Not much accomplished today

The most predictable thing about plans seems to be that they don’t tend to last very long! 😀

I didn’t get anywhere near as much accomplished today as I’d hoped. I did, however, manage to finish planting the garden bed with peas, carrots and onions. At least until it’s safe to transplant out the tomatoes.

The row of onions and shallots, started from seed, that I transplanted yesterday made up only half the length of the bed. I had two boxes of shallot sets and decided to use those to finish the row.

Some of them are already starting to sprout! Which means the yellow (2 boxes) and red (1 box) onions need to get in the ground as soon as we can, as I’m sure they’d be much the same.

Of the two boxes of shallots, by the time I was done, there was only 5 shallots left. We decided to plant those in a couple of the retaining wall blocks along the old kitchen garden.

Which means that right now, all our shallots, both the sets and the ones grown from seed, are planted.

I noticed by the end of the afternoon that the plumb flower buds were starting to open! It was quite a warm one.

One thing I did manage to accomplish was a much needed trip to the dump. I’m glad we waited; from the condition of the road to it, it got flooded over, too. It did mean we had a lot more than usual to dump off.

While I was putting our glass into the separate bin they have for it, I noticed something very odd.

Canning jars.

Canning jars with the metal rings still on them.

Canning jars with glass lids!

They were in excellent condition, too!

I was sorely tempted to take them as they were, but we already have a lot of those old style canning jars and glass lids. It’s the rings that are getting as rare as hen’s teeth. I checked with the custodian about doing a bit of dumpster diving, and he leant me his reaching tool. In the end, there were only five rings that I could see, though there were quite a few more canning jars. What a waste. Especially with canning supplies being increasingly hard to come by in some places. These old style jars may not be considered safe for canning anymore, but they can still be used for dry canning, and the rubber rings are still available.

Between these and the ones I found in a bucket in the storage house, I think I have about 15 or 20 of these rings in total, and all in very good, useable shape.

In other things, I’d called the clinic on behalf of my mother and got a telephone appointment for her at just before noon. After letting her know about the appointment and talking about her pain situation, I got busy with other things and didn’t get a chance to call her back until much later. Just before 4pm, in fact. That’s when I found out the doctor hadn’t called her! The clinic stops answering the phone at 4pm, so I quickly called them again to find out what happened.

It turns out the appointment I made for my mother wasn’t for today. It was for Monday. I swear, I never heard a date. Just a time. We’d talked about a few things, and I was so focused on getting a doctor to call her as soon as possible, I must have simply missed it.

So that got straightened out, and I called my mother back to let her know. I was happy to hear that she was feeling a bit better. She says it improves if she doesn’t move at all. !!!

I’ll have to call her on the weekend and see about doing a grocery trip for her. She insists she’s well supplied… then starts talking about being almost out of milk, and maybe there’s something else?…

😀

Tomorrow is out, as I should be making the trip into the city for the monthly shopping. At least the Costco portion of it.

One of the things on my to-do list was to contact a local electrician about our fried outlet. I know he works in the city, so I was going to wait until later. Then I got a phone call from my brother. He’d been thinking about what happened, and the photo I sent him, and was considering coming over to look at it himself. He’s done most of the new wiring here and is every bit as qualified an electrician; he just never bothered to get his ticket. If all goes well, he will be coming here on Saturday morning to see what he can do.

Meanwhile, my daughter was able to get her old laptop going again. She can’t work on her commissions on it, but she can at least get online, and can contact her clients about the delay.

And that’s about as much as I managed to accomplish today, and yet I’m feeling so very tired and sore, you’d think I had actually finished filling that low raised bed I’d intended to do today. *sigh*

I’m also falling asleep at the computer. I think an “early” (as in, before midnight) bed time is in order!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: peas, carrots, onions and more prep

One of things we started indoors were the four seeds we managed to save from the King Tut purple peas we tried to grow last year. All for successfully germinated, and were really needing to be either transplanted, or potted up.

Potting up didn’t make sense for these, so today, they got transplanted! Being peas, they are frost hardy, so we didn’t have to wait until after our last frost date.

