Our 2022 garden: morning in the garden, and first tomatoes!

My morning rounds are taking longer, as I am able to do more in the various garden beds as I go along.

I harvested the largest of the chive blossoms, before they go to seed. While I continued with my morning rounds, one of my daughters washed and de-bugged them, then laid them out on a cooling rack in a baking tray to dry. They are in the oven, with no heat at all, to protect them from the cats. Once the wash water is dried off, we’ll stick as much of them in a jar as we can, with olive oil. Any extras will go in the freezer. Or maybe I should split them into two jars and use them all. There are more chive blossoms to harvest later on, so we’ll have plenty to infuse in vinegar, too.

Speaking of drying things, during the night that cats did manage to get at the stacked screens of drying mint leaves. We’ve lost about 2 screen’s worth of mint leaves to the floor. 😦

When I moved on from the old kitchen garden to check on the squash patch, I noticed one of the giant pumpkins was no longer upright. I thought it might be because it had grown large enough to start leaning over, but I was wrong.

The stem is broken, right at ground level. Possibly from the high winds we’ve been having. Or…

Possibly weakened by the ant hill that has formed on that side of the pumpkin mound!

I built soil up around to support the stem again, in the off chance that it will survive, but with a break that large, I don’t expect it to. We are likely down to just one giant pumpkin plant.

Everything else in the squash patch seems to be surviving so far, and I’m seeing new growth in most. The squash that were started at 4 weeks are so very small, though. I kinda feel like maybe we should have started them at 6 weeks.

I had a very pleasant surprise in the tomato patch nearby, though!

Of course, the camera on my phone didn’t focus where I wanted it to. 😀

We have our first tomatoes forming!

These are on the Sophie’s Choice tomato plants. We got these seeds as a freebie with my order from Heritage Harvest, which was a very pleasant surprise. They have a much shorter growing season, and were started indoors at around 10 weeks or something (it’s a good thing I am using the blog as a gardening journal to record the details, because I’m already forgetting!). So I am not surprised that these are the first to start forming fruit.

We did get some rain last night, but it was light enough that much of the water in the garden was able to get absorbed by the soil, and the paths are just really wet, instead of big puddles of water. That meant I could finally do some much needed weeding in the summer squash bed, then pruning of tomatoes.

I took some of the strongest, healthiest looking branches that I pruned off the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes and transplanted them in the open spaces between the summer squash. I don’t know if I’m breaching any companion planting rules here (do tomatoes and squash go well together?), but whatever. If they take, great. If not, that’s okay, too. I specifically wanted to propagate more Sophie’s Choice tomatoes, as they are listed as extremely rare, so if I can save seed and help keep the variety going, that would be a good thing. Because they start producing so much faster than the other varieties we have, I’m not as concerned about cross pollination.

While I was weeding and tending different parts of the garden, I had Rolando Moon hanging out and keeping me company. Not wanting attention. Just being nearby.

I had to chase her out of one of the sweet potato bags, as she decided to start rolling in it! Then she jumped up into the high raised bed and lay down on some onions. THEN, she moved into the squash and corn patch, and sat on some corn seedlings!

That cat seems determined to be destructive!

Meanwhile…

The tomatoes are not the only things blooming. Two of the Styrian hulless pumpkins have suddenly burst into bloom, and they are all covered with buds again. Their first buds had been pruned away when they were transplanted. They look to still be all male flowers. I’m debating whether these flowers should be pruned away, too, so more energy can go to the plants establishing themselves more. It hasn’t been that long since they were transplanted, after all.

Anyone out there know if it would be helpful to prune the flowers off now or not?

The beans and peas at the trellises and bean tunnel are looking quite good. The cucumbers seem more touch and go. The first peas that were planted are getting quite large, and the snap peas are already large enough that some have latched onto the vertical trellis strings already. The snap peas are growing noticeably faster than the pod peas.

