Monthly Archives: May 2014

Mini Garden Update: Rainy Days Addition

So the rain has come. I haven’t got too much done in the last few days, even though I should be busy planting and preparing for the season ahead, but I just haven’t been able to get out there much with all of the rain.

The Front Square Foot Garden

I have planted a “Minnesota Melon” (cantaloupe) in two of the squares along the north side so it can grow up the trellis, in the square beside it there are two cucumbers, and to their right in the last square of the row is a beefsteak tomato. In the second row down I have also planted four marigolds, and the spinach is still coming along nicely in the bed. I never managed to snap a picture of it though, as the rain keeps coming off and on and I always seem to be busy while it’s off.

The Red Radish Greens Taste Test

I had my first radish out of the garden today, it was only about as big as the end of my pinky finger, but it was delicious. For those who don’t remember, I planted a whole bunch of radishes in a little plastic greenhouse tent early this spring so that I could try out the greens. You can read about it here if you want.

I tried the greens today, I thinned out some of the radishes and brought the greens in the house to eat. I was very disappointed in the flavour, I thought it was going to be spicy, but instead the ones I tried (raw) tasted like grass. I am not willing to give up yet however, as perhaps the spiciness comes as the plant matures. I will try them again once they have matured and keep you posted.

It’s Tulip Time!

Tulips in bloom

With the tulips open there is finally a splash of colour near the Evans Cherry tree.

The tulips that I had a picture of in the last update have been opened for a few days and I managed to snap a photo before the rains came. I’m not really sure what happened with the photo however, they sort of look fake in it, but I assure you, they are 100% real tulips!

Other than that, all I have really done since the last update is plant the potatoes in my Rubbermaid garbage can, and in two bags that I purchased earlier in the spring, and planted some hollyhocks behind our shed. Work continues on the greenhouse/polytunnel as I have only found a few hours to work on it so far.

By next update I hope to have everything planted, the greenhouse finished, and some new plants started in it. For now though, I will just continue to chip away at everything as I can in between rain storms.

Garden Update May 21st 2014

Since the last update a lot has happened in the AlbertaGardener.com gardens, not only has the weather turned for the better, but the vegetables and flowers have taken off. Well, the ones that have been planted have anyhow, I still have a bunch more left to plant but before I even think about that I need to prepare the soil for the new beds, and build two of them. On top of that I still need to finish the greenhouse… It looks like it will be another busy weekend.

Enough about what needs to be done though, let’s look at what has happened over the past 20 days.

Early Red Radishes

Red Radish and Butternut squash

Tons and tons of red radish plants and one butternut squash that has fallen over.

When I planted these, I just sort of tossed the seed onto the ground, and covered it with a bit of soil. As you can see, I did not do near a good enough job of spreading them out and now I will have to go about clearing space in between them so the roots can actually grow nice and plump. They have a butternut squash planted with them now as well, it got a little leggy under the light, but other than that it seems healthy and strong, and the radishes will keep away some of the bugs that might try to eat it. The squash is in there, in the middle of the picture, but it was a little hot and dry in the tent when I went out there so I opened it up and gave the plants some water, it should be back to its old self soon.

Chives

Chives

The chives are doing great! I think I am going to plant more over near the new raised beds as well.

After the last update these chives took off like crazy. It looks to me like I can harvest some already, and I probably will in a few days to have with some potatoes. After not getting any last season, I can’t wait for some fresh chives!

Strawberries

Strawberries and Cucumber

The Pikan strawberries that I have left from this years seedlings, only 8 germinated and I’m down to five with a leggy cucumber.

Only five of my seedlings made it this year, and with the others not coming back (I’m sure of it now) it looks like my plans for a strawberry raised bed will be put on hold. If anyone knows of a tasty, everbearing, zone 3 hardy strawberry variety, let me know on any of my social network feeds, or in the comments below.

These pikan strawberries are delicious, and have pink showy flowers, but they don’t last through the winter, even in our porch so I won’t be planting them again. I may bring them inside the house for the winter though to see if I can save these ones.

