I cleaned up the blocks and transplanted them here. Because they all can potentially get quite large, I put them in every other block. In the foreground is the Zucca melon. I put it there so it has room to expand away from the others.

I thought the next one was also a Zucca melon, but when I took out the label, it said African Drum gourd. We have extra, much smaller, seedlings of both. The next two are the Caveman’s Club gourds.

All of them are long enough that I was able to get their tendrils wrapped around the chain link fence and start training them up it or, with the Zucca melon, away down the side. These all are supposed to have fairly large fruit, though with the Caveman’s Club, they are more about length than girth. If any of these reach the point of developing fruit, we’ll figure out how best to support them.

The next thing that had to go in were the Crespo squash.

Then went into the bed we had a hulless pumpkin variety in last year, near the old squash/bean tunnel. This will likely be the last year we use this spot for gardening, and hopefully we’ll be able to plant something for our food forest here, next year. We shall see.

The Crespo squash plants can get really huge, which is part of the reason they went in this far away bed. The old rain barrel I filled yesterday is nearby – but it was only about a quarter full when I got to it today! I couldn’t see if it developed a new crack, or if the seal on one of the old ones gave out.

We really need more rain barrles.

I’m quite glad I found that one last hose in the old garden shed, so I could give this area a thorough watering. I’ll have to keep that up for at least a few days to make sure it’s damp through the new mulch, all the way down through the layers we put here, least year.

I’m reeeeaaallllyyy hoping I didn’t jump the gun by transplanting these so early. There is no sign of frost in the long range forecasts. In fact, June is looking like it’s going to be quite hot, and rainy. If, however, we do find ourselves with a frost warning, I think we’d be able to add covers to protect things fairly well.

After I was done and putting things away, I fed the outside cats for the evening (and chased away a couple of skunks eating their kibble!). Judgement is still limping, and the foot seems to be bothering him more. He still won’t let me look at it, so I tried seeing if I could sneak a look through my phone’s camera.

It didn’t really work, but I did get this video!

I did not get a response to my email to the vet, asking about being able to bring him in as we are able to catch him, without an appointment. I’ll have to remember to phone them, tomorrow.

So I did get at least something useful done today. If the weather holds, this early planting will make a big positive difference for things like the drum gourds and Zucca melon.

I’m not sure what I will plant in the empty blocks. Ideally, it would be some other climber, but since I expect the fence to eventually get completely engulfed by what just got planted, perhaps it would be better to choose a shade loving plant, instead. We’ll see.

I’m just happy to have gotten at least a bit of productivity in today!

The Re-Farmer

This and that

I can’t say today was a very productive day in the usual sense, but I’ll talk more about that later.

I was able to get a picture of Decimous this evening.

I had to zoom in, because he still won’t let us come near him. His fur is so matted! I can see some bald looking spots, which would explain the tufts of white and black fur I’ve been seeing around the yard.

Judgement has us concerned. My daughter saw him a couple days ago and he was limping again, but when we saw him last night, he was fine. This morning, he was limping again! As friendly as he is, he does not like to be handled or picked up, so we’ve been having a very hard time getting a look at his paw. It took three of us before we could finally catch a quick glimpse of the problem. There’s something wrong with one of his toes, at the claw. There is no blood or even visible swelling, but it’s messed up somehow and obviously hurting him.

Getting him to a vet would be a challenge. He now tends to disappear for a day or two, so we don’t know when we’d be able to catch him. We can’t isolate him in the sun room – even if we weren’t using it as a greenhouse, it gets too hot in there now – and with the ladies refusing to leave my room, we no longer have a place in the house we could isolate him in. Which means we can’t make an appointment, since we have no idea if we’d be able to keep one.

I ended up sending an email to the vet, explaining the situation, and asking if we could bring him in on a “walk in” sort of basis. Basically, if we can get him in the carrier, we’d take him in right away, phoning ahead to let them know, and hope that he doesn’t injure himself more, trying to get out of the carrier. I have not yet had an answer. We’ll see how that pans out.

As for today, I went into town to take part in a Freedom Rally, in response to the many things our Prime Dictator and his cohorts have been doing. It actually started in the city and people came in a parade of vehicles to the beach in town, where activities and speeches commences. There was a good turn out, and even people who just happened to be at the beach, enjoying the weekend, showed an interest.

Town and the beach were quite busy for this first day of our long weekend. The lake is ice free now – at least at our end of it – but no one was going into the water, that’s for sure! At home, we were at 27C/81F at the time, with town reading at 25C/77F. The weather station, however, is just outside of town, not near the lake. I’d say we were closer to 22 or 23C/72 or 73F so close to the ice cold water.

