Our 2022 garden: harvesting squash and corn

Well, the last of the stuff that needed to come in before tonight is done – at least as much as possible. The girls and I put bottles with warm water under the eggplants in the grow bag (the only ones fruiting) and, since they were right there, with the sweet potatoes, too. The eggplant and one grow bag with sweet potato got covered, but the sheet wasn’t big enough to cover the other two grow bags. The apple gourd also got bottles of warm water placed beside them, but we could only cover two of the three plants, so we covered the two biggest ones. As I write this, we are down to 9C/48F, and it’s supposed to keep dropping until we reach 1C/34F at about 7am. Between 6 – 8 am tends to consistently be the coldest time of day.

While I was harvesting earlier, I went ahead and grabbed a bunch of the Latte sweet corn, too. I don’t think they are quite at their peak, but I think they’re about as good as we’re going to get. There are still cobs on the stalks that were pretty small, so I left them be.

With the summer squash, I grabbed all the little – but not too little – patty pans, and the last of the zucchini.

In the above photo, the six pumpkins across the top are the Baby Pam pumpkins. The others are all hulless seed pumpkins. On the far left are four Styrian, in the middle are six Lady Godiva, and on the right are two Kakai. Tucked in with the patty pans are two Boston Marrow. There are so many little Boston Marrow squash forming, but they are just too small and have no chance of ripening after being picked. I’m not even sure Boston Marrow does continue to ripen after being picked!

The pumpkins are now all set up in the sun room. We cleared a shelf in the window, and all but one of them fit in there. The last one joined the onions on the screen. I think it should still get enough light there.

The hulless seed pumpkins are grown just for their seed, not their flesh. The flesh is probably edible, but there would be less of it than for an eating pumpkin. I will give them time before we crack any open to see what the seeds are like. At least we do have the one tiny, fully ripe kakai pumpkin harvested earlier that we could try any time we feel like it.

We planted so many different winter squash, and it was such a horrible year, I’m thankful we have as much as we do. Hopefully, next year, we will have better growing conditions. I made the mistake of calling my mother before I started this post, and talking about our garden. I mentioned that our beets did not do well this year. She started lecturing me on how to grow beets, and how they need to have the soil loosened around them, etc. I told her I knew how to grow beets (this is not our first year growing them!); they just didn’t do well this year. We didn’t even get greens worth eating. My mother then launched into how she always had such big beets, and always had such a wonderful garden (this after she’d mentioned to be before, that some years things just didn’t work) and how she only grew the “basics” and everything was just so wonderful – and the reason my beets failed was because I don’t garden like she did, and that I shouldn’t be gardening “from a book”. Whatever that means. I reminded her that I tested the soil and it is depleted. We don’t have good soil here anymore. She got sarcastic about that, and basically made it like my not having a perfect garden like she did was because I’m not doing things her way. As she got increasingly cruel about it, I called her out on it. I told her that just because she can’t understand something like soil science – which she doesn’t need to – that didn’t make it okay for her to be cruel to me over something she knows nothing about. Nor would I put up with being treated like that. I even asked her, why couldn’t she try being kind for a change? Maybe say something like “I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems”, instead of basically saying “I’m better than you.” She went dead silent, so I changed the subject, and the rest of the conversation went okay. Then she cut the call short because she saw the time, and her program on TV was started, so she had to go.

My mother is pretty open on what her priorities are. 😕

Ah, well. It is what it is. I’m just so thankful she is no longer our “landlord”, and that my brother now owns the property. There was a point, before the title was transferred, that we briefly but seriously considered moving out because of her.

Funny how something as ordinary as gardening can bring out the worst in her, though.

The weird thing is, when I spoke to my brother after he’d visited her to talk about the roofing estimates, apparently my mother had lots of positive things to say about how well we’re taking care of things here.