I did change were they were meant to be planted. I was originally thinking of using the same pea trellis we used for them last year, but there’s just 4 of them, so we’ll save the trellises for the green peas we’ve got.

As the purple peas were already looking to climb, I decided to put them here.

This is where we grew tomatoes very successfully last year, and tomatoes will be grown here again this year. It got completely reworked in the fall.

This bed was going to get a mulch of wood shavings, too, but I also did the concrete blocks on the other side of the small gate, too.

We’ll be looking at planting some climbers in here, that can use the fence as a trellis.

The bag of wood shavings left over from last year got finished off in the long bed, and most of the new bag got used up, too! There was enough to mulch the haskaps (the male haskap is blooming!) and there’s still a bit left over.

All the mulch got watered as I laid it out, as the wind was picking up and threatening to blow it away. Once it was laid down, all the mulch got watered again, multiple times, as I worked.

Of course, the bed didn’t stay looking pretty like this for long!

This bed is going to be intensely and strategically planted! Along with the purple peas, there will be tomatoes planted all along the fence. Just inside where the tomatoes will go, there will be carrots, as they are good companion plants. On the outer edge, near the bricks, will be onions, as a critter deterrent.

In the bowl are the last of the pelleted Kyoto Red seeds from last year.

Clearing out a row to plant the carrots was a bit of a challenge, as there were sticks in with the leaf mulch that had to be removed. With pelleted seed, the carrots could be spaced as they were planted. I still got only half way down the row before running out of seeds. The other half is now planted with Napoli carrots; another pelleted variety from last year. With the Napoli, there are still a LOT of seeds left, so we have the option of tucking them around other things, too. We have 2 other new varieties that are not pelleted seed, so I will likely use cornstarch gel to help plant those.

There were not a lot of the Oneida yellow onions we started from seed to transplant, but it was still close to the half way mark. Of the onions we stared from seed, we have one tray or red onions left, but there’s quite a few of those, and I didn’t want to split them up. We also had a few shallots started from seed – a whole 7 of them survived – so I used those, and there’s still half the row left. We have shallot sets, too, so I’m thinking of using some of those to finish off the row. That will be another job for tomorrow!

As for the peas, I cut some of the plastic bottles from distilled water we have so many of, to put around the peas, to protect them from the wind. One of them blew away while I was transplanting onions. I’d tried to push it into the soil, but there turned out to be too many little sticks in the leaf litter. 😀 Once I got that fixed, I added the sticks to help keep them from blowing away. They are the sticks sold for toasting marshmallows, broken in half. We got a package for cookouts last year, but I’ve been using them as supports for some of the taller squash and gourd plants that were starting to flop around a bit. They work really well for that!

This bed now has only tomatoes to be transplanted into it, and that won’t be until after our June 2 last frost date, just to be on the safe side. We will be adding netting after the tomatoes are planted. The decorative wire garden fencing that you see in one of the photos above will be placed right up against the bricks, to hold the net away from the net, which will be attached to the top of the fence. The tomatoes and onions should be fine, but the carrots will need to be protected from critters. The net won’t stop a determined groundhog, but between that, the onions and the carrots, we hope the greedy buggers will decide they’re not worth the effort!

While I was working on this, my younger daughter was working on one of the low raised beds in the main garden area.

The girls cleaned up these beds last year, and this one was the worst for crab grass.

It still was. It took my poor daughter hours to get it done, diligently and carefully pulling up all the roots she could. Unlike me, she’s agile enough that she can kneel down on the ground to work, but she still knackered her back in the process. Once inside, she ended up having to put on her corset she made for herself, to use as a back brace just so she could sit upright at the table! She plans to continue with other beds tomorrow, and will likely just wear the darn thing from the start.

