This week's 'dig'
Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT


You know you're a gardener when...
Photobucket
Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots
Where things either live or die!

Apr 27, 2009

Monday Seedling Update

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Our CCOC Women’s Retreat was a lot of fun, but it’s nice to come home...especially to plants that are all alive! I’m sorry to report that my camera died at the retreat, so no picture! And the sun was out almost the entire weekend too- dang it! I’ll try to get some shots from some of the ladies that went.

I’ll start out with a shot of the greens I took to the retreat. I harvested a lot and really had to pack it in there to get it all! I was a little worried that it wouldn’t make it by the time we got there, or that it wouldn’t be enough- both worked out great!

 

 

The shot includes 4 kinds of lettuce, mizuna (Asian green), Bull’s Blood beet greets (dark burgundy), baby spinach, and radish. I threw in some pansy flowers for some great color- and they are edible, although I didn’t care for them :).

 

As I said, it was nice to come home to plants that were alive :). It’s funny how when you are away from your garden for a time that things really look big when you return! There is really only one plant that doesn’t look great- the eggplant. I think that is because I turned the plant out of its pot to check the roots because I was considering up-potting the day before I left. I decided not to and returned the plant to its pot. That and overwatering...of course!


I guess these don’t really qualify as seedlings now, huh? I think the basil does though...

 

When I got home I couldn’t believe how big they were! I think it’s a bit too cold to put these out, but it won’t be long!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the greenhouse things are looking well. It has gone from sunny and hot, to cool and overcast but I decided to leave the shade cloth on. Hopefully the tomatoes will do alright! I started some more ‘Gold Nugget’ yellow cherry tomato a while back and decided to try the grow bags to see how they do. Tomorrow it will be time to hang this bag as it has been more than 10 days. It will be interesting to see how these do in the bags.

 


The Nicotiana is doing well, not all of them, but most. I think they will be hardened off this week.

 

And the watermelon seems to be doing alright even with the lower temps and the Dex pots!


The cosmos is looking nice as well- although I think they really needed to be in 3 inch pots instead of 4 inch.

Morning glory looks nice, and I think I just may have started it at the correct time- we’ll see :)

And the salvia are starting to bloom!

There is a lot more in the greenhouse, but lets move onto the garden. The Marigold seeds I planted in the cold frame germinated a while back. When they get a little bigger I’ll move some to the garden and others will go to friends.

I moved some Swiss Chard from the cold frame to my tunnel #1 just before I left last week- I can’t believe how much they grew. I really need to get some mulch put down around some of my remaining crops.

I sowed some Pak Choi a while ago and they seem to be doing wonderfully. I started them in the cold frame and they’ll stay there as they don’t appreciate their roots disturbed.

There is more, but after the weekend I’m spent! I’ll leave you with the harvest from this morning :) Yummy!

 

If you’d like to see a wonderful seedling update visit Daphne over at Daphne’s Dandelions- she has some wonderful things growing and some harvests to report!

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Happy Gardening and harvesting,

Tessa

Apr 21, 2009

Dare I say it’s hot?

 

The funny thing about Portland is that it will be cold in the spring, and then BAM! It gets hot- 83 on Monday, today it was 80! Now when it’s in the 80 here, it feels hotter when you’re out working in it :). Now the weather is turning colder again and it will be in the 60’s.

The crops are certainly not used to the hot weather, so I was out there checking things and watering quite a bit. The greenhouse was well over 100 degrees, so it was definitely time to put that shade cloth on that DH bought for my birthday this year.

I will be leaving to go to the beach this week for our women’s retreat (Calvary Chapel Oregon City), so I’ve been busy hardening things off and getting a couple things planted. I wanted to try to get things to a point that it won’t be too much work for DH while I’m gone. I’m trying to get things done inside as well (Yes, Andy, I’m practicing guitar too!) And some of the plants have gone to friends and family so they can get planted.

There is a little bit of this and that in the above photo, Nicotiana, Hollyhock, a bunch of Lobelia and more. They are all waiting to go in the ground as soon as I return from the beach. That is if they’re still alive when I get back ;)

I planted a few Lobelia, here and there, and three of the Shasta Daisy went in the other day. I haven’t gotten pictures of those yet, but I’ll be sure to do that after I get back.

The lettuce, mizuna, and beet greens (well actually they are deep red!) in the cold frame will all be harvested this week to go with me to the retreat- nothing like a fresh, home grown salad! I’ll be sure to take plenty of shots of the harvest!

I’ll be posting as usual next week. I hope you all are having great spring weather!

Happy Gardening!

 

Tessa

Apr 18, 2009

We have a tomato!