I guess that doesn’t include the garden! 😄

Well, I guess I should go see what I can do about that corn! 😊

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: deer damage and harvested squash

When doing my rounds, one of the things I’ve been making sure to check is for damage to the berry bushes we plants. Especially that one highbush cranberry that has been eaten, twice. Putting the old saw horse over it seems to be helping, and there are even the tiniest of green leaves appearing again. We’ve had a pretty constant and gentle rain since yesterday evening, so that is sure to be helping as well.

This morning, I found this.

Overnight, the self-seeded sunflowers had almost all their leaves eaten. The green beans also had a lot of their leaves eaten, along the length of about half the trellis. The pods got left, though. We have stopped harvesting the beans, though we could probably still be picking the green ones. They are still blooming and producing new pods, though in much reduced quantities.

Two of the self seeded (well… bird seeded…) sunflowers by the sweet corn also got et. There is no new damage to the corn, though. It doesn’t look like the deer went into the bed. Just munched the sunflowers at the edge.

I’m not sure if this is deer damage, or some small critter. One of the sweet potato bags got torn apart more, and the grass mulch turned over, which isn’t too unexpected. The bottle waterer in the black grow bag being knocked out is a bit of a surprise. Nothing else in that bag was disturbed.

Happily, the eggplants were completely undisturbed. I put everything back, including the mulch, and in the process found that the sweet potato vine that got pulled aside seemed undamaged, too.

I checked everything else closely, and nothing else seems damaged. I did, however, decide it was time to harvest the ripe squash and pumpkins, just in case. Except the giant pumpkins. We could harvest both of those, but I’ll come by with the wagon to carry them to the house, another time.

There is the one Kakai hulless pumpkin and three Baby Pam pumpkins. Both have more green ones on the vines that I hope will get time to ripen fully. I also harvested seven Red Kuri squash, leaving one to ripen a bit longer on the vine. These are all now set up in the kitchen to cure.

With all the other squash I looked at, I’m rather impressed with the Boston Marrow. We will still likely get only two that can be harvested – one of which is starting to turn colour – but I’m seeing a surprising number of little ones developing, plus more female flowers. It looks like they would have been very prolific, had we not had such a terrible spring. Definitely something to try again next year.

The Baby Pam pumpkins are supposed to be an excellent pie pumpkin, but with just these three little ones, there isn’t enough to make one! We’ll find some other way to enjoy them. I do look forward to trying the seeds in that Kakai pumpkin. We already know we like the Red Kuri squash, and I promised one of those to my mother. I think next year, we should plant more of them.

I’m thankful that we at least have these to harvest. We planted so many more that just didn’t make it. Hopefully, we’ll have better growing conditions next year!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 Garden: morning growth, and what a harvest!

I was able to do some harvesting this morning, while checking on the garden.

This is a beautiful Ozark Nest Egg gourd! From what I can see so far, we’ll have about 4 of them, plus there was a female flower I found that I hand pollinated.

I was able to hand pollinate quite a few summer squash, too. I did see bees out and about, but while the male flowers were open, the female flowers had already closed.

This tiny Baby Pam pumpkin is the most ripe of them all – plus there was another female flower that I could hand pollinate, too.

The smaller of the two giant pumpkins had a growth spurt. It also has developed a wonky shape!

I was very happy with this morning’s harvest

We are still getting yellow bush beans. The purple beans are getting very prolific, and the green pole beans are kicking in, too. (The green bush beans under the sweet corn are starting to show tiny pods, too.) We actually have enough beans that we could probably can some pin sized jars. I’d love to do some pickled beans!

Speaking of pickles, we even have enough cucumbers altogether to do some pickles, too – also in pint sized jars.

There are just a few peas ripe enough to pick, but more are growing. I thinned out more of the carrots, and grabbed a couple of small onions for today’s use. I found a whole three ground cherries that were ripe enough, they fell off their plants.

We also have our first picking of sunburst pattypan squash. I normally would not have picked them this small, but they don’t seem to be getting any bigger, before they start withering away. Hopefully, picking these will encourage more growth, and the hand pollinating I was able to do will help, too.

