Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 21, 2018

Garden Report for 20181022

Last week there were roughly twenty nearly ripe tomatoes in the tub. This week there’s over fifty. Only a couple feel ready to eat, and I’m not quite ready to make more sauce, so we’ll look in again next week.

They like the tub

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 14, 2018

Garden Report for 20181015

Last week there were seven or eight nearly ripe tomatoes in the tub. Those went into last week’s tomato sauce. Here’s the status this week: roughly twenty tomatoes of various makes and models, starting to ripen. None are quite ready to eat, and I’m not quite ready to make more sauce, so we’ll look in again next week.

It’s a very warm tub

Note also that the bigger of the two Knucklehead pumpkins has already turned orange. We’ll probably let all the squash go until November sometime.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 7, 2018

Garden Report for 181008

Nothing of interest happened last week.

This week was breezy and showery and cold, with highs starting in the low 60’s and ending in the middle 50’s, and lows in the mid 30’s to mid 40’s, except for Tuesday night when it touched 30F. Real frosts can’t be far away, and I thought that next week would see the Final Harvest. Boy, was I wrong. Tuesday’s frost killed all the squash vines (except the zucchini), and some of the tomatoes. So I decided to close out the garden before everything turned black. These are the final numbers, unless the zucchini comes through with another small squash or two.

Here’s the squash:

3 spaghetti 1800, 2050, 450

2 pumpkin 680, 2520

2 acorn 650, 315

In addition, there were a couple of small tomato-sized acorns, and a Delicata just big enough to use as an executive hand exerciser.

I had planted a standard cucumber in the garden, in case the container didn’t work out. Turns out, it was the garden that didn’t produce — I thought. But buried under all the squash blossoms were two, somewhat bloaty looking cucumbers.

2 cucumbers 440, 200

Also some zucchini (there’s two more on the not totally dead plant)

2 zucchini 284g, 920g

As for the tomatoes, nothing is really ripe yet, so these measures will all go into the ‘green tomato’ category. In order to get some idea of what varietal does best, where, I’ve listed the number of each kind, total weight, and rounded individual weight.

Main Garden

10 Mortgage Lifter  1370g  140
12 Mortgage Lifter  1830g  150

2 Brandywine 625g  310

5 Big Beef  531g  110

9 Big Boy  950g  100

6 Carolina Gold 720g  120

U/I greens 1320g

The two different Mortgage Lifters are from two different companies. All the varietals listed claim to be ‘indeterminate’, but none of them produced throughout the summer. Maybe if we lived in Florida.

Containers

5 Supersonic  330g  66

10 Moreton Hybrid 720g  70

21  Jet Star 970g  46

7 Better Boy 400g  60

5 Brandywine 300g  60

The only ones directly comparable between main garden and containers are the Brandywines. Main garden beats containers by a factor of five. I suspect my containers are too small.

After the harvest, one has to store all the produce. My preferred place is our living room, right over the furnace room and the warmest floor in the house. For some reason, MJ objected to that, so I moved them all into the bathroom. After all, we were done digging and sweating in the garden, and so wouldn’t need the bathtub for a while. MJ said she didn’t like them that close to the toilet, but I told her she could always wash her hands after eating them.

 

It’s a very clean bathtub

 

 

 

Final Week Ending 10/08 Vegetable Count Weight g Unit Weight g Total Total Weight kg
  tomatoes       87 18.0
  green tomatoes 92 10070 109 99 10.40
  Zucchini 2 1204 600 12 6.08
  Acorn 2 965 480 2 0.96
  Spaghetti 3 2500 830 4 4.14
  Pumpkin 2 3200 1600 2 3.20
  cucumber 2 640 320 10 2.56
Grand Total           45.34

Surprisingly, this year’s 45kg total has matched or exceeded all other years on record, except 2014, when we had a total of 53kg, most of which was big pumpkins. Not sure if that was real, or if I just kept better track this year. Not included in the total is the peanut-sized sweet potato I found when digging over the remnants of the garden.

Interesting to note that over a third of the tomatoes had to be harvested green because they hadn’t ripened by the first frost.

So, that’s about it for this year. Next entry will be early next year, on lessons learned and plans for the future.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 24, 2018

Garden Report for 180924

We are now officially autumnal. Highs in the mid to upper 60’s. Lows in the mid to upper 40’s. Very similar to this time last year.

A couple of zucchini, few tomatoes, and no winter squash were harvestable. Got two not-so-Big Boys from the garden. Picked the only Moskvich and Cherokee Purples that looked viable from the containers, pulled up the vines, and moved the dirt over to cover the soaker hose for the trees. The Moskvich were not big enough to include in my weight counts — like big cherry tomatoes.

I’m doing some restructuring of the produce table. Summer squash is not going to happen, so I’m going to repurpose it as green tomatoes — tomatoes that will take some weeks indoors to ripen. Right now those are ones that fall off when I pick red ones, or the few that were on the vines that I pulled up. Later, it will include the ones that I harvested right before the first frost. Also, cucumbers are done for the year, so I’m combining the categories. Finally, the cabbage isn’t going to come in until well after I’ve closed out this blog for the season.

Week
Ending
09/24
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
  tomatoes 4 660 165 87 18.0
green tomatoes 7 400 57 7 0.40
Zucchini 2 580 290 11 5.12
Acorn
Delicata
Spaghetti 1 1.64
Pumpkin
cucumber 1 140 140 8 1.92
Grand Total 27.08

Still chasing last year. Still at 28Kg, because this week last year had zero harvest.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 17, 2018

Garden Report for 180917

The weather is finally autumnal. Mid to upper 60’s. Cloudy and breezy. Showers over the weekend.

In a follow-up on last week’s entry, that bright yellow, obviously ripe spaghetti squash, was actually quite green inside. As in bright green. Only the middle part was in any way ripe. The rest didn’t even shred properly after cooking. Lesson for today: let your winter squash rest until the end of autumn.

Still not much doing on the tomato front. The last of the Carolina Golds, and one each Big Boy and Brandywine. There’s a lot of non-beefsteaks out there, but they’re all still green.  SquashSit (say that three times real fast) hasn’t changed. Harvested one of the .jp cucumbers. No zucchini on the way.

Week
Ending
09/17
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
  tomato 4 560 140 87 11.4
zucchini 1 360 360 9 4.54
cabbage
Summer
Delicata
Spaghetti 1 1640 1640 1 1.64
cucumber 1 150 150 2 0.30
Japanese
cucumber
1 400 400 5 1.48
Grand Total 19.32

Still chasing last year’s 21Kg.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 10, 2018

Garden Report for 180910

The weather continues nice. Upper 70’s to mid 80’s and clear. Bit of smoke on Tuesday.

Not much doing on the tomato front. There’s a lot of non-beefsteaks out there, but they’re all still green. But where the tomatoes are lagging, the winter squash are starting to take up the slack. One nice harvestable 1.6Kg spaghetti squash, one big and one small spaghettis that are still yellow, a big, green, possible Delicata, an acorn squash, and one big warty Kunucklehead pumpkin that’s just starting to change color. Two .jp cucumbers that are coming along nicely, but I think our standard cucumber, out front, has given up after one. And, of course, a zucchini.