Her sister ended up helping me bring the transplants back inside after everything we done. She was up sick much of the night, but was finally feeling better. It was a bit of a juggle, since the chitting potatoes were sitting on the platform the seed trays and most of the bins sits on. Those had to go outside and onto the roof of the cats’ house until all the transplants were brought into the sun room, then we had to figure out how to fit the potatoes back in! Some ended up on the swing bench under the platform. Potato Beetle has lost his favourite bed for now. 😀

I fully expect we will expand our garden again, next year, which means starting more seeds indoors. Having at least a small, portable greenhouse is going to be increasingly a necessity! We almost got one this year, but the funds ended up being reallocated. Mind you, we still haven’t gone into the old hay loft, where my brother tells me there is the frame for a carport. If all the parts and pieces are there, we’d just need to get the plastic, and we’ll have a polytunnel. I can’t get up into the hayloft anymore – my body is too broken to clamber up there – so I’ll have to ask the girls to do it.

Well… that last paragraph got quite the interruption. I hadn’t realized my mother had phoned and left a message while we were working outside. She called again. It seems the painkillers the doctor prescribed for her back pain are not helping at all, and she’s in a lot of pain. Can’t sit, can’t stand, can’t lie down… She’s convinced the doctor gave her the wrong medication. She called the pharmacist, and he assured her she got the right meds. I guess she now thinks the prescription was a mistake? So tomorrow morning, when the clinic is open, I’ll give them a call. Hopefully, either her doctor, or the doctor that saw her in the ER, will be available to call her today and talk to her about it.

My husband is feeling very sympathetic for her. She’s entering his world, and is completely unprepared for it.

My plans for tomorrow may be changing, if I find myself having to drive my mother somewhere!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: survived so far, and just in case

Well, I’m happy to say that the Wonderberry that got moved to the sun room did survive it’s first night.

It had been on a plant stand that was being stored on that shelf anyhow, but I had to take that out and place the pot lower, as the height put it under the shadow of the eaves. From what I could tell, the temperature did stay a few degrees above freezing in there, even without the “grow” lights on, and what little warmth they provide.

The true test will be at the end of the week, when a blizzard is supposed to hit, and daytime highs are supposed to be below freezing.

Today, I went into town to pick up the last few things we need for our Easter basket – though how much we’ll be doing on Easter is going to depend on how accurate the forecasts turn out to be!

Walking into the grocery store, I immediately spotted the back of a new display near the door. Even from behind, I knew exactly what it was and headed right over.

Yup. I bought sets! Just in case the onions and shallots we are growing from seed are not very successful, though they do seem to be doing better now that they’re in the sun room.

The boxes are by weight rather than quantity, so I took a look in the boxes of yellow onions and shallots to see, more or less, how many sets were in there, then decided to get two boxes of each. I stuck to just one box of red onions, because we don’t use those as much as yellow onions. Plus, we have two other varieties of red onions from seed. I remember from last year that, even though the seedlings were quite small, the surviving onions we grew from seed ended up being just as big as the ones we grew from sets, so we’ll see how it goes.

Yes, we want lots and lots of onions. Depending on how things go, I wouldn’t mind having enough to not only store in the root cellar, but to dehydrate, use in various preserves and so on. Of the ones we bought seeds for, I would like to save seed, as some are rarer varieties. Onions produce seed in their second year, so we’ll have to plant those somewhere where they can be overwintered.

We are going to have a much larger garden this year, but for things like the onions and a few other things, we will be interplanting them with other things, for efficiency of space and – hopefully! – to help protect them from any critters, should the temporary fencing we’re planning to put up, fail.

Though we have three varieties of potatoes on the way, I was sorely tempted by the bags of seed potatoes that were also new on display. In the end, I decided against it. At least for this trip! As with onions, it would be really hard to grow too many potatoes! I think if we do pick up more seed potatoes, it will be different varieties I’ve seen elsewhere, though. The ones I saw today where the same basic varieties we normally see in the grocery store that are still pretty inexpensive, even with the increases in prices.

For all that the soil is in pretty bad shape and we’re breaking new ground for a number of things, I am thankful that we do have the luxury of space for gardening. Planting in less than ideal conditions is better than not being able to plant at all!

We have much to be thankful for.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: it’s a wonder!

One of the first things I do in the morning is check on the seedlings, turn on the lights, and do any tending they might need.

The newly transplanted and potted up plants seem to be doing very well – with one possible exception.

