Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Update, Pictures, and Wacky Weather

It is official!  My 'plant indoors' list is complete and I have already gotten part way through my 'plant outside' (direct sow) list.  The next few weeks should be pretty busy, depending on the weather of course.  It seems that no matter where you are in the world this spring (or fall) it is either too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too unpredictable, too windy, or all of the above!  It is rather nerve wrecking and I think I speak for all of us when I say, "Cut it out!".  This week started with temperatures in the low 60's, followed by a leap into the low to mid 80's (today and yesterday).  We will end this week with days of rain and below average temperatures in the low 60's, upper 50's.  We should return to 'normal' by the middle of next week, but who knows how long that will last!  And yet I still feel lucky, because I know there are many gardeners and farmers who have lost everything to this crazy weather.  Every time I go to shake my fist at the sky I temper my frustration and send positive thoughts to those hit by tornadoes, flooding, and all other destructive weather so far this year.  It also makes me want to work extra hard to grow the best plants I can as a sort of symbolic share-cropping.  Here's hoping it works!

As my post title implies I have photos to share!  I shall use them as my update guide.

I put in some edging around my strawberries in a  hap-hazard fashion.  I mainly just want to keep them from spreading and I think it will do the job.  Or at least make it easier for me to cut the runners as they try to escape over the edge.  The ground wasn't exactly level, so that is the main reason the edging is a little 'off '.  I put it in on May 1st (date of the photo), and it is still in place.  Those bricks are no longer there, so it is basically on it's own.

My first outdoor plantings in the actual garden were beets, carrots, and radishes.  I used the radishes to mark the rows and they were already coming up on May 6th (photo at right).  I only planted one row of each with the plan of planting more in a week or two.  When I checked yesterday, there were beets pushing through the dirt and I suspect the carrots are close behind!  The soil was a bit dry yesterday, but I resisted watering, because of the coming weather.  Even with the high temps in the afternoon sun, the seedlings looked fabulous!

Other progress that was made in the garden yesterday, consisted of me getting the bean trellis set up and then planting the beans.  Hopefully this new position will not over shade the strawberries.  I think it will be fine, but we'll see!

Next I decided to work on removing the old fence posts that are currently where I plan to put tomato plants.  These posts were there when we moved in and since we expanded the garden this year, they are now in a bad spot.  We discovered that at least one of the corner posts is there to stay.  It is actually in an OK place, so that doesn't concern me, but the ones that are not in an OK place need to come out.  So I dug and dug and dug until I found the end of the first one.
Turns out the darn thing was about two and a half feet in the ground and so rusted that it bent rather easily (bottom stake in photo).  While working on the next one, I was about two feet down when it just wouldn't let me dig anymore.  I was hitting rocks and the soil was also a clumping clay at that point.  So I just broke it off and left the end in there.  And because there was so much clay, I added organic matter when I re-filled the hole.  After all that, I decided to wait on the others.  Two down, three to go! Ugh.

Before heading inside I took a look at my oregano.  As you can see, it looks rather... Dead. (Above)  Upon closer inspection, however, you can see that it is slowly coming back and will likely take over the entire container this year! (Pictures at left)

I have both Greek and Italian oregano in there, but I honestly couldn't tell you which is which anymore.  They even taste the same to me.  I have read that Italian oregano is supposed to be stronger and have a more pungent flavor, but as I said, they taste the same to me.  Even Tom can't tell the difference, so I wonder why they say that.  If anyone knows, please feel free to enlighten me. :)

Inside we go!  Here are just a few photos of my seedlings from May 6th and yesterday (May 10th).  First up is one of the Legend variety tomatoes from May 6th.  One of these will be in my parent's backyard. However, I do have extras.
Keeping with the 'parent's backyard' theme, we have the Sungold Cherry variety.  This photo was also taken May 6th, so this little guy is even bigger now!

Italian Heirloom tomato

Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper catchin' some rays.

Habañero; short but HOT

Jalapeño peppers before I transplanted one of them.  They are enjoying their new found space.

Jack-o-lantern pumpkin on May 6th.  There are two in the pot now.

Mini overview of some tomatoes and peppers.  The tomatoes obviously like to show off their fast growing speeds. (May 10th)

One of two trays in my kitchen window.  All transplanted tomato and pepper extras.
And finally one of three trays sitting in the family room, sliding door window.  I drew an arrow pointing out how insanely big the Jack-o-lantern pumpkins have gotten in just four days.  The tray also includes Sweet Pie pumpkins, watermelon, and more extra tomatoes and peppers.  Did I mention I have a few extras?  Maybe a few isn't the correct terminology.  How about an abundance.  Whoops!  ;-)

Here's hoping the weather is tolerable wherever you may be.