Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Growing News

Plot Photo Update:

When I left work at 5:30pm, it was cool & SUNNY and I was looking forward to getting back in the garden. However as I approached Boston, a huge wall of fog was starting to surround the city. Sure enough by the time I got home and over to the garden, the sun was gone and it was pea soup!

Before I blog further, I need to make a correction! During my excitement over my first growing vegetable (a pepper), I mistakenly mixed up which pepper plant it was! I had it in my mind that it was a "Red Beauty," when in fact it is the "Mandarin" hybrid. Hopefully I can keep it straight from now on. Fortunately, it is no longer the only plant in the spotlight.

In more growing news...both of my Sweet 100 tomato plants have itsy-bitsy tomatoes. I am very excited to finally taste these, as I have heard they are amazing!!

Here are some snapshots of my seedlings, trying to make it!
Sugar Snap Pea
Short 'n Sweet Carrot

Long Bunching Onion (Scallion)


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Perimeter Progress

Today was the day that my poor, neglected perimeter beds (and plants) got some attention! My veggies are growing great and I am just waiting for my first harvest! I started filling the perimeter beds with a mix of store bought topsoil and compost from the community garden. Unfortunately, I am not up to 6 inches all the way around, but after six hours of back-breaking work, I decided to call it a day. I planted Salvia, Dahlia, Lupin and Yarrow. These guys have been troopers as they have stayed in their pots for two weeks after they were purchased. I also planted two blue Hydrangeas on either side of the gate. Obviously I have a lot more space to fill, but will probably going in stages. I will probably plant climbing roses right next to the gate as added protection (unfortunately, we have to worry about people breaking into our gardens, so roses and nails are a popular deterrent). I would like to plant mostly perennials. Any perennial suggestions for a sunny, zone 6 garden?

Here are a few snapshots from today:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Soggy Gardener

Here I am in all my garden glory...

I was not looking forward to going to the garden tonight since-surprise-we are getting more rain! However, since I had not been to the garden in a few days, I wanted to make sure that "everybody" was doing OK! Aside from the days of rain, we had relatively high winds earlier in the week. I also wanted to do a bug check as many fellow gardeners are reporting a few bug problems.

I am happy to report that my garden appears to be doing very well! The worse thing was that my Dahlia had fallen over...I really need to finish the raised bed around the perimeter and get what few plants I have in the ground!!

What I accomplished tonight:
  • Thinned out radish sprouts (see photos below)
  • Cut off wilting/dead leaves
  • Took an inventory of any bug problems
  • Picked 'suckers' off the tomato plants to encourage growth (so they don't take energy away from yummy tomato production)!
The only bugs I really noticed were small, black flies with clear wings and a lot of ants. I first noticed the ants when I was clearing the plot, and now they have moved right on into the raised beds. I am not too worried about either insect, but does anyone know what the small, black flies are? (I have found them on the stems and under the leaves of tomatoes, cucumbers, etc)

Here are photos from thinning my radish sprouts (before, during & after):

Other highlights from today:
'Early Girl' Tomatoes are growing!

Sugar Snap Pea sprouts

My growing 'Red Beauty' Pepper

My Howden Pumpkin trying to take over!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Short Break from the Rain

We got a break from the rain on Saturday and even saw the sun for a few minutes!! The morning's activities comprised of the July "Park Clean up" at the FVG. I thought it would be another great opportunity to meet some more gardeners. We organized the three park compost areas, staking rows for new disposable material. and covering the existing compost pile to help it decompose! A few of the volunteers were going to be picking their plots out that day, and it is hard to believe that I was in that same situation last month!

Yves and I were able to accomplish a lot during the past month and I am so pleased with how the garden is looking! Last Tuesday I was able to plant the rest of my crops by seed and had found a few more starter plants at another local garden center. Here are a few snapshots of all my growing veggies!

