Right in My Own Backyard - better late than never

It’s funny how going out to do just one thing can turn into a two hour gardening session.  I went into the garden on Wednesday to pluck a couple of weeds I saw around the tomatoes, and before I knew it, I was weeding and fluffing the whole garden.  I then found myself planting more seeds; which I wasn’t supposed to do until Thursday, but it turned out to be a good thing because it rained all day Thursday.  I ended up replacing the stolen yellow bean seeds and adding the next square in my succession planting.  I also had to replant some carrot spots that didn’t take off.

I got my first true harvest on Friday; eight perfect radishes.  Now, I don’t even like radishes, so don’t ask me why I planted them. 
They are a nice looking plant though, and it turned out that using them in a pasta salad wasn’t half bad.  In fact, they were actually quite tasty.  I served the pasta salad with sausage and found that even without a veggie side it was quite satisfying.  The reason I only had eight of them though was because I didn’t know how many I could plant in a square.  If I had been paying attention, I would have gotten a clue from the beets.  You’re allowed nine beets to a square, so naturally it would follow that I would at least be able to plant that many radishes.  It turns out you’re allowed sixteen radishes to a square.  I probably would’ve come to that conclusion if I hadn’t been so pre occupied with the idea that they grow in clusters.  Yes, I actually thought they grew the way you see them in the store.

Nothing else looks like it’s even close to being ready to pick.  (Note:  I did get some green onions, and a couple of cucumbers during the week that I started this post) The strawberries came in one by one and they’re just about finished.  I’m hoping I can figure out how to get some seeds from these and start my own strawberries next year.  The broccoli, even though it’s only just starting to show, looks very sparse and the one that’s growing in the lettuce patch is starting to bolt (My new gardening word).  I wonder what makes it do that.

I seem to have a few wandering plants in the garden.  That is some plants are growing in places that I didn’t deliberately plant.  So who’s doing the sleepwalking here, me or my seeds?  I saw a broccoli, some radish and what I think is a cantaloupe all out of place.   That’s it for this update.  I’ve already taken the video for the next post, but I can’t say when I’ll get to that.  I was supposed to have had this one done weeks ago, but once I have to stop to do something else, it’s really hard for me to get my groove back. *sigh*  oh well better late than never.

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Right in My Own Backyard - I’m seeing red

There are a few things coming to bear in the garden now.  The beets are getting deeper red stems and leaf veins, the strawberries are ripening and the radishes are showing little red tops.  As happy as I am to see all this progress, I can’t help thinking it’s all still a little slow going.  Is it me, or are things on schedule and as they should be?  I’m not sure about when to actually pick things either.  I ate a strawberry a couple of Saturdays ago that looked absolutely perfect, but was actually quite sour when I bit into it.  A couple of days ago I saw two more that looked perfectly ripe, but again turned out to be really sour.  I left the other one on the plant and by the next day it was rotting.  Any suggestions about harvesting strawberries?  I only had two plants, so I’m a little bit disappointed with the amount of berries too.  I’d like to try to get seeds from the strawberries I do have and try to get more next year.  If anyone knows how to do that, I’d sure appreciate some pointers.

I’m wondering the radishes too; when to pick them that is.  I had a peek at one and it was still very tiny, so I pushed it back into the ground.  Last year I did the same and it seems all I did was blink and it was too late.  They dried up and got woody.  Same for the peas;  not ready one minute, too late the next.  How do you tell when stuff’s ready to harvest?  It seems I’m only able to know it’s picking time with the tomatoes and the cucumbers.

I did a few things to tidy up the garden last week. I cleared away most of the weeds that come through my neighbour’s fence and put up some weed block that I bought at the dollar store.  So far it seems to be working although, I think I need to put some bricks down along the bottom edge of it.  I had some marigold squares that had too many plants in them, so I pulled out the extras and spread them around the garden.  I found out that I’m allowed only four per square, so I put some where I was supposed to have peas and some in the empty onion squares.

I wish I had known flowers take so long to get blooms.  I’m really hoping that my idea for using my planter boxes as a cold frame works next year.  I’ll be able to start all my flowers and a lot more veggies too.I did my second round of planting last Thursday and I’ll do another round next Thursday.   I also found when I fluffed up the garden that some of my bean seeds were missing, so I’ll be replacing those in the next planting round.   Oh, and I took away some of the bricks and replaced it with black plastic edging, and I started to lift some of the other bricks too.  I’m still getting a lot of water pooling in them, so I’m trying to even them out as much as possible.  Lifting the bricks also gives each plot a more “boxed” effect.

