I love it when seedlings suddenly burst out of the ground and grow so fast, things are different every time I check on them!
When I checked on them yesterday, I could just see one Crespo squash starting to shoulder its way through the soil. Near the end of the day, I could see two emerging and one more just visible. I also spotted one eggplant peaking through. By the time I shut down the lights for the night, the eggplant was up, with signs of more starting to emerge, plus signs of one Caveman’s club gourd.
This morning, two of the Crespo squash are fully up, with the third one almost there – and the soil in the other pot looks like something might be breaking through soon, too. There are still more tomatoes emerging, and more eggplant peeking through. Still just one Caveman’s club gourd visible, so far.
As for the older seedlings, it looks like all the ones that got potted up have survived, though one drum gourd that did not need potting up doesn’t look like it’s growing. There had been two in that pot and one died. I was hoping the second one would make it. We shall see. The other two that were thinned by division are growing, and the third pot was reseeded, so I hope there will be more to transplant once the garden is ready. The more there are to transplant, the better the chances that at least one will reach maturity!
I’m happy to see so many seedlings emerging now. Soon, these will be moved off the heat mat to make room for the next batch of seed starts.
Today is another mild day – bright and sunny, with our high expected to reach -3C/27F, and we’re almost there as I right this. Unfortunately, we have insane winds today, and apparently for the next several days, too! My computers weather app is saying 32kmh/20mph winds, but to be honest, I think we’re getting higher than that. I’ve been eyeballing some of the trees in the spruce grove, wondering which one is coming down next, and I’ve already had to break trail through the main garden area to reclaim stuff that was being blown away. There was even a gust the blew the dining room door ajar! Not the storm door – that one stayed closed – but there was enough of a pressure change to force the inner door open. Thankfully, we have a bar latch on that door, too, so it couldn’t open very far.
Yes, the door was locked. We never use it except once in a rare while in the summer.
A daughter and I are going to be driving in this soon, as we head out to pick up some birthday pizza for her sister!
My main goal for today was to get some seeds going that need to be started much earlier. These were the ones that needed to be done.
I don’t have a “days to maturity” for the Crespo squash, which now seem to be gone from the Baker Creek website! Looks like I bought fresh seeds for this year, just in time. I still had 3 seeds left from last year, so I used those, plus three fresh ones, so there’s still some left for another year. We’ll see how the germination rate is.
I also chose only 6 Caveman’s Club gourd seeds. I took sandpaper to the large seeds to scarify them before setting them to soak. I had intended to start them soaking last night, but ended up on the phone with my brother and his wife for more than an hour, and it was quite late by the time I was done. It was worth it!
The other bowls are holding all the seeds from the packets, including both packets of Indigo Blue Chocolate tomatoes.
I had intended to use Jiffy pellets to start some of the seeds, thinking I had a full box of them, plus a partial box, from last year. I never found the full box, and the partial box had only one pellet in it, but I did have alternatives.
I was unable to find more of the larger biodegradable pots the last few times I’ve been shopping, so the 6 Crespo squash seeds were divided between my last two of those, while the smaller pots got two seeds each of the Caveman’s Club gourd.
These are my last two trays of biodegradable square cells. I decided to plant more of the Black Beauty tomatoes and give them a whole tray to themselves, while the Indigo Blue Chocolate and Little Finger Eggplant are in the second one. Each square cell has 4 seeds in it.
I made sure the soil was moist before planting the seeds, then once they were in the aquarium greenhouse, I spritzed their tops, then added water to the bottom of the tray. It’s awkward to get these long trays in, as there is a divider bar across the middle of the tank’s top. After this photo was taken, I put the covers and lights back, and plugged in the heat mat. The soil was feeling quite cold while I was working with it! “Room temperature” in our living room is definitely on the chill side.
It wasn’t until I settled down to write this post that I realized I didn’t need to put the covers back on the aquarium, since the cat barriers are now in place! Except when I came out this morning, I found Tissue sitting at the inside of the latched door, waiting to be let out. Yup. She managed to pull the bottom open and squeeze through! We’ve got it blocked in that corner for now, so hopefully, she won’t get in again.