 

 

Week
Ending
09/10
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
  tomato 83 10.8
zucchini 1 360 360 9 4.54
cabbage
Summer
Delicata
Spaghetti 1 1640 1640 1 1.64
cucumber 1 0.15
Japanese
cucumber
4 1.08
Grand Total 18.21

Still chasing last year’s 21Kg.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 3, 2018

Garden Report for 180903

Finally, some pleasant weather. Mid to upper 70’s and clear. The weekend rain was such that the ground was still wet on Tuesday.

I harvested two biggish zucchini — almost 1.5Kg — which is bigger than I like, because how do you get rid of them?

count /  total wt / wt per

Carolina Gold: 11 / 1670 / 152

Brandywine:  3 / 520 / 173

Big Boy: 2 / 400 / 200

Cherokee Purple: 3 / 210 / 70

We are about at the end of the Carolina Golds. Not unhappy to see them go. They are too soft in the mouth — not mushy, just soft — and kindof tasteless. Like supermarket tomatoes, only yellow. Won’t plant them again.

Old fashioned tomatoes, old fashioned tools

As for the winter squash, we have two large and one small spaghetti squash, one of which is essentially ripe. We have a large green, possible Delicata, and a medium pumpkin, just turning, plus one acorn squash. It’s hard to tell how many total, because they are buried under all the foliage.

Week
Ending
09/03
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
  tomato 19 2760 145 83 10.8
zucchini 2 1480 740 9 4.18
cabbage
Summer
Delicata
Spaghetti
cucumber 1 0.15
Japanese
cucumber
4 1.08
Grand Total 16.21

And here’s the final version of our official tomato ripening schedule, updated with the actual dates. They appear to be split almost equally between those that arrived a week or more early, a week or more late, or within a week of the predicted time.

Name D/I Wt Planted Days Ready Actual
Early Girl I 4-8 05/21/18 50 07/10/18 08/13/18
Oregon Spring D 5-10 05/21/18 60 07/20/18 08/20/18
Champion I 6-8 05/21/18 65 07/25/18 07/24/18
Big Beef I 12-16 05/21/18 73 08/02/18 08/13/18
Moskvitch I 115g 06/04/18 60 08/03/18 08/02/18
Beefsteak D 250g 05/21/18 75 08/04/18 07/24/18
Hybrid Beefsteak D 250g 05/21/18 75 08/04/18 07/24/18
Carolina Gold D 8-10 05/21/18 75 08/04/18 08/27/18
Sun Sugar I cherry 05/21/18 75 08/04/18 07/10/18
Big Boy I 16-32 05/21/18 80 08/09/18 08/20/18
Better Boy I 15-16 06/04/18 70 08/13/18 08/31/18
Black Prince I 5-7 06/04/18 70 08/13/18 08/20/18
Pink Accordion I 14-16 05/21/18 90 08/19/18 08/13/18
Moreton I 8-10 06/11/18 70 08/20/18 08/27/18
Brandywine I 560g 06/04/18 80 08/23/18 08/02/18
Cherokee Purple I 10-12 06/04/18 80 08/23/18 09/03/18
Jet Star I 8-9 06/11/18 75 08/25/18 08/27/18
Supersonic I 10-12 06/18/18 75 09/01/18 08/04/18
Mortgage Lifter I 18-32 06/18/18 85 09/11/18 08/27/18

We are still chasing last year’s total of 16.7 kg. Next week, when the squash starts coming in, we’ll do better.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 27, 2018

Garden Report for 180827

The weather was hazy and warm. In the mid  80’s, declining to the mid 70’s, with lots of haze and smoke from BC and California. AQI for the most part in the Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy range. Then, over the weekend, it rained, and cooled and the AQI went back down to 52. Of course, that won’t last.

I harvested one 150g standard cucumber, one 120g cricket-ball sized pumpkin, a 320g .jp cucumber, two zucchini, and a bunch of tomatoes. The pumpkin is too small to be useful, or even to be carved. I might draw a mouth and eyes on it with a Sharpie for Halloween.

count /  total wt / wt per

Carolina Gold: 7 / 670 / 144

Big Boy: 7 / 870 / 92

One of those is a pumpkin

Once again, I brought the cabbage container in for four days early in the week to avoid the heat. I want to keep them out in the sun as much as possible, but without exposing them to anything over 90F. I should be able to leave them out pretty much full-time now.

Week
Ending
08/20
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
  tomato 10 1400 140 64 8.1
zucchini 2 520 260 9 2.7
cabbage
Summer
Delicata
Spaghetti
cucumber 1 150 150 1 0.15
Japanese
cucumber
1 320 320 4 1.08
Grand Total 12.03

We are still chasing last year’s total of 15.0kg.

Green Thumb Up My Nose — Dirt Poor

August 25, 2018

There’s something wrong with my dirt.

For a couple of years now, my cunning plan was to take all the soil from my garden containers, about 25cuft worth, and dump it in a pile in one corner of the yard for 18 months, before mixing it up and loading it back into the containers. That way it would lie fallow and I wouldn’t be planting tomatoes in dirt that was contaminated with the previous year’s crop.That worked for a couple of years, but this year, for some unknown reason, it didn’t.

I have five containers on my deck, two on the south side of the house, and seven on the east side. The tomatoes on all but two are puny things, some of which are bepestered with blossom-end rot. Three of them have produced but one tomato each.

Here’s the ones on the East side.

Three spindly, three unproductive/BER’d, one OK, and one cucumber.

Jet Star

Moskvich

So, what can I deduce:

  1. It’s not the environment — there’s three distinctly different sun/shade patterns.
  2. It’s not the watering — I water whenever they get droopy, which is pretty much every day. Same amount of water each time.
  3. It’s not, I think, the nutrients — the soil was previously used, but I put a small scoop of commercial fertilizer in each one, and applied a nutrient spray a month ago.

The only common factor is the dirt. It’s not … dirty … enough, or something. I guess I’ll go back to buying bags, and using the old dirt as mulch for the lawn and around the trees (to cover the soaker hoses).

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 20, 2018

Garden Report for 180820

The weather was clear and very warm, in the upper 80’s-low 90’s all week, with lots of haze and smoke from BC and California. Over the weekend the AQI edged from Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy, and areas north of us were Hazardous. The sky looked like it wanted to rain, but that was just high altitude smoke. I stayed inside.

The garden continued to produce:

I harvested one 410g zucchini, one 280g zucchini, and one curly 340g Japanese cucumber. My standard cucumber, out front, seems to be getting too much sun and has only started one fruit so far.

count /  total wt / wt per

Champion: 7 / 670 / 144

Big Boy: 7 / 870 / 92

Unidentified 3 / 154

Big Beef  5 / 1070

Black Prince 3 / 156

That represents the last of the Champions, and they were noticeably smaller than last week’s. Last week was the last of the Brandywines. I didn’t realize how many of the big tomatoes were determinants. The unidentified tomatoes might be Oregon Spring. I know I bought one plant, but I can’t find it in the garden or the pots, and the U/I plant doesn’t have a label. On the other hand, they look more like the picture on the Pink Accordion packet, and the one Pink Accordion didn’t look like that at all, but since one was planted in the garden and the other up on the deck, it’s unlikely they’d be mixed up. The Black Prince is coming in at about 50g each. They don’t taste bad, but they don’t make my clothes explode off. Not sure if it’s worthwhile planting them next year.


(more…)

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 13, 2018

Garden Report for 180813

The weather was clear and hot, starting in the low 90’s early in the week, peaking at just over 100F, and coming back down to the upper 80’s by the weekend.