There is a single, out of place pea plant that showed up, right near the upright post at the start of the row. It seems to be a pea from last year that finally germinated! It germinated quite a bit earlier than the others, and I’m trying to train it up the support post, since it’s too far from the vertical lines to climb. Last year, we planted the King Tut purple peas here, so that’s what this one would be. It’s even almost as large as the purple peas we started indoors from saved seed, and transplanted against the chain link fence to climb. They are all tall enough that they’ve attached themselves to the fence and are making their way upwards, even though they are still looking kinda spindly.

The Wonderberries have been ripening, though the plants haven’t really gotten any bigger, and have what looks like weather damage. I’ve been able to taste them. They are lightly sweet, but don’t have any predominant flavour. This may be something we just leave for the birds. I’ll have to get the girls to try them, too, and see if they like them. I don’t mind them self seeding in this location, as I’d rather have the berry bushes that produce food, either for us or for the birds, than the invasive flowers.

In other things, my plans for the day have had to change. My sister never made it out to my mother’s yesterday, because my mother told her it was “too soon” to start packing and bagging things in preparation for her apartment being sprayed for bed bugs. She has a shift today, so that’s out. My brother, meanwhile, is out of town for a funeral that had been delayed until now by the lockdowns. So it looks like I’ll likely have to go to my mother’s to help out. I’ll phone her, first, once I’m sure she is back from church. My sister will be able to come out tomorrow morning, and I hope to come out in the early afternoon for the last of the packing and bagging, and moving of larger items. Then she’s back the next morning to bring our mother to her place for the night. I’ll head over in the early evening to check on the place and make sure it’s locked up while my mother is gone.

On Tuesday, I should be heading into the city for the first half of our monthly shopping, too. I will time it so I can check her place on my way home.

Which means I’ll be getting very little accomplished at home over the next few days!

The Re-Farmer

Morning finds

After yesterday’s heat, I made a point of checking the garden more closely. Some things, like the Kaho watermelon, seem to be struggling. Most things seem to be okay, though.

Some Wonderberries are starting to ripen.

The heat seems to have done a number on them, though. All three plants had wilted parts like this.

A deer walked right through the corn and beans patches. We’ll have to put something up to make them go around. They don’t seem to be trying to eat any of the plants. Just passing through.

The sunchokes are coming up! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to tell them apart from the weeds, but they are very clearly a different plant.

A few of the newly germinated beans seemed to be having a hard time, but we planted quite a bit, so if a few don’t make it, it should be okay.

All in all, things seem to have handled the heat all right. Today, and for the next while, we are expecting more average, slightly cooler, conditions. It’s just a few degrees, but it makes a big difference.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: eggplants, peppers, Wonderberry, and what a long day

It’s shortly before 8pm as I start this, and it’s all I can do not to just go to bed right now!

My day started a bit earlier, as I wanted to get my morning rounds taken care of before making some calls, then heading to the city. My husband and I now have medical appointments for the end of the week. We are both way overdue. Especially my husband.

Once that was done, I headed to the city, stopping to get gas at the town my mother lives in, first. Too early for their fried chicken to be available, so breakfast was a bag of beef jerky. 😀 Usually, I just get $20 or $30 in gas, but decided to fill. At 197.9/L $20 wasn’t going to get me much. It cost almost $55 for about a quarter tank.

Then I got to the city and the first gas stations I saw were at 207.9/L

That’s USD$6.24/US gallon.

As I got further into the city, I saw stations that were still at 196.9/L but it likely is just a matter of time before all the stations jump up in price.

It’s insane.

I’m sure glad I filled my tank earlier!

Today was our day to do the rest of our monthly stocking up, and I went to The Wholesale Club again for this trip. Ended up spending just over $400 there, and the only things that could be considered splurges were super long metal tongs, and a super long wooden spoon, for cooking over the firepit. Oh, and more 500ml, wide mouth canning jars for the stash. 😀

There were a couple of things they didn’t have in types and sizes that I wanted, so I went to a nearby Walmart. My splurges there were a heavy duty garden hose, and a fan for my window, to replace the box fan that broke last year. The garden hose was actually a bit cheaper than the medium duty garden hose I was looking at. Normally I’d say, you get what you pay for, but the last time I paid a more premium price for a heavy duty hose, it suddenly burst apart at the tap, the first summer we used it. We’ll see how well this one lasts.