The Wonderberry we have left from the first planting is just too big for the top of the mini greenhouse.

I mean, look at this beast! It’s getting huge!

And what’s that I see???

Yup. Those are flower buds!!

I planted these really early, after doing some online research, but it seems it was too early.

So what do I do with the poor thing? We can’t leave it out, or the cats will destroy it.

The only safe place for it is in the sun room.

Except…

Yeah. It’s too big for the shelve space, too.

There was only one thing left to do.

I now have it sitting in the window on the other side of the door, which is a pair of smaller windows with a shelf in between. It’s actually a great spot for a plant like this. The problem is mostly the temperature, though it also gets less light. In the other shelf, there is at least the lights provide a bit of warmth. This spot is too far away for that to be any help.

I don’t think the sun room dipped below freezing last night. When I first looked in, in the morning, it was at about 8C/46F, but I expect it to get above 20C/68F in there as the day warms up. However, we’re supposed to start cooking down again, with a high of -5C/23F by Thursday – and more snow on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Southern parts of the province are even getting weather alerts, as a Colorado Low swoops in, potentially bringing as much as 20cm/8in of snow. That, in turn, is leading to flooding alerts in regions to the North.

None of which is anywhere near us, but we’ll still be affected by the system with cooler temperatures and more snow.

At least the current warm weather is reducing the amount of snow we have now, so if we do end up with more, it’s not going to be as much of an issue.

The receding snow is starting to reveal that we are going to be picking up quite a lot of fairly large branches, once we’re able to do the spring yard cleanup.

The new beds along the chain link fence are now clear of snow, including the asparagus bed. Which, unfortunately, has a lot of grass and weeds already starting to grow. There’s less than half an inch of thawed soil on the top, but that’s enough for the weeds.

There was a surprise, though.

There are onions growing!

We had transplanted the tiniest of seedlings around the asparagus bed last year, mostly because I didn’t want to toss them. They established themselves, but hardly grew at all, and we just left them. Even when cleaning up in the fall, we just let them be.

I found about 8 or 10 of them, starting to grow!

It should be interesting to see how they do. As this would be their second year, if we leave them, they should go to seed.

Speaking of onions and seeds, the seedlings we moved to the sun room seem to be doing rather well.

In fact, I think they’re actually perking up and getting stronger. Well. Maybe not the shallots. It’s really hard to tell with what’s left of those! But the red and yellow onions seem to be getting bigger and stronger.

We might have something to transplant, after all!

I might still get sets, though. In this household, we just can’t really have too many onions! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: gourds and shallots

Switching up the seedling trays was definitely helpful for the newly germinated gourds!

It’s amazing how much growth can be seen, sometime in just a few hours! These still had their tips mostly in the soil when I checked them last night. The two Canteen gourds on the right were able to lift out of the soil without any issues, but the two on the left still had their seed covers stuck on the leaves. One slid off fairly easily, but I ended up tearing the leaf tips off to get the other one off. It just did not want to let go, and the whole thing wanted to come up by the roots when I tried to remove it!

We still have just that one little Wonderberry seedling in the back.

The shallots are happier in the aquarium greenhouse, too, and area starting to grow straight up again, instead of leaning towards the living room window, while in the mini-greenhouse.

I’m still a little concerned about some of the seedlings in the mini-greenhouse. Some are doing better than others, but it’s not an ideal set up for them. They need better light and more fresh air, but we can’t give them that and keep the cats out at the same time. 😦 Hopefully, they’ll last long enough that we can transfer them to the sun room, even if it means setting up the heat bulb again. But then, we’ll have outside cats to deal with, too! 😦 Gotta get the heated water bowl that’s still working outside, so we can close the doors again.

We’ll figure it out.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning disaster. Will they survive?

Not a good way to start the day.

One of the first things I do when I get up in the mornings is turn on the lights for the aquarium greenhouses.

This morning, I was greeted by this.

This is the tray we had just recently transferred out of the big aquarium greenhouse. A cat had managed to get through the box blocking the gap at the back of the chair, and into the tray.

