Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Planting Tomatoes

Our tomatoes got a late start.
Oh, they were sown on time,
I just didn't get around to transplanting them until last week.
Hopefully, they'll have enough time to become laden with fruit!

A post-hole digger was used to make the holes for the seedlings.
In this clay, it helps to have something mighty sharp
to pierce through the surface.

With each planting, several amendments were added
to give them a good start.
Here, you can see eggshells, turkey poop (the fertilizer of choice),
coffee grounds and some super-rich compost.

Each supplement was added before transplanting the maters
to their permanent homes.

The tomatoes were planted up to the first set of leaves.
They can also be trenched,
laying them on their sides to encourage more root growth.
Since I wanted to do as little digging as possible,
I chose the traditional method of planting.

Newspaper was used to surround the stem,
and then mulch was added on top.
This is one way to keep weeds at bay,
while maintaining moisture and temperature.

With only 8 tomato plants set out,
it shouldn't be too difficult to keep them watered in.
Because the soaker hose isn't doing its job,
they will have to be hand-watered.
In the fall, the entire garden layout will be changed,
and a new form of irrigation set up.

With the stake-a-cages already in place,
the tomatoes will have ample support when they start their climb.

A few peppers and eggplant transplants were also added to the garden.
Several were placed in the recently created raised beds.

I also decided to plant a couple in the straw bales.
These bales are pretty well spent,
but I thought it would be fun to see how they did.
The straw is simply moved to the side,

and the plant is inserted, pushing the straw back into place.
Since the kale and lettuce did so well in the bales,
it will be curious to see how these do.

 In case you decide to use a post-hole digger,
just keep one thing in mind.
Move the soaker hose out of the way first!
My aim ain't what it used to be.
Lesson learned...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Garden Friday

Welcome back to Garden Friday.
We have visitors, folks.
A group of bunnies drops by nearly every day
to sample our clover.
Fortunately, so far, they have not disturbed the veggie garden.

The cukes are flowering like mad!
A bit of extra fertilizer has been given
to keep them on the way to giving us a pickle crop!

It's always exciting growing something new
because you're never really sure what to expect!

These critters were found on the underside of the leaves.
Surely, they are up to no good.
I'm thinking they are white flies,
which are found on many vining plants
and tend to suck out the sap,
which can weaken the crop.
A dose of soapy water should eliminate them.

Bless their hearts, these Slenderette beans are trying to produce.
They are so teeny and still flowering and giving us food.
I'm not sure how the heat will affect their production.

The peas were fairly disappointing,
but a new crop will be started early in the fall.
There have been enough pods to keep me happily snacking
while the garden is checked each morning.

The Yukon Gold potatoes have stopped flowering
and the stems are starting to turn yellow.
The towers will most likely be upended this weekend
to see what we've got under there.

 The tomatoes are holding their own so far.
I really love the stake-a-cages that will support them as they grow.
A post on how the tomatoes were planted will be added next week.

The melons are planted in the straw bales
and have decided to travel both up the wire cage
and down to the soil.
It's the first time we've grown watermelon,
so we are letting them tell us what they need to grow.

So far, so good!
This lil' beauty is about the size of a large lemon.

Beet greens fill the interior of this pot.
Due to some shade on this part of the garden,
the beets are still doing well.

 Aside from veggies growing,
other changes are taking place.
This Vitex, which was identified by a friend,
looked dead for the longest time.
It was given a fierce pruning in early spring
and is rewarding us with abundant buds.
This butterfly attractor is most welcome in our pollinator-friendly yard.

 This butterfly bush is just starting to come into flower as well.

 Cuttings will be taken to start new plants.
One of the main goals for this half-acre garden
is to support pollinators and wildlife.
Propogating my own plants will save me money
and allow me to learn something new.

 Two new colors of coneflowers were found recently
and added to the newly created butterfly bed.

 Bees, butterflies and wasps alike
will all enjoy the nectar served here.


 The bee balm just started blooming yesterday
and there were bees busily jaunting from one petal to the next.

 Although I haven't yet found any monarch eggs on the milkweed,
there are already seed pods showing up.
These self-seed readily with the shifting wind.

These crates were acquired at a local nursery just for the asking.
They will be lined with screen and used for our sweet potatoes.
They will make a nice addition to the veggie garden.

What's growing on in your (almost) summer garden?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Wiggle Delivery!

Something very special came in the mail recently.

Something I've wanted for some time.

Our order of red wigglers came in this box,
nestled in a small, dark drawstring bag.

Although I looked high and low for a local source,
there was none to be found.
These were ordered on Amazon
and arrived within a few days.
It was time to prepare their home.

The worm bin was ready to receive guests.
We showed you how we created it here.
The shredded paper was dampened with water.

A few items were added to make the worms more cozy,
including used coffee grounds and some compost.

These guys were mighty scrawny when they arrived.
The information given stated that they are without food and water for the four days it takes to ship them,
and not to worry if they look like goners.
They were fed right away (and about every 4 days since), and they have fattened right up.

In fact, this is such a great way to use up our food and paper scraps,
that the thought crossed my mind that this could become a business.
After all, I'd like to be able to offer them to nearby gardeners.

But for now, 
let them eat scraps!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Community Garden Workday for June

This past Saturday,
a few of the Master Gardeners got together
to work in the Community Garden in Denver.
Wow, has it come along in the past month!

These workdays allow us to be productive
while visiting with folks who love all things gardening.
Once a month throughout the year,
care is taken to tidy up, sow, and harvest the veggies grown here.
Some of the crops in these beds are donated to local food banks.
Let's see what's growing here at the end of springtime:

There were abundant green tomatoes to be found.
The full sun exposure to these plants helps them produce prolifically.

The entire perimeter of the garden
houses community beds.
Good to know that all of this scrumptiousness
will find a well-deserved home and be enjoyed by countless diners.

Despite the heat and an issue with irrigation,
these cabbages were flourishing.
Sauerkraut, anyone?

An understory of  gorgeous yellow-orange flowers,

shows the promise of good things to come.

The lettuce was still looking luscious and tender.

Beets await their turn to be harvested
once they have a bit more size to them.

Roma tomatoes will no doubt be canned or used to make sauces.

Just look at this bed, bursting at the seams with goodies!

And this "Jack-and-the-beanstalk" tower of beans
keeps reaching for the sky!

There was a bit of trouble spotted by an astute gardener.
While weeding one of the beds,
she spied these neer-do-wells,
surely ready to start devouring their surroundings.

Not all the visiting critters mean harm.
We've got some busy pollinators out there!

The sweet potato slips were planted in one of the beds.
This is the first time I'd seen these planted.
In Florida, I always grew my own slips,
using organic sweet potatoes purchased from the grocery store.

A half dozen or so were planted into this bed,
making sure to choose the starts with the best root growth.
I can't wait to see how far these come along by next month!

Aren't these hollyhocks stunning?
What a joy to see their graceful stalks climbing up toward the sun.

The heat caught up with us early on,
so we have vowed to start workdays a bit earlier during the summer.
It is a labor of love and
such a blessing to spend time with others who share the same passion
for gardening and giving.