Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – May 6 Update

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2018 Intro – Here I Come! | Seeds! | Seeds, Round Two! | Feb. 3 Update | Mar 11 Update

Whew it’s been a while, but here’s an update! Really though, I’ve been working on this update for over a month, and I keep coming back and adding more, and putting off publishing it because of the work involved in the images (I like to resize them so they don’t use all my media storage on WP). Here’s a quick video update of the garden from April 23:

And a video from May 6:

I’ll eventually get the images added to this post, but if I don’t publish it now I never will. I think the fact I’ve been up to doing video updates but not blog posts shows that the same way doesn’t always have to work every time. I hope you enjoy getting to see the garden and how it’s doing.

On March 30 I DID A LOT in the garden.

I purchased this, a 2 pack of 50″ diameter 12″ deep plastic planting bags (way cheaper than the fabric ones), and filled it with 9 1.5 cu ft bags of gardening soil. Then I transplanted a zucchini plant, two eggplants, and planted seeds for 2 yellow squash plants, one more zucchini plant, and several marigolds and nasturtiums. The transplanted eggplants seem to be doing okay, but the zucchini not so much. The yellow squash and zucchini seeds have sprouted, as have the nasturtiums (but not the marigold). The second one I’m not filling right now. Maybe in the fall or next spring.

I also filled 4 5-gallon buckets and 8 5-gallon fabric planters with soil, and transplanted 2 of each of the following plants: beefsteak tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes, Yolo Wonder bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, cayenne peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Just a few days after doing this we had a cold front come through with strong winds and a day of at-freezing temperatures with rain, but the plants seem to have survived. An old fence panel fell on some of the peppers, with one Cayenne pepper taking the bring of the fall. But it’s still green, and it has a baby pepper on it, so I think it’ll pull through. I’m not sure if the tomatoes are doing well or not, I guess time will tell.

I also planted several flowers along the back of the house. The cosmos and allysum have survived and flowered a little, and the snapdragons look pretty good but still small/not flowering. It also looks like the seeds I’ve planted are sprouting. I also received some canna bulbs from a family member, and they’re shooting leaves up from the ground now too.

Written out, that sure doesn’t seem like much, but it was a whole day’s worth of work!

My greens bed seems to be doing… half-well? The arugula and kale have really taken off, but I’ve only got like 3 (out of 8) lettuce still trying and only 1 spinach, which seems to be getting eaten by something. The broccoli plant hasn’t done much but the cauliflower has put on several more leaves. And the baby onions… I’m not sure if something is eating them or they’re just not doing well. They’re still green and trying but some are broken and I just haven’t really seen any progress. As of May 6, the arugula has started bolting and I don’t think I’ll see anything but greens from the cauliflower, but I think it was worth the try.

The peas are doing alright, I think, and I’ve used some old branches to give them something to climb. They are now flowering and making pea pods!

My onion plants (planted from pantry onions that began growing inside) are GINORMOUS and soon to flower. My sage (started last year, survived the winter) is blooming and looking very good.

I’ve eaten a few sweet strawberries from my plants already, and there’s a wild dewberry bush by the back door that I’m keeping an excited eye on. However, something gets to about half of my strawberries before I do, and while I was thinking it might be slugs…one day I went out there and the strawberries were still juicy like they’d been eaten recently, and there were giant drops of strawberry juice on the leaves…do rats do this?

I’ve also had some flowers from previous years come back and bloom!

I noticed some (A LOT) of ants in my potato plants. My guess is that they are after the aphids and their sticky stuff. I guess that’s my next thing to figure out how to deal with. After a little while, the ants seemed to have disappeared. I’m not sure if I should be more relieved or worried.

In some ways I still feel so new to gardening. I feel like an imposter. I see other people’s pictures and how tightly placed and green and lush their plants look. Am I doing something wrong? Starting my plants too late or spreading them out too much? Starting some of them too early? Not watering right? I guess it’s all learned in experience, and I don’t have much of that yet.I get started with so many plans and so much excitement, but it doesn’t feel like anything pans out the way I’m hoping.

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Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – March 11 Update

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2018 Intro – Here I Come! | Seeds! | Seeds, Round Two! | Feb. 3 Update

Hey There! I know I’ve been a little quiet on the garden front this past month, life gets hectic sometimes. But now I’m here for a quick update!

I added a second grow light to my seed starting area when I realized how leggy they would be if I didn’t. I feel like it’s just right now, and adjustable for the different stages the seedlings are in.

I have cleaned out several of my buckets and mixed some new soil and gotten them ready for planting!

March 6 I planted greens into my large fabric container. These include kale, several kinds of lettuce, arugula, and spinach. In the container is also a cauliflower seeding, a broccoli seedling, the yellow spanish onion seedlings, and carrots. Sugar Snap Peas also went into containers this weekend. I had planned on planting more cole crops and green arrow peas, but I decided to hold off on those for now.

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Large fabric bed (3 ft diameter) planted!