The garden is in full swing. At the start of the week we had 18 tomatoes that were ready for harvest, and another ten showing color.

I harvested one 220g Japanese cucumber, and two 245g zucchinis.

count /  total wt / wt per

Champion: 8 / 1150 / 144

Beefsteak: 7 / 642 / 92

Pink Accordion 1 / 120

Early  Girl 1 / 80

Big Beef  1 / 120

 

On the big squash front, there’s a Delicata that’s coming along nicely, a couple of small Spaghetti squash.

Once again, I brought the cabbage container in for four days midweek to avoid the 100F heat. I want to keep it out in the sun as much as possible, but without exposing them to anything over 90F.

Week
Ending
08/13
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
  tomato 18 2132 118 32 4.0
zucchini 2 490 245 5 1.6
cabbage
Summer
Delicata
Spaghetti
cucumber
Japanese
cucumber
1 220 220 2 0.42
Grand Total 6.0

Last year was a marvellous year for tomatoes, et al. By this point in the season, we were at 9kg of produce. But remember, we’re working on half a garden this year.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 6, 2018

Garden Report for 180806

The weather was clear and hot, in the high 90’s early in the week, and the rest of the time in the mid to low 80’s. Watering restrictions continue in effect.

Garden production is ramping up.  At the start of the week we had 16 tomatoes that were showing color.

Taste Test: Moskvich 150g / Brandywine 180g / Supersonic 220g

Moskvich vs Brandywine: Not as mushy as the first tomatoes, but still mushy. Cutting back on the watering helped. Not much to say about the flavor. Not too acidic. You could tell the two apart in a side-by-side test, but the difference didn’t seem to amount to much.

Supersonic: picked later. Firm. Acidic. More tomatolike. Preferable to the other two. Too bad it looks like we’ll only get a few more off this container plant.

The Japanese cucumbers were 8″ long at the start of the week. I harvested one that had sprouted close to the ground and was growing in a circle.

Brought the cabbage container in for four days midweek to avoid the 98F heat.

Week
Ending
08/06
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
  tomato 6 900 150 14 1.9
zucchini 1 370 370 3 0.8
cabbage
Summer
Delicata
Spaghetti
cucumber
Japanese
cucumber
1 200 200 1 0.2
Grand Total 2.9

 

Meanwhile, here’s the official ripening schedule, updated with the actual dates.

Name D/I Wt Planted Days Ready Actual
Early Girl I 4-8 05/21/18 50 07/10/18 08/xx/18
Oregon Spring D 5-10 05/21/18 60 07/20/18 08/xx/18
Champion I 6-8 05/21/18 65 07/25/18 07/24/18
Big Beef I 12-16 05/21/18 73 08/02/18 08/xx/18
Moskvitch I 115g 06/04/18 60 08/03/18 08/02/18
Beefsteak D 250g 05/21/18 75 08/04/18 07/24/18
Hybrid Beefsteak D 250g 05/21/18 75 08/04/18 07/24/18
Carolina Gold D 8-10 05/21/18 75 08/04/18 08/xx/18
Sun Sugar I cherry 05/21/18 75 08/04/18 07/10/18
Big Boy I 16-32 05/21/18 80 08/09/18 08/xx/18
Better Boy I 15-16 06/04/18 70 08/13/18 08/xx/18
Black Prince I 5-7 06/04/18 70 08/13/18 08/xx/18
Pink Accordion I 14-16 05/21/18 90 08/19/18 08/xx/18
Moreton I 8-10 06/11/18 70 08/20/18 08/xx/18
Brandywine I 560g 06/04/18 80 08/23/18 08/02/18
Cherokee Purple I 10-12 06/04/18 80 08/23/18 08/xx/18
Jet Star I 8-9 06/11/18 75 08/25/18 08/xx/18
Supersonic I 10-12 06/18/18 75 09/01/18 08/04/18
Mortgage Lifter I 18-32 06/18/18 85 09/11/18 08/xx/18

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 29, 2018

Garden Report for 180730

The weather was clear and hot, in the low 90’s. Watering restrictions in effect, but they don’t apply to gardens, and anyway, I’m using a drip hose.

The garden is just starting to produce. Hybrid Beefsteak (that’s all it says on the tag, I think it’s a bush variety) is producing the most, followed by the Champion. Our one Early Girl is almost ripe.

Our lone Zucchini is starting to pump out the veggies. Time for Zucchini casserole or something. The Delicata and Spaghetti squash are producing, but it will be some weeks before they are ready. I planted the Summer Squash way late, so it’s still in the growing phase.

The Japanese cucumbers are about six inches long. Not sure when to harvest them. No regular cucumbers yet.

I am trying something new with the cabbage. Planting it in a container. It’s outside right now, and the plants have only just sprouted. I’ll let them get to a reasonable size, then move them inside, where there’s less chance of bolting.

Week
Ending
07/30
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
  tomato 8 900 112 8 0.9
zucchini 3 800 267 3 0.8
cabbage
Summer
Delicata
Spaghetti
cucumber
Japanese
cucumber
Grand Total 1.7

This time last year we had almost 3kg of produce, thanks to an earlier start on the Summer squash and the cucumbers.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 24, 2018

Garden Report for 180724

Starting to get some results, but not enough to build a new yield table yet. First, we had a couple of zucchini. Good in salads. Two more coming along, which means we’re already running behind.

Next, three tomatoes! Yay!!

The crimson tide begins

From left to right, a giant Beefsteak (100g), a gianter Hybrid Beefsteak (150g), and a cute little Champion (250g). No, I don’t know the difference between the Hybrid and the regular Beefsteaks. We ate the Champion yesterday. Bit of a letdown. Mealy and watery. I had been watering every other day, which may explain it. I’ve gone to every three days, and we’ll see.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 16, 2018

Garden Report for 180716

At last, we have tomatoes! Sort of.

I waited until MJ was out of the house and then ate them all

OK, so they’re cherry tomatoes. It’s a start.

Meanwhile, there’s a Champion tomato in Section 1 of the KHG that appears to be turning. I say appears to be, because it’s that pinky flesh-colored color that could mean it’s decided to rot on the vine. According to the planting guide, the Champions aren’t due for another ten days yet. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I am trying something new. We haven’t had much luck with the cabbage family, on account of as how it gets too hot too early — I’ve had broccoli bolt by mid-June. So I’m planting some cabbage indoors in the sun room. Lots of sun, not too hot. Nothing has sprouted yet.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 10, 2018

Garden Report for 180710

According to Cliff Mass, NW summer really arrives today.

Just by chance, this is also the day my first tomatoes are due. An Early Girl, transplanted on May 21st, and tomato-ready today, 50 days later — it says here in the planting guide.

Those planting guides may not be totally accurate.

So far, that’s the only tomato on this plant.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 25, 2018

Garden Report for 180625

I know, I said I wouldn’t write anything for a while. But I have some news, and a schedule.

So the news is, it looks like I’ve got some sort of blood disease attacking my deck tomatoes. The Bush All Star Beefsteak is toast. Leaves all bronzed and curly. Pulled it up (plastic gloves) and dumped it in dumpster. I’ll spread the dirt on the front lawn, and see if there’s something I can put in the washed container this late in the season. Worryingly, the Pink Accordion now has some leaves that are looking a little bronzlich.