My daughters have been doing the processing at night, when things are cooler. They should be able to do the pickling, if we have all the ingredients we need. My recipe book for small batch canning seems to have disappeared, though, so I can’t double check to see if we are missing ingredients. I have other recipes, though, and of course we can look online.

I’m just excited to finally have quantities sufficient to even think of canning instead of freezing.

The Re-Farmer

2022 garden: morning in the garden

Just a little big of progress in the garden.

The sour cherry tree by the house has lots of ripe berries, ready to be picked. I’ll have to get the girls to do it, though. A ladder will be needed to reach the ripest ones at the top. This is the most cherries we’ve had since moving here.

We got a pretty decent amount of yellow bush beans this morning. Not enough to make it worth blanching and freezing, never mind canning, but enough for a couple of meals this time.

The purple pole beans are getting more pods, though they are still very thin. I saw the first of the green pole bean pods this morning – tiny wisps of pods! Still no sign of pods, or even flowers, on the red pole beans, while the shelling beans still have lots of flowers, but no pods that I can see.

We should be able to harvest the garlic from this bed pretty soon.

One of the Baby Pam pumpkins is starting to turn colour. This variety doesn’t get much bigger than this. From the looks of it, these are going to be the only winter squash we get out of this patch, other than maybe one kakai hulless seed pumpkin. Even the Teddy squash, which are a very small variety with only 55 days needed to maturity, will likely not get a chance to produce anything. The green zucchini still isn’t producing; they did have female flowers, but no male flowers bloomed at the same time to pollinate them. We do have some golden zucchini developing, though, and some Magda squash I should be able to pick in a few days. Maybe even a yellow pattypan squash or two.

The paste tomatoes, at least, are coming along nicely, with more of them starting to blush.

I was able to harvest more green onions from the high raised bed. Most of these will be dehydrated, and there are lots more I can harvest.

The handful of pea pods are almost all from the second planting. The first planting is, amazingly, still blooming!

Most of the onions seem to be growing well. Some of the red onions have very different shapes, and they are starting to be noticeable. I’m thinking of picking one or two for fresh eating, just to see how they taste.

The one surviving type of turnips are finally starting to have visible “shoulders”. We might actually be able to pick some, soon.

I don’t know what to make of the potatoes. They’re done blooming and we should be able to harvest young potatoes now, but I want to leave them as long as I can. The plants themselves are nowhere near as large as potato plants normally get. There was so much water in that area, I’m sure it stunted the growth of the ones that survived. I still might dig one plant up, of each variety, just to see what there is to see. Will the lack of foliage translate into a lack of potatoes, too? I was really hoping to have a good amount of potatoes to store for the winter. It certainly wouldn’t be enough to last the entire winter for the 4 of us, but it will help us decide if these are varieties we will get again or not.

Every time I’m in the garden, I’m thinking of next year’s garden. One thing is for sure. It is nowhere near big enough to meet our goal of providing sufficient amounts of food to last us until there is fresh produce again. We planted so much, with the expectation of losses, but this year the losses are just too great. Which has really surprised me. I did not expect to get less productivity this year, compared to last year’s drought. Mind you, during the drought, we were watering the garden beds every day, twice a day. This year… well, adding water is easy. Keeping water out is not. Still, even if everything had gone well, we would still probably need double the garden size to meet our long term goal. Short term is to have enough to supply our needs for at least 3 months – the hardest winter months, when we might find ourselves snowed in or the vehicles frozen.

Every year we garden, we figure things out a bit more, from what weather extremes we need to work around, to how much of anything we need to grow, to what we like enough to grow year after year. More me, half the enjoyment of gardening is analysing the results and using that information to make decisions for the next year!

That’s one good thing about having hard gardening years. You do learn more from it, than from years were everything goes smoothly.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: new growth, weeding progress and sad harvest

While checking on the garden (and putting back cardboard mulch that was blown around), I spotted some new growth.