Knowing it was busy, I headed into town early to have “breakfast” before the lunch crowd started. I was going to go to a particular fish and chips place – one of the few restaurants on that strip that stays open all year – but they were closed. During the winter, they’d had a break in, and the door is still boarded up. It looks like they are closed permanently! Such a shame, if the are. I don’t particularly like fish, but they have a fish and chips dinner I actually crave at times.

There was another place nearby that is now open for the summer, so I went there. While waiting for my food, I went into the bathroom, where I found this sign.

I love it! So much detail on the plugged toilet and the plunger, but the dude is just a stick man – yet even the stick man has such lively little details on the face. Adding the (me) after “sad employee” is perfect.

It does make me wonder about the need for such a sign, though. Nothing that would surprise me, though. I’ve worked housekeeping at a resort hotel. I’ve seen how nasty people can be!

I also had time to check out a shop I haven’t been to in years. I was looking for something specific, and I found one! Just one…

This isn’t it. I bought this frog the last time I was in that shop. My younger daughter admires it, so when I found one, I got it for her. It is identical to this one.

She was very happy to receive it! I’d considered saving it as a birthday gift, but her birthday is still a month away, so I just gave it to her now. 😊

After spending too much time outdoors in the sun, even with the cooling effect of the lake nearby, once I got home I stayed in the relatively cool indoors for awhile. When I headed out to do my evening rounds, I did quite a bit of watering. I took the floating row cover off the spinach bed. It was getting torn up, and tore up even more as I took it off! The spinach is still quite small. With the heat we’ve been having, they could really use some shade. I am seeing more carrot sprouts, which is good. I still don’t know that the bed will end up full of carrots, but if what I’m can see so far survives, we’ll have a pretty full bed.

I’m seeing a very few more purple asparagus showing up. This is their third year, but last year’s flooding right around them easily set them back. In fact, I think we may have lost two crowns. The strawberries, however, are doing well, and a couple are even starting to bloom!

The peas are coming up quite nicely. It looks like almost all of them have germinated. Still no sign of poppies, though. The peppers and thyme that were transplanted last night are still alive. 😄 The bed with the Montana Morado corn is doing okay, but something has gotten in and spread some of the thick grass clipping mulch around the edges, so I had to put that back.

I dug our last garden hose out of the shed and set up the old rain barrel near the new raspberry plants. They got a deep watering while I set up, and then I used a watering can to do the sea buckthorn and the highbush cranberry, while filling the barrel. I didn’t water the silver buffalo berry as there are just too many of them, and I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes!

So things are looking good. I was quite sore after reworking the bed the corn was planted in last night, so I made sure to take it easy today. I didn’t want to overdo it and render myself useless for several days. There is still much work to get done, before it’s time to put in our transplants and do more direct sowing!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: corn, peppers and thyme

I had to go to the nearest Walmart to get cat kibble this morning, and took advantage of the trip to get a few more little things. It was insanely busy with people. We’re coming up on a long weekend which, for many people, is the traditional time to put in their gardens. It’s also when a lot of people open up their cottages for the summer, so it was busy everywhere! All the garden centres and greenhouses are open now.

For us, today is 2 weeks to our last frost date. That means it’s time to sow our Montana Morado corn!

Which, of course, is never as simple as just putting things in the ground!

I chose to plant these in the low raised bed we grew summer squash in, last year. As with just about everything else, the squash did very poorly last year. It was, however, the bed that needed the least amount of work done on it before I could sow.

Not by much, mind you.

After removing the grass mulch from last year, I had a whole lot of weeds to dig out. Mostly crab grass. That stuff is brutal!

The entire bed got worked over with a garden fork to loosen the soil. Then I had to go back over it to pull out as many weeds and roots as I could. Aside from using the fork to loosen the soil even more to get the roots and rhizomes out, it was very handy to support myself as I worked. I also used a board across the bed to step on, so I wasn’t stepping directly on the soil.

We really need to get more high raised beds built. This was very hard on the back. I suppose it would have been easier if I could kneel down to work, but my knees are shot, so I’m bending from the waist, for the most part.

While working towards the north end of the bed, I started finding more tree roots, from the nearby trees that my mother allowed to grow in what used to be garden space.

More reason to get those high raised beds done!

When the weeding was done, I went to get the seeds and a rake to level the bed. I brought a container to pour the seeds into and see how many there were. There was supposed to be at least 75 seeds.

I counted 94!

Once the bed was leveled, I took the board I had to support my foot while weeding, and used it to mark off three long rows. I wanted to stay well away from the edges. The crab grass is the worst along there, as the roots make their way under the log edging. Then I used the handle end of the rake to punch holes along the rows every 6 inches or so. Typically, it’s recommended to plant 2 or 3 seeds every 12 inches, but I’m doing dense block planting. I also hate wasting seed, so I planted one seed every 6 or so inches. This should be good for pollinating, and if some of the seeds don’t germinate, the resulting gaps won’t be too large.