As for the other seedlings, they’ve been moved to the shelves by the window. There’s a heat vent right there, so that will help, though now that I’m done with the new seeds, I’ll have to do some rearranging. The lights are too high, so we’ll have to find away to attach cords that will allow us to have them lower, and adjust the height as needed.
Hopefully, these will germinate within the next couple of weeks, because we’ve got another batch to start before the end of March, and they’re going to need that heat mat!
Okay, it’s that time! I’ll be working on a serious of posts, going over how our 2022 garden went, what worked, what didn’t, and what didn’t even happen at all. This is help give us an idea of what we want to do in the future, what we don’t want to do in the future, and what changes need to be made.
Here, we are looking at growing stuff that was new to us. When I was a kid, my mother did grow cucumbers here, but she never grew peppers or eggplants. Our own experience with growing peppers goes back to before our move, when the co-op we lived in built accessible garden beds, and we signed up for one of them. We tried growing a hot variety of pepper, and we were getting one that was developing really well – then it got stolen. I don’t know if I feel sorry for whomever took it and tried to eat it, thinking it was a bell pepper, not a hot pepper! We ended up potting it up and bringing it inside for the winter, and got many peppers from it, that we dehydrated.
I am not able to eat fresh tomatoes. They make me gag, and I’ve since learned this is a thing similar to how some people find cilantro tastes like soap. There’s something in fresh tomatoes that I react to, but not when they are processed.
Peppers is a bit different. It doesn’t matter if they’re fresh or processed. They make me gag if I can taste them. I’ve eaten things with peppers in them as an ingredient, without reacting to it, so it’s not an allergy, but if there is enough that they can be tasted, I can’t eat it. Oddly, I can eat jalapeno stuffed peppers just fine! As for fresh peppers, I love how they smell, and the crispness as I cut them up, but when I try to eat them, I just want to puke! However, my husband and one of my daughters both love peppers, so we gave it a try.
Eggplant is something that most of us like, but we rarely buy, so we decided to try growing them to see if we liked them enough to make it worthwhile to grow them every year. Peppers and eggplant are both heat loving plants, but as long as their growing season is short enough and they are started indoors, they can be grown in our zone 3. Our summers can get extreme heat as much as our winters get extreme cold!
I’ll start with the cucumbers, though.
We chose a variety that was supposed to be good for both fresh eating and for pickling. They were started indoors, and were transplanted at one of the A frame trellises.
In a word, frustrating.
As with so many other things, the cucumbers did not reach their full potential. However, they did grow and bloom and produce. We would even have had enough to do a few jars of pickles, but we mostly ate them fresh.
For the amount of cucumbers we planted, we had enough for our own use.
The frustrating thing?
My sister had a very productive year for cucumbers, and she dumped bags of them with us.
We made up a dozen jars of pickles, but she gave us so many, they started to mold before we could use them all, and ended up composting a lot of them. With so many cucumbers given to us, it made it harder to use up our own cucumbers, too.
As for the pickles we made, we used a garlic pickle recipe. They’re good, but we’ll have to try different recipes, and different varieties of pickling cucumbers, to find what we like best.
Yes, we will be growing cucumbers again. Hopefully, we’ll have a better growing year, with bigger, stronger and more productive plants. We’ll be trying different varieties and, as we grow more herbs and continue to grow garlic, we’ll hopefully be making tastier pickles, in the future.
I’m also going to have to tell my sister that, if she has another bumper crop of cucumbers, to please not pass on any to us! We like cucumbers and pickles, but we don’t like them that much!
With the peppers, we got one variety of purple bell peppers (Purple Beauty) that were supposed to be so dark, they were nearly black when ripe. They were started indoors and germinated quite well. They were transplanted into one of the low raised beds, surrounded by spinach on one side, turnips on the other (both of which failed) and onions (which did well). We also had them under netting for most of the growing year, to protect them from critters.
These were definitely a fail.
We did get tiny little peppers that ripened to the dark colour they were supposed to become, but the plants never thrived. I think they would have benefited from being mulched properly earlier, but we just didn’t have the material to do it until it was probably too late. How much of a difference the mulch would have made, I can’t actually say, but I would guess it would have at least improved things a bit.