The damage in some of them was really, really bad. The pots just disintegrated. Granted, they are designed to do that, but not until they’ve been put into the ground!

Some weren’t too bad. The gourds, in particular, were mostly just jostled a bit. I was able to transfer them into the Solo cups without too much trouble. These cups already had drainage holes in their bottoms.

Note the leaves on the Canteen gourd, with the almost white tips. That’s from the seed casing that I ended up breaking free of the leaves.

The remainder required much more care.

We still had some pre-moistened seed starting soil left, and I used it to help re-pot the remaining squished seedlings.

I think a couple of labels got mixed up, but I’m not going to worry about that right now. As long as the two varieties of tomatoes are labelled, it’s fine.

Once the seedings were cleared and in cups, I moistened some more seed starting soil. While mixing the water in, the remains of the Jiffy pots got mashed into the soil as well. By the time the soil was thoroughly moistened, there was no sign of the pots!

For some with still intact pots, like the gourds, I gently removed them again, added soil to the bottom of the cups, then put them back in. For the tomatoes, I basically just potted them up, adding the fresh soil around the stems. Those should recover fine.

It’s the eggplants and peppers that might have difficulties. I tried to add soil around them while raising them higher in the cups as best I could. Some were quite squished, but none looked broken or damaged.

With the tomatoes, I’m not too concerned, since we do have two more trays of them in the mini-greenhouse, but these are the only eggplant and peppers we’ve got. Even with the gourds, there are other pots that haven’t germinated yet.

Speaking of which…

To give them the best chance as survival, the repotted seedlings went back into the large aquarium greenhouse, where they will be on the heat mat and under the two light fixtures.

Which, unfortunately, meant the other tray had to go into the mini-greenhouse.

Before they did, though, my daughter flattened a cereal box and put it in first, folded so that half the box covers the gap in the back, and the other half is under the tray.

Pure chance that we had the box. We almost never buy cereal, but when we were last the Superstore, we purchased enough to get their freebie of the week. That week, it was a variety pack of cereals and breakfast bars. This was the largest cereal box in the pack, and just the right size to completely cover the gap created by the back of the chair the mini-greenhouse is tied down to.

Unfortunately, this means the items in the tray aren’t getting the light and warmth they were, in the aquarium greenhouse. The best we could do was set up a light on one side, shining into the bottom of the mini-greenhouse from the TV stand next to it. For those in pots, they need the warmth of that incandescent bulb more than the light, since they haven’t germinated yet. You can see the shallots coming up in the tray next to the pots. They will need more light, but not the heat.

*sigh*

Well, there’s only so much we can do, until things warm up enough to start using the sun room. Hopefully, before then, we’ll be able to switch the trays again, and have the newly repotted seedlings back in the mini-greenhouse, and the tray with seeds that still need to germinate, back on the warming mat. The mini-greenhouse itself should be closer to the living room window, but the closer you get to the window, the colder the room is, so that won’t work for probably another few weeks.

We don’t know for sure which cat did this damage but, really, there’s just the one that keeps trying to get into the mini-greenhouse, still. The others are content to sit in the sun spot on the chair seat in front of it.

I love the cats. I really do. But I am getting so tired of cat damage.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: shifting things around

Last might, my daughter and I moved some seedlings around.

The tray from the big aquarium greenhouse is now on the bottom shelf of the mini-greenhouse. The Cup of Moldova tomatoes in particular, were getting so big, they were getting too close to the lights. Plus, they really needed to be off the heat mat.

The bottom three shelves of the mini-greenhouse get direct sunlight in the mornings, so the tray with the tree seeds got moved to the top shelf, which gets no direct sunlight at all. The downside with this set up is that we no longer have a way to provide artificial light, so we’ll have to keep an eye on them, and rotate the trays as needed.

The pots with gourd seeds that did not germinate yet (including the one with just leaf starting to show along the side) got transferred to a new tray and remain on the heat mat. There is still only one Wonderberry sprout, so I took the outer cups off and put them in with the remaining gourd pots. Hopefully, the added warmth will help with those. I also transferred the shallots tray under the lights. There are two tiny sprouts showing!