 

I was so busy in the garden today that this almost escaped my detection!
Note: Image zooms on mouse over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t believe it! Now this tomato is an early variety. It may have been planted early, but I’ve kept it covered in a tunnel until today! I also made sure to tap the stem near the flowers for pollination until the bees could get to it. I think it worked!

I managed to get the green beans in the ground today too, complete with trellis :). The varieties are ‘Kentucky Blue Pole’ and an interesting one called ‘Dow Gauk’ Yardlong Asparagus. I guess this bean tastes more like asparagus and you harvest it when they are 12-18 inches!

 

The tunnel behind it is where the tomato is planted, along with some lettuce and beets. The 4x4 next to that is where the early, gamble broccoli crop is- as you can see I lost about half. Weird thing is they seemed to be attacked by ants! They were everywhere and seemingly eating the stems down to nothing- I’m sure there was another pest and they were just reaping the benefits, but that’s sure what it looked like- I’ve never seen ants do this before!

Lettuce ‘Focea’, ‘Breen’, Beets ‘Bull’s Blood’

I also got some Hollyhock planted, just 3, but it’s a start!

 

Hollyhock ‘Indian Spring Mix’ and ‘Single Black’

A few more lettuce and broccoli was planted today as well.


Lettuce ‘Red Sails’ and Broccoli ‘Green Calabrese’

I’m tired, but so happy to see that tomato- I really thought that it wouldn’t do much for a while. Plants are amazing- or should I say the Designer is amazing ;)

 

Happy gardening!

Tessa

P.S. I just wanted to let you all know that when I do a post with a ‘zooming’ picture, it may not look right if you are reading it in an email or in a reader-

Apr 17, 2009

They’re making a nest too!

 

So cute, I love the bushtits! Right outside our back door in the neighbor’s tree and really low down, DH spotted the nest...I don’t know how he sees these things!

 

 

At first I thought this was a baby, but the picture is just overexposed. I wanted to get some better shots and get closer, but DH warned me that they probably abandon their nests if they feel threatened. I’ve backed off now and left them along- I just can’t believe they made a nest so close to the ground.

 

Just more animals to love!

 

Happy gardening,

Tessa

Apr 16, 2009

Dex pot update

 

I wanted to give a quick update with the Dex paper pots. For all of you trying paper pots this year, be warned! It is easy to over water. Just when I’ve finally gotten the hang of watering in the greenhouse and cold frame, I just had to try something new to challenge me. Sad, but I’ve over watered the zucchini! No surprise to me- proper watering has always been a bit of a struggle for me.

 

 

Luckily, not all of them have the yellow seed leaves, and this is not disastrous! I just need to cut back on watering and let them recover a bit. They will be hardened off this week and then set out in the garden- I say they, but I will only be planting one, the others go to friends and family. Speaking of that, if I’m growing these for you, it’s time to come get them, along with anything else that I’ve started for you :). The watermelon will hang out in the greenhouse a while longer, and then it will go into a big, black, plastic trash can I cut in half last year.

I love spring!

Happy Gardening,

 

Tessa

Apr 14, 2009

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day- April ‘09

 

I can’t believe it is the 15th already! So much is going on in the garden. I can’t wait to see what is blooming in all your gardens as well.

To start, the dwarf snapdragon I started in hopes to get blooms in March (or was it late February?) are finally blooming! I planted out the others, along with the mystery plant in the garden, but I left the big beautiful one in the greenhouse.

 

Dwarf Snapdragon ‘Magic Carpet’

The Bleeding Heart is doing well. I have to look back at my records, but I think it’s early-

 

Now that the plum tree is leafing out and its wonderful smell left the cherry tree is now in full bloom. After the wind and hail we had yesterday (blah!) I’m surprised that there are any blooms left!

 

The very front bed has some tulips looking lovely- not to mention the daffs. Again, after the weather we had yesterday, I’m surprised they are still in one piece.

 

The tomato I planted out a while ago still has blooms on it. Our weather is supposed to be warming up quite a bit so I will take the plastic off so the bees can get to it. I’ve been tapping the stem to do their job until then :).

 

There are so many things- Camellia, tulips, grape hyacinth, more daffs. Things are really starting to wake up in my garden. Now I’m off to go check out your gardens!

Don’t forget to visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens and check out all the beautiful garden blooms!

Happy Gardening,

Tessa

Yummy!

 

 

Lettuce ‘Breen’ (dark red), ‘Salad Bowl Blend’, ‘Focea’, and ‘Red Star’

Baby Spinach ‘Olympia Hybrid Smoot Leaf’

Lettuce, baby Spinach, and Mizuna

Happy Harvest,

Tessa

Apr 13, 2009

A new addition :)

 

Yes! We have a new addition to our family- He’s bright, he’s cute, and he has valuable poo! Yes, you read right, I said valuable poo!