The rest of it looks the same

The other news was me finally planting the carrots and chard in the holdout area of Section 2.

The schedule is here, tomatoes only, sorted by the ripening date:

Name D/I Wt Planted Days Ready
Early Girl I 4-8 05/21/18 50 07/10/18
Oregon Spring D 5-10 05/21/18 60 07/20/18
Champion I 6-8 05/21/18 65 07/25/18
Big Beef I 12-16 05/21/18 73 08/02/18
Moskvitch I 4-6 06/04/18 60 08/03/18
Bush Beefsteak D 7-10 05/21/18 75 08/04/18
Carolina Gold D 8-10 05/21/18 75 08/04/18
Sun Sugar I cherry 05/21/18 75 08/04/18
Big Boy I 16-32 05/21/18 80 08/09/18
Better Boy I 15-16 06/04/18 70 08/13/18
Black Prince I 5-7 06/04/18 70 08/13/18
Pink Accordion I 14-16 05/21/18 90 08/19/18
Moreton I 8-10 06/11/18 70 08/20/18
Beefsteak Brandywine I 18-24 06/04/18 80 08/23/18
Cherokee Purple I 10-12 06/04/18 80 08/23/18
Jet Star I 8-9 06/11/18 75 08/25/18
Supersonic I 10-12 06/18/18 75 09/01/18
Mortgage Lifter I 18-32 06/18/18 85 09/11/18

So, in theory, we could be eating Early Girl tomatoes three weeks from now. However, I note that right now the Early Girl has no tomatoes, and only a few flowers, while the Brandywine has six tomatoes that are almost two inches in diameter.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 18, 2018

Garden Report for 180618

One last sweep of Bi-Mart to see what I missed in the way of tomatoes. I found a Mortgage Lifter and a Supersonic.  The Lifter went into the garden ( I had to scrunch it in between the peas), and the Supersonic went into a new container on the east side of the house, snuggled up against the vine maple.

Planted some lettuce around the tomatoes in the big deck containers. Tennis Ball, and Iceberg. As I’ve said before, Icebergs don’t head in this climate, but they still make pretty good leaf lettuce.

I have one small part of Section 2 that I’ve been holding out for carrots, and maybe more lettuce. I’ll plant that today or tomorrow.

Took the bags off the ivy but left the wire grills on. I’ll take those off in a week or so. The ivy seems to be doing OK.

Otherwise, we’re in the let it grow part of the season. Maybe pull some weeds. My next garden report will likely not be for another month.

NOTE: we are in Sunset Zone 2B, USDA 6A, and ArborDayFoundation 6

planting calendar: https://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=99004

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 11, 2018

Garden Report for 180611

Just can’t stay away. I was going to lighten up on the gardening this summer, but I keep adding more and more plants.  Went to Bi-Mart on Thursday (are we going to get a Trans-Mart soon?) to buy a zucchini, because we didn’t have one of those, or a summer squash (nobody has summer squash) in the garden. Saw four or five tomato varieties that I hadn’t seen before or elsewhere, bought two (Jet Star and Moreton) and put them in containers on the east side of the house. Lemon cucumber on the deck, and the zucchini in Section 2.

The west side ivy may have been dumped into high sun too fast and got sunburn. I’ve put a grill over them (to give dapple-like shade), and hung a number of plastic shopping bags off the grill (to give a more diffuse light for dappling). I’ll take them off in a week or so. Actually, I’m likely to take them off come Friday night, because we are in for clouds and rain all weekend.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 4, 2018

Garden Report for 180604

Planted the Home Depot loot: Spaghetti, Butternut, and Delicata squash, Knucklehead and Wee be Little pumpkin, and Sweet Potato vine in the garden (Section 2); Better Boy and Black Prince tomato, and Japanese cucumber in the containers by the house. That left one empty container.

The Boston Ivy came in, a day early. All healthy. I dug up (most of) the hops on the south side of the house and planted the ivy in pairs, with room for my two planter bags between the pairs.

Hit the hardware store for one last time. Bought an acorn squash (Autumn Delight) for Section 2, Moskvitch for the east side containers, and a Cherokee Purple and a Brandywine for the south side planter bags.

The only thing left is some carrots (multicolor), chard, and lettuce (Iceberg, which makes a pretty good leafy lettuce, even when it doesn’t head).

After that, it’s just the occasional weed pull, and making sure the containers get watered — the garden is on a timer.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 29, 2018

Garden Report for 180528

Boy is my face red. I mis-read my previous planning posts, and I’ve been using the 2017 planting guide. That means I’m planting the same plants in the same place, two years running. Do too much of that, and you have a higher risk of root diseases. I’m going to assume that two years in a row isn’t too bad.

Made a run to Home Depot over the weekend. Bought some tomatoes and squash. They didn’t have any Boston Ivy, so I’ve ordered some on Amazon.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned that if one nozzle of a 4-way hose splitter goes bad and won’t close, you have to dump the whole thing*, and buy new. At least that gave me a chance to restructure my hose pattern: 1. spray hose for the dog run, 2. mobile hose for the north side of the yard, 3. soaker hose for our cedar, which is feeling poorly, 4. soaker hoses for the garden. I’ve put 3 and 4 on a timer, so the cedar and the garden get a drink every day. *Yeah, OK, I could have bought an end cap. Now you tell me.

Here’s what looks like a good tutorial on planting tomatoes. Too bad I’ve already got mine planted. She lives in L.A., which makes it easy to get fish heads. Here in the NENW we have to special order them from Amazon (or, if you are willing to make do with trout, you can do a catch-and-release, after removing only the head).

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 21, 2018

Garden Report for 180521

Well behind on gardening this year. Something to do with teh chemo. The garden and environs look like something out of a D&D game description: you stumble upon an abandoned house, with an overgrown garden and a yard that is reverting to forest…

Finally bought a bunch of tomatoes from the local hardware store, one of each:

Section 1: Champion, Beefsteak Hybrid, Brandywine, Big Boy, Carolina Gold, Big Beef, Oregon Spring.

Deck containers: Early Girl, Pink Accordion, Busch All Star Beefsteak, SunSugar.

Also bought snow peas and cucumbers. One cucumber went into the tub out front, and all the rest went into Section 1.

Of course, immediately after I bought all this, it poured down rain for two days.

My other project is to remove the hops on the south wall, and replace them with ivy. The hops worked well, but their ‘berries’ are poisonous to dogs, which meant I had to climb up every Fall and cut them down before they started producing. I’m too old and fat to do that any more. Stage 1 worked well — the plastic grid panel came off at the first tug. It’s probably lucky I did it deliberately, otherwise the whole thing would have fallen down unexpectedly. Now I have to dig up the hops, so they don’t come back.

I will probably limit the garden to Sections 1 and 2. Next year, when I’m retired, I can go all out.

Green Thumb Up My Nose: Plans for 2018

February 1, 2018

Getting ready to order seeds for Spring. It’s still a La Nina year, but it hasn’t been all that cold, or wet. Right now (1 Feb), there’s no snow on the ground, and the highs have hit the upper 40’s at times. The current weekly forecast is for lows in the mid 30’s, and highs in the mid 40’s, with rain. More like March than February.

Here’s the preliminary 2018 Plan:

Section 1
Peas, cucumbers, carrots. Maybe Squash, melons.

Section 2
Tomatoes.

Section 3
Greens, lettuce, maybe cabbage.

