Right in My Own Backyard – A Touch of Frost

Okay, so we never got the really bad road conditions that were predicted last week, so there’s only the one video post today.  I guess around 2h00 or 3h00 the morning after I shot the video there was some ice rain but not enough to be too concerned about.  We did get the negative temps and ground frost, and a couple of days after that we had a winter storm warning but nothing ever came of that either.  I was kinda looking forward to it too because since I can’t plant anything yet, I was at least hoping for a more interesting video production.  No luck though.  I thought it was gonna happen while I was out running the roads because just as I was on my way back from doing a bit of groceries on Thursday, something kicked up that looked blizzard like, but by the time I got back in the house literally five minutes later, it had stopped.   I should rig up the video camera to record while I’m driving.

The seedling news is a bit of good and bad.  The bad news is all of the cantaloupe seedlings have gone to a better place, and nothing has come up where I planted new ones.   Oh . . . wait . . . I guess I shouldn’t say nothing; there’s some kind of mushroomy looking thing that has popped up in the cantaloupe pots and in one of the broccoli pots.  I have no clue what it is.  I still have a couple of straggly broccoli plants from the first planting and the new ones are shooting up well.  But I guess that doesn’t really mean anything given the last batch got off to a good start, and look what happened there.   The tomatoes look good too and the newest seeds I planted – the brandy wine reds – are coming up.  I really hope I’ll be able to get those going outside.  I still think I’m going to have to buy some tomato plants though to supplement my own.  The peppers are moving at a slow but steady pace, but I know that peppers are slow growers anyway.  My herb planters look great and the rosemary is finally showing a couple of shoots.  (I don’t have recent pics of that though)  The lemon and thai basil and I think the chervil are the ones doing the best so far. 

There’s no change in the garden itself.  I’m still waiting to get the dirt in from the landscapers.  I don’t know, it looks to me like they’re ready, but no one’s ever there.  My Honey started putting out the backyard wildlife, and he’s thinking on replacing the well that he usually puts out with a new water feature.  I’m hoping for something stone. 

In the backyard craft dept. my bucket ashtrays are quite a hit.  My Mum and my sister in law
both want one, and so I've got another one base coated.  Just a tip for anyone who might want to do one of these bucket ashtrays: On the first one I base coated with Folk Art outdoor paint, but I find it goes a lot easier and faster to hang the bucket on the clothes line and use an indoor / outdoor spray paint like Krylon, and use the Folk Art Outdoor paint for the actual brush stroke work.   It's also more cost effective because the Folk Art comes in such little bottles, you can use a lot base coating something the size of those buckets.

I’m also putting together one of those tipsy clay pot planters for MIL for her birthday tomorrow.  The clay pots were painted with a technique I learned from Plaid online where you paint the rims black, then randomly apply a wax candle to it and paint over top with colours of your choosing.  Then, take some sand paper to remove the top colour and where the wax was applied the black shows through.  It gives it a kind of scuffed up look.  The bottom part of the pots are painted with chalkboard paint so you can write what kind of plant you have growing in the pot.  I’ve done the painting but I haven’t put it together yet.  I hope I’m able to get it to work, because I bought a steel rod that wasn’t threaded.  My Honey says I should have gotten a threaded one so I can put a nut under each pot for support.  I went back to get the threaded one, but they didn’t have nuts the size I needed for the rod and they didn’t have rods the size of the nuts they had; go figure. 

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Right in My Own Backyard – Everybody into the pool!

The last few days have brought quite a bit of rain.  You should see the garden . . . well . . . you will do when I get the video up.   So, April showers bring May flowers, eh?  All I can say is they bloody well better bring the vegetables too.  This is crazy! It’s not like this every year . . . is it?  I can’t remember it being like this.   It rained again today, and we even had a bit of hail.   As you’ll hear in the video, the wind was kicking up pretty good too; it was so strong that it sounded as if someone was trying to break down the kitchen door.

There’s still not really anything significant to report.  I wrote in the last post about starting to replace some of the seeds in an attempt to bring back the lost seedlings; namely the tomatoes, broccoli and cantaloupe.  At the time though, I didn’t have anymore beefsteaks.  I have since bought some new seeds to replace the beefsteaks, and planted them a couple of days ago.   There were no beefsteaks, so I had to take a variety called Brandywine Reds. 

I had a couple of cantaloupe seedlings that looked like they might make it through, but no go; they’ve all gone.  Of the new stuff I had planted, the tomatoes and broccoli have come up well, but nothing in the cantaloupe pots, although the cantaloupe is a bit newer, so I guess it’ll be a little while before I see them sprout.  The tomatoes are up pretty high considering 3 or 4 days ago there was nothing.  The new broccoli has gotten kinda tall too and there are still two seedlings from the original planting that are hanging on for dear life. 

