Tag Archives: blueberries

Greenhouse Seed Starting Update May 1, 2016

Even though it has been more than a week since I took the video that this post is named after, and from when the video at the bottom of the page was taken, I figured that I could give a little update about what I did and (mostly) didn’t get done this week in the gardens and greenhouse anyway.

First off, the weather changed and it was very hot for most of last week. Luckily for those tomatoes, I only had to use that blanket once, the rest of the nights it was warm enough to leave them uncovered. That changed this week, though, as the last two nights they have had to be covered, and judging by the forecast, I’m going to have to cover them every night for the near future.

I did come up with a better solution, however, and instead of that big, heavy blanket, I have been covering them with some landscape fabric that sometimes doubles as a shade cloth for me when it gets too hot during the summer. Being a lot lighter, it still seems to hold in some of the heat from the mats, and so far has worked great. I also, just as an extra measure, put a long piece of bubble wrap over the top of the plants on the outside, which may or may not also help, but it gives me a little piece of mind when I go in after covering them.

With all of the heat, I never did get the frames put in like I had planned. I don’t do well in temperatures as hot as it was for most of last week, especially working directly in the sun. To add onto my problems with the heat, when it wasn’t too hot to work, it was too windy to play around with taking off the plastic, or I was too busy with work to get anything done outside at all. I will hopefully get to them soon, though I’m not that worried about them getting in immediately.

I also never did get the broccoli, cabbages, spinach, and kale put out like I had planned, again due to heat, the wind, being busy, and also raspberries. You see, where I’m going to plant them has been taken over partially by raspberry suckers. This wouldn’t be a problem normally, I could just dig them up quickly and toss them, or give them away. This time, however, I want to keep them and replant them at the back of the yard to form a bit of a hedge.

I went out and got a few additions to the yard as well this week: I found a great rain barrel at a garage sale for only $10, that I did have time to set up, and it’s begging for rain just as much as I am. I also bought three more blueberry bushes to go with the four that we already have and two saskatoon berry bushes. That is probably as much as I can do for perennials this season, as the lumber that I bought for the frames and for the rest of the greenhouse changes, along with what I’m planning to spend on a couple of other raised beds has eaten almost all of my budget for the year. You never know, though, I might buy something cheap at the end of the season or something like I tend to.

I’m just not planning on anymore…

A Late Look Back at 2015

This should have been written a month ago, at least, however, I have been insanely busy with work, my other YouTube channel, and life in general. None of which are usually the case, but I’ve got some time now, so let’s talk about last year.

What I Accomplished

  1. With the help of my best friend, I got the greenhouse leveled, and put down cardboard to smother any grass that would try to grow through, landscape plastic, to do pretty much more of the same, and wood chips to make a nice looking floor. It worked out really well for a floor, I’ve only had to pick a couple of grass shoots out of it since we did the work in the early spring.
  2. I also put down some cardboard and wood chips underneath the espaliered pear shortly after I made a new trellis for it. So now we don’t have to mow under the branches, hoping not to burn them with a hot lawn mower engine, and it’s on a sturdy trellis, so I don’t worry every time a strong southern wind blows through.
  3. The work with the wood chips and the cardboard didn’t stop there either, I made a small strawberry planter out of an old pallet and placed it east of the greenhouse, where we surrounded it with – surprise, surprise – wood chips and cardboard. I think that we also put down the last of the landscape plastic there just to make sure that the grass didn’t get up through. It mostly worked, I had to pluck some out of the planter every now and then, but, for the most part, it worked well.
  4. I put a raised bed into the greenhouse. This is by far the best thing that I did all season long, as it gave me a lot more space to plant then did the containers the year before. My greenhouse productivity exploded this year because of it.
  5. I planted a tub full of herbs. It was delightful, but more on it later.