Section 4
Asparagus, maybe amaranth. Looking for something permanent, that can take a fair amount of shade.

Deck Containers
The usual tomatoes

House Containers
Tomatoes, cucumbers

Southside
TBD

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 1, 2017

Garden Report for 171002

Warm for most of the week (mid-upper 70’s), with a cold front blowing through on Saturday. Now the forecast is for highs in the low 60’s and lows in the high 30’s. Of course that doesn’t matter, because this is the week I closed out the garden.

A few years ago we bought some wire shelves at a going-out-of business sale. We didn’t need them as shelving, but they made excellent anti-squirrel mats. I could plant seeds and keep them protected until they were big enough for a cloche. This year I tried using to protect some newly planted carrots. Of course, with this year’s lack of weeding and general neglect, a lot of other stuff grew up around them, but they seemed happy with their cover. On Wednesday, I thought I’d lift the shelving and let them grow a bit more. Surprise! They came up with the wiring! Part of the reason was they are a stubby variety, and didn’t have much of a hold on the dirt. (Click pix to embiggen)

I’ve invented a mechanical harvester

 

Week
Ending
17/09/18
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg
*includes 2.4kg of smalls tomato  55  4000  73 198 21.3*
cabbage 5 0.72
cucumber 9 1.9
summer
squash
 4 1400  350 14 4.2
zucchini 4 2.5
winter
squash
1 550  550 3 2.9
carrots 10 250 25 10 0.25
Final Grand Total 33.8

This time last year we had a grand total of 23kg. In 2015 it was 45kg, and in 2014 it was 47kg, and in 2013 the total was 38kg. So not the worst year, but not nearly the best, either.

I can remember when we had six boxen like this

Note that one of the summer squash (in with the tomatoes) is long and curved. One of my squash plants produced only this kind of fruit. It’s like a Tromboncino, except that wasn’t what it said on the tin.

I now have to start thinking about next year.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 24, 2017

Garden Report for 170925

Official end of summer. A few days of rain broke our dry spell (Seattle set a record for dry summers)  and now we are in a cool day/cooler night pattern (mid 60s/mid 40s and they’re starting to report wind chills). Warming trend forecast.

Harvested nothing. Maybe next weekend, after the warmup.

Meanwhile, this looks to be the year that nothing grew, or grew without producing. Not container plants:

Texas Buttercup. All hat, no cattle

Pink Brandywine, the same.

And not the garden

All the squash that isn’t Summer.

Starting to close out the various bits of garden and the containers. I’ll get the dirt dumped on the dug-up plants in time for composting.

Week
Ending
17/09/25
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 143 14.7
cabbage 5 0.72
cucumber 9 1.9
summer
squash
10 2.8
zucchini 4 2.5
winter
squash
2 2.4
Grand Total 28

This is ahead of last year’s total at this time (~20kg) but nowhere near 2014’s 40kg.

Oh, well. There’s always next year.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 17, 2017

Garden Report for 170918

Summer enters the endgame. No rain for almost three months (we are scheduled early tonight, which would make it 83 days, and then more rain through the rest of the week). Highs in the upper 80’sF, cooling to the mid 60’s. Lows in the upper 40’s to low 50’sF.

Made a harvesting pass midweek, with another on Sunday. Ten Lemon Boy’s (1.0kg) and 21 others (1.5kg). Lots of greenies still on the vine. Harvested the second bush buttercup, to free up resources for the final one, and I see there’s two or three more making a dash for it.

Starting to close out the various bits of garden and the containers. I’ll get the dirt dumped on the dug-up plants in time for composting.

Week
Ending
17/09/18
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 31 2770 89 143 14.7
cabbage 5 0.72
cucumber 9 1.9
summer
squash
10 2.8
zucchini 4 2.5
winter
squash
1 980 980 2 2.4
Grand Total 28

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 10, 2017

Garden Report for 170918

Summer enters the endgame. No rain for almost three months (we are scheduled early tonight, which would make it 83 days, and then more rain through the rest of the week). Highs in the upper 80’sF, cooling to the mid 60’s. Lows in the upper 40’s to low 50’sF.

Made a harvesting pass midweek, with another on Sunday. Ten Lemon Boy’s (1.0kg) and 21 others (1.5kg). Lots of greenies still on the vine. Harvested the second bush buttercup, to free up resources for the final one, and I see there’s two or three more making a dash for it.

Starting to close out the various bits of garden and the containers. I’ll get the dirt dumped on the dug-up plants in time for composting.

Week
Ending
17/09/18
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 31 2770 89 143 14.7
cabbage 5 0.72
cucumber 9 1.9
summer
squash
10 2.8
zucchini 4 2.5
winter
squash
1 980 980 2 2.4
Grand Total 28

  

Garden Report for 170911

ただいま, as the Japanese would say — I’m home. Let’s see what’s happened in the garden.

Summer slowly drifts away. No rain for over two months. Highs in the lower 80’sF, lows in the lower 60’sF. Lots of smoke from the Gorge fires. Our AQI was over 180 last week, and only dropped to 80 (dangerous to beings with lungs) for my homecoming.

MJ handled what may well be the peak of the harvest season. Twenty decent sized tomatoes, totalling just over two kg, plus a basketful of smalls, at 900g. She took all the by-now-soggy tomatoes from my last harvest and pressure-cooked them.

In other news: two Zucchinis, one summer squash. The bush buttercup is trying to produce one final squash. It’s only about the size of a small lemon, right now. Don’t know if it will win the race with the frost.

Week
Ending
17/09/11
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 20 2133 106  112 12
cabbage  5 0.72
cucumber 9 1.9
summer
squash
1 800 800 10 2.8
zucchini  2  1670 835 4 2.5
winter
squash
1  1.4
Grand Total  21.3

Not a big harvest so far, but almost 10kg ahead of last year’s. Of course, the years before that ran to 60kg+ by this time.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 3, 2017

Garden Report for 170904

Somewhat reduced report, since I’m currently in Japan. This is what happened through Tuesday of last week.

Summer continues. No rain for going on two months. Highs in the lower 90’sF, lows in the lower 60’sF.

The tomato harvest continues, slowly. Twelve this week, totalling almost a kilo and a half (but that includes some that have just barely gone breakers, so that MJ won’t have to worry about harvesting until I get back). Still having BER problems.

In other news: One summer squash, not in good shape. I’m thinking there’s something in the soil in Section 4 of the KHG, or maybe it’s because there’s much less sun back there. None of the squash are doing very well.

Week
Ending
17/09/04
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 12 1400 117  92 9.8
cabbage  5 0.72
cucumber 9 1.9
summer
squash
1 370 370 9 2.0
zucchini 2 0.87
winter
squash
1  1.4
Grand Total  16.7

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 27, 2017

Garden Report for 170828

Summer continues. Trace of rain on Wednesday, otherwise, no rain for going on two months. Highs in the lower 90’sF, lows in the lower 60’sF.

The tomato harvest continues to slow. Eleven this week, totalling less than a kilo. Still having BER problems. Cut down the other Juliet, and the Patio, then moved the Purple Cherokee and the Rutgers up from the south side of the house onto the deck. I am off on a trip the end of next week, and this makes it easier for MJ to water. Besides, we don’t really like the Juliets (tough, acid), and the plants were dying.