I’m a bit perplexed over the bulb onions, in the small tank. They all seem to have dried tips. Especially the ones in the larger tray, where one entire spot of seedlings seems to be drying up. In one tray, most of the tips still have their seed cases on them, but the ones that don’t, have the dried tips. I’ve lowered the whole thing, so they’re not as close to the light, though I don’t see how this light could be the problem.

Any onion growers that have experienced this? Last year, we did have the one type that survived to be transplanted, and I don’t remember having issues like this at all, though it was in the other tank. I’m making sure the soil is hydrated, but not too wet, and the light on this tank isn’t as bright as the others, nor does it get as warm as one of the light fixtures on the big tank, so they’re not getting “burned”. We also put a fan on the tank, for air circulation and to help keep the seedlings from getting too leggy. We have just the one little fan, so it gets alternated between the two tanks.

As long as they keep growing, I’m not too worried. Eventually, they’ll be getting hair cuts, anyhow. But if they all start shrivelling away, I’d like to know why! We used all the seeds in the packets in these trays, so it’s not like we can start over, either.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: starting shallots and transplanting tomatoes

Okay, for better or for worse, we now have stuff in the mini-greenhouse! Let’s see if we’ve succeeded in making it cat proof. 😀

The first thing today was to get the shallots started.

There are a lot less seeds than I remember from last year. I’ll have to look back at last year’s photos and double check.

The container is a mixed greens salad container from the grocery story. It has drainage holes in the bottom, and the seed starting mix is pre-moistened.

With such easy to see seeds, after scattering them I used a chopstick to separate any that were right up against each other, and spread them out more evenly. Then they got a spritz with water, a light layer of more soil mix, then spritzed again.

The container’s lid is recessed, and I didn’t want it too close to the soil surface, so I just plopped it on upside down. I then left it in a tray with water under it, to be absorbed from below. While it was sitting, it was time to work on the aquarium greenhouses.

The red and yellow onions are doing quite well. I rotated the trays after adding more water below them. The reflective light from the aluminum foil at the back, which is closest to the trays themselves, is clearly making a difference. All the sprouts were leaning towards the back of the tank! 😀

We have our first Wonderberry sprout! These were taken out and got more water added to the outer cups, as well as a spritz, then set aside for later, so they wouldn’t get knocked over while the seedling tray was being moved around.

You can just see that a new luffa gourd is starting to sprout! It’s right against the wall of the pot at the top of the photo.

I very carefully removed the seed covering from the leaves of the canteen gourd. Normally I would avoid doing that, but I’m glad I did this time. It was really solid, and had to be broken apart to get it off.

Here are the tomatoes, on either side of the eggplants and peppers.

The tray usually gets water on the bottom well before the pots dry out this much, but when the pots are damp, they are difficult to move. They feel like they’re about to fall apart. Which will be good when they get transplanted into the garden, but not so good when I need to move them around!

With the eggplants and peppers, they were thinned to 2 plants per pot. As they get larger, we will probably thin them to one plant per pot. We don’t need a lot of either of these. Three plants each should be fine to meet our needs.

The plan was to transplant all the strongest tomatoes to thin them – but there were a lot of them! Especially the Cup of Moldova. They’re doing really well in here. In the end, there was just one seedling that didn’t get transplanted because it was so tiny.

We half-filled red Solo cups with soil and used a chopstick to make holes for the transplants. Then I ended up using a steel poultry trussing needle (which never gets used to truss poultry; I’m not even sure why I originally bought them!) to loosen and tease out the transplants as carefully as I could. After they got tucked into their new pots, more soil was carefully spooned around them to about half way up their stems and gently pressed in, just enough to make sure there were no air spaces, before they all got a spritz of water.

Each of the original pots was left with one tomato plant. With the Cup of Moldova, we ended up with a dozen transplants, making 15 altogether. These cups were used last year, too, and already had drainage holes in the bottom. If we needed to, we could double cup them, but for now, they fit into the baking tray, in one of the higher shelves of the mini-greenhouse, above the back of the chair it is tied to. I’d rather it was lower down, but with the wider baking tray, that’s where it fits.