We simply had a really bad growing year, even aside from the flooding. The low raised beds were enough to protect what was in them, for the most part, even when there was standing water in the paths, but it’s likely the flooding was still too much for the roots. The peppers were in the bed under the mosquito netting, on the left of the above photo. It wouldn’t have taken much for the roots to be hitting saturated soil and starting to rot.
What’s amazing about that standing water is, our top soil is only about 6-8 inches deep in this area. Under that is rocks and gravel. Which would normally mean, really good drainage. We had so much water this spring, however, there was nowhere for the water to drain!
While the peppers may have been a fail, we’re going to try again. Hopefully, we’ll have better conditions in 2023.
My daughter had mentioned she thought we’d be trying more than one variety of pepper in 2022, so for 2023, we’re going to try several different varieties, including one hot variety. We’ll be looking at what we can do to improve soil conditions – perhaps using a higher raised bed, and making plastic domes to cover them, for extra heat. And, of course, mulching them very well, much earlier!
In the process, if we have a good growing year, we’ll figure out what varieties are enjoyed the most, and eventually work our way down to just one or two varieties to grow every year.
Assuming we’re able to grow them at all! We shall see.
Last of all, are the eggplants.
We chose the Little Finger variety, because I liked their shape and, from all I’d been able to find, they were described as quite delicious. I got them from a seed source that is even further north than we are, so we could be quite sure that they would grow here.
Well, not quite.
In the above photo with the flooded paths, the eggplants were transplanted into the middle bed, where the front half is planted with garlic. The eggplants were planted in the middle, with spinach surrounding them (which failed) and onions around the outer edge (which did okay). We had hoops to hold up mosquito netting to protect them but, like many other things, we were not able to mulch them properly until late in the season.
As we were doing the last of the transplants, we found a couple of eggplants that were missed, so those got planted into a dollar store “raised bed garden” that was made of black felt. This was set up quite a ways away from the low raised bed, which turned out to be slightly elevated, and not affected by the flooding.
These were mostly a fail.
The eggplants in the low raised bed did not thrive at all. It wasn’t until very late in the season that one of them finally started to bloom, and develop a tiny little eggplant. Covering them did not seem to help them at all. The lack of a good mulching for so long probably didn’t help, either.
The ones in the black felt bed did better. I suspect the black fabric warmed up the soil more, and that they preferred that. They still took a long time before starting to bloom and develop fruit, however. One plant did noticeably better than the other.
That handful was our entire harvest.
We left them to grow as long as possible. We didn’t get frost until quite a lot later than average and, when we did, we covered them to protect them and squeeze out as much growing time as we could.
The few eggplants we did get, however, where quite tasty!
We are definitely going to grow the Little Finger variety again, plus we will be trying some “regular” eggplant – the size and shape we would typically find in any grocery store.
With what we learned in 2022, I think that we will perhaps try growing them in pots or grow bags, or higher beds. If we can do black fabric grow bags, that would be even better. With two varieties to try, we’ll see which ones we like better, and see if we use them enough to keep growing them, year after year.
In the future, we hope to have some sort of greenhouse or polytunnel to help extend our growing season, and provide better growing conditions for heat loving plants, such as peppers and eggplants. Once we have a really good growing season for them, we’ll finally be able to determine if we actually like them enough to be worth growing annually, or if these are things we would continue to buy only once in a while at the grocery store.
I had such a slow start to the day today. Not a lot of sleep, and when I tried getting up this morning, I lost my balance and almost fell. My husband was up and I ended up asking him to take care of feeding the cats this morning so I could lie down again. Considering it’s because of his own pain levels that he’s up (or not) at odd hours, it takes a lot before I ask him to take over like that. I have a theory on what’s going on and will be testing it over the next few nights. If I don’t follow up on that later, it will be because nothing changed.
When I finally did get out, the kitties had full bellies, which means I had company during my rounds!
Especially as I went up the driveway to check the gate and switch out the memory card on the gate cam. The new camera, with its direct solar power and battery backup, has the batteries still at 100%! The other two trail cameras are at about half, and both have had their batteries changed at least once, since we got the new camera.