This is an apple gourd! I’m hoping it was pollinated and will continue growing. It looks like 3 of the 4 apple gourd plants are going to be productive, but this one is definitely the largest and strongest. The fourth one remains barely visible!

We have two more Baby Pam pumpkins developing! I hand pollinated these ones myself, just in case, and it seems to have taken. That makes a total of 3 of these pumpkins trying to grow. As these are a small, short season variety, we might actually have ripe pumpkins to harvest this fall.

The kulli corn is getting nice and tall! It’s time to take the net off and see if we can wrap it around the side, leaving the top open, for the corn to reach its full height.

Those bean plants are huge! This bed was made with trench composting, and it seems to have made a difference.

Rearranging the net will give a chance for some weeding, too, but it doesn’t look like this bed is having weed problems! 😄

The nearby ground cherries are getting very robust!

This is what ground cherry flowers look like. 🙂 I’ve finding quite a few flowers, and developing fruit. I’m looking forward to these!

I was finally able to settle in and weed this overground bed. The netting around it may keep the groundhogs away from the carrots, but it prevents casual weeding, too.

Unfortunately, I did end up accidentally pulling a couple of purple carrots in the process. It’s really hard to pull up crab grass next to carrot greens!

There aren’t a lot of the one type of turnip, but at least there’s something. The Gold Ball turnip are simply gone. They were the first to germinate, and disappeared almost immediately. I’d hoped that, while weeding, I might find some survivors, but there’s nothing. I don’t know what ate them, any more than I know what is leaving so many holes in the other turnips. We planted 3 types of turnips, but only one has survived – so far.

I did manage to have a sad little harvest this morning. A handful of the shelling peas, and a few raspberries.

Which is better than no harvest at all!

While at my mother’s, yesterday, we went looking at the garden plots outside her apartment. She has one little corner with some low maintenance plants in it, but some of her neighbours have better mobility and are growing a remarkable amount of vegetables in those little plots. One person has peas. They are pretty much twice the size of our own peas even though, from the stage of the developing pods, they had to have been planted later than our own. Even so, they were smaller than pea plants should be.

It’s been a hard gardening year for so many people!

The Re-Farmer

Morning find in the garden

While doing my rounds this morning, I actually did a bit of watering – something we have done just a couple of times, this year. While working on the squash patch, I found a lovely little surprise.

This is a Baby Pam pumpkin!

We have quite a few squash and gourds blooming or showing buds, but the first flowers are almost always male flowers. To see a female flower so early was unexpected. The problem is, I don’t see any male flowers to go with it. Which means there may be nothing to germinate this one, and that beautiful little budding pumpkin won’t have a chance to grow. I’ll check again later, and if I see any male flowers starting to open, I’ll hand pollinate it.

Pretty much everything in the garden is still really, really small. It feels like everything is so far behind this year. And yet, for our area, it probably isn’t. I think part of the problem is I see to many blog or social media posts from people, and their gardens are so much further along. It’s one thing to see that from someone living in a climate zone with a longer growing season. It’s quite another to see people in my Zone 3 gardening groups posting pictures of their lushly growing plants. Just this morning, I saw someone posting pictures of their cucumbers, asking if they were ready to harvest yet or not.

They were.

Meanwhile, most of our cucumbers are barely bigger than they were when they were transplanted. Only a couple of plants are looking much bigger and lively, and even they are still really small. Looking at our peas and beans, I start off thinking they’re doing great, then I see Zone 3 gardeners posting pictures and their peas and beans are easily 5 times the size of ours, blooming and starting to develop pods. I remind myself that these climate zones cover a massive area, with different frost dates within the same zone. In the end, though, I’m never quite sure if ours are so far “behind” because of our microclimate, or because of our poor soil, or because things were so wet, or because… there are so many possibilities!

Well, all we can do it work with what we have, and try to improve things as we go.