With the Sophie’s Choice, there were only 7 strong enough to transplant, and they fit in the tray with the shallots container.

When it’s daylight, we’ll assess whether or not we need to set up a light from the other side. There may be an issue of the high tray shading out the lower one.

Then the original tray went back into the big aquarium greenhouse, on the heat mat, and the tray got a generous amount of water added, to moisten the pots from below.

In doing the transplants, the tomatoes also got moved to one end of the tray, while the eggplants and peppers are now next to the gourds. That was just because it was easier to reach the tomatoes while transplanting them.

Hopefully, these will survive their transplanting well. It should be interesting to see the difference between how the tomatoes in the mini-greenhouse do, compared to the ones in the aquarium greenhouse. There is going to be a substantial difference in light and warmth.

But first, we’ll see just how tempting the trays in the mini-greenhouse are for the cats, or if they will be left alone!

There are still two more shelves open in there. The next time we need to start seeds, which should be in two or three weeks, we should be able to move things out of the aquarium greenhouses, into the mini-greenhouse, and have the new seed starts put into the aquariums. If the weather co-operates, by the time we’re ready to start more seeds in April, we should be able to transfer the biggest seedlings into the sun room. I’m sure these tomatoes will need to be potted up by then, too.

This is the first time we’ve had so many seeds to start indoors. It’s going to be a juggling act!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden; fall planting, and shallot surprise

Now that it’s “cooled off” again to 32C/90F (feels like 34C/93F), I headed back to the garden to remove the shade clothes and get those photos I promised.

Our surviving (barely) French Breakfast radishes, and rainbow chard.

Now that one of the beds has a window screen mesh covering it, I decided to take a chance.

I planted lettuces.

On the far left are the surviving purple kohlrabi, and in the middle are radishes. I forget which variety at the moment.

I had our four varieties of lettuce together in a slide lock bag, and they spilled a bit, so I planted the mixed up seeds at the bottom of the bag. So we are going to have lettuce surprise when they start to sprout!

Moving the cover on and off is still a two person job. The length of the cover makes it a bit too wobbly. We definitely need to make the permanent beds shorter, just for that!

A nice thing about the window screen mesh is that it slows down and breaks up the water, so it lands more gently. We don’t have the hose nozzle set on anything high pressure, but these surviving seedlings are still spindly and weak from being under those water bottle covers to protect them from insects and critters. With the mesh covering the ends, I have at least some hope that these lettuces will have a chance to survive. At this point, it’s the grasshoppers, more than the critters, that are an issue.

Once this was done, I decided to harvest the shallots. I’d been weeding the bed while watering this morning and accidentally pulled one up. I didn’t think they were doing well; many of the green parts had withered away completely, and I could no longer see where they were, while others just looked like they were struggling. The one I accidentally pulled up looked surprisingly large, so I left it there, to collect with the others this evening.

I was very pleasantly surprised!

As I started digging them up, I found they were much larger than expected. The one way at the far end in the photo is almost as big as an onion!

Then I accidentally dug up a shallot there there was no sign of any growing there anymore, and it was far larger than I expected, too. So I went back over the row and dug into each spot I knew I’d planted a shallot, and found several more! They are the smaller ones with no, or almost no, stems.

For now, they sit on a window screen, raised up on bricks for air circulation, to cure for a while. I’m quite pleased with what we got. Our original shallots, started from seed, were destroyed by the cats, so these ones are from sets I bought at the grocery store. There was only a dozen sets per bag, so I got two bags. A far cry from how many we would have had, if the ones from seed had survived, but way better than nothing at all! This is just awesome!

Tomorrow morning, I think I will start harvesting some of the onions. They are not all ready, but some of them definitely are. We have quite a lot of them, so I don’t mind harvesting and curing them in batches!

Being able to harvest things already, and even plant things for a fall harvest, kinda makes up for all the problems we’ve been having with the drought, critters and insects! We may not have as much as we hoped to in the spring, but we will still have food to harvest, and that’s the important part!

The Re-Farmer