I’m not actually all that happy that the kittens follow me to the gate. I don’t want them wandering to the road, so I try to pick them up if I can. At one point, I was carrying the three amigos, all at the same time. Interesting that the three most socialized kittens like to stay together the most, too. I can’t say it’s because they are all from the same litter, because the fourth one of that litter is more or less indifferent to its siblings, while the muted calico, from an older litter, still likes to hang out with these three the most. That one is a lot more socialized now, too. It still runs off at time, but more often than not, we can pet it and even pick it up for cuddles.
I worked on the garden bed I intend to plant the garlic in last night, but didn’t get very far.
This is where I left off when my back started to give out.
I really look forward to when we have more high raised beds!!!
I removed the grass clippings mulch and loosened the entire bed with a garden fork first, then started working my way around, pulling out as many crab grass rhizomes and other weeds as I could. The job was made much more challenging, because the kitten in the earlier photo decided it absolutely had to be on my back while I worked! When I straightened up, she would climb up to perch on my shoulder until bent down again.
I managed just over half the bed. I found the soil to be much improved, easy to work into with the garden hoe – though I’m still hitting rocks – and filled with worms. Compaction, however, is still a problem.
Once I’ve got more of the roots and weeds removed, I’ll use the soil sifter to get more out. I plan to dig a trench down the middle. The summer squash bed is right next to it. I’ll be pulling those up and burying them in this bed as a soil amendment. After the garlic is planted, the grass clipping mulch will be returned. The summer squash bed will be ready to work on next.
Things are going much more slowly than I expected, and it’s basically because of pain. Yes, I pain killer up before I start, I’m just taking your basic painkillers. They’re not particularly strong. I’m the sort of person where pharmaceuticals tend not to work as expected to begin with, and typically need double the dose to maybe get the same effect as a regular dose on someone else. It’s the same thing with the painkillers dentists inject before working on a tooth – something I discovered the hard way when I was in 5th grade. I still remember the dentist working on a cavity. I had my eyes squeezed shut in pain and was clutching the arm rests when the dentist made a snarky comment about opening my eyes, it’s not that bad. I did open my eyes, glared at him – and broke one of the arm rests. I was an adult before I dared go to a dentist again. As an adult, the dentists would actually listen to me when I told them there was still pain.
So… yeah. I do have an extremely high pain tolerance because of this, and can typically just keep working through all sorts of pain. That’s getting harder and harder to do as I get older. The problem is, there’s really no one else to take over. My older daughter has joint problems that has lead to injuries that just won’t heal, so there’s only so much she can do, and both of them have back problems that won’t go away unless they both get reduction surgery (as I did, more than 20 years ago: best thing I ever did!!!), but neither of them trust doctors. At all. They’ve seen the BS my husband and I have put up with over the years. Since we’ve moved back to this province, we’ve found health care has gotten even worse during the almost 15 years we were away. So while they can help, all four of us are just really gimpy. Plus, my older daughter has her commissions to work on, so she gets paid, and isn’t available as much. They both also take care of the inside stuff for me, so I’m free to work on the outside stuff – an arrangement I am quite happy with. Still, the way things are going, I’m going to have to ask them to help me with the outside stuff more. It’s frustrating. When we first moved here, I was able to get much more work done in much less time. I did not expect my body to give out that much in so few years!
Ah, well. It is what it is.
I’ll be taking pain killers and heading back out soon.
On another note, we had another small harvest this morning.
I decided it was time to pick the Little Finger eggplant. I actually found one more little one, after I took this picture. These are all from just one plant. None of the others matured enough to produce anything. I had intended to leave them for longer, but last night we dropped to 2C/36F. We were only supposed to drop to 6C/43F, so I didn’t try to cover them for the night. They don’t look frost damaged, but with how messed up the forecast has been, I figured it was time. This variety is meant to be picked while still relatively small and glossy – maybe a bit bigger than the largest one I’m holding.
In talking with the girls about what to plant next year, we are thinking of trying 3 varieties of peppers, and I’d like to try this variety of eggplant again. However, we will need to work out better protection for them. My older daughter is wanting to save up for a type of greenhouse that is specifically designed for our extreme temperatures. Something like the polycrub that Stone Croft Skye has. Before then, I hope to pick up a decent sized portable greenhouse, or maybe a smaller one to use for our seedlings. We have GOT to come up with something better for starting seeds. We had to spend way too much effort to protect them from cats, making for less than ideal growing conditions.