Meanwhile, I still need to water the beds in the south yard. This afternoon, however, I called up my mom about heading over. My brother had let me know she had shut off her AC because it started making water noises. She has the portable type that is on wheels with a hose out the window. I asked my mother if she wanted me to come over, and she started to say she didn’t want to bother me, didn’t want me to come out for just that, etc. At the same time, she told me she was expecting my brother to come over. Something he did not mention to me when we spoke, even as I told him I would be able to go over and drain the AC for her. I live the closest to her, and it’s the easiest for me to pop over there, and she’s talking about not wanting to bother me. My brother has an hour an a half drive to her place, but she was expecting him to come over and do it.

*sigh*

I went over.

I got it unhooked and rolled it into her shower to drain. While it was doing that, I got her little hand-held, cordless vacuum and used it to clean up the dead bed bugs in the corner. She was completely surprised they were there, telling me she thought they were “supposed to” stay in the bed. I explained to her (again) that they can be anywhere, including under the pictures on the wall, under outlet places, etc. She acted completely amazed, even though I’ve told her this before. I don’t think it’s so much that she forgets what I told her before, as her refusing to accept t and refusing to believe it. She still thinks we were too concerned about it.

Well, it’s done, and that’s the most important part.

On a completely different note, while chatting with my mother later, she started to bring up some issues she was having involving my siblings. Issues that should not have been issues at all, so I had to ask a lot of questions before she finally told me about something she’d done. The something that hurt my brother so, so much. I was not impressed and told her outright that she’d stabbed my brother in the back. The one person among our siblings that has done the most for her, and she threw him under the bus.

She doesn’t get it. At all. It’s so incredibly frustrating. All I can say is, I am so incredibly glad the property was signed over to my brother, because if it hadn’t been, her actions could have lost the property completely. She’s starting to be confronted with the consequences of her actions, and cannot grasp her own part in it. I don’t know if I was able to get through to her in any way, but I did try. This is not even something that could be blamed on her age or cognitive abilities. She’s done stuff like this for longer than I’ve been alive, and others around her have had to pick up the pieces and fix the damage. This time, however, no one else can fix the damage except her, and she doesn’t understand that there is any damage at all.

My poor brother. And there’s really nothing I can do to help, other than try and explain things to her, over and over.

Bah!

Enough of that.

It’s starting to cool down a bit, so now is a good time for some garden therapy!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: filled in the squash bed

The squash bed prepared by my daughter has been filled!

Some things went in some odd configurations. It’s going to take some doing to remember everything, even with the labels.

In my previous post, I’d stopped for a break after getting the Kakai hulless pumpkins, and the Crespo squash, started in the squash bed. As expected, the rest went much faster.

I’m so tired right now, I’m not sure I’m going to remember everything I planted in here at all! 😀

At this corner, the four Endeavor green zucchini got transplanted, running parallel to the low raised bed. This way, they will be easily accessible for harvesting throughout the summer.

There was a bit of space at the end of the row the green zucchini was planted in, so a couple of Teddy winter squash were planted there, and the remaining 6 were planted in a block in the next couple of rows. The Teddy squash has a growing habit similar to zucchini, so I wanted to make sure they were near the path, so we shouldn’t have too much trouble getting by while tending the low raised bed, or the green zucchini.

Next to the Kakai hulless pumpkin, I planted the Baby Pam pumpkins. There was six of them, planted in a 3 x 2 block. These are a smaller pumpkin that are supposed to be excellent for pies.

The poles are with the Apple gourds. I can’t remember if they’re climbers or not, but they are the only gourds in this bed, so I wanted to make them easy to spot.

I know we had some Ozark Nest Egg gourd seedlings, but as I planted them, I got a closer look and it does seem the are all Apple gourds. I don’t remember the Ozark seedlings dying off; if I had noticed, I would have tried planting more! I have no idea what happened to them.

Fit into the remaining spaces are the Georgia Candy Roaster and Winter Sweet.

Of the 7 x 7 grid my daughter dug, I did not plant anything in the south row, as it was too far into the shade. So this squash bed has been planted in a 7 x 6 grid.

