Growing Pickles

It was time to put these babies in the ground before they started climbing all over each other.

The seeds came from last year’s parade pickles, which ended up being very good producers. I used the same fermenting technique that you use with tomatoes. The germination rate was high, maybe 75%. Last year I didn’t start them until mid may, so these are a good bit earlier. The only concern I have with them being so early is that the pollinators may not be out in force when they’re ready for them.

I’m very pleased with this setup. The plants will be strung to the low part of the fence to train them upward. When building the trench I found the soil to be soft and holding moisture, (also quite toad occupied). The plants should do well here. This was okra’s home last year and those plants went crazy.

Scout harrassing an unearthed toad

We currently have 32 cucumber plants. Last year 30 was the plan, but at transplant time, we only had about 18. I was still able to do a good bit of pickling, but not as much as I would have liked. (On the other hand, I still have a few jars of pickled okra and a gallon bag of frozen pieces so I’d be ok with a few less of those.)

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My Valentine’s Tiller

I still want chocolate

Gordon surprised me with this beautiful thing he found on craigslist for $150. It runs like a dream. We were able to chop up the entire garden in under a half hour. It makes the place a smaller, more dealable world. It’s my first very own gasoline-powered yard equipment and I love it so much. Between this guy, my claw-fingered garden gloves, and Gordon’s repair to my cultivator, I should be able to better manage the weeds this year. Love love love.

These guys are scheduled to go in the ground next Saturday, while the moon is a waxing crescent in Pisces. Baby lettuce and brassicas and some arugula (which excites me and I’ve not previously grown).

Here you see Scout helping me to thin the babies out.

Only the Brave

To invest in something – your money, your time, your learning, your effort and care – and then to take risks with it, is either stupid or brave or maybe it’s science. Well whatever it is, it happens every single go-round with this gardening thing.  

You do your research, plan your steps, make your purchases, set it all up for success. But once you actually begin and cross that threshold, shit happens. It’s inevitable and so therefore is the risk factor. What to do now? Something or nothing?  It’s a risk either way. And so here you are: weeks into a project where time really matters, staring into the face of a likely failure that could definitely affect everything going forward into the season.

Gardening is not for the faint of heart.

If you gardened your whole adult life, from the time you are 25 to the time you are 75, you would only get 50 practice runs. Imagine that in the context of a musician or an athlete. Nobody would be any good. So here we are, the make it or break it lot, the do or die bunch, the “eh fuck it, there’s always next year” sort. 

There will be failure, death (of the plant sort), trial and oh-so-much error. It’s just how it goes. In order to do it, you have to be willing to lose what you’ve worked for because chances are pretty good that you may.

So here I am. Brave woman. Disturbing roots and replanting seedlings deeply. Hoping my Chinese Cabbage doesn’t immediately bolt when I put it into the garden (I read that was a thing). Hoping my skinny leggy mustard greens and bok choy don’t rot when I bury them better.

I don’t think these floppy guys could continue like this

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But truth be told, I’ve never had any problems with transplanting anything. The good broccoli plants I have now (that did survive the ice and snow, by the way) were initially leggy newborns that I re-planted up to their scrawny necks. So maybe I’m not that risky and brave. Maybe I have a bit of experience on my side. Either way, this old lady gets a feeling that teeters between exhilaration and terror during these dealings. 

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To elaborate on the ice/snow storm frozen broccoli/brussels outcome, we have some burned leaves but that seems to be it. Maybe the ice coating protected my green babies, but we got down to 12 degrees F two nights in a row and everything survived.

(Notice how healthy and green the weeds look. Wtf.)

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Back to my present endeavors.

Three trays now hold various brassicas, herbs, and flowers. Here’s what I’ve got going so far:

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And here is their normal home:

My basement “greenhouse”

I was working with two lights initially and just added the other three a few days ago.  Hopefully it helps with future legginess because I estimate having three more 50 cell trays before spring comes.

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Here Come the Dinosaurs!

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