I planted my cucumber seedlings on June 12.  I should have chequed the calendar because I thought it was actually June 13 which is supposed to be the magic date for planting cucumbers.  But they seem to be doing alright even though the ones I put in the bucket are trailing behind the ones in the ground, they are at least advancing.  I imagine I should have waited until the plants were bigger before putting them in the buckets.  I also transplanted some herbs into my hanging basket which I put up on the west fence with my dollar store hanger.  I thought for a minute the tarragon wasn’t going to make it, but it seems to have picked up well.   

I’ve been asking around about my pear tomato, and someone told me it probably has a virus.  The main stem is all bumpy and looks pretty nasty.  Luckily, I didn’t have it in the ground with the other stuff, or it might have infected my whole garden.  Seeing as it’s in a bucket though, I decided to hold off getting rid of it.  I made a soup from the sheep manure and added it last week.  It doesn’t look as bad as it did before and I’m starting to actually get tomatoes; I have two little ones now.  Do plant viruses make people sick too?  I’m wondering if the tomatoes from that plant will be any good to eat.

My backyard ashtrays seem to be quite popular.  I really didn’t think I would have made as many as I did, but since people seem to like them so much, I’ve decided to start making them to sell.  I’ve done an ebay listing ** and I’m going to see about getting a market stall at one of the farmer’s markets here in town.  Wish me luck!

**Note:  I have since removed my ebay listing, and I am putting sale of my backyard ashtray on hold, as I'm applying for a business programme that prohibits any sales prior to completing the course.
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Right in My Own Backyard - The fruit of my labour

A couple of days ago I noticed that one beefsteak and one of the sweet million tomato plants had started to show the very beginnings of actual tomatoes.  Today, the sweet million has two teeny tiny tomatoes and now, I can see the beefsteak tomato from outside the garden.  I also found a little pepper starting to grow on one of the bell pepper plants, and the strawberry plants are showing no less than ten berries; one of them red.  I’m starting to wonder if I’m actually going to get anything from the blue jay pepper plants I got.  They don’t seem to be doing anything and haven’t advanced any in terms of growth since I got them. 

The pear tomato actually has me worried.  It was pretty sickly looking for a while, and I actually had someone tell me that it looks like it has a virus.  The bumps on the main stem were pretty disgusting looking and I wondered if it was actually going to live.  I’m still concerned that it might not make it, but I feel a little more hopeful because the flowers look as though they’re pretty healthy even though the leaves are still dying off.  I don’t know if a sick plant can still produce anything, and if it does, will it be any good?  The bumps look as though they’re starting to go down and the flowers have opened up.  Last year I didn’t get any tomatoes at all from my hanging buckets.  I don’t know if certain varieties are better suited to this type of planting.  I think next time I’ll try tumblers.

The herbs I planted in the peat pots to replace what Kiti destroyed are starting to spring up, but again, the rosemary is taking it’s time.  Is rosemary always so hard to grow?  When I had it in the planter box, I thought maybe it was poor potting soil that was causing such slow growth, then I thought maybe it was too low down in the box because I didn’t put enough soil in.  Now, I’m wondering if maybe I got a bad batch of seeds.  Or is rosemary just difficult?

Thankfully, the cucumbers seem to have made a comeback.  I started some new cucumber seeds just in case I lost my original plants, and they have started to sprout.  Since it looks like I’ll only be replacing one cucumber, I think I’m gonna try hanging a couple.  I also started some cantaloupe seeds when I saw my seedlings weren’t doing well.  They’ve all come up and I might transplant one of those to a hanging bucket too.  Last year it took forever to actually get a cantaloupe though.  And even then, it never got ripe enough to actually eat.  I just hope this year I got an early enough start to produce something worth while this year. 

On the back yard project front:  I finished restoring the donkey cart for dear MIL, I set up the tipsy plant pots I made her for her
birthday.  That poor donkey cart is so old that even with primer on it, it just sucked the paint right up.  Still, it didn’t turn out too bad considering everything that was going against this project.  I got my tipsy pots up too, and I think I’d like to make another set or two and station them at different points in the garden. 
                 Restoration Project Donkey Cart_1 Restoration Project Donkey Cart_3 Donkey Cart June 6

Donkey Cart - Original Condition
Primed & Ready to Paint
Shaping Up
                                Donkey Cart Finished June 9_3 Donkey Cart Back Home June 9_2

Finished Product
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