The next step will be to mulch this area with straw. There had been thunderstorms forecasted, but now they’re just saying showers – those storm predictions keep going away! Still, we want to make sure the mulch is down as soon as possible.

If I can, though, I’ll see if I can get in with the weed trimmer first. It’ll be more difficult, now that the seedlings are planted, but it will make a big difference later in the season.

There were still seedlings to be transplanted, however. Which means a whole new section needed to be claimed. We were hitting 25C/77F, though, so I went back inside to take a hydration break, though I ended up making a dash to the store to pick up more bug spray. I’d just bought some, and we were already running out. They didn’t have a lot of options – normally we get something that will repel ticks, too, but there was none available. Still, with how fast we’ve been going through them, I got two.

For the rest of the transplants, I decided to start transplanting here.

In this area next to the potatoes, the grass I’d cut was growing back faster that the squash bed I’d just finished planting in, so I couldn’t make do without using the weed trimmer.

I worked in sections, starting out with an area large enough to include walking paths.

I had a couple of bins of transplants already at the garden, so I started on those, first.

These are the G-Star, green patty pan squash. The plants will be more compact compared to the winter squash, and they will be more easily accessed from the path between them and the potato and melon bed. I started by digging the row of holes then, using the jet setting on the hose, drilled into the soil and into the divots to blast as much soil back into the holes as I could, while leaving the roots and rocks behind. Then each hole got a spade full of sifted garden soil, and finally the squash were transplanted.

That process was then repeated for the next row, for the Boston Marrow. There were three pots, but so many of them germinated, I was able to plant eight. Which is probably quite crowded, even though I spaced them out more, as I think these will sprawl quite a bit as they grow.

Once those were in, I went to get more transplants – and found the only squash left were both hulless pumpkins!

Oops. I’d intended to plant them further apart. I would have put the Boston Marrow in between them, if I’d thought ahead. Ah, well.

I chose to plant the Lady Godiva variety here, because there was 5 seedlings, to the other variety’s four.

The last four, the Styrian hulless pumpkins, went next to the bean tunnel. I wasn’t able to use the weed trimmer here, though. I had to add another length of extension cord, but for some reason, it just wouldn’t run. I think there’s an issue with one of the extension cord plugs.

Oh, I almost forgot!

While watering the beds out here earlier, I noticed that we now have peas sprouting! The ones my daughter planted at the finished trellis. There are 2 varieties, and both have broken ground. 🙂

So here we have it! That last of the squash, gourds and pumpkins are now transplanted! As with the others, these will also need a straw mulch.

We might end up finishing off the bale, soon!

As of tonight, the only things left to transplant are the ground cherries and the Yakteen gourds. The Yakteen gourds will be filling in some gaps in other places. After talking about it with my daughter, she suggested a place for the ground cherries that I hadn’t thought of. Next to the compost ring, there’s a spot where we’ve got grass clippings sitting on top of a sheet of metal. That metal has been there for about a year now, so it should be just fine to plant into. We’ll just have to find ways to use up the grass clippings that are there! 🙂

I am so glad to finally have the transplanting done! Where we’re planting them is far from ideal, but they should be fine, I think.

We still have corn to direct seed. We’ll check the days to maturity and see if we still can, or if the seeds will just have to wait until next year. There are other seeds I’d hoped to plant this year, but they will have to wait until next year. They should have been sown back when everything was flooding. There is no longer enough of a growing season left for them.

While I was working on all this, my younger daughter took care of some other jobs, including doing a burn. We haven’t been able to get the burn barrel going for a while, and it was over full of the cat litter sawdust. That meant she had to stay and tend the fire for several hours.

She had just reached the point where she could put the cover on and finally let it smolder away on its own, when I came by to the pile of garden soil for one last wheel barrow load. Previously, I’d been sifting soil from the remains of the pile near the squash bed, but what’s left of that is so full of roots, it’s not worth the effort anymore. Later in the season, we’ll break up what’s left of it and use it to level off that area which, like so many other spots around the old garden area, is really rough, making it difficult to mow.