The planter boxes at Mum’s are well except for the rosemary.  I’ve had herbs growing in the house several times over the years, and I’ve never had good luck with rosemary or thyme.   I have to say, the potting soil I bought this year was really crappy.  There’s all sorts of twigs (practically tree trunks) and all kinds of rocks and other cruddy looking stuff.  You really don’t know what you’re buying ‘til you open the bag.  All I can say is stay away from a brand called Home Gardener in a purple and white bag.
Backyard ashtray for dear MIL

As a side note:  My backyard ashtray went over so well with my Honey’s Mom, I made another one to give to her. 

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Right in My Own Backyard - Death and Destruction.

No video this time.  I haven’t done anything in the garden since I turned and raked over the dirt.  I thought the landscaper was going to open last week, but I guess they’re still setting everything up.  I’ve noticed that they’ve started bagging up some of the earth and stuff, so I guess it won’t be too much longer now.  I know my Honey will be glad when the fence finally goes up, so I hope I can get it all done soon. 

On the weather front the temps have been up and down.  It rained yesterday afternoon and this morning we had a doozie of a thunder storm.  Then later on the wind kicked into high gear, so this morning we got the wash and then this afternoon we got the blow dry.  It was pretty warm and muggy too.   It’s still 14° now as I write this and it’s practically 22h30.  I think it got up to 20° today, and we’re looking to have highs of 9° to 12° the rest of the week though it’s still gonna dip down to negative numbers over night Thursday and Friday.  Seems like planting weather is never coming.

As for my seedlings, I have mostly bad news there.  Most of the broccoli is gone and I don’t have any tomatoes left at all.  One of the broccoli pots had something fuzzy growing on the outside too I noticed.  And the cantaloupe had started to fall over, so a few days ago I replanted that into peat pots, but it wasn’t long after that it started to die off.    At the same time I planted new broccoli and tomato seeds, but I didn’t have too many tumblers and no beefsteaks left.  I guess I’m gonna have to buy  more plants than I would have liked to plant in the garden.  I did learn something about sterilizing my potting soil though, so I’ll bear that in mind for next time.  I also got rid of my dead cantaloupe tonight and planted some new seeds. 

On a good note, my bell pepper seedlings are looking good, and Mum reports that my planter boxes have something in each section except for the rosemary.  I think I mentioned in the last post that I planted a second box of herbs.  Mum is pleased that she is taking good care of my herbs even though hers all died.   She said she was nervous that she wasn’t doing something right with mine too until she saw them all sprouting.  Oh yeah, my Mother told me that bell peppers are all the same; apparently, the colour depends on how long you leave it on the vine.   They all start out green then go to yellow, then to orange, then to red.  The more I think about it, the more that sounds familiar; she may have even told me that last year and I just forgot.

I also have a backyard craft to show you.  I painted a galvanized bucket that I got from the dollar store for my Honey to use as an ashtray.  Now we can trash that nasty coffee container he was using before.  All I did was base coat the bucket a dark brown and then painted some daisies.  It will look a lot tidier than the coffee container . . . well . . . as tidy as a bucket of cigarette butts can look I guess. 

So I guess that’s all to report for now.  I’ll just throw some pics of the seedlings in  and hopefully I’ll have something to videotape in the next post.

Planter Boxes April 8_1Planter Boxes April 8Bell Peppers April 7_1Bell Peppers April 11Replanted Cantaloupe April 7_1Cantaloupe April 9Cantaloupe April 9_1Cantaloupe April 9_2Cantaloupe April 11_2Cantaloupe April 11_4Dead Tomatoes April 7
Cantaloupe April 11
Cantaloupe April 11_3
Cantaloupe April 11_1
Cantaloupe April 11_5


Right in My Own Backyard - Prep Work

This morning I came downstairs to quite a surprise.   3 of my cantaloupe seedlings looked like they dropped from heart attacks.  I don’t know what happened because they looked fine when I went to bed yesterday night.  I was just getting used to the idea that I might have to buy tomato plants after all because they seem to be going bit by bit, and two of my pots of broccoli have given up the ghost too.  Can this be damping off?  The cantaloupe doesn’t actually look dead though, so I’m hoping a rescue pot will do the trick.  I’ve got some more of those peat pots, so I’ll be taking care of that today.    I don’t know if maybe I started putting them outside too soon.  I wasn’t going to start hardening off until the end of this month, but I didn’t see the harm since the temperature had been so warm.  I didn’t put them out yesterday because of the rain though, nor will I today.  On a happier note, the red peppers seem to be perking up well and I think I see something starting in the green pepper sections. 

