Monday, April 22, 2013

Garden Update

Does anyone else have sore muscles today from all the garden-work yesterday? I amended and planted two and a half beds and set up the bird bath, and then I bumped up some of the remaining plants into larger pots.

The two completed beds are the two nearest the front door. Now, instead of weeds, the long curved bed has three eggplants, thirteen pepper plants, and some gladiolus bulbs to go with the bee balm that was already there, and the smaller bed shaped like a big slice of pie has six Swiss chard, seeds for zinnias and pickling cucumbers, and the birdbath. When Joe got back in the late afternoon from kayaking on the Etowah River, he was amazed at how different the front yard looked!

The "half" part of the two-and-a-half beds is one that is supposed to get tomatoes planted in it later in the summer, based on my newly-created rotation scheme, but it got a couple of Amish tomato plants early. I need for the Amish tomatoes to be separate from the rest to avoid any further cross-pollination.

Last year's Amish tomatoes looked pretty different from the tomatoes of the first couple of years, and I am hoping that the older seeds (saved from one of the earlier years with this variety) that I used this year will produce plants that are more similar to the original variety. Keeping them in a bed across the yard from the rest should lessen the cross pollination problem.

Other activities for the day included admiring our new bees and cleaning my bunnies' enclosures. My friend Cheryl stopped by to pick up some plastic nursery pots because she needed more of the 3-gallon size (I had plenty under the house) and she brought some bunny salad - which included some wheat plants - from her yard for Moonpie, Tiny, Burrito, and Holstein. They seemed to enjoy the different salad!

I'm expecting to plant most of the rest of the summer garden over the next couple of weeks, completing a little bit each evening after work. The sweet potatoes will be last, because they need reliably warm soil to do well.


  1. I planted broccoli transplants early March. They are in a raised bed with good drainage and good soil. They kind of sat through the cool weather and then started taking off a few weeks ago. Last weekend (not most recent) u=I could see the starts of little green florets. Then it was really warm early last week and the florets shot straight to to flowers rather than heads. The plants aren't really very big but everyone of the (12) flowered. Last year I had great luck with broccoli and harvested in early May even though the weather was much warmer than this year. I'm so disappointed. Fresh broccoli is a favorite at my house - so much better than the grocery store kind. Any ideas what went wrong?

  2. Hi Barbara! In general, most broccoli varieties will bolt when the temps get above the low 70s, but I think the biggest problem was the two-or-three wild swings in temperature up into the 80s and then back down to normal, cooler spring temperatures. Last year, the spring was more consistently warm. The swings up into HOT could easily have tripped an internal switch.

    It could also be that this year's variety isn't as heat tolerant as last year's, but I am going to go with the temperature swings as the likeliest cause.

    To be honest, spring's unpredictability is part of why I don't grow many of the cool weather crops in spring; I grow them in the fall, when they are more likely to mature in cooler weather. The temperature-at-maturity seems to affect flavor, even when the crops don't bolt too soon.

    Hope your garden is going well, otherwise!

    I'm hoping to get more tomatoes into the ground tonight. Last night, I replanted some of the bush beans that had been nibbled to nubs by the wild rabbits. -Amy

  3. That does make sense. I only tried broccili the past two years in the spring. I've not tried it in the fall. I generally have good luck with collards and brussel sprouts in the fall. I think that shot of hot weather just as the florets were appearing on the broccoli sent them into a tizzy. I like to say my garden is one big science experiment. Live and learn and keep a journal!


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