I lost a seed while planting, though, so there’s “only” 93 in. 😄

Everything was well watered, of course. I always water before putting the seeds in, then again once they’re done.

Once planted, I put a thick layer of grass clippings all around the edges. The ends don’t have logs to hold the soil in, so hopefully the grass clippings will help keep it in place, too. Mostly, it’s to try and keep the weeds from creeping in from the edges. Once that was done, I put a very light mulch of grass clippings over the planted area. Basically, I just shook bunches of grass and let the wind blow it on. I wanted enough clippings to protect the soil, but still keep it light enough that the corn won’t have any problem pushing through.

Once the corn is up, I will might interplant some bush beans in between the rows. Maybe. I did that with the kulli corn we planted last year, and they got huge, but never reached the point of producing cobs. I now think that there was too much nitrogen in the soil in that bed. High nitrogen leads to lots of plant growth, but can result in lower yield. Or, in our case, none at all. With how densely these are planted, though, interplanting with something like beans might be too much.

Once that was done, I decided to take a chance and do some transplanting.

The Sweet Chocolate peppers that were started back in February have gotten nice and big. Normally, I wouldn’t dare transplant them before our last frost date, but I’ve been eyeballing the forecasts and decided to take the chance. It was either plant them now, or pot them up. The German Winter thyme that was started at the same time were also quite ready to be planted.

While I was transplanting, I got my daughter to cut the tops and bottoms off of some distilled water jugs for me. Since my husband needs to use distilled water for his CPAP humidifier, we have lots of those! Hopefully, they will help protect the peppers during any cool nights. In this bed, they will be easy to use row covers if we get frost warnings, too.

I had three pots with thyme to transplant – a fourth one was transplanted into a pot to stay in the house. I don’t think they’ll need any protective covers unless we get actual frost.

Eventually, I want to plant the chamomile in here, though it’ll be a while before those are big enough to do that. The spearmint and oregano we started from seed are not doing well. I might buy oregano transplants, which would also go into this bed. Spearmint is not something I usually see in stores as transplants, so we might skip those this year and try again next year. The second variety of thyme we planted at the same time as the chamomile doesn’t seem to be doing as well as the German Winter thyme has. We’ll see how they do over the next couple of weeks.

Once again, while working in this bed, I was quite impressed by how moist the soil was under the wood chips. The mulch is really doing its job!

Oh, there was one thing about transplanting the peppers that has made for a learning experience.

We started the seeds in bio-gradable pots that are designed so that they can be transplanted directly into the soil, pot and all, with no root disturbance. When the peppers needed to be potted up, they went into the larger Red Solo cups that way – except for a couple that were thinned by transplanting.

When taking the peppers out of the cups, the ones that were still in those bio-degradable pots… were still in the bio-degradable pots! They were actually rootbound inside a pot within a pot. So when I transplanted them, I removed the shells of pots they were in. The pots were very soft and easy to break off, but hardly any roots had tried to grow into them.

I still have some of these pots and seed start trays. I’ll use them but, in the future, I think we’ll skip buying those. A bio-degradable pot isn’t much use if the roots can’t get through them after being potted up!

So this is now done. The first corn is planted, and the first peppers and herbs are transplanted.

The corn is meant to be planted at this time. I just hope I didn’t jump the gun with those peppers!

The Re-Farmer

First bloom!

Well, I did NOT finish off the cover for shallots I started yesterday. I did, however, get quite a bit accomplished. That, however, is for another post. For now, I’d like to share this…

Our very first tulips are blooming! When my older daughter and I checked on them this morning, these were still buds, but just starting to show colour. By evening, they were like this. 😊

The grape hyacinths in the maple grove have also exploded into bloom. Every time I try to get a picture of one, though, my phone keeps focusing on anything else but the spike of flowers right in front of it! 😄 My daughter daffodils that bloomed last year are coming up in lovely bunches right now. We’ve also found the leaves of some of her irises that barely made a showing last year. She’s absolutely thrilled, as she was sure they had died. Even the raspberries we got her for her birthday a couple of years ago are showing the tiniest of leaves. I thought they finally died last year, too. We managed to protect them from the deer, but couldn’t protect them from the horrible, no good growing year. The raspberries we planted this year are leafing out nicely right now, and even the newly transplanted apple tree has leaves unfurling. The mulberry, which are still in the house, have tiny leaves on them, too. The two surviving sea buckthorn have lots of leaves on them, as so the silver buffalo berry. The highbush cranberry are also showing leaves, though the one the deer got twice is a bit behind.

Near the tulips, the plum trees that didn’t get cut away are in full bloom. I love trees that bloom before their leaves come out! They will, eventually, need to be taken down, but I would rather not do that until we have something to replace them with. Like an edible variety of plum. For now, they are one of the few things in full bloom that the pollinators can enjoy.

We are most definitely well into spring out here in the Great White North!

The Re-Farmer