While sifting soil into the wheel barrow from the other pile – which went so much faster, as I was able to work from an area that hadn’t been taken over by weeds, yet – my daughter and I both heard a strange sound.

Coming from the branch pile.

A teeny, tiny mewing sound!

There are still kittens in there! Well. At least one. I’ve seen the mamas taking their kittens out of there, so this may be different litter? I have no idea. It’s going to still be a while before we start seeing the moms bringing their babies to the kibble house.

We’ll have to keep our eyes out for them. 🙂

So, there we are. The squash transplants are finally done!

Looking at the 14 day forecast, we’re looking at highs hovering around 20C/68F during the day, and the lows hovering around 15C/59F, which fairly regular showers throughout. Which should be just excellent for the garden! It would be so good to finally have a good growing year.

As for me, I am wiped out. A daughter has been kind enough to take care of my laundry for me, I’ve taken my pain killers, and am more than ready to go to bed!

And it’s not even midnight yet. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: winter sowing, and transplants organized

During the winter, we tried a winter sowing experiment. We sowed seeds in 4 different styles of containers to see which would do better come springtime.

The answer is…

… none of them.

Not a single thing has germinated.

I think they froze. Our extended winter was probably a bit too much for them. People in some of my zone 3 gardening groups have had good success with their winter sowing, so I know the technique works. It just didn’t work for us, this year!

Will be try again next year?

Maybe. We’ll decide in the fall, I think.

When bringing the transplants in last night, I took the time to go through them all, organize them and get labels ready for today.

This morning, while taking them back outside, I gave them another once over, trying to figure out how I wanted to get them in. This is what we’ve got left to transplant.

This year, we have 3 surviving Crespo squash – and one of them was thinned out from another pot. These guys REALLY want to go into flower!

We did all right with the Styrian hulless pumpkins, with 4 surviving transplants.

The Lady Godiva hulless pumpkins did even better. There are 5 pots in there, but some of them have two or three plants – seeds started germinating later, after we started hardening off the plants!

The Kakai hulless pumpkin did not fare as well. There are only 2 of those.

The Baby Pam pumpkin did amazing. We’ve got 6 of them – a 100% germination rate! These are last year’s seeds, and last year, none of them germinated!

In the other bin are the two Little Finger eggplants I found among the squash and pumpkins, plus the two giant pumpkins started from free seeds given out at the grocery store near my mother’s place. We won’t be doing any of the pruning or special care to grow a competition sized pumpkin, but it should still be interesting to see how big they do get!

Here we have 3 pots each of winter squash, but some of the pots have 2 or 3 seedlings in them! We’ll decide what to do with them, as we are ready to transplant. I don’t like to “waste” strong, healthy seedlings, so they might all get transplanted. We shall see.

We’ve got 2 Apple gourds, for sure – these were from a second start, due to the Great Cat Crush. There are two others that are either more Apple gourds, or Ozark nest egg gourds. The writing faded on the labels.

We have quite a lot of ground cherries, and still have no idea where we are going to plant them!

Here are the last of the seedlings that were started at 4 weeks before last frost date. There are 4 green zucchini (the yellow zucchini and the Magda have already been planted), and 8 of the G-star patty pans, which we got through a happy mistake. The Teddy squash are from last year’s seeds, and these ones grow in a bush habit, rather than vining.

Then there are the three pots that have Yakteen gourds planted in them, but only one pot has seedlings – and a new one germinating again! That was one of the pots that got re-planted, because none germinated. The other round pot that has a label stuck in it was also replanted, but nothing has germinated. The middle round pot had Kakai pumpkins sown in it, which did not germinate, so I used the same pot for more Yakteen gourd seeds. Nothing. Very strange!

When it’s time to plant these, we’ll be trying to work them in groups or clusters, placing like away from like, as much as possible. At the same time, we want the summer squash to be easily accessible, which means not letting them get crowded by the sprawling winter squash! We’ll see how many we can fit into the area my daughter dug a grid of holes into.