Between the drive and the shopping, the whole thing took about 4-5 hours, but I got pretty much everything on my list – including the highest SPF sunscreen I could find, an more bug spray! After this, we’ll only need to pick up fresh stuff locally, as needed.

I’m glad I remembered to stop at the post office on the way home. Several packages were in, including a birthday gift for my younger daughter. We also finally got the credit from our previous internet provider, which we should have gotten back in February. Since I was there, I also picked up another bag of wood shavings to use as mulch.

Once at home and the girls unloaded the van and put everything away, I headed back outside. We hit more than 20C/68F today, and I wanted to make sure all the transplants – both the ones still in pots, and the ones in the gardens – got a good misting. Happily, there is no sign of transplant shock in anything we transplanted. In fact, one tomato plant that got all droopy right after being planted, has already perked up.

My younger daughter was able to get the Wonderberry transplanted.

We decided to put them around the stone cross. I’ve read that these are good at self seeding, so they can be treated as perennials, and we thought this might be a nice place for them. They are so full of flowers and berries! I would certainly prefer these spreading around the area, instead of those green leafed plants that are taking over everything. They do have pretty flowers but, wow, do they ever invade! Almost every area we’ve managed to clean up among the trees is now covered with these!

Unfortunately, my daughter didn’t get much more done outdoors after this. She was driven inside by the clouds of mosquitoes. I had bug spray on, and it barely kept them at bay. I ended up mowing the main garden area, instead of working on more transplanting or bed prep as I’d intended, because the tall, damp grass is just a haven for mosquitoes. Huge clouds of them would rise up as we walked through! They’re just nasty.

Before I started mowing, my daughter helped me move the row covers we made last year. From the droppings left behind, the deer walked all over them during the winter. They are completely falling apart. When we can, we’ll take them apart and salvage what we can to reuse in other ways in the garden.

I didn’t get all of what needed to be mowed – some areas are still too wet – but the main garden area, and the spaces between beds and trellises we used last year, are now mowed. I also set up the old, patched up rain barrel and filled it with water (which I could now reach without having to steal a length of hose from the front tap, thanks to the new hose I got today) while I mowed, so we can use it to water the silver buffalo berry and sea buckthorn with ambient temperature water. Plus I could reach to use the hose to water the peas.

Once a bare minimum of mowing was done, I went ahead and did some more transplanting.

We had 5 surviving Little Finger eggplants, and they just fit into the middle of the half-bed that had space. They are encircled by spinach and onions. Now that the eggplants are in, we can finish setting up the hoops – they just need cross pieces joining them in the middles – so we can cover them with net. I don’t know of the critters would eat eggplant, but I’d rather not give them the opportunity to find out!

There were 7 surviving Purple Beauty bell peppers. Most were from the second seed start. Only two survived the Great Cat Crush. 😀 Once they were in, there was still some space in the middle of this bed. Just enough for the last two Cup of Moldova that didn’t fit in the bed that has just tomatoes in it.

This bed is encircled with onions on the outside, while the inside has turnips on one side, spinach on the other. The turnips – all three varieties – germinated a couple days ago, and today I could just see little spinach coming up, too.

With the peppers now planted, we’ll add twine to the supports, and then will be able to put net around the bed.

Tomorrow, we’re going to need to put a priority on transplanting the melons. They are starting to suffer in their too-small toilet tube pots. So they will go into the deep mulch space left over, after the potatoes were planted. I was going to plant the summer squash in there, though to be honest, between the two beds, we might have room for both. Well. Not all the summer squash. We do have a lot of patty pans!

We’re expected to get as warm tomorrow as we did today, so I think an early bed and early rise will be in order again. I want to get more work done in the garden, while it is still cool.