In other news: Couple of summer squash, and a large, misshapen, Zucchini. Harvested the final cucumber, and took that down. One of the bush buttercups looked harvestable, so I did. The other one is coming along. Looks like the bush variety only produces one per plant.

Week
Ending
17/08/28
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 11 890 81  80 8.4
cabbage 3 470 157  5 0.72
cucumber  1 400  400 9 1.9
summer
squash
2 330  165 8 1.7
zucchini  1 720 720 2 0.87
winter
squash
 1 1366 1366 1  1.4
Grand Total  15

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 20, 2017

Garden Report for 170821

Summer continues. No rain for over a month and a half. Highs in the lower 90’sF, lows in the lower 60’sF. Next week we’ll have highs around 80F with lows around 55F. Possible rain, but not enough to keep down the blowing dust.

The tomato harvest is slowing. Twenty this week, totalling a mere 1.5kg. None of them very big. Cut down one of the deck Juliets. Was starting to go yellow, and we don’t really like them anyway — too small for their tough skin. Maybe use them in broth.

In other news: Two medium summer squash. I’m going to leave the Buttercups for a while. Likewise the purple cabbages — they are producing tiny heads, with no signs of bolting.

Week
Ending
17/08/21
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 20 1464 73  69 7.5
cabbage  2 0.25
cucumber 8 1.5
summer
squash
2 374 187 6 1.35
zucchini 1 0.15
winter
squash
Grand Total  10.75

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 13, 2017

Garden Report for 170814

Summer continues. No rain for over a month. Highs in the upper 90’sF, lows in the lower 60’sF. Next week we’ll have highs around 80F with lows around 55F. Possible rain, but not enough to keep down the blowing dust.

The tomato harvest is starting. Thirty this week, totalling 4kg. Champion and Lemon Boy are producing some nice ~200g tomatoes, while First Lady and Arkansas Traveller have smaller ones. Cherokee Purple and Beefmaster still bothered by BER.

There’s more where that came from

In other news: Two more cucumbers. Two medium summer squash. One of the Buttercups will be ready to harvest soon.

Week
Ending
17/08/14
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 31 4030 130  49 6.0
cabbage  2 0.25
cucumber  2 240  120 8 1.5
summer
squash
 3 1000 333 6 1.35
zucchini 1 0.15
winter
squash
Grand Total  9.25

Last year at this time we had 5.5kg of non-cabbage produce. This year, roughly 9kg.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 6, 2017

Garden Report for 170807

Summer continues. No rain for over a month. Highs in the upper 90’sF, lows in the lower 60’sF. They were forecasting 100F, but we didn’t make it, thanks to a smoke blanket that made our air worse than Beijing’s.

Big Boy gave a couple of 150g’s, and the Beefmaster gave a 100g tomato (the first that wasn’t et up with BER), and there’s more buckets of cherry tomatoes of various types. Meanwhile, the Pink Brandywine by the house isn’t doing anything. Maybe the shock of almost drowning made it reluctant to reproduce. I note, though, that the one in the main garden is only now producing flowers, so it might just be a (puts on sunglasses) late bloomer.

Unproductive Pink

In other news: Two cucumbers, one big, one small.  The Bush Buttercup is trying to produce something, but it really needs to be in a bigger pot. Harvested two of the purple cabbages. Trimmed, they are fist sized, and about 125g each — and were very tough, even when shredded and cooked with Spam, peas, and carrots . There’s three left, and we’ll see what the heat does to them.

Still Life, With Cabbages

 

Week
Ending
17/08/07
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  5 600 120  18 1.9
cabbage  2 250  125  2 0.25
cucumber 2 420  210 6 1.3
summer
squash
3 0.34
zucchini 1 0.15
winter
squash
Grand Total  3.9

Last year at this time we had almost 4kg of non-cabbage produce. This year, just over 3kg.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 30, 2017

Garden Report for 170731

Summer continues. No rain for over a month. Highs around 90F, lows around 60F, limited watering restrictions continue. Next week the same yet again, except highs near 100F. Glad I’ve got the drip water timer.

Sub-Arctic gave three small tomatoes, as did the Siletz. Better Boy and Big Boy gave one each. Or rather, a third of a one each. Blossom end rot. Late breaking news: At the last minute, Big Boy came through with a 150g non-BER. Yay!

Sub-Arctic Plenty is a “determinate that gives hundreds of small tomatoes”. Mine gave three, and I don’t mean three hundred, and then pooped out. The container is on the south wall. Have never had any luck on that side. Maybe it’s too hot. Well, let’s try planting some heirloom Rutgers tomatoes. The ones sold today are derivatives of the original. Some are determinate, some are not. Mine are indeterminate (it says here). The packet says 10-12 weeks, which means end of October/early November. We’ll see if we can beat the frost.

In other news: two small summer squash and one small zucchini. Four warty cucumbers. Half a kg of cherry tomatoes of various types. They come in clusters, and some are still green, so it’s not worth tracking them. Handful of shell peas, and handful of pea pod peas, harvested just ahead of death-by-powdery-mildew. Not enough to track. Barely enough for a salad.

Week
Ending
17/07/31
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  7 550 78  13 1.3
cabbage
cucumber 4 870  217 4 0.87
summer
squash
2 240 120 3 0.34
zucchini  1  150  1 150 0.15
winter
squash
Grand Total  2.7

Last year at this time we had over 6kg of produce, but 4kg of that was cabbage, so the rest of our produce is on track. Our cabbages have not bolted, yet, but they look to be about tennis-ball sized. Since temps have been running 90F and up, I doubt we’ll get much out of them. We’ll see what they look like at the start of next week

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 23, 2017

Garden Report for 170724

Hot and dry, with a forecast of dry and hot.

Stuff is growing. Nothing new is ripe. No change from last week.

Got to work on the burdock. That’s one tough plant. Deep roots. Thick base stalk with lots of branches. Thistles that cling, even when green.

I’ve cleared out about half of the infestation, but left lots of stumps. Click the pix to embiggen.

The garden in June. All that waist-high stuff to the left of the bird feeder is burdock. It was head high by the time I started work.
And here’s what I’ve been able to do so far. Looks like pictures of pioneer clearings in the NW forests. Notice that the plants next to the fence have grown quite a bit.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 16, 2017

Garden Report for 170717

We are now in full summer mode. No rain for a month. Highs around 90F, lows around 60F, watering restrictions on due to city water pump casualty, fire alert for much of the weekend. Same for the coming week

First harvest of the season. Six tomatoes: Siletz and Sub-Arctic, ranging in size from 40 – 140g. One small summer squash. One puny purple pepper. Bag of about-to-bolt lettuce, bag of chard. The chard seems to be winning the fight against the leaf miners. The trick is immediate and unmerciful pruning. Your chard will thank you.

Week
Ending
07/17
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  6 600 100  6 0.6
cabbage
peas
summer
squash
 1 100 100 1 0.1
zucchini
Spaghetti
squash
Grand Total  0.7

This time last year and in 2015 we had a grand total of 3kg. Fewer tomatoes, more cabbage and squash. In 2014 we had enough heat, and I hadn’t installed the automatic waterizer, that we had nothing but lettuce.

For some reason it only just now occurred to me that the shoulder-high jungle in the SE corner of the yard is actually burdock. On the one hand, that will give me some roots to try cooking. On the other hand, their thistles are nasty. I’m buying a machete.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 25, 2017

Garden Report for 170626

Hot and dry, with highs in the lower 90’s and lows in the higher 60’s. More of the same in the coming week, perhaps broken by a thunderstorm.