It’s a littler over a weeks since our last average frost date, so hopefully, it’s not too late to be transplanting these. As you can tell by the yellowing leaves, they really need to be out of those pots and into the ground!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: gourds and pumpkins

Another batch of seeds were started today: the last of the gourds and pumpkins we will be planting this year.

We are trying three varieties of hulless pumpkins. I really love pumpkin seeds, but they are quite expensive, so hopefully we will get lots of seeds to eat from these. We’ve got Lady Godiva, Kakai and Styrian. We’ll see which variety grows and tastes best to save seeds from. Or we might just save seeds from all of them. The Styrian pumpkin seeds are a good oil seed, and getting an oil press is on our wish list. The Kakai are supposed to be really excellent, roasted, while the Lady Godiva are supposed to be really excellent eaten fresh out of the pumpkin, as well as roasted. Three varieties with three different ideal ways to use them.

The remaining gourds we will be planting this year are Apple and Yakteen. Both are edible when young, and apparently Apple gourds are very healthy. I’m growing the Apple gourds for crafting purposes. We’ll try them both. Then we’ll decide whether the Yakteen gourd will be used as an edible, as well as for crafting. The Yakteen gourd is listed as very rare, so we’ll be saving seeds for those, regardless. If we succeed in growing them! We do have two other varieties of gourd seeds from last year, but we’re skipping them this year.

The Baby Pam pumpkins are a small, short(ish) season variety that is supposed to be an excellent eating pumpkin, especially good for pies. Veseys doesn’t seem to carry them anymore, though, so I’m glad to still have these seeds from last year. We had none germinate last year, but I think that has more to do with the troubles we had with our starting medium, rather than the seeds themselves. This year, we’ve bought soilless seed starting mixes, and I think that’s working out much better.

I decided to just plant two pots with three seeds for each of these. The gourds and Baby Pam pumpkin seeds got scarified and soaked for a while before planting. Depending on how well they germinate and how strong they are, we might thin by dividing to get more to transplant in June. My daughter did the planting while I cut up and wrote out more labels.

The ground cherry seedlings got moved to the mini-greenhouse, and now the warming mat is under all pumpkins and gourds right now.

Yes, I added water to the tray after the photo was taken. LOL

Here’s what’s in the mini-greenhouse right now.

I’d rotated all the trays before taking photos. Here are the ground cherries, just added to the tray with second planting eggplants, peppers, luffa and Crespo squash, along with one Canteen gourd that was thinned out from one of the pots now in the sun room.

There is one empty shelf below, ready for when we need to move more things out of the big aquarium greenhouse to make room for more starts.

Here we have the second planting Sophie’s Choice tomatoes, plus the first planting eggplant and peppers that survived the Great Cat Crush.

Here we have the Cup of Moldova tomatoes that were smaller and didn’t need to get moved to the sun room yet. They’re getting quite tall, so we’ll likely have to move them to the sun room fairly soon.

For the next batch of starts, in a couple of days, we’ll be moving on to the winter squash. Particularly the larger varieties that need a longer growing season.

I’m really looking forward to those, and will be looking to start more of each, if we can find the space. These were selected to be a major part of our winter food storage, so I’m aiming to plant quite a lot of each variety, if possible.

We are starting so many seeds indoors this year, but I’d much rather be planting more. Partly because we just don’t know how many will actually make it. Even if they all germinate, the cats don’t manage to destroy any more of them, and we transplant them all, they could still die of transplant shock, a late frost, critters, insects… Gardening is really a touch and go endeavour. As the poem says, one for the rook, one for the crow, one to rot and one to grow. I’m also reminded of a “prepper” saying I’ve recently come across. Two is one, and one is none. Redundancy is a good thing, whether it’s how many bags of rice to store, how many can openers to have handy, or how many seeds to plant!

If we had the space, I would be planting double what we’re doing for our indoor starts.

The Re-Farmer