That is something to think about later, though. For now, we need to clean things up and get beds prepared for next year, first.
Well, I’m certainly glad we made the preparations we did, yesterday. We did, indeed, hit 1C/34F by this morning, and got frost.
The roof of the cat house still had quite a bit of frost on it, when I came out to feed the babies. Clearly, it isn’t stopping them from enjoying kibble in what seems to be a favourite place for quite a few cats!
As expected, the frost killed off all the squash. We did leave the ozark nest egg and dancing gourds. From what I’ve read, they can handle a light frost, in that it triggers them to start drying. I’m not completely sure that was the right decisions, but I’ll know better as I check them later in the day.
The apple gourds got covered, but they still seemed to get hit with frost. It’s hard to see in the photo, but this largest of the developing gourds does seem to have some frost damage, as did a lot of the leaves, though not as much as those that were exposed in places.
The eggplant, however, looks just fine!
We’ve got one more night with colder temperatures, and then the lows will increase for a while, so we will repeat the process again tonight, and will hopefully be able to at least keep the eggplant going for a bit longer.
There’s lots of work to do over the next while, to get things ready for next year.
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!
It was a very early morning for me today. The cats got active at about 4am and wouldn’t stop! I finally gave up and did my morning rounds while the girls were still cooking down the crab apple sauce for me to can later.
Parts of the province got frost warnings last night. We did not, thankfully, though the temperatures did go down to 5C/41F. It was still only 6C/43F while I was outside. I actually had to wear a jacket!
Today is our average first frost date and, while it was chilly last night, it is expected to warm up again over the next few days, and stay mild for the next couple of weeks, at least.
The garden is on borrowed time right now!
We actually have a few tiny little Purple Beauty peppers ripening! They are much, much smaller than they should be. These should look much like your typical grocery store bell pepper, in size and shape. That we got any at all still amazes me, though.
The one Little Finger Eggplant that is producing fruit is growing so fast!
No, I’m not pointing to anything there. I’m just moving a leaf while not blocking the view of an eggplant at the same time. 😁
The other plant sharing it’s space is blooming, but still no eggplants, while the plants in the low raised bed aren’t even blooming, yet.
As for this morning’s harvest, we got a first today!
We actually had grapes ripe enough to pick! There are still come clusters that are not ripe, yet. There isn’t a lot in total, but last year we basically had nothing, so that is no complaint at all. I’m not sure what to do with such a small quantity, though.
I finally remembered to go into the outer yard and get a picture of the Korean pine. Here, you can see three of the four surviving pines.
You can just see a mowed path going off to the left. That leads to the fourth surviving pine. The six pine had been planted in pairs on either side of the lane we want to keep open to the secondary gate that I normally would have kept mowed.
The chicken wire covers painted high-viz orange seem to be working out so far. My only concern is that chicken wire isn’t very strong. If the renter does let his cows through to graze in the outer yard, it couldn’t take much for a cow to crush one of them. I’m counting on them simply avoiding the cages, instead. Or deer, for that matter. We’re more likely to have deer going through here than cows.
You can see the other big branch pile on the right of the photo, with some fresh branches on top. Now that the other piles are chipped, any new prunings will be added to this one. Today, I pruned a bit around the stone cross, opening things up and even giving a bit more sun to the Wonderberry. I also started to break down one of the dead crab apple trees near the one that we harvested from. The dead branches are well entangled in the other trees, so it will be done piecemeal at first.
One of the other things I got done, though this was last night, was go through the pile of logs the chippers left next to the burn barrel. I’d already set aside a stack of pieces that are not rotten, quite straight, and useable. The rest of the pile of unsalvageable wood is now moved.
I laid it out around the pile of burnable junk we’d been stacking against the branch pile. Much of it is old newspapers and catalogs we’d cleared out of the sun room when we cleared and cleaned it out the first time. We intended to burn it in the burn barrel, but it’ll just be easier to do a bon fire! The straw is what was cleaned out of the cats’ house, so it’s not something we can use as mulch, or even for the compost.
