21 May 2015

Oh She Grows: Hello to some new seedlings

My precious little garden continues to thrive through these chilly nights, despite a number of non-cold-hardy plants I have sprouting up. My radishes are coming along well, and I pulled one the other day for a lunch time salad :)

Newly sprouted (just), is a lone cucamelon seedling, and then below, my first purple kohlrabi seedling (just planted not even a week ago!

Also new to the garden, is some brussel sprout seedlings. I wasn't going to grow them - I had so many other plants to start - but then I found these starts looking all healthy in a store for a couple dollars, and couldn't resist giving them a try.

My lettuce and carrots have finally graced me with their presence, sort of, and in partial spots only...

I'm going to have to thin a few out shortly, and then add a few more seeds I think....

And some more beautiful shots of the goodness growing:

Spinach growing well in the cooler weather

The purple peas are starting to make their climb

Broccoli also loving the cooler, sunny weather

A little baby bok choi - so excited about growing these, they will be delicious in stir-fry and grilled on the BBQ.

Beets starting to pop up

Another brussel sprout shot

The ever hardy kale - note to self: plant more of the beautiful Redbor variety!

Purple beans

The beginning of my cucumbers

Purple bean seedling just starting out
Marigolds to help protect all of my green goodness!

16 May 2015

Oh She Grows: Outdoor babies popping up!

I've been good about being busy filling in my garden - and then proceeding to fill in my garden journal. While, I do talk a lot about my garden on my blog, the journal keeps a very detailed record of what went in when, where it went and when it came up. I found it very useful this year in planning my crop rotation, knowing what I wanted more / less of, and just to generally get my excited about my upcoming garden in the dead of winter.

I garden the square-foot method (for the most part - sometimes I break the rules and just do what I want, hehe), and so keeping track is as easy as making a rough grid for each bed. Yes, I made a plan to start off with, with a lovely computer generated grid - but what I plan for isn't what always gets planted. Things change.

But onto the green stuff - what's been growing!...

My snow peas are just growing away! We had a light frost earlier in the week - and they paid no mind to it :)

My broccoli (two varieties) is happy to be outside, at last. It always just seems to take off when I plant it outside, giving it more root room - the same thing happened last year! Along the fence are my purple climbing peas, and a handful of Russian Mammoth Sunflowers. The sunflowers got tucked in on the frosty night - wasn't sure how tough they would be to handle it.

The spinach is looking well too. One of the seedlings just spontaneously shriveled up. I'm not sure what that was about, but the other's are healthy, and a second, staggered, planting is just beginning to come up.

The kale is super stoked about being outside too! I have three varieties here: Red Russian, Redbor and Winterbor kale.  I just love the colouring of the purple stuff!

Here is one of my sweet cucumber seedlings. I just direct planted this year. Last year, I started indoors, and they did not take well to transplanting. By the time they started growing again (if they didn't die), the direct seeded plants were all caught up and healthier looking. I saved some indoor seedling space but not bothering with that battle this year. I simply thought, what's the point if they truly don't do well.

A surprising development - one of my purple pole beans have sprouted! I had planted a handful by one of the trellis, and then it got really cold and I figured they would probably just rot in the ground. But it popped up the afternoon after the frost. I'm hoping the other's will too :)

I have been patiently waiting for my lettuce and beets to sprout. I think the first picture above is a beet sprout, and the one just above is my lettuce. I have so many small weeds sprouting though (the only con to the beautifully rich compost I receive), that I cannot tell. Only a bit more time will tell!
Still to plant: beans, lettuce, spinach, herbs, zucchini (reseed - birds ate them)
To transplant outdoors: tomatoes, peppers, herbs, ground cherries

15 May 2015

Oh She Grows: Thinning out

I got my first exceptionally small radish this week. I pulled it out to 'thin' out the row, and of the thinnings, this was the only one that had started to form a bulb. Yay! First thing out of the vegetable boxes. I imaging in a week or so, I will have many more - properly sized - radishes. 

I've also made my first harvest of rhubarb! From it I made a delicious lemon-rhubarb cake... now I'm just on to thinking what will I make with it next? Look how big these stalks and leaves are!

As with spring, comes the mud. The beast, Chewie, just could not stay away. He jumped into, and then proceeded to lay down in a deep 'tire rut' mud puddle.

Yup...that happened. He was in there - already dirty...figured I may as well just take pictures. He does look oh so happy - wasn't so much when we had a bath later ;)

The part that I forgot about after he came out, was that he was going to shake all this mud on to me. We looked like quite the pair, hehe.

06 May 2015

Oh She Grows: Seeds to soil

As I mentioned the other day, I got to 'top up' the dirt in my boxes this past weekend - it had settled down to being only half full through the winter. So today, I took advantage of the nicer weather, and planting a lot of my seeds that can take a little cooler weather than some other plants.

Chewie above looks like he was a great little helper - but you just wait till you see what he did below. He is much better the designated stick chewer..

