Saturday, May 18, 2013

Garden Update: May 18th 2013

I had a very hard time starting my seeds. I started a huge tray full and left them in care of my husband as I went to visit relatives in another state for a week. Well... BAD idea. They all died! He didn't water them. That was a seed tray I started January, so they were 2 months old when I went on vacation. Sucks. 

So I started another tray. My dogs got into them this time and knocked them over. Lots of seedlings died. I managed to salvage 2 tomato plants which are huge now, but I don't know what variety they are! So frustrating. I hate not knowing the variety of things I plant. I'm almost certain one is a Cherokee Purple tomato and the other 2 are called "Blueberry Blend" tomatoes. Blueberry blend is a new tomato variety from baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and I cant find photos on the plant itself to be able to identify. 
I wont know for sure until they produce ripe tomatoes! Hopefully in another 1-2 months I will find out.

I also tried so many times to grow Giant Cape Gooseberries and Ground Cherries from seed I got from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I tried in several trays and direct sowed them too. Nothing works. I have one lone survivor which is very tiny. I wanted to grow these so bad! I have never eaten them before. Everyone says they taste delicious. If all else fails, I;m sure I can find somewhere online that sells actual plants of these.

Now lets take a tour of my plots.

Plot #1- semi shade

Plot #1 on April 10th 2013. I cleaned this plot out and I direct sowed a lot of flowers etc...

Plots #1 May 18th 2013. Those huge spiky green plants are some Gladiolus bulbs I planted.  Notice all the white flowers on the right. Thats my German Chamomile flowering like crazy. I've all ready cut off all the flowers a few weeks ago and they are flowering like crazy again. Also my Lavender has really started to flower. I also cut off some stems. I have the lavender and chamomile drying at home so I can make some tea. I will probably add lemon zest, orange zest, and sweet mint to the dried chamomile and lavender to make a really good tea.

Plot #2
Everything I direct sowed here did not grow. I saw some seedlings pop up, and then the bugs started eating them till there was nothing left. There are a few surviving watermelon seedlings. I put lots of crushed egg shells around the base of these seedlings to deter the slugs and let them grow. There are 2 varieties of watermelon in the plot, a variety given to me by a gardener in Texas, and one called Jubilee.

Watermelon from a Texas gardener
My Super Sweet 100 tomatoes are gargantuan. I had 2 of them growing, but we have some bad high speed winds and it knocked over the whole tomato cage which itself is over 6 feet tall. It pulled out one of the super sweet 100 tomatoes with all the roots. It was dead by the time I stopped by the garden and saw what happened. So now I'm down to just 1 super sweet 100 tomato plant. This is more than enough. I'm picking tomatoes off this one every other day. I like the flavor but there is not much you can do with such tiny tomatoes! Except diced them up and use them as a garnish or for making bruschetta

Super Sweet 100 Tomatoes
Also my Patio tomato has taken off and is loaded with larger sized tomatoes. This plant is very compact for the amount of tomatoes on it. I really like this tomato variety if it wasn't for the fact that its a hybrid.

Patio Tomato
I dont have a photo of it, but I did pull out a garlic bulb that I planted from a clove back in late November I think. was all crazy looking. Reminded me of jagged teeth LOL. Next time I'm going to plant southern appropriate garlic varieties for sure. I got this garlic from the supermarket, so who knows what variety it is.

None of my sweet pepper seeds germinated. I tried growing Flavor Burst variety from Burpee but none germinated... very disappointing as it was highly reviewed by others as having fantastic flavor. Now I'm kinda too late into the year to start sweet peppers as they should be growing in the ground before the extreme heat of summer kicks in. So I went to Home Depot and bought 3 seedlings, Big Bertha red or green color, Yellow bell pepper, and Orange bell pepper.

Yellow bell pepper
I also had 1 of 12 seeds germinate for Cow Pea seeds I was given. So I started a seed tray with more cow peas because I'm sure the seedlings got eaten up by bugs.

The only cow pea seedling that survived/germinated
Plot #3
Two days ago I harvested my Dragon Tongue beans for the first time! They were direct sowed on March 28th. I read online to harvest the entire pods and eat them like green beans when the lime green with purple strips color turns to yellow with purple strips. Some were ready and I harvested a handful.

Dragon Tongue beans
The whole patch of Dragon Tongue beans. Its 3 square foot which has 12 plants in it.
When cooked they turn completely yellow. I read online you can eat them raw. The flavor was reminiscent of broccoli to me.

This was my harvest May 16th, approximately 4 months after direct sowing into the garden. There are still lots more, but they are not ready to be picked.
I direct sowed "On Deck" corn from Burpee and they did not germinate very well. I'm not sure why. So I bought another seed packet of Golden Bantam seeds and sowed them in to fill in the spots. That variety had a much better germination than the "On Deck" kind.

On Deck hybrid corn from Burpee. Sowed March 1st and March 28th again because of poor germination. I ran out of seeds after the March 28th sowing, so I decided to fill in the space with Early Golden Bantam corn.
My corn patch, mixed with On Deck hybrid corn and Early Golden Bantam corn.

My onions are growing nicely. They were sowed January 17th. I've got Red Globe which germinated and grew nicely. Then I have White Portugal which doesn't look to be doing very well. It might not be suited to southern climates. I have only 1 of these that survived out of 9. Red Globe is estimated to be ready for harvest June 28th.

Red Globe onions sowed January 17th 2013
I direct sowed some Ananas D'Amerique A Chair Verte melon. I also surrounded them with egg shells to protect them from the bugs.

Ananas D' Amerique A Chair Verte Melon

My Apartment Garden
This space has been reserved mostly for just flowers and herbs. I cant grow vegetables successfully at my apartment because I only get 5-6 hours of sunlight due to the surrounding buildings. My Gladiolus that I planted January 17th have started to bloom.

Gladiolus mix purchased from Walmart. Planted January 17th, started blooming approximately 4 months after planting.
Queen Red Lime zinnias from Burpee. I was so excited to finally get my hands on these seeds. But they dont look anything like the photo below. This was the only variety of zinnias that I planted at my apartment. Some look like your normal purple zinnias. The top left one looks like its trying to be a Queen Red Lime but its so small. 
What Queen Red Lime zinnias are supposed to look like.
This is the celery stub that I planted last fall. I bought it at the grocery store and replanted it after I used up the stems. It grows like crazy! And the taste of fresh celery is so much better than store bought.
My apartment pots (actually storage bins from Walmart that I poked holes in the bottom.). There are lots of gladiolus still waiting to bloom. Plus I planted lots of petunias last week.

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