Sweet Basil, Multipik Squash

Hale's Best Melon, Howden Pumpkin

Savoy Ace Cabbage, Marigold

Red Cabbage, Cauliflower

Burpless Cucumber, Blue Lake Bush Beans

Celery, Head Lettuce

Sprouting Radish, Tomato plants

Unfortunately, the rain does not appear that it will let up until the end of the week. So, in the meantime I am still trying to read as much as I can about gardening. The New Self-Sufficient Gardener provides a great illustrated guide to all vegetables. A few of my current concerns are: yellowing squash leaves, how much water each plant needs, whether my seeded plants will make it, and what bug/rodent issues I will face. The waiting game is definitely hard as I grown anxious to see progress and finally get my first vegetable! Fortunately, I can see evidence of my first pepper growing on my Red Beauty Pepper plant!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A garden that finally looks like a garden!

Success!!! After a very long but productive weekend the garden has taken shape and vegetables have been planted! I could not be happier about how it has turned out. I will walk you through our recent progress with photos...

The 3-4x4 raised beds & perimeter frame are in place

Laying down the weed blocking fabric & securing it with fabric pegs

Mel's Mix: 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost (left to right)

Mel's mix - mixed; wood chips cover the ground

A raised bed - filled with Mel's Mix

A complete box - with lath boards to divide the bed into square feet (for easy plant/seed calculations)

Completed Box #1 with trellis (made from conduit pipes and nylon trellis netting)

Completed Box #2

Completed Box #3 with trellis

The big picture

Lupin (left) & Dahlia (right) for the flower beds along the perimeter

So, what have I planted so far?

Box 1
  • Green Bean - Blue Lake Bush Bean (7)
  • Cucumber - Diva (2)
  • Cucumber - Burpless Supreme (2)
  • Lettuce - Head (3)
  • Marigold (6)
Box 2
  • Tomato - Sweet 100s (2)
  • Tomato - Jet Star (1)
  • Tomato - Early Girl (1)
  • Sweet Basil (2)
  • Marigold (6)
Box 3
  • Squash - ? (4)
  • Melon - Organic Hale's Best (1)
  • Pumpkin - Howden (1)
  • Pepper - Red Beauty (1)
  • Pepper - Mandarin Hybrid (1)
  • Marigold (6)
  • Mint - Spearmint (1)
  • Lemon Balm (1)
Still to plant (from seed):
  • Green Bean - Roma II
  • Cabbage - Earliana
  • Cabbage - Red Acre
  • Spinach - Salad Fresh Hybrid
  • Lettuce - Salad Bowl
  • Lettuce - Parris Island (Romaine)
  • Pea - Sugar Snap
  • Radish - Crimson Giant
  • Carrot - Short 'n Sweet

Friday, June 12, 2009

A New Fence!

My garden has a new fence!! Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, Yves, the new fence and gate were finished late Wednesday night! Night you say?? Yes, we were able to work in the garden until 10pm! I guess you know you live in the city when there is enough artificial light for you to work that late! It also helped that the lights of Fenway Park were on as the Red Sox-Yankees game was still in play.

I am not sure what is happening with the weather lately in New England but it is the pits - and frustrating to an anxious gardener! It has averaged 60 degrees and with rain almost every day. Hopefully the sun will appear tomorrow. Luckily, I have Fridays off during the summer and used today to pick up more supplies, including the hard to find vermiculite! Yves and I also finished getting lumber to build a raised bed that will extend around the perimeter. This will be an on-going project that will one day be filled with a mix of annuals and perennials.

Tonight we leveled the garden in preparation to lay down the weed blocking fabric. We also started building the 4x4 raised beds as tomorrow should be the day for PLANTING! Since it is getting late to start most vegetables from seed, I will be buying starter plants for most of my veggies. I still have to work out exactly what I will be planting and where it will go, but should have it ready to go for tomorrow when I PLANT!! Can you tell that I am excited?? For now, here is my plot layout to give you a general idea of how it will look!