I’ve been wanting to get a fish, just one fish, and keep it in my office where I have my seed starting shelves. Just an arms length away if I need a nitro boost for some seedlings. It just happened to end up on Easter Day that I decided to get one. And because I got him on Easter Day I thought it only fitting that he should have some sort of biblical name- but what?

I took my son with me to get him, he picked him out and on our way home I told him my idea of naming him after Jesus or at least something biblical. First he said Messiah, them came Omega- and finally he said ‘How about Alpha, mom?’ I laughed and said Alpha Betta! And so his name is Alpha Betta- he he!

So, without further ado, meet Alpha-

 

 

Of course, it was no accident that he’s a fish, or that he’s red- but I can’t take the credit for that :)

I hope you all had a wonderful Resurrection Day yesterday- and as always,

Happy Gardening,

Tessa

Apr 11, 2009

Garden update

 

Just a few quick pictures of the garden-

The early broccoli is not looking great and I’ve lost a couple. I’m going to cut a couple more out too. I’m going to let them continue and see how they do so next year I can adjust my seed starting schedule.

 

 

The bleeding heart is getting really big!

There used to be a Hebe right behind this- but I lost it with our last winter :(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything in Chenille #1 is growing quickly now. I need to thin the spinach and the radish will be ready soon too. I also need to thin out that lettuce. Yummy! Baby spinach omelets!

I am really impressed with the new lettuce ‘Breen’ I’m trying this year. It grows nice and compact, has good flavor, and is perfect for mini-head production.

The Lily bulbs I threw in the ground last year are coming up-

 

Some of the crops in the cold frame need to be harvested and something else planted. Not sure what I’ll put in there next, I need to give in some thought :)

Mizuna, Lettuce ‘Salad Bowl Blend’, and the Beets ‘Bull’s Blood’ are looking great- I’ve eaten off of these plants for a while now and I think the Mizuna and Lettuce will be finished up this week. Time for another big salad! I have Swiss Chard that I started in here that needs to be transplanted to a tunnel somewhere and I threw in some Marigold seeds I saved from last year- I’m still waiting for these to germinate and then I’ll move them as well. The carrot is still growing- Wow! Are they slow! I’ve obviously started using the cold frame as a germination area now- not sure what I’ll start in there next.

 

Some of the plants I started in winter have been planted. A snapdragon, along with the mystery plant that is looking more and more like a snapdragon- and one I left in a 3 inch pot accidently all went into the garden. I also planted most of the Flax. The greenhouse tomatoes will be planted into their permanent places in there this week. There is one day this week that is supposed to dip down in temps, so I’m waiting for that day to pass before I do the tomatoes.

The peas are growing fine, but I ended up with a few bare spots! Darn slugs!

Maybe I should run to the nursery and get a couple to fill in? Probably not- I’ll just leave them to have more room :)

 

 

 

 

 

There is so much more! I have been so busy and the camera has been left in the house a lot as I end up so muddy! I’ll post more later in the week. In the meantime,

Happy Gardening to you all- and have a blessed Easter!

Tessa

Apr 9, 2009

Mystery plant


Anyone know what this plant is? I thought maybe Phlox? I have no idea!



Here is a close-up.


I hope someone can identify it! TIA!

Happy Gardening,
Tessa

UPDATE!

I think I figured it out. I did a image search online for ‘blue, clumping, ground covers for spring’. I didn’t have to click on too many images to find it, thankfully! It’s Aubrieta deltoidea. Then I did a search for more images and found this one from Wikipedia.

image

I think we have a winner! Funny thing too- I started some seeds for Aubrieta (or Rock Cress), a different variety with mixed colors...Duh! No wonder it looked familiar ;)

 

Happy Gardening!

Tessa

 

Apr 8, 2009

In the ground :)

 

After a few really sunny, wonderful days I decided today is the day to plant out my test tomato- well, it’s really the only tomato that I will be growing in the garden. The others will stay in the greenhouse.

This tomato has been blown around a bit today, but it is a perfect day for transplanting- overcast, but warmish (except for the wind).

 

 

I had to dig a really deep hole and take some stems off. The root system looked really nice and there are blooms on it. I’ve read so many conflicting views of planting or not planting them when there are blossoms on them, so this year I thought I’d see what happens.

I’ve placed this one in one of my higher tunnels, so it will be well protected. Good thing too because our sun is about to go away for a while and we’ll be having showers on and off.

 

Yummy! I can’t wait! I gave the blossoms a little calcium spray the other day (1 of 3 doses), put some bone meal in the planting hole for fast roots development and mudded it in. A support may not be needed because I have the reinforcing grid over it for a tunnel- maybe a few stakes later on, we’ll see.

I hope you all are enjoying your gardens today!

 

Happy Digging everyone!

Tessa

Seedling update and more!