What I Learned

  1. Beans LOVE greenhouses. Or so it would seem, I planted nine Kentucky Wonder beans in my greenhouse in the spring and soon they took over enough that they actually started shading my cucumbers. They also ended up going up and over the roof of the greenhouse and touching the other side. We ate a lot of beans, but I still can’t help think we could have eaten more!
  2. This one is pretty embarrassing if I’m being honest. As it turns out, green beans can just be immature beans of other varieties. This is probably common knowledge to most gardeners, but I didn’t have a clue until probably around July. It’s lucky that it’s like this too, because as it turns out, I don’t really like the flavor of the Kentucky Wonder beans once they mature, but I love them as a green bean. I saved a lot of seed from them for this year because of it.
  3. Lemon Balm makes great tea. I started a lemon balm plant because I heard that it would add a zest of lemon to your food without having to buy lemons, which can get pretty pricey in my area sometimes. What I learned, later on, is that a couple of leaves in some hot water makes for a great cup of tea, it not only started me drinking lemon balm tea, but also more tea in general. This year I will make sure to dry and save some leaves for later use, though, as I ran out as soon as the plant died back.
  4. If you’re lucky, a rhubarb plant will live through a zone 3 winter in a small pot on your deck. Blueberries, however, will not. In 2014, I bought three blueberry plants and a rhubarb plant from the local Home Hardware store sometime in June, but I never got around to planting them because I just couldn’t decide where they should go. Well, come to the end of July, the blueberries were doing fine in their pots, but the rhubarb died off. I never threw out the planter that the rhubarb was in, just incase I wanted to reuse the soil (which I normally don’t do, but, this time, I thought I might).

    Well, winter went by, and spring came, and all of a sudden I had a tiny rhubarb plant sticking out of the soil, so I started taking care of it and planted it in the yard. It grew to about five times the size it was when I bought it before the year was done and I can’t wait to see how big it gets this year. The blueberries were replaced by four more, which were also planted in the ground as well since they never sprouted leaves from their winter deck vacation.

  5. There is no better defense against cabbage moths and their devil-babies then some good netting. I had huge broccoli plants and the healthiest cabbage plants I’ve ever grown this year simply because I covered them with a frame and a net early in the spring. I’ll be doing that again this year for sure, I just have to keep those bloody raspberries from popping up inside the cabbage bed.
  6. A chair is a great addition to a greenhouse if you have room. I went to a garage sale last spring looking to find a good deal on something that I could use, or sell on eBay. I ended up at a place with nothing that I wanted for some people who were moving, and when they saw I was leaving empty handed, the nice couple offered me a leather chair that was in fine shape, save for a rip on the seat for free. Wanting to help them out, but not really having anything to do with it, I took it, while I was driving away, I thought I’d put it in the greenhouse, and it became a great little place to read, or plant, or just listen to the bubbling of the fountain that I got at another garage sale the same day.
  7. The dark foam that I used to cover the sharp edges on my cattle panel for the greenhouse will destroy plastic because it heats up so much. I bought plastic for the greenhouse that should have lasted for four years, and here I am going to have to replace it after two because the foam pipe insulation that I used to keep the cattle panel edges from tearing it heat up so much in the sun that it makes the plastic brittle. I will find a solution for that this year, though, I have a few ideas floating around for it.
  8. If you’re air pruning a plant (growing in grow bags) you need to have a constant water source. I tried a Roma tomato in an old cloth grocery bag this summer, it started out great when it was smaller, it rapidly took off, and at one point was even bigger than the one in the greenhouse. However, this changed later in the season when it was using a lot of water and drying out quickly, as I just had it sitting on a board on the ground instead of in a kiddie pool with some water, or some other auto-watering system, as Larry Hall suggests. It should be noted, however, that when I took it out of the bag at the end of the season, the roots had AMAZING growth, with tons of root hairs and if I could have kept up with the water, it would have been a great success.

I’m sure that there was definitely more that I learned through my gardening last season, but I can’t think of anything at the moment. Hopefully, by sharing what I learned, I helped you learn something new as well.

Let me know what you learned in 2015 in the garden in the comments below.

April 24 Garden Update

Hello everyone! First off I would like to apologize for my recent absence from the site, some things have changed in my life and I have been finding it harder and harder to find the time to sit down and write. Some things have changed around the gardens even with how busy I have been. Part of the reason I haven’t had time to sit and write, is because many of my evenings are filled with either extra work, or fiddling with things around the gardens and greenhouse.

The Greenhouse Floor

Those things include finally putting in a good looking floor for the greenhouse, and adding in the raised bed on the North side. I will do a complete write-up on it soon, but let me just say that it was a real pain in the back lifting that greenhouse while we leveled the sides. Most people would have just propped it up instead of holding the whole damned thing off of the ground while their friend shoveled… Apparently we are not most people, because neither of us thought to do it until much later!

Greenhouse 2015

The new floor and the raised bed are great new improvements to the greenhouse.

Peppers, Tomatoes, and Herbs Oh My!