After I pain killer up and slather my dried up hands with lotion! I am in such pain right now. It’s fine if I’m sitting down, except for the joints in my fingers making it hard to type, but every time I get up, I find my joints have completely stiffened up and I can barely walk.

*sigh*

I’m too young to be feeling this old!

😀

The Re-Farmer

Ups and Downs

Today is looking like it’s going to be a gorgeous day! We finally have some sunshine and warmth, and while it’s still muddy out there, the water levels continue to go down. Even the water seeping into the old basement is somewhat better.

There was a whole crowd of cats waiting for my by the sunroom door, eager for breakfast. A lot of the ‘iccuses are hanging out. Still no sign of Chaddiccus, though – the only one of them that we could actually pet. Agnoos and Tuxedo Mask are still missing, too. Still, I saw a dozen cats in total, this morning.

It was nice enough that I brought the transplants out earlier, too.

I managed to get a slightly better picture of the developing Wonderberries.

On the down side, it looks like my mother will be going to the ER today. She’s been complaining of back pain for a while now, but it was really bad last night. My brother was planning to come out to join her in church and visit her after, but planned to take her to the hospital instead.

Oh, now that’s timing. I just got a message from him. They’re at the ER now, and she’s waiting to get her kidneys checked. From how she describes her pain, that seems the most likely cause.

We did talk about my driving her to the hospital and him meeting us there, but he decided he would do it all. Which is probably just as well. Since we are still under restrictions at the federal level, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to go in with her. Hospitals as still demanding people be masked, even though provincial restrictions are lifted, and in spite of all the evidence and data out there that shows it’s not only unnecessary, but harmful. My mother shouldn’t be wearing one, but she does, anyhow, because she’s been bullied into it. The way things are now, she would probably be sent home from the ER if she wasn’t masked and jabbed, as so many others already have been, all over the province. A lot of places responded to the provincial mandates being dropped by doubling down on the restrictions, instead.

Even aside from that, it’s probably just as well I didn’t try to drive my mother. I was awakened quite early today with a sort of headache. The kind that feels like it’s from eye strain. The weird part was that it hurt more if my eyes were closed then when they were open, so getting back to sleep wasn’t going to happen. Driving would probably have not been a good thing for me to be doing.

With the day being so nice, we might be able to get the fire pit going to have a wiener roast, and even finally use the new cast iron Dutch oven for the first time. I hope to be able to get more garden beds prepped, too. The weather forecast is now saying heat and possible thundershowers in a couple of days, then it’s supposed to cool down again, but we should still be able to get the cool weather seeds in. The garden beds we prepped in the fall have crab grass and weeds that made their way through, so I want to get those out before we start seeding, as much as possible.

What I would really love to be able to do, though, is close my eyes for a while. :-/

The Re-Farmer

We have berries! and stuff I forgot

While bringing the plants indoors, my daughter remembered to shake the blooming Wonderberry plants against each other, to give them a chance to pollinate. I still don’t know of they’re self pollinating our not, but we’re doing it just in case. Then my daughter commented that it seems to be working. We have berries.

What????

It turns out all three of the plants are starting to form berries!

Of course, my camera didn’t want to focus on the ones I was trying to get a picture of. After the photo was uploaded, I noticed more I hadn’t seen.

The instructions I found for these said to start them indoors very early, which we did. Now it’s looking like they were started way too early! I have no idea how they will handle being transplanted outdoors, which still won’t happen for at least a week and a half.

They are looking strong and healthy in their pots. Though we did pot them up into larger pots that can be directly buried into the ground, they’ve gotten quite large, and now those pots look so small!

There’s not much we can do about that for now. We’ll just have to see how they do.

While uploading the picture of the berries, I realized I’d forgotten another picture I took of something I FINALLY managed to get done, while tending the burn barrel. I cut away the trees that were growing around, under and through the old Farm Hand tractor sitting in the outer yard. My brother thinks it can be fixed up, so I wanted to make sure it doesn’t end up like so many other old and abandoned antique equipment lying around.