Once we do have a day to start a burn, we’ll have to take turns keeping an eye on it. This will take a long time to burn through! This is something that could smolder for days. Plus, I plan to drag over branches from the pile next to the garage that the tree guys couldn’t chip, to clean that up, too.
When the girls saw this, the first thing they said was, “nice funeral pyre!” 😂
My daughters were finally able to finish raking up grass clippings from a couple days ago and bring them to the squash and corn patch for me. My older daughter still isn’t feeling very well, but she is much improved, at least, and can be more active again.
While they did that, I did my morning rounds and checked on things. My first find was a disappointment.
The deer chomped this highbush cranberry. Again! It had been recovering so well from the last time they beheaded it. The other cranberry was ignored. The silver buffalo berry and sea buckthorn are being left alone. I don’t know why they keep going after this one.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in the garden this morning. I was awakened by a crashing, early this morning, and discovered Nosencrantz had tried to get at the window again. I’ve actually had to put other screens in front of the window to protect it, because as much as I don’t mind them sitting on the window sill, I DO mind them clawing at the screen and making holes. When I had the window fan set up, they kept trying to jump on top of it and knocking it off, so they could claim the space. I took a couple of the old window screens I found in the shed and barn that we’ve been using for various things. They’re different sizes, so it took two of them to fully cover my window. They’ve got cord running across to hold them in place, but I still need to be able to slide them aside to reach the window. Which means that, if she’s determined enough. Nosencrantz can knock the screens off entirely.
Which is what woke me up.
As I was putting the screen back up, I heard the furnace shut off.
I hadn’t even noticed the furnace was on. Why did the furnace turn on???
Well, it turns out that, instead of the overnight low of 11C/52F that was forecast, the actual temperature at the time was 5C/41F. The girls had their windows open – it was finally bearable up there for them! – but with the way air circulated in this house, that resulted in a cold wind blowing down the stairs.
I have since turned the thermostat down further.
This is where looking at the long range forecast frustrates me. According to those, we weren’t supposed to have overnight lows like that until the end of September. Our average first frost date is Sept. 10, which is Friday. Over the next while, we’re supposed to go up to 28C/82F with a low of 15C/59F on Thursday, then drop to 16C/61F with a low of 4C/36F on Friday, then warm back up again.
Which would be okay, if that actually happened, but if our overnight low was less than half of what was forecast, how can I trust we won’t get frost temperatures?
Well, we can just hope.
The baby eggplant is getting bigger, but looked like it was about to break off its stem, so I dug out the last of the tomato cages I bought this spring and set it up.
Remarkably, there are tiny little peppers forming! They are supposed to turn purple when fully ripe, but I doubt there is enough growing season left for that.
Oh, I forgot to mention. My daughters taste tested the Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, and just loved them. They are very flavourful. The red tomatoes are very mild flavoured. The yellow pear have more flavour, but not compared to the other cherry and grape tomatoes we grew last year. So we won’t grow the yellow pear tomatoes again, but will be saving seed from the Chocolate Cherry. We got the seeds from Veseys, but they don’t seem to carry them anymore. From what I can find, though, they are an open pollinated, heirloom variety, so saving the seeds should give us the same variety. I did find some sites listing them as a hybrid, though, so perhaps there are more varieties with the same name. No matter. We will give it a try!
The girls got a nice big pile of grass clippings gathered for me. This is just from the south yards, which I cut a couple of days ago, so the clippings had time to dry in the sun a bit.
It was enough to finish mulching either side of the sweet corn, around the green bush beans, and most of the space between the corn. I did have to rake up more grass clippings from the north yard where I mowed yesterday to finish the job. The grass in the west yard is so sparse, there are no clippings worth raking up.
At this point, the amending that’s being done here is more for next year. We will be moving the trellises closer to the house next year, and these might be good places to put them. I don’t know when I’ll be able to start taking down trees to build more high raised beds – there are only 2 that are unobstructed and can be taking down at any time. Others need to wait until the garden beds in the east yard are done, and those ones need to be cleared before yet others can be cut down.
