Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tomatoes, Onion, and Pumpkins in Bloom

Just a few pictures of my tomatoes and pumpkins that are in bloom.  These were started from heirloom seed in mid February, and put into the ground on March 28th.

Bamboo stakes from the craigslist bamboo score.

This is from the onion that I dropped onto the floor and planted instead of composting.  It produced four bloom stalks, one of which is blooming now.  I am going to try to grow onions from the seed, but if it turns out to be a long day variety then I'll just end up with a bunch of green onions.  What a problem...


Our cats found the catnip yesterday.  Here are some pictures starting with a before and after of the plant.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Early Garlic Harvest

I had 4 garlic plants that were growing in the winter cold frame/greenhouse that were falling over and had yellow leaves.  I decided to pull one up to see if something was wrong.  Nope, the bulb was finished forming, so I pulled the other 3 in the same condition and they also had full bulbs.  I let them dry in the sun for a few hours then trimmed the tops, brushed off most of the dirt, and brought them into the kitchen.  Whenever I get a dozen or more garlic that are ripe at the same time I want to braid them for storage, but for now trimming the tops and cooking with fresh from the garden garlic will have to do.  

Craigslist Bamboo Score

I was checking the free section on our local craigslist and found someone giving away bamboo.  They had bought a house that the previous owner had planted bamboo and not tried to contain it and it had taken over the back yard.  I went and cut 2 truck loads, which is not that much when you consider that the tops have lots of branches that don't compress well.  Below is a picture of one truck load drying after I removed the limbs.  I plan to use the larger sections to stake tomato plants and the tops as bean poles.  I also collected a few young shoots to cook.  If you have ever seen the little cans of bamboo shoots in the store it is the young new growth, less than 24", that has been pealed and par boiled.  I boiled mine for 20 minutes, even though it was not the bitter variety, then sauteed it in butter and soy sauce then topped it with salt and pepper.  Free garden materials beat buying them any day. and free food is doubly good.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Garden update 4-20-2011 - First Harvest

Well the garden has jumped this last week.  The snow peas are beginning to bloom, the mesclun is 2-4" tall (I'll begin to harvest when everything is at least 3"), some of the lettuce I started in seed trays are 6-8" and could be harvested any time (I'll wait because we have lettuce from our CSA), I could start eating green onions or green garlic any time I need them too.

But the first harvest is Strawberries.  I have picked 1 or 2 earlier, but today I picked about a cup of fresh berries.

Overview of the beds.

Tomato/pepper/squash bed

Lettuce with Japanese red mustard and a small tomatillo plant behind

Mellon bed

New plumb tree

Pumpkin plants

Raised Bed

The climbing beans that I planted between the corn plants have already come up, I only planted them last week.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Real Fruit Trees

We went to South Carolina this weekend for my niece's christening.  While there I was given 4 Yellow Plumb, 4 Burgundy Plumb, 3 Peach, 1 Quince, 3 Huckleberry Bushes, several Fig cuttings to root, and several white grape seeds by family and friends.  My intent was to go dig up some wild plumbs, but they had been removed/killed by the county.  So I asked around and a friend had plenty of excess plumb trees, the quince, and the white grape seeds.  The Huckleberries were growing wild behind his house. My brother had given my dad some peach trees that he did not have room to plant, so these were passed to me too.  Now all but the grape seeds are planted in my yard.  The Plumbs reproduce by root, so they may more than double by this time next year.  The grapes I will start in pots and set out after they have grown for a year.  All of these can be propagated from cuttings too, so as I need more or want to share the excess I can pass along the fruit trees too.

I also received cuttings from 3 rose bushes in red pink and white.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ornamental fruit trees

What is the point of ornamental fruit trees?  Sure they are big and pretty when the bloom in the spring, but so are real fruit trees.  If you do not prune a fruit tree it will get just as big and bloom as heavily as an ornamental, but it will still produce fruit every other year.  If you do prune them then you will get less shade and a less beautiful tree, but you will get bigger fruit, more fruit, and fruit almost every year.  Did you know that an apple tree can produce 200-500 pounds of fruit when it reaches maturity?

So the problem you will have is too much fruit!  There are always family, friends, or charities that you can give the excess to.  If you like to BBQ, you can use the pruned wood for smoking meats.  So why do I see 50-100 ornamental fruit trees planted for each real fruit tree?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Garden Update 4-12-11

Three weeks ago I posted about building my garden beds.  Since then I have planted everything and almost everything is up.  Because of the rainy weather I ended up planting over the course of a week by taking advantage of breaks in the weather.  On a side note, if I was building a conventional tilled garden I would have lost 2 weeks due to the rain.

Peone is in bloom!!!

An overview of the garden

On the far left in the pots are Apple Seedlings that I started in February.  Then Bed 1 - has cool weather vegetables, Bed 2 - has beans corn and okra, and bed 3 - had white onions, red onions, 2 kinds of leeks, 3 kinds of garlic, and some shallots.

Herbs in bed 1 you may not be able to see everything, but there are: sage, thyme, lavender, lemon basil, lemon balm, parsley, cilantro, scallions, spicy globe bush basil, and genovese basil.  I also planted dill, ginger, and coriander in some of my flower beds.



Mescalune - Lettuce - Asian Red Lettuce These are separate  plantings, but I'll just show 1 to save some pictures.



Rainbow Chard


Peas Oregon and Alaska varieties

Bed 2


Green been, bush

Wade's Giant Indian Corn

Contender wax bean, bush (left) and Sweet Corn (right)

Bed 3

Garlic (left), White onions (right), Leeks (left behind the kalrobi), Red onions (right behind the kalrobi)

Bed 4

Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash, Cucumber, Zucchini, and lettuce


More Apple Seedlings - If anyone around Columbus would like a few let me know.  These are going to South Carolina to my brother and Dad.

Raised Bed


Test Onion - Putting up a bloom/seed stalk.  If you plant this much onion then it will go to seed, or produce lots of green onions.


Wooden seed trays

Thornless Blackberries

Bed 5
There is not much to look at right now, but I have 6 types of melons planted plus 3 kinds of squash and some bushel basket gourds.


I have also added 2 varieties of grapes, raspberries, 3 more kinds of potatoes, wild flowers, flowers, artichokes, broccoli, 3 types of eggplant, and wild garlic.

I'll try to make future garden post a little shorter and lighter on pictures, but right now everything is still so small that you can not see anything in the overview pictures.