Spring Gardens

Spring gardens are pretty easy. Cooler temps mean fewer weeds and pests, making the spring garden a less daunting introduction to the season.

My helpers, Wendell and Scout
Collards

Previously I have had cabbage worms bothering my kale, but not so far this year. Since putting the plants in the ground, we have consistently gotten about an inch of rain a week, so I haven’t had to water more than a couple of times. I’ve also only fertilized once with liquid fish fertilzer and then yesterday used organic granules on the collards and kale. Maybe my plants would be bigger if I’d pumped them full of miracle grow, but organic gardening on the cheap is my thing. I want to produce a lot of food while using few resources. And any amendments I do use should enrich the long term quality of the soil.

I’m grateful that this garden and I have been really lucky. Everything is growing beautifully right now.

Strawberries
Broccoli
Mizuna, lettuce, and kale
A friendly little face
Lots of room to grow!

1/21 leafy greens seeds started (84 days); 2/17 transplanted, also snowpea seeds and green onion seeds; 3/11 strawberry bare roots in (35 days), also beet carrot & turnip seeds

Advertisements

Micromanaging Spaghetti Squash

A little seedling volunteered itself in my compost pile. So I stuck it in one of the bags and it grew into a lovely vine that I trellised to the fence.

image

image

I got really excited with all the flowers!  So many spaghetti squash were coming!  (Counting the proverbial chickens) I wondered what is the best way to store them?  Decided that I would let them fully ripen and cure them outside until my fingernail wouldn’t pierce the skin and then store them on shelves in the basement on cardboard.  Yea! Got it all figured out – – –  Thanks, Google!

Then the happy hopeful flowers started dropping off with nothing to show for. What happened? But hey wait, there were a few flowers with fat little fruit behind them. These must be my squash. Ok so maybe I won’t have 17 squash that need storage, but there are five squash right here certainly.

Five plump little squash. So pretty. Huh, the flowers dropped off them too. And wait, two days later they seem a bit spongy and yellow? What is happening?! Disease! Disease, I tell you! What have I done? Was it the compost tea? Some mysterious pathogen?!

Help me, Google! What have I done wrong, my fellow gardeners?

Ah shit. Seriously? They just aren’t fertilized?  Fat flowers are girls, skinny flowers are boys…..ohhhhh. Also the flowers are only open for one morning and if a bee doesn’t hop her happy ass from one to the other before noon, the opportunity is closed.

Ok. Time for some intervention.

20160612_120826.jpg
Flower Porn

And for a comparison, female flower three days after manual pollination vs. unfertilized and a few days older:

image

And six days after pollination:

image

Pretty awesome, I think!

However it seems like the vine is working as hard as it can to grow this single lovely squash because the budding sister flowers all wilted before maturing. The males are still blooming, but even the brand new female buds that have emerged post pollination have died.

image

I’m curious to see how far along mistress squash will have to be before the female flowers begin to flourish again.

She is kinda too heavy to be dangling off the top of the fence. The vine looked worrisome so I interfered further with some support hose fit for a queen.

image
image

Some Days

Some days the garden makes my heart glisten with joy, some days it makes me say fuck a lot.

Today was a fuck day.

This:

image

Some gray wiltedness and brown spottiness caught my eye as I was squishing a few small slugs on the peppers this morning. One tomato plant for sure. Maybe a fungus? I don’t know.

So here’s the strategy:
-Isolate this plant
-Give other tomatoes more room for air circulation
– Apply organic sulfur stuff on Thursday when Amazon delivers it
– Add Epsom salts to soil in case it’s a magnesium deficiency and because it can’t hurt
– Add more compost to soil
– Cross fingers

So luckily it was pizza night at the homestead so I could rush out and use the last two hours of daylight after work.  Eddie came out to help (under duress) and thinned out his corn while I worked on this craziness.

The ability to move my tomatoes around made me happy that they are in bags. However my whole stake system sucks pretty bad, which became quite evident this evening. I used long skinny tree branches stuffed into the bags and propped against each other. Sure they are cute and natural and tall and free, but they are also wide based and heavy and basically want to topple the plants over when the bags are no longer too close together. So, I need to find good old light skinny stakes, but tall ones.

Next year I’m tilling the place up and planting in the ground. And spacing generously.

Here the poor baby is, cropped and quarantined.  Got rid of that shit.

wp-1465406206111.jpg
WTF
wp-1465406166674.jpg
Poor Baby

And here’s my new spacing. Looks so chaotic right now:

20160608_123620.jpg

And here’s some probable blossom end rot because I was going to let my plants toughen up by not watering much.  Yep. That worked.

wp-1465401721245.jpg

I think I fucking suck at this.