I was able to get most of it cleared with a pair of loppers, including one surprisingly large maple that was growing through the engine compartment. There was one large maple in the back that I had to come back with the mini-chainsaw to cut away. This one was not only larger than all the others, it had formed around part of the tractor.

The dents in the trunk piece are from growing around the bottom corner of the hydraulic fluid tank, and the hose attached to it.

Maple suckers will grow back, but it will be easier to keep clear, now that the big ones are out.

It’s a shame no one’s been able to keep this old crank-start tractor up. It’s been sitting so long, you can see lichen growing on the tank! There’s lichen growing all over it. As you can see, the hoses are degrading, too, and it’s all rusted. The front end loader attachment is so covered with moss and grasses, I can’t even tell which attachment is on it.

I’m glad I managed to at least get this job done. It’s been on my to-do list for three years!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: sun room follow up

This morning, as I headed out to do my rounds, the sun room thermometer was at about 10C/50F. During the night, I saw it dip as low as about 5C/41F.

I moved away the reflect to get some photos of the new bins with the kulli corn. The picture of the smaller bin didn’t turn out, though.

Here is the larger bin with 80 toilet tube pots in it. That white plastic is marking off the pots that are empty. When one daughter finished the smaller bin, she started helping her sister from the other side, so the empty pots ended up in a really weird place. 😀

They planted all the seeds, including the little, bitty extras. I don’t expect those to germinate, but who knows? Even without the extras, I don’t expect 100% germination. It should be interesting to see what we get.

The three trays of bulb onions are doing better in the sun room than they were in the mini-greenhouse, but that tray of shallots is really struggling. 😦

The Cup of Moldova tomatoes have recovered from their first night in the sun room rather well. You can see leaves with cold damage on them, but the remaining leaves are looking quite strong. Even the Crespo squash and Canteen gourds seem to be doing just fine.

Likewise with the Wonderberry.

There are some seedlings in the mini-greenhouse that are starting to look like they can be moved to the sun room, as does the tray of bunching onions. We’ll have to do a bit of re-arranging, since the sun room ended up being a feline recovery room again, to make space for everything.

It will be good when we finally have a small greenhouse or polytunnel. Hopefully, we’ll have something in time for next year.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: recovery! and “potting up”

I am just so very thrilled!

I popped through the sun room to chase a skunk out of the kibble house, which gave me a chance to check on the seedlings (and give Potato Beetle some cuddles.

As I write this, it’s 3C/37F outside, but 20C/68F in the sun room.

Here are before and after photos. Look at what a difference the temperature has made!

The Cup of Moldova tomatoes were all drooping in their bin – or held up by the protective sheet of insulation on the side (I’m glad I put that there, as Potato Beetle has been sitting on the other side of it!), but now they’re all standing tall again!

I honestly didn’t think the three Cup of Moldova tomatoes in between the Crespo squash and Canteen gourds would make it, they looked so shriveled, but they too are standing at attention once again!

Perhaps the most dramatic difference is in the smaller Wonderberry. They’re looking just fine right now!

It’s supposed to start snowing again tonight, but the low is supposed to be just 0C/32F. Even if we end up a few degrees colder, that should still be warm enough that the sun room will be much better tonight, compared to last night. If they survived last night, they should have no problem with tonight! In a way, this is hardening off the seedlings, I suppose. Just in a very brutal way!

I am so happy now!

Meanwhile, I decided to check on the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes. The remaining ones from the second planting are still quite small, but getting tall enough that they could be “potted up” by adding more soil to their Red Solo cup pots.

There were four cups, each with two seedlings in them. Three of them were thinned down to one, but in one of the cups, both where equally strong, so I transplanted one of them to its own cup. They are now back in the mini-greenhouse, safe from leaf eating, dirt digging, pot crushing kitties.