Continuing the fight against leaf miners in the chard. Continuing intermittent weeding, despite the mosquitoes. I think I’ve managed to kill my Pink Brandywine by overwatering. Turns out the container I have it in (a large Rubbermaid storage box) was one I hadn’t cut drain holes in. My everyday watering, coupled with roof runoff from the last shower of the season, left standing water in the box, and a plant that was drooping, nay draped, over the cage support. I poked holes as best I could, dug out as much of the soil as I could without digging up the plant, and when that didn’t help, trimmed off the worst of the droopy part, roughly the top foot or so. We shall see.

The non-garden part of the yard is looking fairly bosky. I decided to let the ground cover grow as it may — no cutting it back down to mineral soil at the end of winter — and it really took off. I’m not sure what they are, but they are growing chest high.

I wanted to stitch this into a panorama, but the geometry and the foliage was too much for my stitcher — it kept wanting to move the center frame to the left.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 17, 2017

Garden Report for 170619

Mid-month found us still in the grasp of June Gloom. Rainy, windy, and cold. Well, cool. Highs mostly in the 50’s, lows in the mid 40’s. The coming week we’ll have a proper June, with summer heat and everything. The nice part is, we’ll be in the dry, and that should kill off the skeeters.

MJ found a proper wire cloche, down in the basement. Planted some Grey Zucchini under it in Section 4. We’ll see how they do. Since the packet said they were a small, bush variety, I also planted one in a container on the deck. ProTip: you don’t need anti-squirrel cloches when planting in a mid-sized circular container, because an old Weber BBQ grill will fit nicely on top.

Everything is growing, including the weeds. The chard is coming along, but is heavily infested with leaf miners. That’s because the rain and the mosquitoes have kept me from doing a proper job in the garden. On Friday, it was windy enough to spend some time out there, so I did a major pruning — the only thing that will stop them (the miners, not the skeeters). Some of the early tomatoes already have fruit, but most have been setting, then losing, blossoms.

The aluminium cloches seem to work, as long as one pulls them apart when lifting. Of course, with this weather, the plastic bottles are working out better.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 5, 2017

Garden Report for 170605

Touched 90F at the beginning of the week, then June Gloom came through and cooled things off, for a bit. Looks like the coming week will be more of the same — warm, then cool.

Bought my last two tomato seedlings for the year — Cherokee Purple for the south side of the house (I moved the Patio tomatoes back up onto the…deck), and Pink Accordion to round out Section 1. Planted them Tuesday evening. Mosquitoes were fierce. The garden is like one of those yellow fever labs in Panama. Should have waited an hour for when a gust front came through. Also planted a Bush Buttercup squash in a deck container. We’ll see how big a bush it is.

I have always had problems with squirrels digging up my seedlings. They’re not after the plants, just looking for some fresh-turned earth to bury peanuts in, the way squirrels have done for thousands of years. I’ve tried making anti-squirrel cloches by cutting the bottom off of plastic water bottles, but the interior gets too hot, and when I pull them up they want to bring the plant with them. So I got the idea of using those wire gadgets that go in your downspouts and help stack up the leaves so they impede the flow. Unfortunately, all our local hardware store has are some newfangled cut-and-stretch aluminium mesh things that look like they’ll be as bad as water bottles when the time comes to lift them. I’ll try them anyway.

What I wanted

What I got

Put two of the gutter-cloches on some just-sprouted peas in Section 3, and two on newly planted Delicata and Bush Buttercup squash in Section 4.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 29, 2017

Garden Report for 170529

Warm, followed by hot. Highs in the mid-80s. Rain will bring us down into the mid 70s.

Not much garden action this week. Just for the heck of it I planted a pumpkin and a watermelon seedling. Bought a flat of mixed chard and lettuce and installed those. Green pepper in the container out front.

Cabbage hasn’t bolted yet. Mosquitoes are doing well. Another couple of weeks and we’ll be in the dry and they won’t be a problem.

Plan to plant some Delicata squash seeds and some carrots this week, if I can get my school work done.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 22, 2017

Garden Report for 170522

Cool and rainy during the week, warming to 75F over the weekend, with a couple days of 80’s in the forecast. Should have a good crop of mosquitos.

Planted some more stuff over the weekend. Two Juliet tomatoes on the deck, Lemon Boy and Siletz tomatoes in Section 1. Section 4 got two Acorn and three Zucchini squash, and one each of Yellowneck, and Butternut. The east side of the house got two cucumbers a Pink Brandywine and a Siberian tomato.

Having done all that, I moved the Sub-Arctic Plenty and Patio tomatoes from the deck to the south side of the house, next to the hops, and added a yellow cherry tomato to the deck.

Section 2 is reserved for greens and my ever-hopeful cabbage. Right now the weeds are doing well where the lettuces ought to be, and the cabbage will probably bolt by next weekend.

The local stores didn’t have anything in the way of peas or beans, so I’m going to have to plant them by seed, in Section 3.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 15, 2017

Garden Report for 170515

Cool, blustery, and showery. Highs in the upper 50’s, lows in the lower 30’s. Forecast is for, well, cool, blustery, and showery, with highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s.

Slowly getting things started. Planted some deck tomatoes: Sub-Arctic Plenty and Patio. Started on the house planters: one Burpee’s Big Boy and one Beefmaster. Also put one of each of those in Section one. The south end is essentially full now.

Our local hardware store has the same limited selection of tomatoes and other plants as always. I need to find another source of seedlings, but there’s nothing close by, and with all of I-90 through Spokane being dug up, it’s a pain. I didn’t get a chance to plant seeds this year, so it’s just what the locals have.

Green Thumb Up My Nose — The 2017 season really begins

May 8, 2017

To make sure we knew that winter was over, on Thursday we had a blast of moist 84F Hawaiian air. We were back to a more sane 60F on Saturday, and the soil temperature had climbed to 55F, with no indication of frost through mid-May. I made my first pass through the hardware store, and bought two each First Lady, Champion, and Arkansas Traveler — yes, only one ‘l’.  Plus a couple of basil seedlings. These all went into the South end of Section 1, digging up some of the greens (in two weeks they’d barely sprouted). Whitehouse o’ertop of them, soaker hose for half an hour, and we’ll see.

Still have greens and cabbage seeds in Section 2, without much action. Dug up Section 3 on the weekend. Plan to plant stuff there midweek.

Meanwhile, a couple of last year’s onions had stuck up stalks again, so I harvested them for use in my oatmeal. A nice Asia-poi touch.

Green Thumb Up My Nose — The 2017 season begins

April 24, 2017

Well, OK, it really began two weeks ago when I scattered some lettuce seeds in Section 1, but the NENW has had an unusually cold and wet winter/spring (current soil temperature is 50F), so our formal planting is starting off about a month later than I hoped.

The Plan

Despite that, the greens are starting to sprout.