I’ve been so busy, I’ve found it hard to actually sit down and record everything! The garden is really growing fast with our beautiful, sunny weather we’ve been having lately. Two words for you ‘I’m sore!’
I’ll start with the Dex paper pot seedlings, as I know some of you have been following this experiment. I’m happy to report that they are doing really well- so green and growing rapidly. I’ve given them their usual shots of high phos fertilizer and they’ve jumped to life!

Zucchini ‘Burpee’s Fordhook’, Watermelon ‘Red Little Baby Flower’, Eggplant ‘Hansel’

They are doing fine in the paper pots- better than expected. The weather is getting better and better, but we still have a bit to go before these babies can go out. We’ll see how they do as they get bigger! I have noticed that they need water almost daily, which is fine unless I’m not here! I have also noticed that the paper, when it gets dry a bit, will stick to the tray (roots too). To help with that I put a bit of water in the tray and roll in around a little before lifting them and that seems to take care of the problem.
Some of the babies in the plug flat that I sowed on 3/27 were ready last Friday to move on to pots. I decided that since a lot of these will go to family and friends, I should probably put them in Dex pots. After learning that the bottoms of these plug flats should have air to help the plants develop a good root ball, I was eager to see what the roots looked like. I’m happy to report that they looked great! And this is after I let them have air when they already had a long root coming out the bottom, which forced the root to die back a little!  Here they are before I potted up.

 
‘Red Sails’ Lettuce in Dex pots
The tomato, broccoli, iberis, both yellow and purple Alyssum, and Rock Cress will soon follow as soon as they get their first leaves.
The first round of Sunflower and Zinnia had to be potted up- they grew really fast. I moved them to the greenhouse on a heat mat and a small 2 foot grow light I have in there just for seedlings coming out of the house. They spend a few days there and then move to the benches.


Speaking of benches. I had to go up again on the other side of the greenhouse. I was really running out of room!




The shelves may not be the same as the other side, which was made from an old, small, zip-up greenhouse I had a few years ago, but I think it will work. They aren’t as high- which I like because I have more room between the roof and the shelf. I really need to paint them white, however, to get that winter light bouncing around. They are also deeper and allows two flats on top and two below. It’s actually a 4 shelf unit that I we found at K-mart. We bought one just like it to make...um...don’t laugh, doggy stairs! Our bed is really high and none of the stairs we saw anywhere worked, or were tall but expensive - so we made them. When I was putting the 5 shelf unit together for my seed light setup, I had a brain storm and put it together like stairs, instead of shelves as an experiment. I ran my idea by DH and he agreed that it would work.



We ended up finding a 4 shelf unit at K-mart for $25 and made the dog stairs very easily! They needed to be wide enough and stable enough for our picky dog Joey or he would never use them! I went and got a couple cheap (and ugly!) rugs to glue down on them, so the steps wouldn’t be slick. Works like a charm and we didn’t have to spend $200 for something that would have been too small!



I measured the shelves and took the spare one in the greenhouse and it ended up being exactly the right size for in there- they run the length of it perfectly! By the time we bought one, it was on sale for $20- nice.
If you think our dogs are spoiled- you’re right (actually the stairs were necessary as one of out babies was hurt jumping down.)  You should get a kick out of this!

With 2 small dogs and sometimes an 18 lb. cat, it can get way too crowded on the bed (kitty is booted off after he has a good night cuddle.) Yes, we made a crib (out of an old bench) at the foot of the bed that the dogs can sleep in :)!

All the plants are getting bigger just in time for the warm weather- everything had to be moved outside the greenhouse because it reached almost 100 degrees. It is time to harden off and I’m hoping that we won’t have a repeat of last spring. I remember racing outside to put everything back in the greenhouse because of pounding rain and if I remember right, hail! Now that everything is moving out I’ll slowly have more room for the babies inside to be moved out there. By then the shade cloth will probably have to go on.

Here is some of them- the tomatoes seemed to green up after being outside. It was windier than I would have liked, but all is well.
One problem with the weather clearing up is that the nights are clear and frost is probable. Last Saturday morning I woke up to this.



A light frost hit the broccoli and beets. This gamble crop isn’t doing well. And to date I have lost a couple. There are ants going crazy in there and are all over the stems- one of which has been gnawed down to nothing! I’ve never seen ants do this, but I know they are a sign of aphids- I looked, but no aphids. One of them has very familiar holes in it- possibly the same worm that was attacking the Mizuna- it’s only one. Time for a midnight check!



This is about 2 hrs. later- they looked fine. By Sunday I had found the ants and all the damage. Planting out this early crop has obviously stressed the plants and made them quite susceptible to attach- by a few things!

More seedling updates will come and more on everything else as time allows.
Happy Gardening!

Tessa