Most of the other remaining seedlings in the mini-greenhouse are tomatoes – the squash and gourds we repotted after the Great Cat Crush did not survive, so we have only those from the second seeding, in the big aquarium greenhouse. Of the other survivors of the Great Cat Crush are three cups with eggplants (one has two strong seedlings in it that I’m considering dividing), and two peppers, one of which is very weak and spindly. We do have the new seed starts of those in the big aquarium greenhouse, and their true leaves are just beginning to show. We shall see how many we finally end up with, by the time we’re ready to transplant them outside.

Today, we are also finally seeing the tiniest seedlings among the ground cherries. Of the six pots, two of them has a single seedling showing up. I hope more germinate. I really like ground cherries, and would love to have quite a few plants of those.

One of our planned projects is to build a wire mesh barrier, with a wire mesh door, in the opening between the living room and dining rooms. We’ll be able to keep the cats out entirely, and the living room can be our plant haven, so we don’t have to struggle so much to protect them anymore!

Gosh, I feel so encouraged now.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: moving into the sun room

You know how it gets, when you start one thing, then end up doing more, or go to check on something only to find yourself doing a bunch of other things, just because you’re there, anyway?

Yeah. That was most of my day. 😀

One of those things happened while preparing to write my previous post, and I noticed some deer on the security camera, running up the driveway. I went to check on where they were going and, sure enough, one headed for the kibble house.

The sun was blinding me while trying to take the photo, so it wasn’t until I went out to chase off the deer from eating the kibble, that I finally saw the skunk!

The skunk quickly ran off and, within moments, the cats were back in the kibble house, eating.

Then Potato Beetle politely asked for cuddles, so I stayed in the sun room holding him, which is why I was there to see the deer try and return, several times!

This deer was going for the kibble house because it had been chased away from the feeding station by the three deer I’d seen running up the driveway!

Then, since I was in the sun room anyhow, I started working on the shelf we’ll be moving seedlings onto. With Potato Beetle still being kept in there, I moved the warming lamp to the bottom shelf, which we will leave clear for him, then emptied and set up a higher shelf. That shelf doesn’t get as much light, so the little bins with the tulip tree and paw paw seeds in them got moved up (still no idea if those will ever germinate).

Once that was ready, it was time to go through the big aquarium greenhouse and the mini-greenhouse to collect the largest seedlings and transfer them to the sun room, using some of the bins I picked up.

The two Wonderberries turned out to be too tall for the shelf!! so they got put into buckets and joined the first one on the shelf. They are in biodegradable pots, and I didn’t feel like fussing with aluminum foil, like we did for the first one.

I also had to prune flower buds off the little Wonderberry plants!

It’s not in the photo, but while clearing the extra shelf, I brought down the pot that my daughter buried the cucamelon tubers in. I set it up in the window with the Wonderberry and watered it. Who knows. We might have some cucamelons this year, after all!

Here, the Canteen gourds, two of the Crespo squash, and three of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes got set up next to the trays with the onion seedlings.

A bin with all Cup of Moldova tomatoes got set up on the next shelf down. If they look all bent over, that’s because they were starting to get crowded in their shelves in the mini-greenhouse! A piece of rigid insulation that had been laying on the shelf next to where the bin was placed, got set up to create a wall.

Just in case Potato Beetle manages to get onto the other half of the shelf and decides to do a Susan on the seedlings, and try to eat them.

Hopefully, Potato Beetle won’t be in the sun room for much longer, and we’ll be able to use that bottom shelf, too.

This afternoon, however, he was quite content to watch the activity from the comfort of my husband’s walker!

Once everything was set up, the bins and trays got watered, the reflector was put back in position, and I turned on the shop light that’s hanging on the inside of the shelf, where things are in shadow. It was 20C/68F in there, so I left the warming lamp off. It’ll get turned on again when things start cooling down.

Hopefully, the seedlings will do well in the sun room. I’m still concerned about those overnight temperatures. There’s only so much that little light we’re using for its warmth (as is Potato Beetle!) can do, and there’s no safe way to set up the ceramic heat bulb without some sort of metal frame, since the frame of the mini-greenhouse we used before is being actively used as… you know… a greenhouse.