I also had to move the larger seedlings (tomatoes, peppers) into larger containers, QT kids cups with holes in the bottom. There are several more that still need to be moved up.

Tomato and pepper seedlings
Took these out from under the grow light for easy watering. Look how green they are!
Pepper plant showing signs of flowers
I think this jalapeno plant is ready to put out flowers! Eep!
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Strawberries can’t wait for Spring either!

Thanks for stopping by and hanging out! Feel free to ask if you have any questions 🙂

❤ Julia

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – Feb 3 Update

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2018 Intro – Here I Come! | Seeds! | Seeds, Round Two!

If you’d like to see, here’s the doc I’ve been using to keep track of planting/tasks/results.

And here’s the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension recommended cultivars list I reference for dates and such.

Hey there! Just thought I might give a quick update on the seedlings and what’s coming up soon.

My seedlings were getting leggy and I realized my light was probably too far away, so I lowered it and am hoping that it will help. Maybe not the already leggy ones, but those that haven’t had time to become leggy at least might have a chance.

Here’s what I have sprouted: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Cabbage, Cayenne Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, Yolo Wonder Pepper, Sweet Banana Pepper, Dill, Oregano, Basil, Beefsteak Tomato, Cherry Tomato, Eggplant, and Onion. It’s so exciting to come in after being asleep all night or gone all day and find what new seed has sprung from the ground!

I’m planting just a couple more broccoli and cabbage plants today. I have 3 of each sprouted, and for my garden that would be enough, but I’m thinking it might be a good idea to have a couple of extras hanging around. I decided not to.

Next weekend marks 6 weeks until last frost date, and I have quite the list of things to start! I’m starting to worry I may need another grow light and some more shelf space! I also have a couple of things to plant outside if the weather isn’t icky. {Feb 4 update: I’m actually not starting that much next weekend. Most of the list was greens to transplant outside, but due to my limited space I’m only going to sow those directly outside. I will start a tray of herbs, a tray of flowers, and a tray of tomatoes. Outside it’ll be time to plant cauliflower, cabbage, and peas.}

In case you can’t tell, I’m very excited about the garden this year.

Are you growing anything? Share it below 🙂

❤ Julia

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 — Seeds, Round Two!

Okay, time for seeds, round two! This time, at 8 weeks before frost date, I have planted another set of seeds from last time (link here) plus the following:

  • Beefsteak Tomato
  • Red Cherry Tomato
  • Spineless Okra
  • Calabrese Broccoli
  • Red Acre Cabbage
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (Italian flat leaf)
  • Sage
  • Basil (Genovese)

I uh…might have mixed up the labels, so I won’t know if I did or not until they grow enough to tell what they are. And a cabbage seed fell into one of the broccoli cells, so I guess I’ll see what happens there. Other than the super-uber-tiny seeds like Oregano, I tried to only put one seed per cell so I didn’t have to choose between too many plants. Now it’s time to continue the waiting game.

 

I’ve also been comparing my seed packet info to that on the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension page of Recommended Cultivars (link). So far, most of it matches up, but I have a couple of things TAMU says can go out a bit earlier. I figure if that’s hitting my state rather than trying to cover whoever might have bought the seeds, I’ll go with that info. This site also has pdfs for the home gardener for information on varieties, how to grow, problems you might encounter, and harvesting information.

I’ve been planning out what is going to go where in my garden. I enjoy this a lot. I like writing/drawing it all out and seeing what I might need when and predicting any problems that might come up with space. For example, I have a 3′ diameter grow bag that I will be using for my greens. However, based on the maturity times and when I need to plant other things, it could potentially go unused over the summer. I’m working out what I might can put there, but it’s nice to know exactly what spaces I have and if issues like that might arise.

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Drawing out what goes in which container

I have a Google Doc that I’ve been using to plan, and I plan to use it to keep a journal of sorts of my garden this year. I’ve thought about sharing it, so you can see what all I’ve been up to and what I plan to do and when and whatnot. Is that something you’re interested in? Of course, I plan on being much more on with updating this info in the blog, so I don’t know there’s much that won’t be shared here.

I’m super excited about this year, and I hope it turns out to be a good one. One of the things I need to learn is how to use my vegetables once I’ve harvested them. Herbs are something I have zero idea about (who knew they didn’t grow already packed in jars ;-P). Eventually I hope to be able to grow enough food to reliably supplement our groceries and also to preserve some for later use.

Is there something about my gardening journey you’d like to know about? If so, let me know! Or, share a link to your own!

❤ Julia

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – Seeds!

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#GardenWithJulia 2018 Intro

 -Starting Seeds-

Woo! It’s seed starting time! 10 weeks before frost date is the earliest seeding time on my seeds, and I have several that have that time frame. I’m closer to starting at 9 weeks before.

I ordered these seed starting trays and this grow light (Amazon got me with a lightning deal…). I bought some Jiffy starter mix (Walmart, $5) and here we go! By the way, my links aren’t affiliate, I just thought I’d share exactly what I was using.