I got my seed box out and went to work, sorting out what I wanted to plant today. I ended up putting in the ground: Napoli carrots (55 days), Rainbow mix carrots (75 days), Rudolf Radishes (24 days) and Watermelon Radishes (60 days) (trying to 'spread out' their planting time, so their harvest time is also spread out), more Avon Spinach (45 days), Lettuce Mix and Romain Lettuce, Beet Blend (50 days) and Bok Choi (52 days). As well, I planted some Russian Mammoth Sunflowers (to bring in bees, and than later feed the birds). Not sure if they will take in this weather yet or not - but I have mountains of seeds, so there is no worries if I need to replant.

I also checked in on my sprouted babies - the peas are still little handsome morsels.

They look randomly planted, but I follow the Square Foot Gardening method - so they are all evenly spaced, eight to a square foot.

...and they did look all perfect - until the dog thought it was a wonderful idea to jump into the garden beds. He is just a puppy. Since this soil is never really "packed down", his paws just sunk. I dug up what little seedlings I could and righted them up again - but they aren't really in a super nice formation in this particular area anymore. As long as they grow, I'm okay with it!

....sigh... I just love, love, love the picture of little plants in my gardens! :D

The little Rudolf radishes are working away too! We have some mid to high 20 degree C weather coming to us soon, so they should really grow then!

05 May 2015

Oh She Grows: Peas and Radishes!

My peas have popped into precious little shoots with multiple leaves! I have even seen one with a little baby 'tendril' to eventually climb up the end supports. So exciting! All this sun and a little sprinkling of rain have done wonders for my little guys!

And, with the seedlings being much bigger and less 'grub-like', the birds are no longer pulling them up! Double yea!

Some of my radishes are making their way to their first set of true leaves - I feel that these guys will just take off from there - with only a 25 day growing time stated on the package, we will most definitely have garden-fresh radishes by the end of the month, and likely even sooner :)

I'm so very happy that I decided to plant them when I did. I was worried for awhile, but these seeds, and their tiny first buds took -5 degree Celsius weather no problem, and have continued to grow. I will definitely keep this in mind next year!

This weekend, being as beautiful as it was, I also planted a handful of giant sunflower seeds lightly amoung the Purple Mist Peas against the trellis at the end. I have an over abundance of sunflower seeds, so if it's a little too early for them - as they do not like random cold spurts at all, then I can just replant later. But looking at the long range forecast, I'm confident that they will be quite alright :)

I will begin lettuce, carrots, beets, bok choi and some more spinach and radishes later this week I think. And the broccoli and kale can go outside. I want some of these well on their way before I put in some of the inside seedlings later this month out into the garden.

These seedlings are just dying to go outside, but not quite yet... :)

04 May 2015

Oh She Grows: Outside Gardening and Preparations

I've starting working on some of my 'wild' flower beds. I had left them last year, curious what would come up, and now after seeing some of that was far from impressive - I've pulled up a bunch of it to make room for my vegetables! Some of the perennials I'll be keeping - most have gone to the compost pile (some I even think were just gathering weeds...)

James has wonderfully begun to remove our dead tree (we gave it over a year to do something, anything, and not even a green bud - this tree is fire wood now). I just have to dig out some the Hostas and move them to a shady spot (this is a high sun area), and move those cute little Hen and Chick succulents to another location as well.

I do love these succulents, and although they have been living in this spot a long while, they have not been thriving very well at all - they need a bit more love, and much better soil.

You can see from the middle photo we have piles of soil to be put in this area - it is super rich and very well broken down compost form a friend's farm (just rich soil now). We just have to pick it up, and offer a case of beverage and it's ours! It's what we used in our boxes last year, and everything grew like weeds - so I would say, this compost is my secret weapon ;) We topped up some of the garden boxes with it as well as the soil had 'settled' down quite a bit from last year.

The new beds have a little more work to go, but I can't wait to get planting in my new areas! :)

30 April 2015

Oh She Grows: Seedlings are getting large!

Lately, I've been spending my gardening time repotting all my growing seedlings. Many of them have needed new homes.

They've been repotted into all sorts of 'holdings' - old plastic pots, newspaper pots and even an old paper coffee cup. Anything that can hold them works - it's only temporary anyways :)
I've especially happy with the peppers - they are already larger than when I put them out last year, so hopefully we get peppers a little bit sooner. I am a little disappointed that not as many of the Yellow Wax variety made it - they had a hard time germinating - and those that did, many got eaten by the cat. As well as the jalapeno peppers. Plenty of purple peppers though!

My mint is doing really well too - I will have to get a large outdoor container for it, so that it doesn't take over my garden - but I'm already taking the mojitos!

My third planting of kale did not do well - it's very spindly - a sure sign of not enough light. I've replanted, and I am hoping the next round is better. I'm doing to direct seed a few of them as well.

I'm hoping to get my broccoli and kale outdoors soon - we just need to add a bit more soil to the boxes. They can take some cold, so I just have to start hardening them off outside.