So even if things just don’t work out and we’re not able to build any high raised beds this fall, we can still use the new beds we made for the potatoes and melons, and in this corn and squash bed, to build tunnel trellises – I’d want to build two, I think – and more basic trellises with other materials we have available. I think these might even be permanent or semi-permanent locations for trellises, so we can make the extra effort to ensure they are not wonky and wobbly, like the ones we’re using for one last year right now. Which means the more mulching and other amending we do this year, the better it will be for next year.
I’ve also been looking at the grape vines. I want to transplant them to a better location, and would love to build an arbour style trellis for them. It would be nice to make an arched style arbor over the people gate in the chain link fence, but not with those big elms above. Those are not as high on the priority list, though, so we have time to figure out what we want and where.
I’ve been eye balling some of the wood the tree guys set aside for me when they chipped our branch piles. We might be able to use some of them to make smaller, slightly raised beds in the old kitchen garden. Or even just a low wall along one side, to keep people from accidentally stepping where my daughter has planted her irises and daffodils! 😁
I’m quite looking forward to figuring things out.
I just called the vet clinic again, which saved them from needing to call us later on. Leyendecker is eating, which is a good sign. They plan to take the catheter out this afternoon, and will monitor him overnight to make sure he’s peeing properly without it. We will get a call tomorrow. I asked about the bill, as my daughter will most likely transfer funds to me – my debit card has a higher purchase limit than hers does – and I wanted to give her an idea of how much. So far, we’re at about $700. With the medications he’ll be coming home with, and tonight’s overnight stay, she said the total might reach a thousand. Of course, he will need to come back for blood work to check if there is permanent damage to his kidneys. At least with that, we have the list on the form I signed, so I know that after taxes, that’ll be another $150 or so.
The main thing is, he is recovering, eating and drinking, and should soon be coming home!
After my daughters did their own walkabout yesterday evening, one of them told me they found eggplants! I had watered the garden not long before and hadn’t seen any, so that was a surprise to me.
Of course, this morning I had to go looking.
No wonder I didn’t see them!
They are just barely visible.
These are Little Finger eggplant, which should grow rather long and thin. I chose them partly because they are a shorter season variety. Which, the way things are going this year, is probably the only reason we’ll have any at all! These are from the plants in the dollar store “raised bed” of black felted fabric. It’s really more of a shallow grow bag. The ones planted in the regular low raised bed are not doing anywhere near as well, even though they got transplanted earlier. The ones I planted in the fabric container had been missed when I transplanted the first ones. I think the black fabric is what is making the difference, as it would be keeping the soil warmer. Just a guess, on my part, but it seems the most likely factor contributing to how much bigger and stronger they are.
I’ve never grown eggplant before, so this is pretty exciting!
With all the rain we’ve been having lately, the garden is loving it. Who would think, after all that flooding in the spring, that would even be an issue?
The Red Kuri winter squash is doing so well, and starting to turn colour. We have a little more than 3 weeks before our average first frost. We may just have enough time for these to fully ripen.
The other squash are blooming and growing like they should have, in the spring. I’m still holding out for a long, mild fall so we can at least get summer squash, if not more winter squash!
The variety of sweet corn we have is not particularly tall, but these are still quite a bit shorter than they should be – but they are putting out tassels, which means we should be seeing silks, soon too. Even the Tom Thumb popcorn is perking up. Those only grow to about 2 ft high, and some of them are almost there. They are sending out tassels, too. Their cobs only grow a few inches long.
We might actually have corn this year!
This is my big surprise. The tiny, barely making it, eggplants are blooming, too! Well. One of them is. I thought these ones were a complete loss. They probably still are, but one can hope!
The paste tomatoes are really starting to turn nice and red. We’re at the point where I’m wondering if I should start harvesting most of them and letting them finish ripening inside. Less chance of critters getting to them before we do, but then we’d have to find ways to keep the inside cats out of them.
I’ll be harvesting more tomorrow. It’s still mostly beans, but I should be able to pick a fair number of cucumbers, too. We don’t have enough to warrant trying to pickle them, but enough to make some cucumber salads! It’s the same with the beans. There’s more than we can eat in a day or two, but not enough to make it worthwhile to break out the canner. One of my daughters has just been blanching and freezing the excess for now. It’ll be when we do the tomatoes that we’ll finally get into some serious processing. 😊
What a mix of things doing well, things failing, and things struggling in the garden this year.