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Evaluating veggies

ripetom It’s always good to take a look at what’s happening to the vegetables in the garden as well — where are they in terms of development? If they aren’t where you think they should be at this point (mid-July, which for us is mid-point in the growing season), what do you think caused it? Anything to be done to help at this point?

In this photo, you can see the Tumbling Tom ™ tomatoes in their hanging baskets. “49 days from transplanting” is what it says on the package and I think we’re pretty close on that. And considering what a horrible May and June (9 inches of rain in June alone – great on the water side but not much on the sun side) we had, I’m thinking these are one terrific tomato for container growing. Not exactly what I’d call a ‘cherry’ tomato – they are slightly larger and more ovoid than those are but so far, a very good deal. They are still setting tomato flowers, so with some attention and judicious watering, I think we will be able to get production all through the rest of the season. (more…)

Evaluating the garden

frontwalk1Something everyone who gardens (and even if you are getting someone else to do the ‘sticking their hands in the dirt and planting’ part, you are gardening) should do, once a year, is look at what you’ve got, evaluate what is working, not working, and so on. I went out this morning (and pardon the fog in the photos – very foggy this morning, which is a real function of where I live in general — Upstate NY has plenty of moisture — and in specific — where Chez Siberia is located is a valley so we tend to get serious fog conditions here if there is any moisture in the air at all) to take a look at the walk in front of our house. (more…)

Garden Journal

milkweedbeeAt this point, we are entering ‘high summer’ here and things are, shall we say, disappointing.

It was a rainy and cold spring. And, it’s become a rainy and chilly late spring and then it warmed up a bit the last couple of weeks and it rained some more. We had 9 inches of rain in June, alone. I could not get out in the garden because frankly, it was mud and then when it warmed up and dried out a bit, the weeds just went nuts, so I spent this weekend weeding. Now, I hate weeding, but it’s the best we can do in order to keep the competition down. Yes, I could use row covers, but I like to keep the amount of plastic down. (more…)

E-scape to the wild side

scape If you do your shopping at farmers markets or even perhaps a fancy local grocery, you might be seeing these particular items now or in the near future. They are called ‘scapes’ and are a clever by-product of growing garlic. (more…)

Peat…and re-peat

transplant1 All my other hanging plants look great. Why does this one look on its ‘last legs’?

Well, to be blunt, this is not ‘my’ plant. It was a gift to me. And like a dummy, I did not follow my usual standard operating procedure, which is to knock the plant out of the pot, shake off all the planting mix and replant it in ‘my’ mix. I just never got to it and I watered this plant at the same time I watered all the other plants, which are in ‘my’ mix (and some of them have, as I’ve mentioned before, a disposable diaper in the bottom of the basket which acts as a ‘water bank’. We’ve actually had quite a wet spring so far – there should have been enough water, but this plant is in major pain here (more…)

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!!

baskettomato2-6-15Well, things are really starting to take off here at the garden. Plants IN the garden itself have had sort of a rough time of it – lots of rain and the weather has not been very warm or sunny.

And yet – there is something about this time of the year when given half a chance, the plants just…take off. The past two weeks, all we’ve seen on the tomato plants in those baskets has been flowers. Lots of leaves and stem growth too, but just flowers. But patience is a virtue here. (more…)

Pinched

basilmeri“Rosa whispered again, “Willy, you did squeeze me, so I will pinch you.” And she pinched. “Ow!Who pinched me?” said Cousin Joan. “Oh, Joan!” said Rosa. “I wanted to pinch Willy, not you.” “And she squeezes, too,” said Willy. Do you know what you two are?” said Cousin Joan. “You are little alligators. Now be still. I want to read.”
(“No Fighting, No Biting!” Else Holmelund Minarik, 1958)

We are now (well, where your Aunt Toby is, at Chez Siberia – anyone who gardens someplace in a higher climate zone has probably already faced this issue, but still) at a stage where annual plants (whether flowers or veggies) have settled in nicely, are rooted firmly, are sending out some good growth and in general, look like that basil plant at the top:
The growing tip at the top is sending out leaves and farther down the stem between the other big leaves are little leaves, nestled in their little spots. What to do? (more…)

Catching Up

basketmatos I’m not going to make any excuses for ‘being away’, but let’s just say that it’s been a miserable spring. Miserable weather-wise and miserable in many other ways which made me frankly not in the mood to share much of anything. But, I did keep things going in the greenhouse and once things finally warmed up here (which basically has only been in the last two weeks), we were able to get out into the garden and start putting things in. We had two massive frosts during this same period (I was starting to feel as if we were having weather whip-lash here) — literally going from the high 80s to the mid 20s — having to run out and cover up the berry bushes and spray the apple tree because the heat had pushed the tree to blossom all at once (spraying a fruit tree when it’s in blossom in the evening before a big frost will help protect the blossoms from being killed). And then, the next day, having to run out and uncover everything again the next morning. It’s been a crazy spring. (more…)

Tomatoes UP!! Oh yeah, Baybee!

TumblingTom1There is nothing like planting seeds and seeing them come up. Oh yeah!!

This tomato is a variety called Tumbling Tom and was developed specifically for hanging basket growing. Yes, even though here at Chez Siberia, we have certainly a big enough garden (though, ahem, I’m thinking we could use another couple of beds…a discussion for another time), I thought we’d try some hanging basket vegetable growing. We have a great, sunny deck which I usually use for hanging baskets of flowers, but who says that hanging basket veggies can’t be decorative too? We just have to make sure they get plenty of water (though I also have a plan to try out recycling baby disposable nappies – just the ones that got wet — as a way to keep moisture in the baskets). (more…)

Not too early to get ready for the garden

seeds1For folks in warmer places such as the US South and Southwest, this is rather late for you folks – I’m sure you have already gotten your seeds into the ground. But, in general, you can hold this information aside for this fall.

Where I live, our ‘frost-free growing season’ is pretty short: from Mid-May (and that is risky) through the end of September (and again, the last week in September will find a lot of us, 8 years out of 10, covering the tomatoes and peppers at night against frost). That’s less than 150 days and to get actual ripe veggies such as tomatoes and peppers, we can’t just throw seeds in the ground. That will not work. We need actual plants which will start flowering when the nights are warm (putting plants in the ground in May or early June which already have flowers open on them is really a waste – the plants will not ‘set’ fruit. For that, we need night-time temperatures that are at least 55 degrees F. So, we need to time the whole thing (as the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” put it) ‘very carefully’. We want the plants big enough to put into the ground (and the ground warm enough that they don’t get set back) but not so big that they already have flower buds on them. Dicey stuff. (more…)

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