Sunday, 31 May 2015

End of May Garden Review

It's been raining since last night and it was still drizzling as I took these photos.  But I wasn't sure if it would improve at all and I really wanted to get a snapshot of the garden for the end of the month.  I often want to compare year over year and realize that I don't always take photos of the entire view.  So for the sake of my own documentation, and if you are at all interested, here is what's going on in my yard today.

I haven't bothered capturing the fruit trees, fruit bushes or flowers (other than when they are interplanted) - perhaps another day soon.  I really just wanted to get photos of the vegetable, herb and greens gardens.  To avoid making this comment on every single picture, I'll just say it once now ... many of them are terribly overgrown with weeds, but also with grass that is growing up through the soil.  I'll pull out what I can over the coming weeks but will have to do a really good turnover of the garden in the fall to try to eliminate as much of the grass as I can.

So onto the photos ... lots of photos (maybe 30?!) so I'll just use the caption field to identify what's going on rather than lengthy descriptions.

Top to Bottom: asparagus, lavender
(just planted so not visible), rhubarb

Asparagus ferns staked up

Old 3 sisters garden, slow to grow: ruby red chard,
italian salad blend, beets, curly kale, tsoi sim

Jerusalem artichokes
1 of 30+ potato plants (I still have a bit of cleanup
to do of frost-bitten leaves from last weekend)

2 of 6 squash or pumpkin plants in year old straw bales

Mouse melon in year old straw bales

Tarragon at the back end, arugula at front
 and various greens in between

Garlic at top end of picture,
then various greens

3 kinds of bush beans: black turtle,
 delinel and royal burgundy

Gypsy broccoli, jade cross brussels sprouts
(front: perennial flowers)

Red Russian Garlic

Red Russian Garlic

Messy bed of parsnips

Strawberries and more Red Russian garlic

Nutri-red carrots and rainbow blend of carrots
surrounded by onion sets

Sugar Ann Snap Peas

Just planted: tarbais and scarlet runner beans,
 nantes carrots, merlin beets (marigolds in front)

Hard to tell but this is a tomato patch (that's one of my pallet
shelves  turned on its side for a tomato 'cage'

Tomato plant
Messy bed of various onions

New Egyptian walking onions

Music garlic

new hay bales with cukes & summer squash

New 3 sisters garden

Golden Bantam corn

Various winter squash

Various sweet and hot peppers to remain in pots

Tomatoes in greenhouse (one pepper plant in front centre)

one of several pepper plants in greenhouse

Bed in greenhouse - leftover greens and newly
planted flowers at bottom

new garden bed w/ calla lilies in back,
 then kohlrabi and endives

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Outdoor Tomato Versus Greenhouse Tomato

I realize it's early days now, but I thought I'd share these pictures.  It's not a perfect comparison because these may not be the same variety.  But all tomatoes in the following pictures came from the same packet of seedlings ... "Park Seeds Heirloom Rainbow Blend which includes a mix of Aunt Ruby's German Green, Dixie Golden Giant, Black from Tula, Brandywine Red, Big Rainbow, and Cherokee Purple". 

And, more importantly, they were all seeded at the same time!  Seeds were sowed March 11th and here is the post showing them 6 days later.  First are pictures of these puny looking plants that were planted in the garden about a week ago.  They survived the recent frost!  But to be honest, these are pretty average looking for what I'm used to at this time of the year.

And ta da ... here are plants from that same seedling batch that I potted up and put in the greenhouse two weeks ago.  Wahoo!

And for another comparison.  This is the black trifele tomato plant when I bought it at the plant sale on May 16 (admittedly not too bad for a seedling) versus today (I potted it only a few days ago into the greenhouse!).

I'm going to cram as many tomatoes and peppers as I can into the greenhouse now that the seedlings are mostly out!!!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Robin Babies

Finally, the eggs have hatched.  You can only see three beaks, but all four are there.  

I have no idea when they hatched as I've been avoiding the shed.  Not so with Sugar Ray - I had to pull him out of the shed twice yesterday and eventually locked him in the house.  I guess he knew the babies were up there, but they weren't making any noise so I didn't realize.

He seemed okay once he made himself comfortable in the house.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

After the Frost

As you can see from this snippet from the weather networks "last 24 hours" in my area, we not only had a frost, but the temperature fully dipped below zero between 5 and 6 this morning. 

Although I had fully covered my plants (OK, not so much the tomatoes, but everything else) I still got frost damage to many of them.  I'll see if any recover over the day as it's hard to tell if they are just limp or completely done.  But I'm still fine ... I had many more plants than I really needed although I was more than happy to have them all.  So even if I lose half, it will be okay.  But keeping my fingers crossed!

This is from a local news report this morning:

Temperatures across Ottawa and region plummeted below the freezing mark Friday night, with the wind chill falling to as low as -10, according to Environment Canada.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Frost Warning!

I've been a bit neglectful of my blog (and reading other blogs) this week as I've been busy with both work and renovations at home (arghh, still not done!).  So I don't know if everyone is hurting weather-wise.  In my case, I have been experiencing massive wind gusts for the past week or two.  And tonight there is a frost forecast.

Since I haven't posted a general view of my garden lately, that was supposed to be my next post.  And I guess, technically, that is what I'm doing ... it's just that everything is covered up!!  I knew this was coming but it isn't as if you can do anything sooner.  I can't very well cover up my plants all week in expectation!  So as soon as I got home from work (admittedly, I left a bit early today) I started to prepare for the dreaded frost.

I had pulled most seedlings out of the greenhouse over the week to harden off.  They quickly went back into the greenhouse.


Anything that was "lying around" on the other side of the yard ended up in the garage.

The bigger plants - pumpkin, summer and winter squash - were covered with overturned pots.  I have lots of pots so this was easy enough. 

Or in some cases I used "hot hats" ($20 or something like that for a set of 10 at Lee Valley).

This wheelbarrow is turned over some mousemelon plants.

And this contraption is a combination of whatever-that-material-is-called plus pieces of my old compost bin strategically placed around my sugar pumpkin plants.

Tomatoes in the garden were covered with plastic.  Or mostly covered.  I always start more seedlings than I need in case I lose some - so whatever, I covered as many as I felt like and I still have more than a dozen plants safely stowed in the greenhouse.

Pepper plants, ARGH!  I potted many of them up and really don't have room (or the energy) for them in the greenhouse.  So I really hope this plastic doesn't get blown away by the heavy winds.

And that's been a challenge ... to lay the plastic down in the first place, but also to make sure it will stay down.  For this garden of beans, I've used several different "objects" to keep it from blowing away.

The plastic, by the way, is leftover from the old greenhouse that I used to have.  I have TONS of it.  It's stored in my garage for use whenever I need it - like to build cold frames.  Or mostly to give away to friends.

So that's the current state.  I'll take another peak before it gets too dark as the wind is still pretty crazy.  And if all goes well (fingers crossed), I'll share a better update over the weekend!