However, it is now getting a little warmer, so on Saturday I cleaned all the spruce cones (thanks, spruce) and trimmings of spruce new growth (thanks, squirrels), weeds (thanks, weeds), and trash (thanks, me), laid down some anti-squirrel barriers, and planted a bunch of lettuce, and some cabbage and broccoli in Section 2. Now, I know I’ve said that brassicae don’t do well here (my last try bolted by mid-June), but it might just be cool enough…

Green Thumb Up My Nose: Lessons Learned and Plans for 2017

January 31, 2017

Lessons learned:
Not much new here. Don’t plant in the shade (yard shade and Section 4), and don’t plant short plants north of tall plants. The only brassicae worth trying are cabbages, and even then it’s a crapshoot. Beans are more trouble thant they are worth. Peas are OK. Burdock needs a lot of time to develop roots worth taking. Don’t expect your tomatoes to be more than tennis ball size.

Plans for 2017:
It’s a mild La Nina year, so we’re cooler and wetter. At the end of January there’s still eight inches of snow on the ground, including some from late November. I’m still going to plant early, but with less hope of useful results.

gardengantt2017

Continuing our medieval field rotation we have

Section 1
Tomatoes.

Section 2
Greens, lettuce, maybe cabbage. Yes, this violates the no shorts north of talls rule, but if I start the short stuff off early, it will be well developed before the tomatoes start to shade them

Section 3
Peas, cucumbers, carrots.

Section 4
Squash, melons, asparagus, maybe amaranth. Still looking for a purpose for Section 4.

Deck Containers
The usual tomatoes

House Containers
Tomatoes, cucumbers

Southside
Dig up the hops. Never gave that much shade, and I’m no longer interested in climbing around on the roof to mount/dismount the netting. Remove all the dirt (pesticides), and use it on the front lawn. Add new dirt, with lots of coffee grounds, and some blueberries.

Winter Garden

January 20, 2017

Our local hardware store just got their Spring seeds in.

Time to get to work

Time to get to work

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 3, 2016

Garden Report for 161003

It’s been a month, and now it’s time to close out the garden. The KHG is remaining warm, with the interior temperature holding at 64F on 2 October, despite the air temps just brushing 32F that night. I plan to keep track thru the winter, and report the numbers next spring.

Not much in the way of production. Couple of intentionally miniature peppers. Couple of unintentionally miniature onions. Five more medium Zucchinis before they succumbed to late season mildew. One small spaghetti squash from a late planted vine.

Week
Ending
10/03
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 27 1.13
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.67
summer
squash
5 1.41
zucchini 5  1600 320 17 12.3
Spaghetti
squash
1  470 470 1 0.47
Grand Total 23.0*

This time last year we had a grand total of 45kg. In 2014 it was 47kg, and in 2013 the total was 38kg. So, at about half the average of the last three years, this was not a memorable year, but that’s understandable, since we were gone much of the time.

For post-gardening-season projects, I have some burdock that I’m going to leave in the ground for another couple of weeks before harvesting the roots, and I’m planting some cabbage and bush cucumber in a pot that I’ll bring indoors when it starts to get cold. Also, a sectionsworth of KHG planted to greens, inside the whitehouses. Unless something special happens, I won’t be reporting on these.

*Including 1.4kg of really small Zucchinis that I picked while digging up the squash.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 5, 2016

Garden Report for 160905

No report for three weeks, due to travel, and more travel. Weather, I am told, was pretty much NENW standard for August — hottish and dryish.

The deck sugar pod peas gave one final half cup — enough to mix with one salad. The deck tomatoes have pooped out, after delivering a few final handfuls of cherrys. The garden tomatoes never did much at all. The Big Beef tomato out front yielded its final 136gram monster. The summer squash were much damaged by blossom-end rot and gave us only one medium. The zucchinis did much better, turning out 8kg of the stuff, but it looks like they’ve come to the end of their rope, as well. Finally, the pie pumpkins did equally poorly, turning out three small things better suited to the production of tarts than pies.

Week
Ending
9/05
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 1  136 27 1.13
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.67
summer
squash
1 560 560 5 1.41
zucchini 8 8800 1100 12 10.7
pumpkin 3 609 203 3 0.61
Running Total 19.5

Little punks

Little punks

Week
Ending
8/15
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  4 216  54 27 0.99
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.67
summer
squash
1 486 486  4  .85
zucchini  1  1500  1500  4  1.90
Running Total 9.43

We’re getting to the end of the garden. I suspect there’s only one more weeks worth of news. Pretty depressing, given that most years the garden report runs into mid- or late-October.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 15, 2016

Garden Report for 160815

The weather this week was warm and dry. The deck tomatoes seem to be recovering. I got three smallish tomatoes out of Section 4, and one biggish one from the front container. The squashes are producing at just the right rate for us to keep up with them, if we eat a lot of squash soup.

Week
Ending
8/15
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  4 216  54 27 0.99
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.67
summer
squash
1 486 486  4  .85
zucchini  1  1500  1500  4  1.90
Running Total 9.43

 

Week
Ending
8/08
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 23 0.775
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.675
summer
squash
3 .36
zucchini 1 500 500 4 1.400
Running Total 8.93

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 8, 2016

Garden Report for 160808

The weather this week was reportedly clear, hot and sunny, with heavy rain at the end. I say reportedly, because we were off on a handbell cruise, of which more in a later posting.

We have the KHG plants on a water timer, so they got watered throughout the week. The deck plants didn’t do so well. We’ll see if they recover. The deck parsley managed to survive.

How dry I am

How dry I am

Only one zucchini was ready when we got home, but that was because our neighbors were encouraged to pick what they wanted. As you can see, the squash in Section 3 are all doing well, while the tomatoes (Section 4, in back) are really hurting. I think it’s lack of sunlight.

Some plants do well, others don't

Some plants do well, others don’t

Week
Ending
8/08
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 23 0.775
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.675
summer
squash
 3  .36
zucchini  1  500  500  4  1.400
Running Total 8.93

 

Week
Ending
8/01
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 3 358 120 23 0.775
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.675
summer
squash
2 240 120 3 .36
zucchini 1 200 200 3 .900
Running Total 7.73

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 1, 2016

Garden Report for 160801

The weather this week was clear and sunny, just brushing mid-90’s at midweek.

Harvested two Big Beef tomatoes from the front pot, a New Girl from Section 4, and some miniature peppers from Section 1 of the KHG (4 peppers, 64g total, not worth adding a row for). The BBs are supposed to come in at 400-500g, but these were both 110g. The New Girl was 140g, exactly as advertised.

The squash in Section 3 were badly hit by blossom-end rot, not sure why. Watering has been consistent. I hit them with some calcium mix and they seem to be doing OK now. Got one summer squash and a Zucchini.

Meanwhile, the rest of the KHG tomatoes continue to meander on, with few fruit and nothing ripe. The pie pumpkins outside the KHG are doing OK, but I only see one pump.

I am trying an experiment in the newly-cleared Section 1. Remember the big thistly plant from a couple weeks ago? Turns out it’s burdock, the roots of which are used in some Japanese cooking. First and second year growth is best. So I clipped some of the thistles off a few nearby plants, and planted them in the garden. Remember kids, the best way to get rid of pests is to turn them into gourmet food.

Week
Ending
8/04
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  3  358  120 23 0.775
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.675
summer
squash
 2  240  120  3  .36
zucchini  1  200  200  3  .900
Running Total 7.73

 

Week
Ending
7/25
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 20 0.418
cabbage 3 2750 917 4 4.02
peas 1300 1.675
summer
squash
 1  .120
zucchini  2  .700
Running Total 6.93

Interestingly, this time last year I was about even with this year’s harvest, and in 2014 it wasn’t until mid-August that it was even worth building a harvest table. That will change by the end of the month.