Well, to start off, I set up the grow light in my intended place and realized it was a whole heck of a lot brighter than I thought it would be, and I became concerned about the safety of it being in the kitchen and having a six-year-old running around. Even though he listens well, I am cautious about taking the chance. So I thought, what if I can enclose it? And I took to Twitter with my concerns as well. I’ve come across the idea of containing the space with reflective insulation or mylar sheeting (basically like a grow tent), creating a cardboard barrier, or–very possibly–trying a mini greenhouse outside instead. When I brought my problem and possible solutions to my husband, and plugged the light in for him to see, he thinks it’s fine. So I’m going to stick with it and try it. For now I have some cardboard nearby containing some of the light (and hopefully heat).

These are the ones that have “start indoors 8 to 10 weeks before last frost date”:

Snowball Y Cauliflower
Utah Celery
Black Beauty Eggplant
Yellow Spanish Onion
Cayenne Pepper
Jalapeno Pepper
Sweet Banana Pepper
Yolo Wonder Pepper

Since the seed starting trays are in counts of 12, I planted 3 of each of these 8 plants.

Step-by-step, here’s what I did: filled seed trays with seed starting mix, sprayed it with water until damp, made a hole for the seeds, dropped the seeds in, and pushed soil on top of them. Then I placed the dome on top and stuck them on the shelf. Now to watch for germination!

 

-Other Gardening Things-

I’ve drawn out some potential layouts for my plants, but I still can’t decide if I want to continue using the buckets, making it easier to provide support to the plants, or if I want to invest in some fabric planters to try and maximize the interplanting potential. The fabric planters I’m considering are on my “list of possibilities.” And then, the excitable part of me thought:s4eamxv

So, if I can find a way to swing it within my budget, maybe I’ll try both the buckets and the fabric containers. And if not this year, maybe next.

I’ve remembered to join #GardenChat this year, which has been a lot of fun. Several said they’ve grown both tomatoes and corn in the same garden and seen no issues with pollination. I had read that they couldn’t be grown in proximity to each other, which was a bummer, but these chats gave me hope, and maybe I’ll find a way to plant corn this year, too.

Earlier this year, we had a problem with rats in our attic. *shudder* Part of our solution was to trim back the trees that were close to the roof. (Thankfully, trapping the ones that were inside and cutting back the trees seems to have solved our problem for now.) Now, because it’s been freezing the past two months when our lawn pickup with the city runs, we have a bunch of tree branches at the side of our house. So I’ve had the idea to pick out a few and see if I can construct trellises or trellis-holders from these branches. I’ll keep you updated on that one.

Have you grown plants from seed? How and where did you start them? Did you over-think it like I’m doing? What methods work for you?

Thanks for stopping by,

❤ Julia

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – Here I Come!

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Wow, how am I already writing a post for #GardenWithJullia 2018!? Where does the time go!?

If you’ve been following along, you may know that 2017 didn’t quite get as much coverage as my first year of gardening in 2016. I’m hoping to change that for this upcoming year.

For Christmas I received an awesome set of seeds from my hubby, as well as some garden tools. This was just what I needed to dive back in! Since then I’ve made a spreadsheet and document with planting dates to help me get my head on straight and DO ALL THE THINGS!

Of course, excitable me decided I needed a whole new shelf and lights to devote to starting seeds this year. Luckily, logical (and much more budget conscientious) me has realized all I really need is some seed-starting trays. I found some on Amazon that have domes with them, and although I was thinking of getting a heating mat to really speed up the seed-starting fun, I think I’m going to break out my desk lamp instead. The trays have domes, so they should hold in the humidity and the temperatures fairly well. I may also wrap one level of the [existing] shelf in plastic to help hold in heat as well.

–If you remember my “makeshift greenhouse,” I have sense learned (by reading, not experience) that foil can cause the plants to burn. Thus my decision to try using plastic instead.–

As exciting as all of this is, I’m a little intimidated. There are tons of vegetables I’ve never eaten, much less grown, that I’m going to try growing this year. I’m nervous they won’t survive (some are going to do much better if I wait until the fall and plant them for the winter) and I’m worried about having places to put them all!

Other ideas for this year include looking into a greenhouse, or at least a cloche to extend the growing time when the weather cools off (and warms up in the spring, NEXT year).

If you’re curious as to what I’m considering purchasing, I’ve made an Amazon list. If you have any experience with any of these or better recommendations, I’d love to hear about it. One of the things I’m considering is the larger fabric raised beds as opposed to my buckets. I like the idea of being able to interplant, but the buckets give me a better support system for things like tomato cages. So I’m still undecided about that.

Within the next week or so I expect to begin starting seeds indoors, and I am excited!

Are you gardening this year? Just along for the ride? I’d love to hear from you!

–Julia

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#GardenWithJulia — Update 2

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Hello there!

Well, I know I haven’t done nearly as well as keeping you updated on the garden this year, my apologies. Here’s my first update, and here’s where things are now. Continue reading “#GardenWithJulia — Update 2”