On February 15 I started my peppers, tomatoes, basil, and lemon balm. This year I am trying two types of tomatoes, the Better Boy that I have been growing for the past three years, and a Roma as well, since I would like to try making some homemade sauces. For peppers I planted bell, habanero, jalapeno, and Chile peppers. I think my bell pepper seeds must have been too old though, as I had no germination from them, while the rest of the seeds showed nearly 100% germination.

Peppers Tomatoes Herbs

The Tomatoes have suffered a bit from over-watering as per usual, but everything else is going pretty well, all of those plants are loving the extra heat during the day in the greenhouse.

After I transplanted them on March 15, I have a lemon balm, basil, 2 Jalapeno, a habenero, a Chile pepper, a roma, a better boy, and a mystery tomato that I lost the tag to and tried a little experiment with it in the greenhouse. The experiment was basically to see if I could keep the tomato (and some others) warm enough at night in the greenhouse through slightly freezing temperatures with just a heating mat. It seems to have worked great, except for the day that I forgot to shut it off, and uncover the plants… I lost all of my extras except for one tomato, and two basils which are still just barely hanging on.

The Rejects April 24

Two Basil and either a Roma or Better Boy Tomato plant that are the only survivors of having the heat mat left on in an already hot day in the greenhouse.

Ready, Set, Onions!

Next, for the first time I bought and planted onion sets instead of buying the already growing plants from a garden centre. I planted 70 sets (35 white and 35 red) with 66 of those going into one of the new 4’x 4’ garden areas I put in last June, and 2 of each going into the greenhouse. The ones in the greenhouse are just to see how well they would grow in there, I probably could have used the space for something else, but I tucked them into the corner of the raised bed, so they shouldn’t be too much in the way.

Onion Sets

66 Onion sets ready to be planted outside, and I planted another 4 inside the greenhouse. That should be enough.

Those were all planted on April 11, not many have come up in the raised bed yet, but the ones that were already growing slightly when I planted them are getting bigger, and the ones in the greenhouse just sprouted yesterday, so I am not too worried.

Berries, Melons, and the Cabbage Family

On April 14, I planted six each of sugar baby watermelon, Minnesota midget variety cantaloupe, red cabbage, green cabbage, and broccoli. I also planted 42 white alpine strawberries. In the ten days since, all of the watermelon, cabbage, and broccoli have sprouted, as well as a cantaloupe, but none of the strawberries have. I have just been setting the tray out in the greenhouse in the mornings and then setting them under the lights inside for the night. It seems to be working well, and it not only lets me shut off the grow light during the day, but it also gives me more room to start more plants. The next batch of plants will be planted any day now, and will be in the greenhouse full time, with a heat mat under them in the evenings.

10 Day Old Seedlings April 24

Pretty good growth for only 10 days. I already have to transplant the watermelons soon. From left to right are strawberries (haven’t sprouted yet), broccoli, green cabbage, watermelon, red cabbage, and cantaloupe.

Yesterday, and if you follow me on Instagram you already know, I put out my newly made strawberry planter and planted some bare root strawberries in it and spread wood chips around it. What you might not know is that I also bought four blueberry plants to replace the ones I lost last winter because I never found a place to plant them and left them in the pots on the deck.

Strawberries April 23

The strawberry planter turned out pretty well for saying I didn’t have an actual plan, and it was made from an old pallet. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I had some extra spray paint laying around though.

Blueberries April 24

I bought 2 Chippewan and 2 Polaris Blueberry plants at Canadian Tire on April 23rd. This year I have a spot picked out for them already so they won’t end up dying on the deck again.

Bonus Entry

Speaking of plants left out on the deck… I bought a rhubarb plant last spring, with hopes of eating some strawberry rhubarb pie once it, and the strawberries I planted last year (none of which survived the winter again) were ready. Just like with the blueberries, I could not find a place to plant it, and before I could it was absolutely destroyed by hail and died.

Or so I thought. Early April sometime, the little leaves started poking out of the soil in the pot again, and I already have a spot all picked out for it this time. I will be putting it in the ground within the next week, where it can thrive without me worrying about it. I mean if it can last all winter in that little pot on the deck, it can survive anything where I’m going to put it.

Rhubarb April 24

Back from the dead. Lucky for it (and for me), I was too lazy to empty the pot after I thought it had died last summer.

That’s all for this update, I am hoping they come quicker now that I have things figured out a little better, but I make no promises to that end. As always, you can follow along with my on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Google Plus, all of which have links in my author profile box below or up in the sidebar to the right.