Spinach

Spinach

The spinach has sprouted and is growing well. I think. I’ve never planted it before.

The spinach sprouted in the front square foot garden on May 8th with the stuff on the west side following a few days later. It’s still pretty small, which makes me wonder if I should have planted it earlier than I did on April 24th. I suppose I shouldn’t worry too much since it has sprouted and is growing nicely right now, I can’t wait to try some.

The “New” Seedlings

Marigolds Cucumbers and Melons

Marigolds on the left, cucumbers in the round pots, Minnesota melons in the square ones.

Not so new anymore, but I thought I would keep the heading the same as the last one. As mentioned earlier, the squash is planted in the tent with the radishes. The rest are doing mostly fine though, the cucumbers and melons were transplanted last week, and though the cukes are a little leggy, they seem to be doing fine. The marigolds are doing very well and love sitting out in the sun all day now that everything has been hardened off, but the broccoli got so leggy that I only have one plant that I think will survive, I really need an extra grow light next year to help prevent the short plants getting leggy just so the tall plants can get light.

”The Rest”

Peppers Tomatoes Watermelon and a Cucumber

Tomatoes on the left, with a watermelon in the front and peppers all around, and a lonely cucumber.

Not so much of an accurate term anymore, but the peppers (chile and green) are doing great after I lost one to who knows what? It was healthy one day, and the next it was wilting and losing leaves even though it had plenty of light, and enough water. Both tomatoes have been transplanted now, and though one is a lot bigger, they are both doing great. I am a little worried that the watermelon hasn’t grown much since I transplanted it to the bigger pot, I probably messed up the roots a bit when I took it out of the small planting cup. Hopefully that changes with the warmer weather to come when it’s in the greenhouse or it will be another watermelon-less garden this year.

The cabbage… Out of the six or seven I planted this year only two remain. I have planted them in the western square foot garden, but I don’t think they will make it. I and really not sure what happened to the last two survivors, the others got pretty leggy and never recovered from it, but these last two never really did, but they have been unhealthy looking the whole time. I might have to buy some for this season if I want some coleslaw. I never took a picture of them because I didn’t want to make everyone sad.

New Acquisitions

Blueberries and Rhubarb

Blueberries on the left, they are a little yellow because I need to get some more acidity into the soil, and the rhubarb in the front.

Two weekends ago I went to Canadian Tire to try to find some grapes to plant out where the new raised beds will be. They didn’t have any, but they did have tons of blueberry plants, so I bought three. I haven’t had fresh picked blueberries since I was a kid, and I am not even sure if I like them, but I know plenty of people who do if not and they seem to attract bees like crazy, so that’s a plus. I also picked up some flowers, but I will talk about them another time, as this post is getting really, really long.

Last weekend I went to Home Hardware to pick up my potato bags that I had a rain check for since they ran out when they were on sale, and I found a rhubarb plant which will fit in perfectly with some landscaping I’m planning, and next year when I have a good sized strawberry bed, will lend a vital ingredient for strawberry rhubarb pie.

The Flowers

Delphinium

That is a lot of growth for only two weeks, I can’t wait to see them the whole way through to flowering.

Of the two delphiniums I planted last fall (I got them on sale and couldn’t resist) only one has come back, but it has stormed back full force. I first noticed it coming up on May 6th, and since then it looks like it has more leaves than it did when I planted the full sized one in the fall.

Tulips

This clump of tulips had maybe three flowers on it last spring, it looks like the extra cold weather did it some good!

The tulips are about to open any day now and holy smokes do we have a lot more than I remember from last year, there are flower stocks everywhere on all of the plants, it is great to see, I can’t wait to get a few pictures of them in bloom.

Peony

This peony produces year after year in just terrible soil. Why can’t everything grow this easy?

Everything else is still on the verge of coming back; the dianthus, peonies, and campanula are all greening up (purpling up in the case of the peonies) nicely and should give great blooms this summer. Though more of a fruit than a flower (until you see it in full bloom) the Evans Cherry tree is about to bloom, as are the double flowering plum bushes. I some of the blooms on the bottom of the double flowering plums are already starting to open.