The mini-greenhouse now has two completely empty shelves and, after re-arranging things, there’s even room in one of the trays for more pots. There will be room for the next seeds we will be starting this week, though I think the Kulli corn, which will be in bins, will be going straight into the sun room. We’ll see how whether the bins can fit in the big aquarium greenhouse or not. There is also still the small aquarium greenhouse. Seedlings don’t thrive in it, but it should still be suitable to keep pots until their seeds germinate and, hopefully, we’ll be able to move any seedlings out to a better spot soon after.

It feels like we’re juggling pots and seedlings! Which I guess we are.

The Re-Farmer

It’s a Wonder

Before coming back inside, I remembered to check out the flower I spotted on the Wonderberry.

Such a pretty, tiny little thing!

Then I killed it. 😦

I pinched off all the flower buds that I could find, so the plant will put more energy into growing foliage. With no insects to pollinate them this early anyhow, blooming is just wasted energy for the plant. Hopefully, it will continue to do just fine until we can plant it outside.

The sunroom was about 16C/61F at the time I did this! That’s over 20 degrees Celsius warmer than outside! If the temperatures didn’t drop down to about 3C/37F overnight in there, all our seedlings would be set up in the sun room right now. I’m hoping, as things warm up over the next few days, we’ll finally be able to start doing that. After Easter, we’ll be starting the seeds that need to be started at 6 weeks before last frost. That will be the Kulli corn and the remaining tomato varieties; yellow pear and Chocolate Cherry. We have a very few Spoon tomato seeds left. Maybe we’ll finish those off, too.

It’s the four week seed starts that are going to need the most space. These include:
– the remaining gourds we’ll be doing this year (Yakteen and Apple)
– all the summer squash (Endeavor green zucchini, Goldy yellow zucchini, Madga, Sunburst yellow pattypan and G Star green pattypan)
– and pumpkin, including three types of hulless seed pumpkins (Styrian, Kakai and Lady Godiva), the Baby Pam from last year that didn’t germinate at all, but I hope will work if we scarify the seeds first, plus some giant pumpkin seeds that were given away for free that I’d like to try.
– all the winter squash (Little Gem/Kuri and Teddy from last year, Georgia Candy Roaster, Winter Sweet and Boston Marrow)
– all the melons (Halona and Pixie, from saved seeds, Kaho watermelon and Zucca, plus some seeds saved from grocery store melons we liked)
– cucumber (Eureka)

These are all things we do want to plant quite a bit of each type, since they are being grown more for preserving than for fresh eating. Except the melon. We might freeze or pickle some, but mostly, we’ll be eating those fresh, and I can hardly wait!

We’re also going to be using many of the squash in particular to reclaim portions of the old garden area. Anything that is doesn’t need to be trellised, or their fruit is too big to trellis, we’ll take advantage of their spreading habits and large leaves to shade out the weeds beyond the hills and mulch we’ll be planting them in.

After that, we’ve got the stuff we’ll be direct sowing, some of which can be started before last frost. We’ve got 4 types of turnip (I ordered 2, but got 2 more as freebies), 2 types of bread poppies, strawberry spinach, I think 2 types of beets this year, 3 types of pole beans, including 1 shelling type, 2 types of bush beans left over from last year, 2 types of peas, 4 types of carrots, 2 more types of corn, including a popcorn, 3 types of radishes, which I still want to grow for their pods, not their roots, 3 types of spinach from last year, 4 types of lettuce from last year, and 2 types of chard from last year. Then there’s the stuff that will be shipped when it’s time to plant, including 3 types of potatoes, sunchokes and sweet potato slips.

I don’t know where we’re going to plant a lot of this. We do have a general sort of map set out. Quite a few things will be planted in temporary beds to help prepare the soil for future plans, and some things will be interplanted with others, so they’ll be sharing beds. We will likely need to build more temporary trellises, too. In the end, though, we’re still figuring things out, so we have no fixed plans. Almost everything is going to have to be flexible.

Getting this all in is going to be a wonder in itself!

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