It was so nice on Saturday I was able to get my first garden work out, and I have the video to prove it.   My Honey got all the stakes driven for the fencing we’re going to be putting up.  He’s anxious to actually put up the fence up, but I would like to wait until I’m done all of the prep work because there’s a lot of stepping inside and out of the garden; the fence would just get in the way.   I got the ground turned and raked over with the help of my new  fork that I picked up at Home Hardware, and I picked up all the bricks along the east fence.   I found that it actually worked
better than the spade because the fork starts breaking up the dirt on the way down, and that made the turning a lot easier; it made the raking afterward a lot easier too for that matter.  There’s still some leaves laying around, but I won’t worry too much about that because we’re going to get the landscapers in with some black earth.  My Honey says I’m supposed to ask for a “yard”;  I have no clue what that is.  Anyway, I’m hoping that it’ll go a long way toward bettering the growth of my garden this year.

I’m not looking forward to the maple seeds that are yet to come blowing over from next door.  They’re such a nuisance to clean up and you never really get them all either.  Most of the weeding I did last season was picking out maple seedlings.  If I was planning to go into the maple sugar business, I was sure off to a good start.  between leaves, seeds, and tree roots it seems most of my hard work is picking up after two trees that belong to someone else.

I also planted another box of seeds, so now I’ve added rosemary, chervil, summer savory, and oregano to the mix.  I was supposed to have mint too, but nobody seems to have any.  I guess I’ll have to wait ‘til the garden centres are open.  I’ve got the lavender seeds, but I’m not sure where I’m going to put it yet.  I may just use the planter boxes for that.

Weather wise, the weekend was really nice and sunny, although Sunday was a little breezy and felt quite a bit cooler than the 11° indicated on the thermometer.  Yesterday and again today  we had rain.  It’s just before 11h00 in the morning though, and I understand we’re supposed to get some snow later today.  

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Looking for info on damping off I found this article.  Who knew you could sterilize potting mix in the oven?  I guess I better watch how much I water too.  


Right in My Own Backyard - Spring is in the Air

I guess this should turn out to be a relatively short post since until yesterday there wasn’t anything new to report.   The seedlings look as though they’re starting to slow down a bit in terms of growth, and I’m starting to feel hopeful that the weather will be co – operative for a timely planting.  Yesterday it was so nice out that I was able to get out and shoot a new video of the garden up close.  It must have been around 10° and today we had about 8° or 9°.  It’s still going down into the minuses, but I think we should stay pretty much on the positive during the day at least.

So last Wednesday I noticed that a tomato seedling had keeled over and now some of the broccoli has as well; I might have to plant more of that, but I want to try some succession planting anyway, so I guess it’s not that big of a deal.  I’m just hoping they’ll hold up well enough ‘til I can get them in the ground which hopefully will be sometime in the next week or so.  I started hardening off yesterday and I had them out again today for a couple of hours.   I know it’s early, but it’s been soooo nice out I thought it wouldn’t hurt.

I decided to add some more pepper seeds because even though I know peppers are really slow growers, I still felt like it was still taking too long to see a start on them even for peppers.  I now have three or four red pepper sprouts peeking out of the soil.  I think it might be a while before I have big enough pepper plants to put in the garden; I don’t know.

Bell Pepper Seedlings March 30 2011_1Red Pepper Seedlings March 31 2011_2Seedlings March 31 2011


Red Bell Pepper Sprouts March 31

I started some herb seeds in one of my planter boxes.  My Mum was kind enough to let me keep them in her porch since we are still getting negative temperatures at night.  I used a full 18L bag of potting soil in that one box and I was only able to start 5 herbs, but I think I shouldn’t have done full rows from side to side.  (You’ll see what I mean in the video) I probably should have cut it lengthwise first and done 10 squares.  That way I would have had a small plant pot worth of seeds in each square since they’ll be going into my herb basket anyway.

I have a lot of cleaning up to do in the garden getting up the leaves and stuff from the tree next door.  I guess the leaves aren’t as bad as the maple seeds though.  Once they get going, they don’t seem to stop.  I pulled out more maple seedlings from the garden last year; what a pain.  I’m gonna get myself a pitch fork too to help with the soil turning.   I just help I can get enough black earth to help cut the weight of the garden’s natural soil this year.

Well, I’m getting anxious now to get out there and start working.  Too bad the ground is still so hard; I’d like to at least get the fencing up.

Did I say short post?  Rolling on the floor laughing

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