Evans Cherry Buds

The Evans Cherry is ready to bloom and bud within the next week or so, I will make sure to snap a picture of it in it’s full bloom for you guys.

Double Flowering Plum

Both of our double flowering plum bushes are about to be an explosion of pink. It’s always good to see them in full bloom, as they are the first thing I see when I come home.

I think the next update will have a lot more colour, and hopefully come within a reasonable timeframe. I will also work on making these updates shorter. Maybe I need more pictures, less typing? If you have suggestions, like corn, I’m all ears, leave them in the comments below!

I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist that “corny” pun.

Garden Update May 1st 2014

I know this is a few days late, but I had a busy week last week and could only find time to take a few pictures with everything else that was going on. This week looks to have slowed down already though, so hopefully I can post a few times so that you guys can see what I’m busy doing.

As I write this, the weather outside is only about 4 degrees Celsius (about 39 Fahrenheit) and it snowed each day over the weekend, and again last night. Not much has stuck around, but I found myself having to brush the snow off of the little plastic tent I have the radishes planted under a few times when I went to change the cold water jugs for warm ones, but the extra moisture really greened everything else up. Speaking of the radishes…

Early Red Radish Planting

Red Radish Plants Under Small Greenhouse Tent

If you look closely you can see the little radishes poking up under the protection of the tent.

We had some great weather before the weekend and the radishes I planted on April 23 started to sprout on April 30. The sunny weather made for a lot of heat inside the tent, and we had to be vigilant in opening up during the day so it didn’t get too hot and everything looks healthy. I will do a proper update on them soon.

Chives

Chives

I wasn’t sure these would come back since they never grew well last year, but they came up before the tulips did.

There isn’t much to say about the chives, they have come back strong after being planted last year and not doing much. I can’t wait to make some baked potatoes and try them out once they’re big enough to harvest.

Strawberries

Strawberries

“Pikan” Strawberries sitting in the sun just before they to be moved back under the lights.

These are a hybrid strawberry called Pikan, an ever-bearing type with showy pink flowers and incredible tasting berries. It is one of only a few types that I have read about that have showy flowers and fruit that taste great. They were planted on March 29th, sprouted around the 8th of April, and have been getting some sun in our only south facing window in our unheated porch during sunny days when the temperature out there warrants it.

I planted these ones originally to plant in a future raised bed, but the ones from last season don’t look like they made it, even though we brought the pots into the porch over the winter. I will give the already potted ones a few more weeks to see if they come around, if they don’t I will need to find a hardier type of strawberry to plant next year for the raised bed.

The New Seedlings

Seedlings

A new set of seedlings emerges for planting out later in the spring.

Planted on April 27, none of them took long to germinate. In that photo there are 2 cells of butternut squash (mark with S), 3 broccoli (marked with B), 5 cucumber in the three cells behind the S cell on the right, and 2 behind the other S cell, 2 cells of “Minnesota” Melon which looks like a cantaloupe on the package, and the rest is all marigolds because we have a couple of neighbourhood cats that like to dig, so we put some in each bed. Look for an update on these soon.

The Rest

Plants sitting in a windowsill.

The light makes this one a bit hard to see, but there are peppers, watermelon, two types of cabbage and tomatoes there.

I know, it’s not a very good picture, but in there I have 3 red and 3 green cabbage seedlings, a watermelon (far left), 3 chili peppers, 3 green peppers, and 2 tomatoes. The tomato at the back, and the two peppers in the blue pots (one is chili one is green) were transplanted just before the photo was taken. I had also started to harden all of those plants off by placing them in the shade outside for a bit the day the photo was taken.

The spinach doesn’t get a picture because it hasn’t germinated yet. Hopefully it will soon, but the package said it could take anywhere from 7 to 23 days for it to happen and it was only planted on April 28th, so I won’t worry about it until closer to the end of the month.

There you have it, a quick little “tour” of what has been going on in my garden this spring. I sometimes post little random pictures on Google Plus for what’s going on as well, so make sure to follow me to get those if you’re interested.